Marmar, of KUCI’s World Without Words was lucky enough to get into contact with Ross Blomgren, the one and only man behind the supreme post-metal, post-rock, progressive act Becoming the Lion. Check out their Bandcamp Bandcamp where you can download all of their releases for however much or little as you want.
What is the history of the band and how did you come to playing post-rock, post-metal, instrumental tracks?
So “Becoming the Lion” started once I finished high school. At the time I was playing in a band with some friends of mine. However, when all left for college, it became tougher to keep the whole process in check. We would get together on breaks, practice for a month, play a couple local shows, and then leave for school again. I needed some sort of outlet to progress in my song writing between these short times.
My guitar teacher had introduced me to God is an Astronaut, Maserati, 65daysofstatic, and Russian Circles. I immediately connected with the post rock/metal genre and began writing. It wasn’t until I heard “Cloudkicker” that I really took this project seriously. It opened up the possibility that you could record, mix and release music on your own with at least a small degree of success.
That realization led to the release of “Ghosts of a Fallen Soldier”. Since then it has been my goal to finish an album every year or so. I have always wanted to add vocals into certain tracks but I’ve never been much of a singer, so out of a lack of resources I kept the songs instrumental. (However this may not always be the case….)
What is the origin of the band’s name? Why the switch from “Lambs Become Lions” to “Becoming the Lion”? Were there any alternate band names you considered?
Well, “Lambs Become Lions” actually was part of a quote from the movie “Robin Hood” that just kinda connected with me. I’m mostly a passive person and I don’t generally put myself out for people to see, so this was really the first time I had allowed strangers the chance to critique a part of me. Personally I have always thought that the name somewhat reflected this transition.
The name change was due to an existing, somewhat established, band in Canada that is named “Lambs Become Lions” (as well as numerous other bands with similar titles). I figured I should have something a little more unique. I tossed around a few ideas but nothing really stuck. I also wanted to keep my personal theme and thus it was changed to “Becoming the Lion”
Who are your major influences and what initially drew you to them?
I guess my initial influences were Russian Circles, GIAA and Cloudkicker for the kind of sounds and progressions that they could accomplish without any vocals. Not to mention the dynamics of their albums as a whole seem to tell a story.
As of recently I have been really all over the map with bands like Oceansize, The Dear Hunter, Minus the Bear, Thrice, Tesseract. I try to grab the themes that draw me in to these different genres and put them into my own material.
Can you give some details on how you go about the music composition process?
As far as writing music, the starting riff/melody/beat can range from a random thought throughout the day or just cool piece of something that I hear as I’m jamming around for a while. A fair amount started with, for lack of resources, a beat box recording into my phone.
After I have a start point, the songs usually fall similarly from there. I’ll throw a simple beat under the riff, or jam a chord progression under the melody. I can get a framework down pretty quick to see how things will fall into place, but then I’ll sit on it for about a month and eventually rearrange things to peak my interest in it again.
This process will repeat until I feel satisfied and move on or frustrated and toss the idea out for a while.
What are some of the main themes and ideas you like to incorporate into your music?
As far as themes go, I don’t think that far ahead while in the writing process. I try to find a balance between heavy sounds and lighter atmospheres to build dynamics and to make sure things don’t sound the same, but I don’t generally attach themes to the songs together until the end when I arrange an order.
However, if I find myself sticking to a single time signature for too long I’ll throw a wrench into it. I try to incorporate that into most songs.
How do you feel about Bandcamp, Twitter, and the other social media outlets artists like you use?
Bandcamp is one of the best sites I have seen for music distribution and artist support. Especially with the “App” streaming services, it is so easy to buy and album and listen to it without any physical material other than your phone.
Other than that, I’m just awful at the whole social media thing. Twitter, Facebook, tumblr seem to be have their uses. I do think Instagram is the easiest for content uploads though.
What difficulties are there for your project and how do you try to overcome them?
The biggest difficulty would have to be getting in my own way and not seeing the song as a whole piece. “Becoming the Lion” started as a way of progressing while being unable to collaborate with others (moving forward I see this changing). So the hardest hurdle for this project up to this point has been simply moving forward with each idea from beginning to end. If I get stuck on a thought I wouldn’t have someone to bounce ideas off of to keep the flow going. In the same regard there hasn’t been anyone to say “alright this song is done” or “you probably shouldn’t have 7 guitar layers here”.
The best way to fight this has been to move to a different song if I get stuck or if a song just isn’t coming together the way I thought it would. Taking these breaks usually gives me a better outlook on the big picture and in time would allow ideas to come together on their own.
Also, I can get lazy at times and I still haven’t found the cure to that.
What’s next on the horizon for the band? Any chance of a tour over here to the west coast sometime?
On the way, nothing is set in stone. Maybe a quick EP in spring or full length next Fall. Shows are tough to fit in the schedule right now but I would love to have a tour at some point, if I could find a couple weeks where that would be feasible that is.
I guess we’ll have to see where the cards lay.
Any closing words for your longtime fans and new converts?
I would just say thank for the support! I plan on recording and releasing music for “Becoming the Lion” as long as I can so those who like the things I do will have something new to listen to each year or so!