Free Flow

Hounds Before Lions tweak their sound for new album

Tyler Henderson

Since releasing their debut EP last April, the members of local indie rock group Hounds Before Lions have barely skipped a beat, immediately recording their first full-length album – out on Nov. 8.

The self-titled album features Sam Clark on guitar and vocals, Rick Haneman on drums, and Andrew Bocher on keys. The three met at UW-Eau Claire, where they all study music. Haneman sees that musically structured background as the main reason that the group makes music together. “It’s a different creative outlet,” Haneman said. “We all play classical music and stuff, and I guess when we are playing this music it’s completely different.”

The trio began playing together in 2012 as an “ambient and acoustic” type of group. “(Andrew) just plays a simple chord progression, then Rick throws some drums on and I just take a few notes and add to the progression. It’s just a lot of layers,” Clark said.

They’ve recently displayed their atmospheric music at venues such as the House of Rock, The Cabin and even their own living room in the house where the three live together, hosting “Hudson House” shows in which they and other local musicians perform. “We just vary our songs based on the venue,” Clark said. “It’s really cool to be able to do, and know how to do that.”

Clark also says that their sound has quickly shifted into rock and groove as they have begun to “feel out the music,” giving their new album some fresh ideas. “This (album) grooves harder,” he said. “Still not super in-your-face, but there’s more of a pulse and rhythm behind it. Less ambient, more straight ahead.”

“Everything has a different feel,” Haneman added. “I even play a reggae beat on some tracks. Some tracks I just play floor toms, other tracks I just play a rim click on the side of the tom. You never know, that’s the best part about it.”

The free-flowing approach can still be found on the new album, however, and Clark thinks that their new sense of musical style makes the new album something that anyone can relate to. “There’s really something for everyone,” he said. “The whole album isn’t necessarily going to cater to everyone, but I think a lot of people will at least find something they like.”

“Just lend a courteous ear to this album,” Clark added with a smile.

You can find Hounds Before Lions’ first EP and single at now, and their debut album there on Nov. 8.