Lion Splicer is an American Metal band based in New York City who recently released an album entitled “Splicer”. The band consists of brothers Danny (drums) and Max Splice (guitars, bass, vocals). Their musical style draws influences from Heavy Metal as well as Progressive Rock.
Here’s an interview with Lion Splicer’s Max Splice.
- How and when did the band start?
Danny and I (Max) only began formally playing together under the name Lion Splicer this past July. But growing up in the same household, we’ve been playing music and sharing albums since we were kids. I initially intended to record this album *Slicer* that I wrote entirely by myself, like Dave Grohl did with the first Foo Fighters record or the Pocketwatch tape. I wanted it to be a tape that I could shop to other players so that I could find a band – I’m really more of a drummer than a guitar player. But sometime over this summer, right before I was about to begin work on the album, I realized that I would be delusional to not make this album with my younger brother, who is a killer drummer who could only add more energy and creativity to the project. So that’s it – all in the family.
- What would you say are the main influences behind your release “Slicer”?
The attitude behind making *Slicer* was more punk than metal. We recorded it DIY-style, in my bedroom, using equipment I bought with money earned from serving on a New York State Jury in July. I pirated Logic Pro, and got our good friend Nathan Long to produce it (and also to play some guitar solos). Lester Bangs (an editor for *Cream* magazine in the 70’s) was a big influence for me – we tried to capture as raw and realistic an energy as possible, that we figured he would dig were he still alive. We didn’t try to make something overproduced or pseudo-slick; partly because we didn’t have the money, but mostly because we wanted to have a foundation from which we can only build and take in multiple directions. Too many bands try hard to be something that they’re not on their first record: I wanted to make a tape that is honest. So we tracked and mixed the whole thing in two weeks, sticking to our gut feeling on how things sounded. Even though the record was recorded digitally, we definitely tried to hold to an old school aesthetic. The tape is purposely mixed with a lower volume, as a lot of producers did in the 70’s, so turn it up while listening!
As far as musical influences, we live by Mastodon, Rush, Wishbone Ash, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Opeth, and the Foo Fighters. I’m constantly listening to and looking for new music though – we are definitely not musicians that heard *Reign in Blood* once and then decided we would be “true heavy metal.” Oh – and also, Final Fantasy VII.
- Being a band with 2 members only, are you considering adding more members for live performances?
Right now we only have one show scheduled in New York in December. Our friend Alex Dymovsky will be filling in on bass, and we’ll probably also have Nathan play for a couple songs as well. We’ll see how it goes. Right now, its easy to have a two member band, especially one in which the members are brothers. With all the hassles that young bands have to go through – not making money, problems in the studio, creative differences, etc. – having two people in a band means that we can cut the shit and just get down to making music. That’s all I really care about right now: my focus is entirely on writing a follow-up to *Slicer* that will take a massive step forward, something that we can really push.
- Is it difficult for a Heavy Metal band to stand out in the American Metal scene today? Many would argue that those golden days are over …
I don’t think the golden days are over – I think a very circumstantial period of heavy metal is over. We’ve seen great American rock releases in recent years from bands like the Foo Fighters, Mastodon, Clutch, Kylesa, and Warbringer, even among the legion of crap that gets attention from the metal press. A strong case can be made that the “golden days” of heavy metal have really just moved over to Europe. Heavyweights like Gojira, Finntroll, Opeth, Kvelertak and Wintersun control the game, in my mind. As far as standing out, I think the problem is that young bands try to stand out by *imitating *the way their idols stood out. If you look at the recent revival in “traditional” heavy metal in America – lets not even talk about songwriting – one thing you notice is the bands that are getting signed have the old school metal “look” *down*. For thrash, its about the patched jean jacket, the white Nike high tops, and the obscure band t-shirt. For “true” heavy metal, you’ve got the studs, the leather, the spandex… Some of these bands remind me of the posters for 70’s grindhouse movies: while once in a while you’ll find a gem of a film like *Switchblade Sisters*, the vast majority are pieces of shit that exploit a sellable image. People often judge books by their covers and if you see a picture of a band like Design the Skyline, you know exactly what they’re going to sound like. Same goes for the trend in “revival” metal. Bands think they’re being rebellious or original (many might not admit that) by acting and looking the way their rebellious heroes looked. But you really have to keep in mind that Exodus, Metallica, and Slayer were born out of the social, political, and economic circumstances of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It boggles my mind that some people talk about getting the “hipsters” out of metal… I thought one of the major criteria for being a hipster was dressing in vintage clothing – is that not what all of these retro-metal bands are doing?
That being said, I’m also a genre nerd. Warbringer rules. But if you’re going to play that style of music, don’t expect to have the kind of influence that the originators did: that music got popular in certain places twenty five years ago for a reason.
Where I see Lion Splicer fitting into all of this… is in an uphill climb, in the darkness, with our dicks in our hands. We don’t have a “true metal” look. We don’t play “true metal.” You won’t see a photograph of us in an alley with our arms crossed, trying to look tough. We’re a little fucking nerdy. We obviously love the old school but have no intention of trying to replicate a style of music that happened a long time ago. We have to start from square one, because there is little about us on the surface that people can easily associate and identify. Hopefully people can see that our music is honest. And that we can’t stand indie rock. We’ll see what happens! We have fun making music and that’s all that counts for me.
- Here’s a fun one, comment on the following with one word each – Lion Splicer, Heavy Metal and Metal in America today.
Lion Splicer <=> Raw
Heavy Metal <=> Rules
Metal in America today <=> Trendy
Thanks for the interview! I had fun answering the questions.
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