- Sarah Stubbs
HEAR ME ROAR: An interview with Rick Giordano of The Lion’s Daughter
With a band name rather hilariously borrowed from a trashy ’90s romance novel, you’d be correct in assuming these irreverent Americans have precious little concern for established genre norms and conventions. And with ingenious, genre-crossing new record ‘Future Cult’ fresh in the can this month, frontman Rick Giordano explains how a simple frustration with derivative mainstream metal soon evolved something infinitely more intriguing.
“Wanna make some shitty metal? Cool, you go listen to that shit then and stay far the fuck away from my eardrums,” quips The Lion’s Daughter founder and vocalist Rick Giordano on his deep-rooted disdain for blandly unoriginal mainstream music. Indeed, it’s this very same angry and frustrated sentiment that first prompted Giordano and co. to begin creating a radical, mind-bending new strain of metal refreshingly untouched by rigid genre rules and conventions. Blending classic cuts of delectably abrasive riffage with a nightmarish plethora of viciously acerbic, horror-tinged electronica, the Missouri natives’ uniquely imagined sound has undergone no small amount of stylistic shifts and adjustments over the expansive course of the past decade. More recent years, too, have seen these talented musicians focus ever more inwardly and intently on their own personal creative output, rather than concerning themselves with the trifling external frustrations of bygone days.
Giordano expands, “I don't really bother listening to all that many current bands anymore, and have kind of cut most people who might subject me to some new standard metal garbage out of my life. So no, we're really more driven to create music that really excites and interests ourselves, rather than lashing out against something else anymore. But, although it may not be a motivator anymore, I still can definitely say, modern mainstream metal is some fucking garbage and does not interest me at all.”
With its vastly expansive and complex strains of pulsating, ink-black electronica, pummelling aggression and sharply arranged riffage, there’s no mistaking the fearlessly inventive vision at the heart of blistering new opus ‘Future Cult.’ But, as you’d expect of such a diverse and genre-defying mix, the painstaking process of reconciling these many and varied musical dynamics proved to be no easily attainable feat. Achieved through many solitary, undisturbed hours of intensive songwriting, Rick notes a dramatically more premeditated departure away from the heavily improvised material of previous releases.
“I wrote everything at home by myself and then presented it to those guys, who then tweaked and improved things as they saw fit,” the guitarist elaborates. “That was really the only way to incorporate all the synths and everything. It took hours and hours of experimentation and would've taken us five years to write if we approached it the same way that we did the last record. We put a lot more thought and self-examination into the songs this time around. We set the bar extremely high for ourselves and a lot of music wound up on the cutting room floor. Trying to create this amalgam of the multiple styles of music that we're all into is always a real challenge. I knew I really wanted to hear something that combined super aggressive with synths and spooky vibes and I knew what it felt like... I just had no idea what it sounded like, or how to achieve it. It was lots and lots of trial and error. It really wasn't an enjoyable process, but we're all pretty pleased with the final result.”
With these abrasive, hauntingly hypnotic compositions demanding an equally superior calibre of lyrical depth and complexity, Giordano was quick to devote ample time to penning these accompanying themes and narratives in painstakingly thorough and vividly imaginative detail. And where once the composer had dismissed these lyrical elements as little more than irrelevant filler, the darkly futuristic horrors that abound in latest long-player ‘Future Cult’ speak volumes for Giordano’s marked progression as a lyricist.
“I still consider myself an absolute dog shit lyricist,” the guitarist observes humbly. “That said, I put much more time and thought into the lyrics and themes than I used to. If it was something I could avoid, I would love that. It's far too easy to fuck up a good song by adding stupid or cliché lyrics. Speaking of that, along with hating mainstream metal, I did hear a new Machine Head song not that long ago and for fuck's sake, those were some of the most embarrassing 12-year-old's first poetry notebook cliché lyrics I've ever heard.”
But in amongst this inevitably gruelling, labour-intensive process, it seems there was equally no shortage of playful fun and banter to be had in the studio, particularly where the recording of choice cut ‘Grease Infant’ was concerned. With its early lyrical origins in the deliciously twisted tale of a monstrous child who improbably survives an abortion and subsequently spends years tormenting its traumatised father, writer Giordano recalls, “I was laughing my ass off while writing the lyrics for that song. ‘Drown it! Kill it!’ had me absolutely cracking up. In the studio I just kept telling Scott to get angrier and scream that part harder and harder until the point where it was ridiculous and we couldn't breathe we were laughing so hard. ‘Grease Infant’ is a comedy to me. And the end is a straight up disco part. That's the song where we're almost testing the listener to see if they'll accept the absurdity of it or not.”
Suffice it to say, with the release of ‘Future Cult’ comes a fast-approaching wealth of wildly creative accompanying performances and projects. “We have a few things in the bag that we'll be sharing with people,” Rick concludes. “A couple of videos and a of couple other interesting little projects will be surfacing in the coming months, as well as a short Midwest tour at the end of July, and then a full West Coast run in October. We feel that we're sitting on something really special with this record, and want to keep it alive to maximise its potential as long as possible.”
'Future Cult' is out now on Season of Mist
For more on The Lion's Daughter, visit https://thelionsdaughter.bandcamp.com/