Talk about a pressing engagement. As soon as Tired Lion frontwoman Sophie Hopes finished her final vocal for the Perth quartet's debut album, Dumb Days, she had just enough time to run home and pack a bag before flying out to the UK for a run of dates. "I had to skol a couple of drinks to get me in the zone, because I was thinking way too much about the flight and the shows," she chuckles from her Perth home.
Dumb Days is the realisation of a goal guitarist Matt Tanner, drummer Ethan Darnell and Hopes first set in high school to one day make an album. Six years on it's come to fruition. No wonder the first playback was an emotional affair. "I think a couple of us had tears in our eyes, but I'm not going to mention who," quips Hopes.
The frontwoman also shed tears while finetuning her lyrics with producer (and Violent Soho frontman) Luke Boerdam. Though reluctant to go into detail about the song responsible, "Camp", it's clearly drawn from a place of raw emotion, Hopes singing "I could hear your voice a million times/But I don't recognise you". Similarly close to the bone is "Where Were You?", which essays "a crucial age in my life, [where] someone that I really needed to be there wasn't around".
Hopes' confessional lyrics, combined with the band's hook-laden Nineties-esque grunge, has helped forge a bond with their growing audience.
"It's actually been very rewarding hearing that someone listened to a Tired Lion song for four weeks to get through a depression," says the singer, who's openly shared her own issues with mental health. "I've met quite a few people that I stay in touch with and I say, 'If ever you're feeling that way again, if you want to talk, I'm here. The whole band's here.'"
In late August Tired Lion returned to the UK for the third time this year to perform at the Reading and Leeds festivals. An Australian tour follows this month, with Hopes eager to showcase new material.
"I really wanted the songs this time to have more guts and intensity," she says. "From our very first single when we were younguns, it's just been this stepping stone each time that we've recorded. It's gotten a little more intensified. So I just wanted to hit people in the guts and feel it."
From issue #791 (October, 2017), available now.
Topics: Tired Lion