Sunday, May 20, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Anthemic indie rock group Lions After Dark aims to capture tribal energy

Lions After Dark is a trio of 20-somethings who have been prowling around the bay area since 2009. Their music is anthemic in nature, and awakens one's instinct to move, dance and downright shake it.

The lineup is Maddie Pfeiffer, vocals, percussion, and piano; her brother, Curt Pfeiffer, drums and vocals; and Andrew Roden, guitar. The pride met with us to give a glimpse into their wild kingdom.

What is the origin of your band name?

Maddie Pfeiffer: We were on a safari, it must have been about four or five years ago, we were traveling around with a tribe at the time.

Roden: A Tribe Called Quest?

Maddie: Yeah, A Tribe Called Quest. So, me and A Tribe Called Quest were hanging out in Africa. At the time I had really red hair, it was big and long, and they were like, "You're a lion. Your spirit animal is a lion." We were mainly active at night, just a lot of parties, stuff like that, so it just came to me in a dream.

Curt Pfeiffer: It's probably a delusion, not really a dream.

On your Facebook page, you state you "strive to put on performances of epic proportions." What do you do to accomplish this, and is it successful?

Curt: It's been successful.

Maddie: Until recently, we had the whole war-paint thing going on, so that kind of helped with it, in an image way. After this album we released in September, I felt like we kind outgrew it, and kinda used it and it was done.

The facepaint or the epic proportions?

Maddie: The epic proportions (laughs). Those are more alive than they were before.

What is the symbolism behind the tribal makeup you wear in your videos and promotional photographs?

Maddie: It was an idea I had when we wrote Let's Start A War. The theme behind the song was more tribal and when we went to write the album, it was the first song we wrote, so everything just followed suit and it seemed like a cool idea. Other than that, there were no, like, "This one means wolf, and this one means bear." It was just a show.

Roden: We attached a little symbolism to 'em later on. Nothing heavy or deep or anything.

Are your song's themes topical?

Roden: She (Maddie) writes the lyrics, obviously, but there's always a unifying theme to each song. It's not like a standard pop song, where it has a ambiguous meaning you can apply to everything. There are pointed little things about most of 'em.

Maddie: Every one of them that I wrote, lyrically had something real attached to it somewhere. All of it's real. Some of it's just me, or maybe it's something I observed and lifted from someone else's viewpoint. All of the lyrics are very close to me.

There are many bands whose frontperson plays an additional floor tom. What do you feel this adds to the music?

Pfeiffer: We added it a while ago, before this album, and it was because we did a variation of the Seminoles' thing, where they go. 'Ah-ha-ah-ha-ah' (sings FSU's Seminole war chant). I didn't know, actually, that it was a Seminoles thing; I had heard it from my aunt. She would do it all the time. I was just like, "It's kind of a Native American thing." And we made this whole vocal arrangement around it, and I used the drum, and we had this whole thing. I remember I was doing it one time, and I saw someone in the back going like this (illustrates the chopping motion that accompanies the chant).

At a show?

Maddie: Yes, at the back of the bar. I was like, "What is that guy doin'?" And then I put it together, and went, "Oh, my God." I actually got a little, like, "I don't wanna do this again. That's kinda weird. Not that I have anything against the Seminoles, but at the same time I never went (to school) there."

Curt: We're gonna go play it up in Gainesville.

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