As I waited outside the Quai des Brumes on Monday night to interview Victoria band Acres of Lions, I stood next to a poster of Frankie Muniz wondering how one goes from child star to indie rocker (Muniz’s band KingsFoil was playing that night with Acres of Lions). Before my mind wandered too much I noticed a van with British Columbia plates pull up, and out poured Acres of Lions: lead singer Jeff Kalesnikoff, bassist (and according to their Wikipedia page “lead beard”) Dan Ball, guitarist, Vocals,Keyboardist (as well as band manager) Tyson Terex, and drummer Shane Deyott.
I had caught Acres of Lions in March during Canadian Music Week in Toronto and was pumped to interview them when they came through Montreal. The band had come directly from Quebec City and immediately after the show were off to Ottawa; quite literally a band on the move. A few moments after they arrived I got to sit down with Jeff and Dan and we discussed influences, touring and the best place in Canada to get a beer.
Stephanie: How did Acres of Lions come together?
Jeff: Dan and I have known each other since high school when we were both in a couple of punk bands. We became friends through that scene and in 2006 we started Acres of Lions. Our buddy gave us our name at a party about a week before our first gig. We haven’t stopped going since.
Stephanie: It must feel great to go from a high school punk band to where you are now.
Dan: Absolutely. I’ve had a lot of joe jobs in my life and I am honored and blessed to be able to now call myself a professional musician.
Stephanie: You guys seem to tour non-stop; how do you consistently keep up that high energy?
Dan: If you truly love something, you make it work. Because we don’t have days jobs anymore, we don’t have to worry about trying to jam or perform after working an 8 hour shift. Music is our full time job, and we take that job very seriously. A hard work ethic is in all of our blood and I think that’s one of the main reasons we all get along so well together.
Jeff: As a band we also really thrive off the inspiration that comes from touring. Our latest album, Home(s) is not only about our home lives back in British Columbia, but also about the homes we make on the road.
Dan: Also I love touring ’cause no one gets tired of me; I’m only ever in town for a day or two. (Laughs) I don’t really have one specific home anymore; Canada is my home.
Stephanie: What’s the songwriting process for you guys?
Jeff: Our songwriting is the thing that’s evolved the most during our time as a band. At the beginning it was pretty much me doing all the writing, banging my head against the wall until a song came out of it. Now its a much more democratic process.
Stephanie: I noticed Home(s) has a different sound as well from your other full length albums Working and Collections.
Jeff: That was the goal, yeah. We were playing The Edge Fest in Toronto when we met producer Brian Moncarz who helped us create the sound we wanted for this album; we are enormously proud of Working and Collections but this time we wanted a less put together, studio-sounding album. Clearly you can tell that touring is one of our favorite aspects of being a band and so we wanted this album to have more of a live feel to it.
Stephanie: So if Canada is your home, what are some of your favorite places across Canada?
Dan: I love getting a beer at Sneeky Dees in Toronto (Writers Note: Dan did mention a few other places he liked to grab a beer but I seem to have stupidly not written them down! If you’re interested why don’t you tweet Dan @DanBall and find out for yourself)
Jeff: Every time I come to Montreal I make sure I go get a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s.
Stephanie: Anything else you’d like Forget the Box readers to know?
Dan: Honestly just how thankful we are. Without people coming out to the shows and buying the albums, we wouldn’t get to do what we love.
Acres of Lions will be on tour until July 13th