An Interview with Ethan Darnell from Tired Lion

Perth garage rockers Tired Lion have been making huge waves in Australia as of late. Following a Triple J Unearthed win, an opening slot on the fabled Splendour In The Grass and the release of their debut EP “Figurine”, it seems as if the sky’s the limit for the young quartet. I had a few questions for their guitarist Ethan Darnell, and he replied in kind.

Patrick: Who are some bands that primarily influenced you during the recording process of “Figurine”?

Ethan: There were lots of different things floating around in people’s CD collections but one record that I think we all were loving and listening to was “Hungry Ghost” by Violent Soho.  It was a sound we were familiar with but it was different at the same time and the songs are just so well written.

Patrick: Coming from the Perth music scene, how do you find crowds on the East Coast of Australia react to your music? Is it in more of a positive sense or in a negative sense?

Ethan: We have had a good response with crowds, it’s hard sometimes to see it when you’re playing because it’s not always obvious.  Sometimes people mosh and get rowdy and sometimes they just stand there, that’s the hardest. At those shows you think it sucks then you get off stage and you find out you have sold 20 shirts and have people buying you drinks telling you they love it.

Patrick: Have you got any particular zany tales from your live gigs, or anything crazy happening to you on tour?

Ethan: We have had a couple classic situations but way too hard to explain and maybe a bit too R18.  One of the most awkward/funny things to happen on the British India tour was Sophie crowd surfing.  Everything was going well until she got passed back to the front and squished a girl with massive tar tars against the barrier.  What seemed to take 2 seconds in my mind went for 1 minute, seeing the poor girl getting her norks crushed is imprinted in my brain. Tried to find her to give her a beer after the gig but no luck, so if you’re reading this we owe you!

Patrick: Your debut EP “Figurine” has a very 90s sound to it. Do you feel a strong connection or have a particular fondness for the bands from that era?

Ethan: Yeah of course, but we also love a lot of other eras of music. We pull a lot from the 90s in terms of guitar sounds, etc, but I’d like to think we also have song structures or chordal patterns which aren’t so typically 90s. We aren’t trying emulate the 90s, we just happen to be influenced by the era.

Patrick: How do you react when people compare you to other bands? For example, I noticed “Figurine” totally sounds like it could’ve come off Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins, do you find it annoying?

Ethan: It’s not annoying, we do clearly love the Pumpkins but I think there is more to our sound and songs than one touchstone. It’s ultimately flattering because we love “Siamese Dream”.

Patrick: Are there any particular bands from the Perth scene you’d like to give a shout out to for this interview?

Ethan: There are some favourites and I’m sure I’ll leave some out but I’ll give you a couple: Apollo’s Son, Pat Chow, Rag n Bone, Jacob Diamond, Black Stone From the Sun, Silver Hills, Ah Trees and heaps more.

Patrick: What was it like recording with Dave Parkin? Did his production style have any particular influence on your overall sound?

Ethan: It was great, we haven’t had much studio experience as a band so we are kind of new to the process. Dave makes it really easy to bring suggestions to the table and flesh them out. When he is behind the desk I feel he is totally into the project and just wants to serve the song. You never feel he is watching the clock.

Patrick: And finally, if you had to curate a playlist for a house party at the last minute, what are some essential tracks you’d put on your playlist?

Ethan: Oh man this seems like it has actually happened a lot. You would hear a lot of big pop songs and you would get a fair dose of Limp Bizkit. I’d probably try and get the hip hop thing going, Nick would go straight to some punk, Sophie would go for something moody like Elliot Smith and Matt would just rip out the bangers.  I think Matt’s got a playlist on his phone for every occasion which is why he is our resident DJ.

Tired Lion will be performing at the Black Bear Lodge on Thursday, July 23rd; prior to opening Splendour In The Grass on Friday the 24th. Their EP “Figurine” is currently on sale now.

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