INTERVIEW: Lionize talk ahead of Belfast Clutch support

Shuttle BackAs a fan of music, there is nothing better than hearing a new song and stopping at nothing to find out who is playing in the background. This happens to me every so often and I persist until I’m successful.

At a time Summer 2013, my friend played a song whilst we were hanging out and I absolutely loved it. This was the one time I didn’t persist. Almost a year later, I have discovered that the song was called ‘You’re Trying to Kill Me’ and is created by US funk-rock outfit Lionize. From now on, I will always persist.

On May 8th 2014, Lionize will support Clutch in Belfast’s Limelight and I won’t have effectively listened to the band’s full back catalogue. With the chance to discover more, we had the pleasure of talking with guitarist and vocalist Nate Bergman ahead of the show.

Your new album – Jetpack Soundtrack – was released earlier this year. For those who haven’t heard it before, how would you describe it and what songs would you particularly recommend to summarize Lionize?

I would describe the songs as upbeat, fast-paced, funky and groove-oriented rock and roll. I would recommend Breather and Sea of Tranquility. That really sums up the spectrum of the sound of Lionize.

We’ve read that you’ve been very detailed in the recording process for this album. How was the experience for you and has it influenced how you would do it again next time?

I think it caused to us to be more reactionary to listening back to the demos. ‘Is this part exciting? Why does this part happen that many times? Why do we have to wait so long for the most exciting part again?’ These are questions we asked ourselves to make the songs as efficient and fun as possible. I think it’s been a huge part of the writing process for the newer material – and most likely on the next album.

You’re supporting Clutch on their UK tour. Are you excited to get out and play in front of sold-out crowds nationwide?

This has been one of the most exciting and rewarding tours we’ve ever done. I can’t wait to get back already.

How important is the live show to you and having that opportunity to get close to fans, and indeed to new ears also?

Lionize is a live band, no matter how you cut it. We’ve recently had to learn how to get better in the studio, but we’ve almost universally been better live than recorded. So I think the live show is a vital part of the bands existence and what we thrive on. It’s fun, it’s new every night. The jams and set lists vary from show to show.  And when you add into the mix the fact that it’s all new ears every night, this is a very exciting time for us live onstage.

You’re signed to Weathermaker Music, who are owned and run by Clutch. How did that come about for you?

They graciously asked us to be a part of the label. It was that simple. A real no-brainer. Best band, best label, best results.

The Warped Tour has come calling again for you in the US after your UK shows. Just what is it about the tour that makes it so exciting for bands?

I think it really has no boundaries. You have Hardcore, Punk, Metal, Hip Hop, Rock bands, Funk bands. It’s a true alternative tour to the mainstream media in the USA and UK. It’s eclectic and challenging. It covers the most ground of any tour we’ve done, so the exposure is phenomenal. On top of that, it’s broke bands like Sublime, Green Day, NoFX, Blink 182, Eminem and Paramore. I think it’s a wake up call to a lot of Major industry players in the sense that it’s a completely DIY and organic tour and has always been successful.

You formed in 2004 – ten years ago! What have been your highlights of the journey so far?

Too many to name. Getting to perform our music all around the world now, and support bands like Clutch, Bad Brains, Steel Pulse -have a split 7″ with Clutch. Play festivals at Red Rocks in Colorado. We’re grateful for all of it.

We will be at the show in Belfast, Northern Ireland where it’s sold out.What can we expect from  Lionize?

You can expect to get a really eclectic and  fast paced rock show, with some unplanned jamming and dub reggae elements. Whatever it is, it will be loud and it will be fun.

LIONIZE support Clutch in the Limelight, Belfast on 8th May 2014.