Catchy, raucous and as they would have it, real. Lion Machine 23 play decidedly British sounding indie rock infused with all the fire and tenacious rebellion of the British Punk scene in the 70s. Simona caught up with singer, writer and guitarist Daland ahead of their show at The Hawley Arms.
Hi. Great to see you today, thanks for the chat. Can you tell us a bit about the band?
The name of the band is Lion Machine 23 and I sing, I play guitar and I write all the tunes. My mates play in the band as well. They take turns.
So, you’re playing at The Hawley Arms and you asked for the interview to be here. Is there anything special about the venue for you?
Oh yeah. I used to work here. It’s like my family. So, of course, I wanted to do it here. The people we’re working with. People go like yeah man, I’m glad you said “The Hawley”. They also did a lot of things for us musicians.
I certainly felt that. I love The Hawley Arms. One of the few venues left with that punk/indie rock vibe.
Yeah and we don’t need to play somewhere with an epic sound system like Camden Assembly. We play a show that’s going to blow your mind, but it doesn’t have to be really loud, you know?
There’s also a really nice place called The Fiddler’s Elbow. That’s like an independent venue. It’s not like luxurious or anything, but it looks amazing. It looks like how a venue should look. It gives me like a punk rock vibe.
Tell us about your new EP …
We didn’t have any money to record it and we went to a place called Low Electric Studios. Andy who works there was really nice. I don’t know if I can say this or not, but he gave us like two days we didn’t pay for. He did us a favour and he’s a ledge!
We did the whole thing in one day without rehearsing. My mate, she came to the studio and I showed them the tunes. I don’t really like to rehearse. I like the studio to sound how the studio sounds and then they can learn the tune afterwards from the recording we did. That’s the thing with bands nowadays, everything’s very well rehearsed and they know what they’re going to say. They know how they’re going to look, they know how they’re going to sound, and then it’s just boring.
So would you say that if we were to come to four different shows, we would find something completely different each time?
I’m not saying that, I’m saying it’s going to be more natural. It’s going to be less preconceived – I try not to think about things, I want them to be very entertaining.
I like rehearsing in so far as I like going through the tunes and showing people the new material. I just don’t like, that regimented approach – ‘Oh you have to this and just this’ – I like changing the aim a little bit. Just being real. I think rehearsing too much can detract from that.
What inspires you to write music?
I think it was a lot because of my dad. My dad was a musician, my Grandfather was a musician as well. So I learned from them … but not from them.
My grandfather tried to sit me at the piano when I was like six and I didn’t want to learn. I was bored, I think. But then I heard the Beatles, then the Sex Pistols and then, everything changed – I wanted to play.
Was the guitar the first instrument you got into?
No, I used to sing a lot before picking the guitar up. I always used to have the guitar on me for the look, even if I couldn’t physically play it! So I was singing along to Sex Pistols, Small faces, Stones.
Then I started writing when I was about 9 or 10. I tried to put a band together but everyone was too old. My mates were all like 18, so my Mum wouldn’t let me hang out with them all the time.
…Because they were a bad influence?
Yeah, well, my dad was a bad influence as well. He was a great guy but a very bad influence. So my Mum was like “Ah! Bad influences everywhere …” So yeah, when I was 15, I think I moved away from my house. Or more like ran away. This was in Argentina, where I grew up. I went to a city called La Plata, and that’s where I started the band.
Do you speak Spanish as well?
Would you use Spanish in your songs?
Not really. I have done once. I went back when I was like 20 and I did an album with my mates. I made it in Spanish because I was writing with other people there. But there’s tunes in English there as well. But no, I normally I write in English.
When you’re a kid and you listen to Ticket to Ride, even the melody is sort of ‘Englishy’. When you’re writing you just go like... * starts to hum a melody and form some words* then before you know it, you’re already writing in English.
What advice would you give young musicians?
Nothing, I can’t, I need advice myself! You know what I mean? Just keep it fucking dangerous all the time and do what you want. No advice. If anyone tries to give you advice just like, rush his face off. You can’t do that now cause you’ll do jail for it!
Are you looking forward to the show?
We’ve timed it well, to coincide with a Roundhouse gig. We’ll be playing after people come out, so we’re hoping it will be packed. Recently, everywhere we played was packed, which is good because at a point you need to pay rent and stuff. Anytime. Genuine, I mean it’s better if we can make money like, you know what I mean? If anyone’s going to be fucking doing all those big gigs and making money, it better be us! Like rock and roll, not some fucking person winning five Grammys for singing a pop tune… and then the guy from Green Day goes like, “Oh she’s like Kurt Cobain.” Who would fucking say that?
Some bands are using Patreon and other platforms online to make money. Do you use anything like that?
I don’t do business, man. My Mrs. helps me with the technology these days, she can do whatever she wants with it. But anything that helps anyone to create their own project and not feel like they have to kowtow to any of society rules, that’s good.
I mean, you have to lay certain rules but you should know what’s wrong and what’s right. (I feel like there are certain rules that are general and universal. I don’t know who sets them; the universe, God, someone, boom. You know… Don’t shoot anyone in the face, don’t make anyone feel like shit, that kind of thing.) But beyond that, you should be free and you should be able to what you want to do. So if anything can help you to put your music out there, that’s great and it’s better to be in the hands of the kids that like Sonic-fucking-Youth and Oasis and the Sex Pistols and Led Zeppelin, you know?
What do you think about the music scene at the moment and the bands that are charting?
I think there’s a lot of bands that sound like other bands, though the topics of the tunes are different. But then, I steal loads of shit from other artists that I like. I rob from the Pistols, I steal from the Beatles, I steal from Oasis, I steal from Bowie a lot. But you will never be able to tell and say “Oh, he took these, from this tune…”. Or maybe you do. But if you do it with passion and art… you know what I mean?
What’s next on the agenda for you?
We’re doing a video for ‘Electric‘ at the moment. It’s just us doing bullshit. Just me walking down the street and shit like that. To be fair, we really needed a video and my mates helped me out and gave me the cameras. I sort of experimented with directing for the first time, which was fine ’cause I really liked doing it.
Have you got any other gigs lined up?
I think we’re going to do like a regular promotional night here, which we used to do at The Fiddlers Elbow. That’s why this night is called the Resurrection Party.
We’ll probably do that like once a month or once every other month. So we play and we pick a different artist to play with us each time.
Then we just want to go play up North. We’re going to try and do a tour there.
Making the album for us took us time. I mean, time to get the money, it took me time to put people in a room ’cause I went through loads of different people playing in the band and all that. So we were focusing on getting the album down, getting this gig down and then we’ll see how it progresses.