Die neue Scheibe des amerikanischen Trios ’Leopold and his Fiction’, “Ain’t No Surprise“, haben wir euch kürzlich auf unserer Homepage vorgestellt und auf dem aktuellen Sonic-Introducer habt ihr die Truppe vielleicht auch schon entdeckt. San Francisco trifft auf Detroit, kontemporärer Garagen-Rock auf 60’s Legenden wie die Animals und frische Stones. Was wirklich hinter dem kryptisch anmutenden Bandnamen steckt, was die Band 2009 noch so alles vorhat und vieles mehr, fragten wir ‘Leopold‘-Kopf Daniel James im Rahmen eines Interviews.
S-R: Hello Daniel! What were your thoughts, when you heard that a small music magazine from Germany would like to conduct an interview?
Daniel James: I am very excited our music has made it out of our heads and into recordings. And especially now, since they are able to be enjoyed in other states and countries, that I myself have never been to, I am overwhelmingly fooded with jealousy towards the experience my own songs live. Hooray for Germany!
S-R: 2009 started off with “Ain’t No Surprise”. What’s in store for the next eleven months?
Daniel James: With a new line up we are touring the United States, and are doing our best to pull something together along the lines of a European trip. Already we have the songs in the stage of recording for the third LP. With the new line up it made it very easy to conjure up brand new material right away.
S-R: A dominant vibe on your new record comes from the past. Songs like “Broke” and “Come Back (Now That I’m Here)” are very reminiscent of bands from the 60’s and 70’s – I am thinking of early Stones, Them or The Animals. Was that an angle you were deliberately going for, or was it a subconscious thing? Or am I just reading too much into the whole thing?
Daniel James: Subconsciously, the lyrics took their own shape, much of the lyrical content is voiced in a poetic and fction that I consider to be as timeless as I know how. As far as the music having a 60/70’s vibe, that is very deliberate as that is all I have immersed myself in for as long as I can recall. Bands like The Animals, The Doors, The Stooges, Them and especially the early Stones, have made such an imprint on my life, I fgured I would keep on the forefront of my mind all that I have known to love to play and listen to.
S-R: “Ain’t No Surprise” was recorded as a two-man band. Now Ben Cook, who drummed for us, was replaced by Micayla Grace (Bass) and Jon Sortland (Drums). What was the reason for the change and what is the major difference in having a regular rhythm section now?
Daniel James: Oh yes, Ben Cook, a phenomenal drummer, had to pursue a career outside of our original path of striving in the breaking of our backs and consigning our hearts to this art form. He will be missed one of these days. With the new line up we haven’t slowed down even for a second. Micayla and Jon joined the band eight months ago, in late May, and our only downtime from touring has been in the studio and playing shows in the San Francisco Bay Area. The new rhythm section has brought into fruition the original plan I have had for this band in terms of commitment and production. The major difference of having a full rhythm section is, that it allows growth and dynamics to be well achieved in a fraction of the time. With the new infuences they bring, it really rounds out a sound we are all very proud of.
S-R: For someone who has not heard about Leopold and his Fiction, how would you characterize your music and who infuenced your songwriting?
Daniel James: Western darkness under big city lights. Infuences for the frst two LPs range from Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Thelonius Monk, Jim Morrison, Eric Burden, The Animals, The Doors, Cream, The Stooges, Donovan, Devendra Banhart, Wilson Pickett to Otis Redding.
S-R: The name Leopold and his Fiction sounds a little mysterious. Can you shed some light on the story behind the name and is it true that ‘Leopold’ is actually referring to the activist Aldo Leopold?
Daniel James: Leopold and his Fiction is a character directly from a story I wrote back in school. Aldo Leopold was suggested to me by a newly met friend in Flagstaff, AZ while on tour. Very enlightening human beings, both Aldo and our new friend. Leopold in my story is a wailing fool for lucid individualism. Aldo is an encyclopedia for nature. I admire them both very much.
S-R: Any chance or plans for a trip to Germany and some Leopold and his Fiction-shows over here?
Daniel James: Oh how we would love to come to Germany.
S-R: What music are you currently listening to? And what is your preferred method of listening to music? CDs, MP3, vinyl, tapes…?
Daniel James: Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home, Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited, The Staple Singers: Pray On, My Child, The Animals: Animalism, Ray Charles: Modern Country Classics. Preferred is vinyl, most realistic to travel with are mp3’s.
S-R: My last question: You can choose one band (it does not have to be an active band) to share the stage with. Who – and why – do you pick?
Daniel James: Oh good lord, …this one is taking me a great while to fgure out…After thinking on this for two days…. Otis Redding. For all the right reasons.
S-R: Thanks a lot for sitting down and taking time for our questions!
Daniel James: Thank you very much for your trust and support of Leopold and his Fiction!!