“We have a little cabin fever up here [laughs],”explained Silent Lions drummer Matt Klein during a recent phone conversation. Klein, along with his bandmate Dean Tartaglia, resides a little over two hours away from the friendly borders of Dayton in the beautiful city of Toledo. Just like pretty much everywhere in the Midwest, Toledo is just now coming out of one of the worst winter seasons that has ever occurred. The record low temperatures and the significant amount of snow that accumulated during the beginning of the year forced a lot of folks to stay indoors. Spring is now upon us, and that means that folks, including Klein and Tartaglia, are able to get back out on the road and start touring again. Silent Lions will be stopping by Dayton on Wednesday at Hole In The Wall, which is located on East Fifth Street. “We have been itching to get back out and tour.”
The music scene in Toledo, much like the one in Dayton, features a wide assortment of great musicians. It’s how Klein and Tartaglia formed their bond. “We would see each other around gigs, and we just thought that it would be cool to do something together.” The bands they were previously a part of never seriously made music a focus, so the duo pairing up came naturally. Klein and Tartaglia started branching outside of their comfort zone in Toledo music landscape, and began spending a lot of time in the Detroit area. Although Klein and Tartaglia still call Toledo their home, going somewhere different and new was needed. “Detroit gives us some many more opportunities for experimentation. It fuels our creative sides.”
Establishing their footing in the Motor City, Silent Lions met with Zach Shipps. To many, Shipps is known for his time in the Detroit-based rock band Electric Six. Electric Six, known by many for their single “Danger! High Voltage,” infused elements of disco, punk rock, new wave, and metal into their music. Klein and Tartaglia went to Shipps’ studio to recorded and released their first EP The Parliaments in December 2012. The four song EP set the tone for where the twosome wanted to take their music. The lyrics are mostly written by Tartaglia and dance around several topics. The spooky “Terrible Days” dives into leaving before it’s too late. “Pop Rocks” features Tartaglia crooning about plotting his take over with music: “You are bumming me out/I know better than this and rock n roll is not a fad/It takes more than good luck and a well thought out financial plan you know” with a nice little hip-hop closing. Fuzzed out octave bass, sampled synths, thrashing drum play, and manipulated atmospheric vocals are highlighted throughout the EP, the staples of how Silent Lions wanted to play their music.
In May of 2013, Silent Lions released “ripe•people” during some downtime in between tour dates. The 8-plus minute song jumps all around the music spectrum. Klein begins singing in a high pitch then Tartaglia breaks in with a fast-paced riff that’s a blend of hiphop/rock. Halfway through, the band jerks the song over to a heavy-soul driven pace that continues to show their progression into nailing down their signature sound. “ripe•people” is a wild experience for listeners, and it truly will give you the clear vision on where the band was headed.
At the beginning of this year, Silent Lions released their newest EP, The Compartments. “We wanted to record again with Zach [Shipps]. He shared our vision, and we benefited a lot from him due to his experience,” explained Klein. The Compartments presents a more defined sound. Silent Lions’ time inside the Detroit music scene is noticeable when you are listening to the EP. You can hear the influence of blues and soul along with their lo-fi gritty fuzz. One great example of this is the soulful “Crash and Burn”. “Stolen In The Heat Of The Moment” is a driving force that is energetic and loud. “Runnin’ Me Down” is completely opposite – slow and spooky. The duo shows throughout the EP their evolution of being in a band together. The future of Silent Lions is really going to be fun to watch. Klein echoed those same feelings. “We haven’t been a band for real long. We are still learning from one another, and we can’t wait to see where we go.”
A full-length LP is on Silent Lions’ radar, and they plan on having Shipps produce the album. They’ll start recording in Detroit in the summer. For now, the band is going to tour some, playing for audiences around the Midwest and Eastern seaboard. The duo are noticing that the crowds are growing and growing with each show. “We have found support and made new friends in every new city we’ve been to. It’s been really humbling”, Klein says. “It’s all about making connections.”
Silent Lions plan on releasing a music video for “Runnin’ Me Down” on YouTube. The video will feature haunting imagery comparable to the old school horror films, which are favorites for Klein and Tartaglia. To hear what many have labeled “heavy soul,” “chill punk” and “Hall and Oates backed by Rage Against The Machine,” you can go to the band’s website- http://silentlions.bandcamp.com/music. Silent Lions will be stopping by in Dayton in support of The Compartments by performing at Hole In The Wall on Wednesday night. Door open at 9. Music starts at 10.
Best thing about the show – no possibility of snow.