Last year we had a listen to The Lion and The Wolf’s debut album, Symptoms. Currently mid tour, we had a chat to Thomas George about the record and being on the road.
Hi Thomas, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
First things first, describe the kind of music you make.
Misery – personified. I jest, I always find this question a little tricky as I’m not really one to pigeonhole, least of all my own sound. I guess it’s primarily acoustic and reads fairly high on the melancholy meter. It’s undoubtedly a sad sound but I consider the content and delivery the positive side of my sound. That and the monstrous riffs.
What prompted your decision to use a moniker as opposed to your real name, and how did you go about choosing one?
The first song I wrote after my old band disbanded was called ‘The Lion and the Wolf’ and it was about incompatibility between me and the person I was in love with at the time. We parted ways and I liked it as a starting point and didn’t want to be “Thomas George – singer / songwriter – listen to me whine”. I wanted it to be an integral part to the whole idea. Obviously I Googled it to make sure there was nothing else similar and the closest thing was the Thrice song by the same name so I figured that was OK. Plus Thrice are sick.
You spent 2014 almost entirely on tour around the UK and Europe. Do you have any favourite cities/countries to play?
Every town I play in as it’s own charm, in it’s own way. I always try to make a point of walking around (if I have time) and checking out the area. This inadvertently happens when I tour solo and on the train, often it will be a 15 minute or so walk to the venue or closest coffee house so I get to see parts that way. Berlin is a firm favourite, it has an unprecedented amount of charm to it and the food is always a highlight. Germany as a whole I guess is where I spend the most time touring, the way you are looked after over there is unequalled. This year I am going to be playing further in out in Eastern Europe which will be awesome, I’m really excited to see places like Poland and Hungary.
Have you any preference between hometown shows and ones hundreds of miles from home?
Hometown shows are a tricky one. They are normally good fun but chances are the majority of people there have seen you before or been friends for years and it’s always great that they come back out to support. The beauty of playing shows hundreds of miles away is the people there normally do not know what to expect – another reason why I wanted to use a moniker. I get a real thrill of playing to new crowds and also to diverse crowds. For example the other night I played on a hardcore / metal core bill in Norwich and the room was silent whilst I was playing. I think the crowd were expecting a heavy band to be opening and slay riffs so when I got up there and played they were a bit surprised but also very complimentary and polite.
What three things do you miss about being home when you’re on the road?
Currently I am really missing my Gamecube (which is sadly the closest thing I have to a girlfriend haha). I started a new game on Zelda: The Wind Waker and am itching to get back and carry on with that. We also have a new dog called Zappa who I have been training pretty strictly on where to do his business and it will be really interesting to see if he has improved. Most people say their own bed and that to me is pretty spot on also, it really does make a difference. Last night I slept in a double bed with memory foam mattress and en-suite shower and it was a stark contrast from the previous night which involved creating a bed on the floor out of sofa pillows and a sleeping bag. Getting quite good at that now.
Over a year ago you quit your day job to dedicate your time to music. Was this a difficult decision to make, or just the next logical move?
I had been toying around with the idea of going full time for a couple of years. The holiday time I was allocated each year was being spent on touring anyway and it felt like the right time to do it. I can safely say it is the best decision I have ever made, I can’t believe I’ve been pushing this for 13 months now and am still afloat. I feel very lucky but at the same time have worked really hard for it. I’m a strong believer in the harder you work, the luckier you get.
Your debut album, Symptoms, has received massive critical acclaim worldwide – how does that feel?
The reviews coming in have really taken me back. I knew that when we finished the album that it was something I was incredibly proud of and with all the work we had put in over the year we had a strong release on our hands. That being said, nothing really prepares you for a review because ultimately it’s just one persons view. So when the reviews start coming in it could really go either way, it’s a nervous time. So far though they have all been great, I am so happy with the way people have received it and hopefully they will continue to do so as much as I do play the songs live.
Is the pressure now on to keep up that standard?
No I don’t think so. I don’t feel pressure in that way. It will be all to easy to go in and record ‘Symptoms: part 2” and play it safe but thats not what I want to do. It will again be recorded in the same studio, and again we will be doing things as organically as possible but we have been thinking up ways to go in a new direction whilst still maintaining the feel of the solo live show. For example: one idea is to move all guitars to electric and really strip back on the layers like we added on Symptoms. I love the idea of stripping it right back and creating a lot of space with pads and synths too.
Finally, what’re your plans for the rest of the year?
This year has already started just the way I wanted it to – by being busy. I get restless when I’m not away playing shows. I start questioning things and looking far too deeply into ideas and bits that may be on my mind. Being away helps ease this and perhaps more importantly keeps the ball rolling and everything afloat. Seeing progression in everything I do is extremely important to me, I’ve made a conscious effort this year to concentrate on my live show and feedback from friends who haven’t seen me play in months or years has made me feel much more confident in this. I am currently on tour in the UK and will be returning to Europe in March, April and June and then album two will start being tracked around summertime and I am so, so excited for that.
Tour dates are below:
Sunday 15th – HUDDERSFIELD, BIRKBY MANOR
Tuesday 17th – SOUTHAMPTON JOINERS
Wednesday 18th – IPSWICH THE WINE BAR
Friday 20th – HIGH WYCOMBE PHOENIX
Saturday 21st – BRIGHTON STICKY MIKES
Monday 23rd – EASTBOURNE BUSKERS BAR