We Left As Lions
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Some of us grew up in musical families - Neil was particularly influenced by his two older cousins who showed him bands like Metallica. Then growing up, we were all super influenced by the community of musicians in our town of Riverview, New Brunswick. It was as a time when everyone was starting bands and creating cool music, doing shows, and wanted to try and sound like others. The amount of raw talent in Riverview was just incredible. After attending a couple local shows, we all knew it was a road we wanted to go down.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
We’ve had a couple lol. One time touring with Neil’s previous band The Sounds of Silence, we played a metal show in front of a bunch of senior citizens because the venue mixed up their bingo night. We’ve also had scenarios where guitar spins have smoked the singer and almost Ko’d him at a show. We also played a show with a huge band at one point, and as excited as we were, they sabotaged our show by trying to pay the sound engineer to make us sound worse than them. We’ve had fun touring around, and also one time between nights of sleeping like sardines in a van, literally slept outside in sleeping bags by a river (after a show) and woke up eaten alive by bugs and ants.
What has been the high point of your music path?
For us, the highpoint of our "career" was the early years. When we were 15-16 years old. Those early shows, playing bars when we were way too young, the parties, the small but loyal local following we attracted, those were great times...seeing that foundation eventually transition to a place where we could share the stage with some bigger bands, bands we admired growing up, that was a super rewarding experience for me, personally. It was also very rewarding to buy a van, tour around and create memories with friends while playing show after show.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Neil and Jon have never played together, although they have always lived within the same circle of friends and bands growing up. Both have always assumed a great deal of the songwriting duties with their other bands so with WLALs, the songs are usually generated with a foundation or general song idea that is brought to the group. Chris is a very creative guy who has a great love of "sound" in general. He always finds a way to make things sound interesting which compliments the way we put the material together. Additionally, Nick is the more technically strong musician so he normally polishes what we create and is able to add some really catchy guitar work over a structure. Furthermore, he has become a great engineer over the years. These roles aren’t assigned. They are not set in stone. We are all open minded individuals who just enjoy throwing songs together. There arent really any rules, but if you look at how our material comes together, that is a bit of a snapshot for you.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
We worry about live shows and artists ability to find appropriate venues to play. Growing up, all ages shows, battle of the bands, high school assemblies and unique little festivals were fairly common. They were a big part of our early years. We don’t see or hear a lot about those kind of platforms any more. But maybe it’s our responsibility to change and adapt? We have fond memories of how accessible it was to get together with friends and check out some local shows! It is hard these days to gain exposure, so we are now focusing on just writing the best music we can possibly write.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Honesty, Bring Me the Horizon would be incredible to play with. They seem like they have an incredible live show and their songwriting and production is next level.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Interesting enough, our current lineup has yet to share the stage together as WLAL! That said, we all grew up sharing the stage with each other and it is safe to say our rehearsals have remained very informal, stress free and relaxed. We all just really love getting together, playing music and having some laughs. Nothing is overly uptight and it needs to stay that way.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
We have a new song coming out. We don't even have a name for it yet. It will actually be our next official release. I’m not saying it was completely annoying to write, but there were definitely some moving parts that needed to come together. We all collaborated and feel that that approach has been really rewarding. Obviously, with that style of construction comes 4 sets of ideas, 4 different angles and 4 opinions. Creating a final structure felt good.
What's coming up in the future?
We’re going to keep writing music, keep experimenting and works towards a steady stream of meaningful releases. We are open and willing to explore new opportunities but for us, its all about accessing the creative and less formal part of our brains...we dont always get to do that in our professional lives. We reference this a lot in our recent single "The Factory"...Moving away from our day jobs that pay the bills (turn the day to night - which is generally when we work on music) and "break away from time" (as in getting off the clock so that we can do what we really love). All 4 of us thoroughly enjoy working at this stuff together.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Check out our links on http://weleftaslions.com
Our video for “The Factory” is available here: https://youtu.be/GThv1gZEads
About We Left As Lions
We Left As Lions started as a music project by East Coast Canadian Neil McWilliam after his rock band The Sounds of Silence disbanded. Armed with a furious desire to write music and years of songwriting experience, Neil embarked on a journey to write music of many different genres, only to eventually hone in on the final sound that would come together as We Left As Lions – a rock band with metalcore style influences, yet somewhat deep and intellectual lyrically.
During the COVID pandemic, Neil began collaborating with his longtime co-writer Troy Fullerton, and fellow co-bandmate and drummer Chris Cowan. Creating songs with promise, such as “The Ghost of You” and “Alive Forever”.
Because of the remote nature of COVID, Neil also started collaborating with musicians around the world, such as Jared Woosley in Arizona (Ex-Fivespeed) to create the track “Forget Yourself”, and Don Levandier (The Motorleague) to create “Satellite”. Leveraging these collaborations, Neil got a strong feeling for what was possible.
Fast forward a few months, Neil has focused back on vocals and songwriting, and finalized new stable lineup, which features: Chris Cowan, Nick Chandler and Jon Harquail (Ex-Adaptation).
Nick Chandler, with his engineering prowess, has taken the production value up and notch and now the band is focused on creating hard hitting rock and metal songs.
We Left As Lions is excited to launch the track “The Factory” into the world, because it has come together incredibly and has become the new representation of what We Left As Lions is capable of. The music is created by kids with a dream growing up and playing music in various bands throughout our lives, and finally the right sound has come to fruition.
After releasing “Satellite” and “Forget Yourself”, We Left As Lions has been able to garner radio play both locally and on multiple online radio stations, won contests on ReverbNation via Foley Entertainment, been featured on the homepage of ReverbNation multiple times, and has also been nominated by Music New Brunswick for Breakthrough Artist of the Year.