We sent Jennifer Ho to catch up with Perth four-piece Tired Lion at 2000 Trees recently to chat riders, festivals and cats.
“Get rid of the fuckheads,” says Matt Tanner, lead guitarist of Tired Lions.
“I think it’s better. Everything’s better when it’s smaller,” nods Ethan Darnell, drummer in agreement.
We’re at 2000 Trees Festival, set in the rolling Cotswold countryside, talking about the size-to-dickhead ratio at music festivals back in their native hometown of Australia. The overall consensus? Boutique festivals are the way forward. And it’s a fitting answer, considering the band have just played a grunge-filled set at a festival known for its grassroots booking policy and focus on heavy guitars.
Tired Lion – consisting of Matt and Ethan, alongside vocalist/guitarist Sophie Hopes and bassist Nick Vasey – are at the midway point on their first European tour. Having played a raucous set to a receptive crowd, the band are in high spirits. “It’s cosy, the toilets are clean and the stage crew are the happiest I’ve ever met. More people come to appreciate the music here. It’s nice,” smiles Nick.
Yet the band aren’t averse to larger festivals by any means. Back home, they’re known for tearing up main stages at festivals across the country. And having played Glastonbury just the week prior, they cite Coachella as their next bucket-list goal. So how did a bunch of sun-loving Australians enjoy the Somerset mudfest?
“It’s amazing as an artist, but it sucks as a punter. It’s just too big. I think I only saw four artists and we were there for about seven hours. You can only watch so many songs before you have to get to the next thing,” says Ethan. “And you have to walk so far. And the mud. The mud!” Sophie exclaims. “But you just have to embrace it. Go hard or you’re not going to survive.”
The camaraderie between band members is evident. And it’s no wonder, considering they met each other in high school – extending their days of teenage ramblings into a tour bus pastime as they venture around Europe.
We attempt a word association game they play while on the road. Sophie starts with Slipknot, her favourite band (the aim is to name a band using last letter of the previous band name). Nick follows with Tenacious D. Ethan interjects, “Oh dude, I was just thinking Tenacious D! You read my mind!” The game quickly collapses into talk of Tenacious D.
For a band from halfway across the world, and without an album to date, their success has been tremendous. Sophie recalls in amazement that people were singing along to the words during their earlier set. “People just like us more here,” says Matt in bewilderment.
With their success on an upwards trajectory, we entertain a hypothetical situation: the dream rider once they’ve sold out Wembley.
“All I want is Patrick Swayze to say ‘good set’ to me after the gig,” says Matt, discounting everyone’s idea of kittens, a Daytona USA set up, a rain-fuelled mediation room and unlimited wristbands for their mates.
Nick informs him that Swayze is unfortunately dead. “If we’ve sold out Wembley, we can bring him back!” Matt replies in determination.
It’s clear that things are only just beginning for this lot.
“When I get back to Australia, I need to get my shit together. Get on top of my bills, and do all the things I say I’ll do but never happens. Like writing an album,” says Sophie.
“Its been a slow start to the year, writing-wise,” adds Ethan. “Now, we just need to knuckle down. There’s been plenty of shows, but not a lot of time.”
With hopes of having an album finished by the end of this year, we can expect things to roar when Tired Lion are jet-lag free.
– Jennifer Ho