INTERVIEW: Judah & The Lion

Following an incredible year that’s seen them storm the US – with 3 weeks at #1 in the US Alternative Chart, 30 million streams and tours with the likes of Twenty One Pilots and Jimmy Eats World – Judah & The Lion are set to release their hit album Folk Hop N Roll in the UK this week, as well as heading out on tour. Ahead of the release, we caught up with the band to find out a little bit more about them… 

Hi! Could you start by introducing us to Judah & The Lion? How would your pitch yourselves to someone unlucky enough to have never heard of you?

Booty Poppin’ Banjo Music

You’ve played with everyone from Twenty One Pilots and Jimmy Eat World, to Chance The Rapper and Charlie XCX – it’s quite a breadth of genres, but you seem to have that breadth in your sound itself. Where does that blend of genres come from?

Each of us grew up in a different part of the country, and had different musical influences and inclinations. I think the way that we combine those influences, instruments, and passions have created our sound. We also just love to explore new parts of our sound and that has shaped the path of our musical journey.  We don’t want to remain stagnant with the same sound throughout our career.

What did you pick up first, the banjos and mandolins or the drum machines?

We started with Banjos and Mandolins. Brian and Nate were new to the instruments when all of us met. Our sound has evolved since then, still using the Mando Banjo Acoustic guitar combo, but playing and writing music that feels true to ourselves and our influences. Our sound is unique because our inspirations are drawn from a wide breadth of Genres, but we happen to be inspired to create with more traditional instruments. It makes for an interesting combination of sounds!

You’re bringing your live show to the UK this Autumn – what can we expect from it?

Expect the unexpected! We Love the element of surprise. Especially early on, people expect us to be a Bluegrassy folk band from Nashville, and we love to break that expectation in any way we ready to dance, Plus our coined phrase: Booty Poppin’ Banjo Music

And where are you most excited to play?

The whole tour is exciting for us just because it’s a lot of places we have never been too. London will definitely be a favorite… The tickets are selling fast for our headlining set at Water Rats, and we just have a feeling London will understand us and connect with our music.

You’ve broken triumphantly from the alt-folk scene to the US mainstream, but do you think it’s a sound that will resonate as much with UK audiences?

We certainly hope so! Our goal is to bring somr Hope to the world and connect with people through our music. People of the world need all those things especially in this day and age, Hopefully that translates for the non-Americans too!

Your album’s also being released here this month, so let’s chat about that. How did you manage to ensure the experience of seeing you live transpired into a record?

Whenever we write music and record we always try to do it with the Live show in mind. It’s really important to us that people are singing the words & that a fun party atmosphere translates from the record.

People coming to shows come from all different backgrounds and stories. We want the environment to feel like a family atmosphere, where people can feel included, and be themselves, even if they show up alone, there is a strong sense of community amongst our fans.

You recently compared your fans to like your parents on twitter. How do you keep a close relationship with them as you’re getting bigger? (Your fans, not your parents)

It’s hard to connect with every fan, but we really try our best to respond to everything we can on social media, tweets, messages, etc. One of our favorite things that we’ve done in the US is a meet and greet before the show. It gives us a chance to connect with our most loyal fans. That personal connection is so important to us. We make music for people, and when it has even a small positive impact on someone it makes it worth it.

Finally, what are your plans for after the UK tour? Can we expect you back anytime soon?

We would love to come back. There is some possibility of us coming back a couple times next year, but nothing is officially booked yet. If we Love you guys as much as I think we will, we will definitely be back very soon 🙂

Tour dates can be found here.
Folk Hop N Roll is out in the UK on 27 October

Melissa Svensen

Melissa Svensen

Melissa, 22. Editor. Student, music journalist, probably talking about Blur or Bowie