Track By Track: Tired Lion – ‘Dumb Days’

Dumbs Days is an emphatic release by Tired Lion. The record opens with a snapping snare drum and a hazy guitar line, twirling into a bombastic fury right away on seismic opener “Japan”. The vocal lines are energetic, twisting through the verses and sizing up the chorus with the powerful screams. This is the stage setter for what to expect across the rest of record. There’s the intimate opening to “Cinderella Dracula” that combusts into a snarling emotional beauty, or the title-track’s bubbly pop sensitivity, becoming a powerful tune as the ending swirls in the vocalist’s relatable lyrics.

Embedded deep into the soaring tunes is an emotional potency that digs into the listener’s core. Upon the immediate listen the songs are boasting their hooks, slamming their progressions but upon repeated listens Dumb Days has a complex and layered approach that is effectively engaging. “HawaiiFive0” finds vocalist Sophie Hopes at a disconnect, lethargic and almost unmoving. The song plays out the same way, trudging through the final moments with a slow burn. The ability to connect and keep the continuity of the music keeps these songs from ever growing stale.

We’re so stoked on this release we wanted to make sure people could not only hear it, but understand the details and delicate touch that went into it. New Noise Magazine is beyond pleased to bring forth an in depth look into Dumb Days by Tired Lion, written by Sophie Hopes.

JAPAN: 
The idea of starting fresh- ditching everything you’ve worked for over the years and trading it all in to play in some made up post-rock band in Japan. Throughout the track, I over analyse the monotony of life – the repetitive nature of things and my dissatisfaction with where I am going. I come to the conclusion that skipping the country to Japan and starting a post-rock band will solve all problems…I’m still yet to do this but you’ll nowhere to find me if I do.

WHERE WERE YOU: 
Taking me back to the time where I was young and dumb and thought the answer to filling the void was to drink myself silly until I was sick. Due to some crazy circumstances, someone I really cared about couldn’t be there for me. I never felt like I could talk about it so I decided to write a song to get it off my chest so to speak.

I think my favourite part of recording this was the fact that I wanted to sound drunk in certain sections. You can hear it towards the end when I am screaming my guts out. I remember seeing black circles take after take tracking that part and just thought I may actually pass out.

CINDERELLA DRACULA: 
This was written at a time when I felt quite lost. I guess you could call it young naivety. I was young and single, ready to experience the world with a kind of “youthful embrace”.  I had a one-night stand and what was meant to make me feel content just left me angry and frustrated at myself…well that was my experience anyway.

I wrote the lyrics down whilst waiting for this guy to leave.  It was awful timing but I guess it was my way of saying “fuck you, can you get out of my house”.  I felt like I’d garnered this split personality [Cinderella Draculla] – one side is desperate for affection and vulnerable, the other being dark and well…kinda mean. The song plays with that contradiction, it starts soft and fragile but then explodes into the heavy stuff – the idea was to hear that struggle the whole way through.

CAMP: 
What started off as a song I recorded to vent after a hectic time of touring- reflecting on how much I had missed being away from home, inevitably ended up as a breakup song and with a breakup…The song itself went through a pool of changes and the vision for the song was unclear until producer Boerdo made reference to an instrumental section in ’Anti Orgasm’ a song off a late sonic youth record called ’The Eternal’, The song seemed to fall straight into place straight after that. You could say the song is about being with someone for so long you don’t recognise who they are any more or you fail to recognise who you are. It’s easy to lose your shadow within someone else and it’s okay- it’s just a part of life. I suppose you just have to be brave and rip off the band-aid/ security blanket? It’s extremely hard and It’s easier said than done but you just might find yourself hidden in there somewhere…

FRESH: 
Is a song that was penned in the aftermath of a break-up and at the end of one of our first international tours from Singapore. This was during a period when the band, as a collective, were coming to terms with our lives entering a new phase.

It’s sort of a goodbye tune, saluting the old you or the relationship that may have been holding you back, in order to move forward.  You could say it’s about trying to let go of your inner child so you can grow up, but it’s an exceedingly sad process. The song went through a number of changes over the years, different choruses, different verses and took about 3 years of trying things out to get to its current form. I think we were all really happy where it ended up.

DUMBDAYS:
We’ve all wanted to wind back the clock to those much simpler times every now and again. This tune is about the yearning for idyllic, simpler times when the world just gets a little too much.

HAWAIIFIVE0 :
What was originally a 40-second iPhone demo of a drunken acoustic song I wrote before heading to a gig- made its way out of my trash pile of songs to the final cut on the album.  You could say we are all really big fans of-Pavement, Elliot Smith and low fi vibes in general and we wanted to try something out of the ordinary. We were after something a little more raw and moody and wanted to capture all the tiny mistakes that make low fi recordings feel like you’re in the room with the band. Although it may sound self-loathing and a little sooky-  I wrote this song during a time where I felt completely isolated. It was as though I was stuck on a one-way street with a bunch of people who were dragging me by the hand in the direction they wanted to go.

BEHAVE: 
The meaning and lyrical content of this song changed so much throughout the recording process I’m not even sure what it’s about anymore.

CILANTRO 
When I first bought the tune into the band the dudes thought I was singing “Cilantro” in the choruses, I think they even tried to make me lock that in as the final lyric. This was the kind of track we wanted to experiment on. Guitars- weird sounds synths whatever we could get our hands on. Boerdam had heaps of cool Japanese guitar pedals that we used as well. An iPad synth our engineer Dave Parkin was playing on his lap even made the final cut in the intros and choruses which had a little bit of a My Bloody Valentine vibe too it.

I’VE BEEN TRYING: 
What started out as a dull riff that Matt bought to the band made its way into our set as a sort of a dark waltz. It’s a palette cleanser in the album the shows our sort of darker more emotional side. We were aiming for those epic closer feels and a chance to just jam out heavier material.

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Photo Credit: Matsu

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