Lionize is a reggae-rock group hailing from Silver Spring, Maryland. In the last year they have released not one, but two full-length albums- Destruction Manual followed by Superczar and the Vulture. Both of these albums evoke influences from rock gods such as Jimi Hendrix, classic chillage like Bob Marley, and some bluesy vocals like Ronnie Wood. Nate Bergman, frontman of the band, graciously agreed to a phone interview to discuss the band and their newest albums, and he also let me in on a little secret! Read on to find out more!
JF: Why did you choose this genre to play? Did you grow up around it?
NB: We didn’t really choose it; it just kind of evolved. We are big fans of jazz of reggae and funk and classic rock, and some border metal stuff. That’s where it comes from, and it’s just how it came out. Yes, absolutely- I grew up around lot of hip hop, reggae, funk, and go-go music. Once that infiltrates your system, it goes with you for sure.
JF: What’s your writing style?
NB: We generally get in a room and jam; not much more to it. We write lyrics and riffs and just jam for a few hours, and usually nothing happens. [Laughs] but sometimes it resonates with us, and we turn it into a song. For us, it’s really about jamming, and if it’s fun to play and if it sounds good.
JF: How difficult was it to write two albums in one year? Why did you do it?
NB: They took 1.5 years to write, but we put them out in a one-year period. We rehearse a lot when we are home: 11-4 Monday-Friday practice. Writing a record to us is about setting a goal for when we want to have it written. Writing both back to back was not specific- we just had the chance to do it, so why not? Why not put out more music? Some bands put out records 6-8 years apart. It’s nice to hear growth, especially if it’s a quick growth.
JF: Are the two albums you wrote back to back connected to each other in any way?
NB: Yes and no. Because they are so close together, there are writing and lyrical styles that are connected, but they were recorded differently; yet they compliment each other well, but are not necessarily paired.
JF: You listed Clutch as a musical influence- how has the tour been with Clutch? (any crazy story from a show?)
NB: It’s awesome. Touring with those guys is the best; we’ve been on seven or eight tours with them. They are probably the best touring rock band in the world, and are really nice guys. People associate them with us, and we’ve had their guitar player, Tim, record with us. It’s like family, and they have the best fans in the world. [Laughs] No, nothing really too crazy. The shows generally go smoothly. We are just there to work, have a few beers, and play music with our friends. We are simple and are more interested in good after-show food and reliving the college days [Laughs]. It’s crazy in general to drive 70mph down the highway for several weeks and go to different places. That’s crazy on it’s own.
JF: How’s fan feedback for the newest album, Superczar and the Vulture?
NB: It’s been awesome and overwhelmingly cool. People are digging the direction we are taking. They are very open-minded about it.
JF: Any other creative outlets besides music?
NB: We are generally interested in art and cinema, and we have our TV shows, but art turns us on as a group. We enjoy shows and comedy- we like stand up, and seeing other bands perform…stuff like that.
JF: What is next for you and the band?
NB: Rest and relaxation! We are taking two weeks off now. We have these shows with The Company Band and Clutch in August, then we are going on another huge two-month tour in November.
Ahhh, but with whom you may ask? Well that’s a tidbit of information that stays sealed behind my lips. You guys will find out soon enough!