Made Them Lions, are a Montreal-based 5-piece pop-rock group. Their self-titled debut, released in August 2014, has been warmly received by their Canadian audience, spawning three successful singles and a 70-date tour seeing the boys supporting acts such as Simple Plan, Sean Paul, and B.O.B. If those headliners sound a bit different, then it’s probably due to Made Them Lions’ unique and bright sound.
Although the group broadly defines their genre as pop-rock, there’s a solid injection of funk and old-school reggae, heard clearly on tracks such as “New Day” and “Light Up The Dark”. Whilst there are a variation of genres featured on Made Them Lions, the record still feels whole, with the catchier, more radio-friendly tracks such as “Forgotten How to Dream” and “Crazy” synergising easily with some of the more experimental material on the record.
I had the chance to catch up with Jono Thorpe, bassist for Made Them Lions, and chat to him about the band’s current success and future plans. Right off the bat, it is clear that the band as a whole is ecstatic with the reception to the debut: “we have people comparing our sound to Imagine Dragons, and One Republic, which is an amazing feeling!”.
Jono continued to describe the writing process behind the band’s work: “We have a few different ways of writing music. We like to go and do collaborations with other writers, build a basic demo, and then bring it back into our practice studio and hash out the finer points of the song over a few weeks”. Jono continues, “sometimes a song will come together in very little time – our newest single, ‘Tidal Wave’, was written in 30 minutes and stayed pretty much the same all the way through recording”.
It’s not always as straightforward as that, however, and sometimes songs are created more organically: “Sometimes a member of the band brings in an idea, and then we go from there. We usually record those sessions, and listen back to pick out the parts that we like the best, which then turn into songs. Our first single, ‘Crazy’, came about that way”.
Made Them Lions’ unique sound was raised next, and I was curious regarding whether it was a conscious or organic decision to have the band move in that direction. “I think it was an unconscious decision, and it stemmed from our diverse preferences in music. Our drummer is a huge Kings of Leon fan and that comes through, while I’m really into The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Police, so my bass lines tend to be more groovy“. The combination works, and continually helps Made Them Lions to land gigs with an interesting and varied pool of bands.
Regarding this, Jono mentioned that “this year was, and continues to be, our biggest year for touring. We just got back from touring all across Canada, including a festival date with Our Lady Peace, Hedley and Dragonette! We have more dates on the way across Canada, as well as a bunch of University freshman week shows, which we always love to play. And with any luck, we might be headed to the UK for some shows in the near future“.
When pressed about whether or not there was a desire amongst Made Them Lions to break out of Canada, the response was a sincere affirmation: “absolutely! We want our music to be heard around the world! This year has been really big for us because we actually broke into Canada; before, our music was mostly heard only in Quebec, so we’re on the right track! We’re making headway on a bunch of different markets, notably Australia and the U.S”.
At time of publication, Made Them Lions has just released the third single from the self-titled record, “Tidal Wave“. I asked Jono if he thought there would be any more releases from this album, or if the band would be working on new material. “We’ll be using songs off this album for probably the next 6-8 months. We’re constantly writing new music though, so if we write something we think needs to go out on the radio, then that’s what will happen. Nothing is ever set in stone in this industry, and things change every day. Right now we’re just working on promoting the release of Tidal Wave, which is, as of this week, the #1 song in Quebec”.
Keeping things in the present is a crucial component to success, and the band’s determination to keep on pushing new boundaries and appeal to new markets is commendable. Made Them Lions may be a new band, but they are fast making their mark on North America, and here’s hoping that not before too long, they’ll be making their way across the pond to inject the UK with some fresh new rock music. You can buy Made Them Lions’ self-titled debut from iTunes, and stream it on Spotify.
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Words by Sam Jourdan