Interview: Ben Coleman of Hunting Lions Talks ‘King of the Avenue’

Hunting Lions are a band with members that need no introduction, but this street-rock band stand independently and don’t need a push or name-drop from past endeavors. The songs on King of the Avenue, out now on Pirate Press Records, are a combination of two previously released EPs, Dark and Light (named for the tone of the songs on each). The band talked about mixing up the track listing when preparing the full-length release, but decided to keep the order as is, as they felt that they still felt like one stand-alone record.

“We gave the track listing a lot of thought,” says vocalist Ben Coleman. “We wanted the songs to roll from one to the next easily but also didn’t want the grit and grime of the darker songs to overtake the whole release.”

Coleman, along with guitarists Jeremy Catrambone and Jesse White, bassist Chris Nascimento, and drummer Greg McEntee, learned a great deal from their previous band experiences, which is a huge strength to their newest project. Coleman says that every band makes the previous one better, but they are ultimately an amalgamation of the bands they’ve collectively been in.

Hunting Lions works so well because all five members are on the same page musically. They were all brought up on the hardcore, punk, and skinhead counterculture, and the music of their influences and peers has shaped each member of the band.

“From a personal perspective, four of the five members of the band are clean and sober or straight edge adults (both chronologically and emotionally),” Coleman adds when talking about what sets Hunting Lions apart from other projects. “We can talk through the creative process without egos getting hurt. We can go on tour without someone ending up in jail. This is light years from the bands of our youths.”

Coleman was thrilled with the recording process and final products that led to King of the Avenue. He admits to never quite knowing what a recording will sound like, as rehearsals and live shows are filtered with distortion and adrenalin. He says that those can be a misrepresentation of the bands, as recordings isolate each note and leave musicians unable to hide from their performance.

“It can put you off track,” Coleman says. “I’ve come away with a final product that sounds nothing like the live band.  That’s not the case with HL. Our recordings sound like we do at practice or at a show. I don’t know if that is because what we are doing is truer to the musical voice of the guys in the band, or that a few combined lifetimes of making music have boiled down the process. Either way, I am happier with what we are doing than anything I have personally done in the past, and I think that comes through.”

The band will be staying busy. They are producing a video for a new song entitled “You and Me,” which has only been released as a flexi thus far. They are hoping to have it out in time for their European tour that starts in May. They plan to continue to play shows, put out recordings and have fun as a band.

“The friendships and shared good times are my favorite part of Hunting Lion,” Coleman says. “The freedom to be who I am musically and personally. Three chords and the truth.”

King of the Avenue is out now and you can order it from Pirates Press Records. Follow Hunting Lions on Facebook and Instagram for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Alan Snodgrass

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