Christie Ots sat down with Adam and Nathan Lyons, from Lyon Apprentice to talk about their upcoming EP, how they juggle their burgeoning musical projects and just why you should be kind to your mother.
With two bands (Lyon Apprentice and Fairchild), music videos, a record label and touring how the guys managed to find time to stop and record an EP is beyond me. Thank God they did though because Be Honest, Be Wild, Be Free is a soulful and beautiful introduction to this duo’s sound. Released recently, with preceding singles I Will Find You, Beautiful Though and Be Careful I asked the lads how they’ve been. Nathan smiled and said, “Good! We’ve just come off from doing a show at Bleach Festival. We played at Burleigh Beach last year; this year was a little more scaled back on the Robina Promenade.” Adam nodded, “They had the stage set up, with beanbags and tables and chairs. There was a water performance and drummers. More a family orientated event.”
Be Careful has been stuck in my head since its release in March, Nathan explains, “We’ve been getting feedback via a few blogs and things, which has been really positive. It is only really fresh, but we got our first Triple J play on Monday, so it seems to be going well.” Adam adds, “It’s hard to gauge, how do you really gauge that though. Sometimes you’ll get people asking you to take them off the mailing list.” Shrugging Nathan says, “That’s not very common at all, but it does happen.”
Adam laugh, “Yeah someone who runs a music blog has the nerve to tell you to stop making music!”
The guys have released videos for both I Will Find You and Beautiful Thought, is there one coming for Be Careful? Adam nods, “We do, it’s finished.” Nathan elaborates, “We’ll probably release it around the end of April, we wanted to let the song be for a while and release the video around the launch of the EP.”
Adam explains, “The director went to China and the editor went to Sydney so it’s been a process to get it all sorted out. “
With powerful visuals and simple, but beautiful ideas, the band’s film clips are a team effort. Lyon Apprentice with Richard Zhang along with a group of videographers and directors.
“With Fairchild we did a lot of video clips, and we stick with Richard now. We play the song to him and we collaborate on ideas based on what he imagines and of course budget constraints,” Adam said.
“Yeah they always ask how much money you’ve got and it’s usually not that much! Everything’s expensive, but we’ve had some really lucky breaks with people,” Nathan adds with Adam nodding, “Richard did Dancer for Fairchild and I Will Find You for Lyon Apprentice. He’s also doing Be Careful. He’s very professional, with a lighting crew and the clicky boards they have in movies!”
The clips for both bands have an array of extras, Nathan explains, “They generally aren’t friends or family, a lot of the time they’re actually extras.”
Adam interjects, “For Be careful we had to pull in some ring-ins. We got back from Asia and Richard told us we had two weeks to sort it all out, so my housemate’s in it.” Nathan laughs, “He doesn’t have a musical bone in his body though!”
“We were on the drive up (to the location) and he tells us we should probably play the song to him.” Adam said. Nathan laughed, with good-natured exasperation: “he only had to hit a tom while our Fairchild drummer played in the background.”
“An artist we have signed, Calan Mai, he was the other drummer. You would think he would have a beat or rhythm, but oh my God I could have killed him! He had his head down concentrating,” Adam said. “ It was funny.”
“It was a long night that one, we arrived there at five in the afternoon and finished at three in the morning, while everyone was sleep deprived,” Nathan said.
With such a busy workload it seems impossible the guys would have a moment to stop! “You don’t! You don’t have a life that’s for sure, you go to work, then start music at around six at night. You’re lucky if you have dinner, then you go to bed at two in the morning after sending emails all day. It’s difficult; I don’t think people understand how much time and effort that goes into saying ‘I play in a band’,” Adam said.
So it’s not just girls, gigs and booze? Looking serious Adam says, “Well I’ve never seen a girl,” laughing he continues, “The drinking part is usually by yourself in front of a computer, but then the enjoyment part comes where you look at something and go ‘I made that’. You think your plate’s full and then you do something stupid like start Canvas Sounds. Start a label and you realize you increased your workload by 300%.”
“Your personal life sort of goes out the window, but it’s our choice and we enjoy the work,” Nathan added.
This year is just beginning for Lyon Apprentice though with a trip to North America in May where they play Canadian Music Week in Toronto and then tour through New York, Seattle and LA for a week.
“We just found out we’re also playing Music Matters in Singapore. Ten shows in three weeks in four countries, which is pretty cool,” Nathan said.
“Before we go we’re playing at the One Way Street Party in Surfers, 26 April, with a Canvas Sounds after-party at The Loft. Then we might spend some time writing music.”
“Yeah we’re going crazy. We’ve spent a lot of time recently doing Calan Mai’s EP and it will be really great to come back to writing our own music,” Adam said.
“We organise everything to do with tours ourselves. Rhys (Lyons) has started managing us thankfully, but you literally get on the plane and just pass out. It is so much organisation and then all of a sudden you’re playing the shows and it’s amazing. You get people coming up to you after the shows and they’re so happy and excited to meet you, and I just wonder why. It’s great!”
The band doesn’t have any crazy fan stories, but they do have this one guy. “Raun from Singapore,” Nathan said. “He has a full man crush. He’s kind of become a friend, we catch up with him whenever we’re over there, he’s not stalkerish he just can’t hide his excitement.”
“He helps us organize stuff in Singapore. It’s awesome how happy he gets about that, no underwear throwing though. ”Adam said. “I think we’re a bit too awkward to have underwear thrown at us. I’d probably cry before I would tell everyone how good I am and have that ego. The whole band, especially with Fairchild, we just constantly rip on each other and keep each other humble. You don’t need enemies when you have friends like us!”
Finally I ask a question that has been running through my mind since I first heard their name, why Lyon Apprentice?
“A mate from footy a couple of years ago started calling me that, I think it was from a cartoon or something,” Nathan said.
“Yeah, he’d yell ‘Why are you being an apprentice lion, Mr Lion’. So we thought we’d go with that, but spell it like our last name. We get leeon apprentice a lot, “
“It’s even in the press releases: Lyon Apprentice, pronounced lion.”
I ask the guys what last thought they would leave readers with and Adam says, “don’t swear at your mother! Or just be kind to your mother.”
Nathan laughs and shakes his head, “Our poor mother!”
“Our music space at our parents’ house is below our mum’s room and we would be making music in there late into the night and she would have to come down and ask us to keep the noise down.” In an exaggerated tone Nathan says, “Mum we’re being rock stars.”
Both the guys crack up laughing as Adam explains, “Yeah she put up with the same riffs over and over so definitely be kind to your mother!”
Lyon Apprentice play Surfers Paradise Festival’s One Way Street Party 26 April.
Image courtesy Lamp Photography.