Sophie Hopes – guitarist and vocalist for sweet ‘n’ powerful alt-rock four-piece Tired Lion – talks Shakespeare, pterodactyls, and how new album Dumb Days came together.
By TL and ZKR.
What was the recording process like bringing Violent Soho’s Luke Boerdam in with Dave Parkin? How was the shift in dynamic compared to your previous work with Dave?
It was like having a fifth bandmember in the room who could detach himself easily from the songs to see if we could improve in any areas. It was a new dynamic, that’s for sure, but I felt we all gelled really well. It felt like a bunch of friends in a room recording an album. He did manage to push us out of our comfort zones a little in terms of our usual TL structures.
You’ve spoken about growth (personal and as a band) a lot. If Dumb Days were recorded two years ago how would it have been different to now?
I honestly think if we recorded it back two years ago, all songs would have been in drop D and had some sort of Smashing Pumpkins rip, haha. Glad we waited it out…
Japan is an angsty, snarling opener to the record; were you aiming to set the scene for the entire album with its ‘f-ck you’ feel? How important was ordering these songs into a coherent tracklisting?
Yes! Exactly. We all felt like Japan really set the tone for the whole record. I think my favourite part is the introductory Bikini Kill-esque scream I do at the start. I’ve always wanted to let loose like that so it was awesome that it was encouraged this time round! Man… getting the track listing right was very tricky… especially with this new, streaming, ‘must have singles to the front’ theory. Luckily we had enough time on our hands being stranded in a car for several hours at a time, so we could mess around with different orders.
Fresh contains the line “Idiot, you made me rhyme.” Are you a fan of the 10 Things I Hate About You poem (the most romantic moment in a teen movie ever)?
OF COURSE! I’m a huge sucker for romance and Shakespeare as a matter of fact. I actually don’t know who I’d be if I didn’t get goosebumps whilst watching romantic films or reading books. I’m such a sissy but I love it. The poem is 10/10; it’s actually inspired by the Shakespearian Sonnet 141, so if you’re into that, check it out!
Do you try to organize your live setlists to allow your voice time to recover from the most frenetic or challenging tracks? Do you have a secret vocal warm-up tip?
Yeah! We tend to space them out but sometimes in a short amount of time we have to put all the challenging tracks together so I have no choice but to toughen up. My warm-up is pretty weird. I make Pterodactyl noises, like the dinosaur… I should probably learn how to warm up correctly but find this works pretty well. It’s just odd croaking noises really.
Dumb Days is out September 15 via Universal.