Now, more than ever, Victoria’s Acres of Lions is feeling at home in its sound. With its third album Home(s) about to drop (April 2 on Cordova Bay Records), the band is also getting used to the idea of being at home on the road.
“We were on the road all year,” says Tyson Yerex (guitar, keys, vocals).
A gig it took with the Ministry of Jobs brought the band on a three-month tour of communities across Northern B.C. last spring.
“It must have been 50 shows in three months,” says Yerex.
Since it was a government tour, it was “more slow-going” than the guys were used to. At each venue, the 15-person crew would have to set up the portable stage and generator, which took a whole day, so the bandmates had plenty of time together for songwriting.
“The album was written entirely on the road. A lot of the lyrics are about longing for relationships back home,” says Yerex.
The single “Bright Lights” (released Feb. 12) is the kind of pop-rock anthem that begs you to sing along. And instead of his usual formula of chorus-heavy tunes, singer-songwriter Jeff Kalesnikoff’s (vocals, guitar) work on Home(s) is more mature, and incorporates more diverse song structure.
“Usually the process is Jeff has the big songwriting idea and then we work on shaping it as a band,” says Yerex.
The band is rounded out by Dan Ball (bass, vocals) and Shane Deyotte (drums), who replaced Lewis Carter recently.
The album was recorded with producer Brian Moncarz, instead of Victoria’s Adam Sutherland who recorded the two previous albums.
“The two albums with Adam sound incredible and they stand up on an international level,” says Yerex. “But we’re more of a rock band than we come across on our records and we came into this one wanting to make it sound more raw … It was fun to record in Toronto and work with someone new.”
The members decided on the title Home(s) because they don’t really have a home base anymore.
“We spent extended periods of time in different places,” says Yerex. “All of these different places have been our homes.”
The band stayed in Edmonton for three weeks, setting up a studio at a family member’s house, where it recorded some demos for the album.
The guys also rented a studio on London’s famous Denmark Street (where the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols made records), for a week while in town for meetings with their new U.K. record label Fierce Panda (they’re also represented by Bullion in Japan).
The drum tracks for Home(s) were recorded at Revolution Recording in Toronto.
“Drums is one of those things that need fancy equipment and a large acoustically treated room,” says Yerex.
Yerex, a budding keys player who toured with Against Me!, recorded all his piano parts on a Yamaha C7 Grand piano. “I’m not a classically trained piano player, but I’m slowly building my skills,” he says.
The rest of the album was recorded over a six-week stint just north of Toronto. It was the first time all the band members were in the studio at the same time for the length of the recording process.
“For all our previous records, we all had day jobs, so I’d be working while someone else was recording,” says Yerex. “This is the first time we all get to write musician as our occupation because we got rid of our day jobs.”
Other highlights of the last year include playing Toronto’s Edgefest alongside Yukon Blonde and Billy Talent.
“We played on the second stage and we knew three quarters of the bands. At that moment we said ‘This is where we were supposed to be.’ It really felt like we were making some progress.”
The band also played Rifflandia and Canadian Music Week last year.
After a few shows at Canadian Music Week in Toronto and a few shows in Victoria, Acres of Lions is setting out on a cross-country tour with The Town Heroes (Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle’s band); and Kingsfoil and Thunderhawk.
Victoria fans will get another chance to catch Acres of Lions live at Rock the Shores, Sat., July 13, alongside City and Colour, Matthew Good, The Sheepdogs, 54•40 and Jimmy Eat World. M
Acres of Lions
Fri., March 29 at Lucky Bar, 8pm. $12
Sat., March 30 at Cobblestone Pub in Cobble Hill, 9pm
Wed., April 3 at Victoria House Concert ”B,” 8pm