Born Lion formed in Sydney in mid 2012. Four dudes came together with a singular goal in mind; to create some righteous punk rock. The sound that is a mixture of fucked up chords, angular rhythms. hard beats and double shouty vocals.

The band released their debut self-titled EP independently in March 2013. The EP was recorded with notorious Sydney producer, Dave Hammer (The Snowdroppers, Die!Die!Die!) and is already proving to be one of the most hard-hitting releases of the year. Two singles from this release, ‘Livin’ Tough’ and ‘Adolescent Oaths’, have already got heads turning. Both singles were picked up by Triple J as well as local radio stations such as Sydney’s FBI, Melbourne’s Triple R, and Brisbane’s 4ZZZ. In February 2013 Born Lion were named Triple J Unearthed feature artists. Immediately after, they performed at the Soundwave festival in Sydney. Playing the main stage, they opened for the likes of Metallica, Tomahawk and The Offspring.

We chat to them about their achievements and upcoming appearance at Rock The Bay festival.

2013 was a massive for you guys! Can you name any particular highlights of the year?
Soundwave was pretty great and unexpected… Seeing all those guys in the artist compound and watching Metallica from side stage was pretty surreal… I grabbed a muffin from catering right after B-Real! There was also the studio show we played in Lismore. Basically, friend of ours who plays in a few bands from around that area set up a rehearsal space in his back yard (it was a fairly rural property), then converted that into a venue and got the whole town to come to this show. Oh, and in rural Victoria, we picked up a dog from the side of the road and drove around for a while trying to find where he lived. We ended up leaving him at a place with a note on his collar with my number on it. Hopefully we dropped him at the right house. 

Having played such a crazy amount of shows, was there a certain gig that stands out as the best?
Our showcase at Bigsound felt like the culmination of a really fantastic year for us. We landed on a bill with The Sinking Teeth and Clowns, who we love. Gay Paris were also a part of the conference, and everyone’s best mates in The Mercy Beat and Release The Hounds came to the show too. There were just so many of our friends all at the one show, and to top it all off, the venue reached capacity for our set. It was like playing in a sauna, it was incredible.

How did the band find playing on such a platform as Soundwave?
To be completely honest, it was a bit of a blur. We were the eager kids, we showed up when we were supposed to and just walked around in the tunnels under the stadium trying to figure out exactly who we were supposed to talk to and how to get our passes for all the various accesses we needed. Luckily, we had the world’s best babysitter looking after us, Lachlan Marks from Gay Paris, so it was way less stressful than it could have been. It was really all over before we could fathom what we had just done. Then the rest of the day was spent ferrying bottled water from catering out to my fiancé and trying to catch as many bands as I could… I pretty much missed everyone I wanted to see. Whoops.

Do you find there’s a different reception depending on which city/state you’re performing in?
Melbourne and Brisbane have been very, very good to us. The last two shows in each of those cities have been fantastic.

Does the band have a favourite “home base” as such when performing?
Not really. We’re really happy to play anywhere.

What’s one of the craziest stories you have from on the road?
We’re a fairly tame band. The aforementioned dog story could be considered somewhat “crazy”, but there’s not a lot of debauchery happening in the tour van. Sorry.

With Rock The Bay coming up, what acts are you hoping to check out?
I’m really keen to see The Love Junkies again. I caught them a couple of weeks ago out in western Sydney, and they were great… The nine people there loved it. I really want to see those guys in a packed room where they can get a bit of love back.

If you could curate your own festival, who would the top three billing acts be?
Refused: I saw their set at Coachella (via YouTube), and it was incredible.

At The Drive In: Shit, ok, I’m really just trying to recreate Coachella, aren’t I?

Atmosphere: Just a really good vibe hip hop band. I think they’d be the perfect festival act, kinda like Black Eyed Peas before they went to utter shit.

What was the best gig you went to in 2013 and why?
Sage Francis and Looptroop Rockers at Hi-Fi. I’ve ‘liked’ Sage on Facebook, and he’s a pretty candid guy. He kind of just says exactly what he’s feeling, and 2013 came across as a really tough year for him. During his set, he really looked pained, like he didn’t want be on tour, but that only added to the intensity of his set. I’m really thankful I got to see an artist be a human, but still absolutely slay the stage… Even though the room was half empty.

What can punters expect to see at a Born Lion show?
We’re pretty no frills. We write our setlist about half an hour before the show and then play it. There’s no theatrics or choreography, it’s pretty straight forward. We just do what we love doing and do it at the edge of our capabilities as musicians and artists.

How would you describe your sound to those yet to listen?
It’s fairly percussive and discordant. We’ve copped comparisons to Fugazi, The Bronx, Future of The Left. That seems to be the most succinct way to describe ourselves.

What does 2014 have in store?
Hopefully just a bunch more shows with friends we made in 2013. Hopefully we can get off of the east coast and get across to Adelaide and Perth and down to Hobart. We’ve a new song coming out fairly soon, which we’ll be taking on the road, then more writing.

We noticed a post on your Facebook in December which read “so many new songs” – is there an LP in the making?
Maybe… But what’s the point of pedalling the same shit we’ve been playing for the last year? We’re always writing. Johnny’s output is insane. We’re always getting messages off him with little bits and pieces that he’s been working on on his own. After our last tour finished in September, we had a little bit of downtime while Andrew became a daddy, so for the first time since we became a band we really had a chance to come together and work on completely new material without impending shows on the horizon. It’s been great to have that time and get a bunch of new material together… Whether or not they become an album, that depends on a lot of factors. The biggest being money.

Sydney’s BORN LION play ROCK THE BAY at The Espy on Saturday February 15 featuring 40 bands across four stages including Dallas Frasca, The Love Junkies, Engine, Like Thieves (featuring vocalist Clint Boge of The Butterfly Effect), Battle Axe Howlers, Helm, Smoke Stack Rhino, Head Filled Attraction and heaps more. Check out for all the details.


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