Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in In the Midst of Lions?
All of us are originally from different parts of Missouri. The original members of Ryan, Matt, Louis, and Lance formed a band and moved to St. Louis. They were looking for a drummer and found Alex through a friend. We had our first practice and things just clicked. We have recently had some personal differences and had a member change. Sam and Jake have replaced Lance and Louis. All of us have our part in writing music and handling business.
Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the writing of Out of Darkness?
As far as inspiration it takes a lot of prayer, bible study, and personal experience. God puts a lot of things on my heart during these times which allows me to translate them through our songs. Out of Darkness is not really a concept album, but each individual song has its meaning, which is apparent in the lyrics.
You have released Out of Darkness, how has the reaction been thus far, what can fans expect when they pick up a copy?
To be honest we did not expect as much positive feedback as we have been receiving. We’re usually pretty critical about our stuff but we haven’t really heard anything negative as far as the album goes. People seem to really enjoy it which is a blessing to us. As a band we hope to take our second release to the next level. We think it can be much better and with the addition of our new members we believe it’ll be possible. People can expect something different from Out of Darkness. We tried our best to make it stick out of the sea of deathcore bands out there today.
When it came to releasing Out of Darkness how did that whole package come together? What was the recording process like, how long did you have, was their any pressure on you?
After we had signed with Strike First, our first priority was to record an album. Dean from With Blood Comes Cleansing hooked us up with the bassist of With Blood, Dennis who has a studio in Albany GA. We were in the studio shortly after and had 14 days to get it recorded. Ryan, Matt, and Alex recorded the album and It was a pretty smooth process. After we were finished, all we had to do was wait for the mixing and mastering.
How do you think you will effect the Metal/Hardcore scene you are part of? What are your thoughts on the growing popularity in it as well?
It has become very cool to be God-free these days, so we would hope that people would be inspired by our music to consider and accept our very real Lord and savior. Or at least be able to open their minds to the concept of God. As long as the scene continues to grow, that gives us more opportunity to reach out and be there for fans.
You guys are from Missouri what is the local music scene like there? Any bands you’d recommend?
There are some great bands from MO, so its unfortunate to say that scene needs a definite revival. Shows are getting smaller and smaller and support for local bands has become slim. Things are looking up though because there are some great acts including Renae, Eternal Plague, Mars Needs Cheerleaders, and Awake Abyssal Tyrant.
How has Strike First Records been thus far for you guys? Who approached who?
Jason Dunn owner of Facedown and Strike First had heard us at Cornerstone Festival 08. He had kept an eye on us for the next few months, and when we put up new music he had sent us an email that said he was interested in signing the band. Shortly after it happened and we couldnt be happier. Jason really cares about his bands, and its great to have that kind of support from your label.
Who did the artwork and title for the album, when you look on the final project, is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
Logan Lambert did the album artwork and it couldn’t have turned out bettter. Roger Hensley from At The Throne of Judgement did the logo. The only thing we would have changed, is that the album depicts our old lineup. We didnt have time to take promos and get the new lineup on the CD. As far as the actual CD, we would have liked to have made it a little longer.
The name of the band In the Midst of Lions, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
It was actually a pretty crazy story. We had thought up some names and none of them really stuck. Alex came up with the name as a metaphor of Christians playing death metal, a typically God hating genre. We stuck with the name and a few months later we had come across Psalms 57-4 “I am in the midst of lions; I lie amongst ravenous beasts; Men who’s teeth are spears and arrows, and tongues a sharp sword”. We were unaware of this scripture so it was quite a shock when we read it. Definitely meant to be.
Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?
Our music takes on a whole new dimension live. Most people say they prefer our live show over the recordings. Each of us in the band have the parts that affect us the most, but I know Out of Darkness and Field of Blood can be emotional for us live. The presence of God can be so overwhelming at times. We have had some very spiritual shows with people breaking down and crying in the middle of the pit and thats why we do what we do.
Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Ryan and Alex wrote all the music for Out of Darkness, and Matt wrote lyrics and vocals. With our new members, the next album will be a collaborative effort.
What are the upcoming plans for In the Midst of Lions?
Lots of touring. We will be in your town soon haha. We’ll begin writing our next album here shortly as well. We already have a few new songs in the works that were pretty stoked about.
Going back to the music business, what do you think of everyone downloading music, possibly even your music? Do you think it helps or hurts bands in the long run?
At first perspective it seems like a loss, but ultimately we believe it can actually help. It gets your name out there and if people like what they hear, they will usually come out to a show, buy merch, or even the album.. So it may actually benefit your band in the end.
How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
Myspace has kind of become the industry standard for listening and learning about bands. We think it’s great for the artist. It has made it so much easier to get our music out to other states, even countries. Which before Myspace would be nearly impossible.
What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
As far as the studio, you need to be well prepared. You can’t go in there unrehearsed or with parts that still need to be written, or you will come out with a product that is half of what it could have been and you’ll regret it. On stage the main problem that’s taught us a lesson is making sure your equipment is either working properly or is put together correctly. There is nothing worse than a pedal breaking, something loose on the drumset coming undone, or amps cutting out. Whatever it may be. It’s very frustrating, and a little better preperation can help these things.
What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far? Any particular reason?
We would love to tour with Christian bands and secular bands alike. It’s great to have things in common with the bands you’re with, but touring with secular bands gives us a chance to talk about God. We would also love to tour with bands that aren’t metal as well. It would be awesome to have a break from all the heaviness every now and then haha. We toured with a band called “All or Nothing” from Hollister California, and they are just awesome guys. We became great friends with them on tour check them out.
What is currently playing on your iPod or CD Player?
All of us in the band listen to quite a hefty array of music. Anything from metal to techno. When you play with a lot of metal bands though, and are around it all the time, it’s nice to listen to some chillin indie ambient sort of stuff.
Describe In the Midst of Lions in three words.
Intense, heavy, worship
If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?
I think it’s safe to say we would all go back to the life of Christ. To walk side by side with all the world’s creator, is just unfathomable. What a learning experience that would be.
How do you think the recession is affecting musicians like yourself? Is it at all?
The great thing about this industry is that it is pretty recession proof, unless you’re U2 or Metallica haha. This economy won’t keep kids from spending $8-15 bucks to go see some of their favorite bands. Or even dropping another $15-20 on CD’s and merch. The only thing that can really hurt is the gas prices.
What’s your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as “Your music changed my life?” Has this ever happened to you?
We have had a few people tell us that our music has helped them come to God or even gotten them through heavy depressions. As a musician this is THE most gratifying thing to hear, because thats why we play music. To think that people actual use our music to help ease pain or help them understand God better is just unexplainable.
Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Our vocalist Matt is very into old school death metal and is heavily influenced by it. Our guitarists are very into shreddy metal such as The Faceless and Meshugga. Alex is really into indie music, but gets his drumming influence from canadian metal bands like Despised Icon and Beneath The Massacre.
All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
To be honest, were quite lazy haha. Our physical preperation comes from throwing down as hard as possible on stage. Lots of sore necks, and rough mornings, but its worth it.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We don’t play music for ourselves, we play for God and we would be absolutely nowhere without him. JESUS LOVES ALL OF YOU, BELIEVERS OR NOT! Thanks for your time!