San Diego’s A Scribe Amidst the Lions are a tricky band to wrap your head around. Their influences cover a wide range of genres like metal, classic rock, and even folk. And while they know their way around a lightning-fast guitar riff or signature change, their steadfast commitment to songwriting prevents their music from ever descending into metalhead self-amusement.
Not that A Scribe Amidst the Lions are afraid to amuse themselves. One look at the gleefully low-budget video for “Backdoor Betty” — off their new 6-song EP The Lidless Kind — demonstrates a band that’s not afraid to have a little fun.
If you like fun too — and gosh, who doesn’t — you’ll want to head over to the Casbah on July 1 for A Scribe Amidst the Lions’ EP-release show. Three other San Diego acts will help the band cut its celebratory cake: The Napoleon Complex, Sundrop Electric, and Roswell That Ends Well.
In anticipation of the show, A Scribe Amidst the Lions were kind enough to share their list of things that influenced the recording and production of The Lidless Kind. You can check it out below.
Kris Towne (vocals, guitar)
John Vanderslice: I’ve been inspired on so many levels from JV by both his recordings and live shows. As far as his recording, arrangement and production goes… he is The Wizard to me. Brilliant albums full of different approaches to arranging a perfectly unique brand of “popindierock.” With diverse and vast music soundscapes and themes, the songs always have a core of something simple and beautiful, but with the dazzles and tricks of a big budget record. With our current album, I feel tracks like “Lidless Kind” and “Rest Gentlemen” really embody that craft and approach to recording a piece of music or song. Being receptive to real and genuine moments that can happen in an instant is something I’m trying to tap into more during the recording process. If you’re thinking with an open mind and you can capture it…it might be all your need to build a great song.
Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea: Damn.
Salvador Dali: Like a lot of people, while experimenting with painting as a young lad, I stumbled upon the work of Dali. The discovery of his art [and story] changed my perspective about painting and even art itself. He is such an important artist who struggled with the restraints of contemporary society, and what it meant to be something genuine to your craft and yourself. It’s people like him, progressive pioneers of the past who helped pave the way for us to be whoever we want to be, making it OK to be weird, or just be ourselves. And that is more relevant than ever in today’s super-strange reality.
Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica: I was too young (and too far away) for the live show heyday of Modest Mouse. I’d like to believe in that basement-show magic people talk about, but I never got to experience that. What I got was an introduction to MM with the album The Moon and Antarctica… when it had already been heralded by the indie world, and for the first time spots of the mainstream world, as cool. And I loved it! The entire album, from start to finish. That followed with obsession over the record… followed by a general disappointment in pretty much everything the band has done since. Which is what happens when you obsess over one record from a great band. Don’t call me a hater, call me an in-betweener. I caught them on their bridge between the indie world and the mainstream and loved every minute of it. It was a point in their career and music where everything came together in a magical way; big ideas, big studio, HUGE label and distribution, all for the very first time in their career. Those combinations will probably never happen again for a band to create the same kind of sound. Like a first kiss or your first time getting punched in the face, there’s nothing quite like it.
Miles Davis – Dark Magus: A live album of phenomenal dynamics and musicianship. Along similar lines and style as the world-renowned Bitches Brew, but live! On March 30th, 1974, that performance at Carnegie Hall in NYC blurred all lines between jazz/fusion/funk and many other genres. Sound and texture-wise it was way ahead of it’s time. In a way, it sounds a lot like The Mars Volta, sans vocals. But this was 1974! Members of Mars Volta hadn’t even been born yet.
Pink Floyd and Radiohead: Life changing.
Adam Jacobs (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
John Vanderslice: I’ve been listening to a lot of John Vanderslice — his melodies, song construction, and unique instrumentation.
David Bazan (Pedro the Lion): His twist of words and melody, simple but powerful. His chord structure and usage was very influential on “Lidless Kind” which birthed “Listening In.”
Misc.: Never forget my roots of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Fugazi, Jeff Buckley, Jeff Mangum, and such, which never leave regular listening rotation.
Relationships: Been reflective lately on relationships with family and friends, lapse of communication, and trust. And reexamining my place in it all. We are getting older and building and maintaining our foundation, and perspective is changing. Who is really listening? Who cares?
Nate Ball (drums, vocals)
I am the fish who was washed ashore. I gasp for breath. I will not be ignored.
I built a sand castle so they knew i was there.
That’s how I feel about making this album. That probably doesn’t make much sense to you. It makes sense to me though. How could a fish who is out of water make a sand castle? How could I make this album? I can’t explain how either was accomplished.
I’m very lucky to be able to have an outlet to express the way I feel.
You can learn a lot about someone by the music they make. Whether you are the one talking or not, you can still show someone who you are. Some things are better left unsaid anyway. Without music I would be a walking corpse. I really don’t want to do anything else but create. No matter what else is going on in my life, I can always count on music to take me where I want to go.
I take what I do very seriously. I hope that it shows because I think this album is our best yet. I feel proud to give birth to this EP.
I could spend all day trying to explain what this album means. But I won’t. I’ll let you listen for yourself. Enjoy.