Getting To Know – Lional

Inverness based Lional are back with a brand new single ‘Happy Birthday’ We are delighted to have the video premiere and we had a chat with the guys last week.

A&A – Hi Lional, for those who don’t know the band yet tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started.
The nucleus of this band started as early as the beginning of the last decade, though it only really became recognised as the entity it is today around 2016. We spent cold winter nights getting our songs together in a garage deep in the Highlands of Scotland. I think where we are from actually comes through in our music. There’s always been a sense of somber isolation running through it. 

Over the years we have done some cool stuff like BBC sessions, festivals both home and abroad and supported some of our heroes in Edwyn Collins and Noel Gallagher. 

A&A – We are getting towards the end of it now but how have you been over the last year and the pandemic?

All things considered, we can’t complain too much. We managed to get a small window at the end of summer last year where we were able to rehearse, do a live stream show and even get in a couple of recording sessions. 

A&A – You have a new single out now. Tell us about Happy Birthday?

I had the guitar riff knocking about for a few months.. It started on a bass 6 guitar as a bit of a Peter Hook/New Order sounding affair. I then transposed it onto guitar in drop tuning and wrote the song from there. The line in the chorus is something I’ve always had on the back burner. 

Overall the song is just about how when bad shit happens and you don’t confront it head on, then it will hide in your subconscious and quietly dictate how you make decisions and behave going forward in life. You can tiptoe around your problems and plaster over difficult feelings with more of the same things; drink, drugs, sex, inauthentic relationships or simply by portraying a version of yourself that is altered to seek approval from people – but it’s all just going to crash through the door one day. It’s not from a position of superiority though. 

A&A – What are your influences in music?

We all have our own set of individual influences, but collectively the bands we reference when writing and recording are the likes of The Cure, Joy Division, Interpol, David Bowie and Depeche Mode. Stuff that is quite dark in tone, but there’s good songs at the core of it too. I’m always striving to achieve a particular atmosphere when it comes to our sound, it’s not a case of writing a perfect song. It’s more just trying to find the right balance of a feeling that is equal parts melancholic and sexy. 

A&A – You’re based in Inverness. I’ve been up there a few times for things like XPO North. and love a gig in the Tooth & Claw. What is the scene like there?

There is a thriving music scene up here, but it is based around traditional Scottish music. I would love to say there is a great alternative scene in Inverness, but it just doesn’t really exist. There are a hundred or so dedicated alternative music fans in this city and if you’re lucky they will all come out at the same time on the night of your gig. Plenty of great artists up here, but most that do well, have moved away. 

A&A – How much have you missed and how much are you looking forward to getting back to playing live?

We have missed it dearly. I personally struggle when I haven’t played a gig in a few months. It’s a huge part of what gives me a sense of self. We have a show booked at The Ironworks in Inverness for Saturday the 29th. Fingers crossed it goes ahead!

A&A – What was the last gig you played and what was the last one you were at as fans?

The last proper gig we played was Christmas 2019 at a venue in Inverness called Madhatters. Really great night actually.. The last gig I attended purely as a fan was probably Idlewild at the Ironworks in November 2019. I have seen them countless times over the years, but they were tighter than ever. Crowd was a bit subdued, but that’s just Inverness for ya…

A&A – What are the plans for the rest of 2021 and beyond?

We have a batch of songs getting finished off, so the hope is we will release what will be our second ever EP! It’s good to be able to release a more extensive body of work instead of just singles because I feel there’s a whole side to the band that people don’t hear much of. 

We aren’t putting too much pressure on this year other than that. At this stage, just a few gigs would be nice! 

A&A – We love discovering new music here at A&A. Is there anyone you would recommend to us? 

You are probably aware of most of these, but Lowt, Katie Gregson-MacLeod, The Dazed Digital Age, Haunted Comets and Charlie Clarke. 

A&A – If you could describe Lional with one song (not your own) what would it be?

David Bowie – Always Crashing in the Same Car