Have you ever been lucky enough to be introduced to a band just before they catapult into a meteoric rise to superstardom? That is how I felt upon being introduced to As Lions, the hard rock five some making huge waves in their home country of England and abroad. Their newly released full length record ‘Selfish Age’ boasts an armful of melodic, memorable songs that will burrow their way into your brain. Most notably is the title track, which I am not ashamed to say I played 7 times in a row following my first listen. (Ok, so it was more like 15. Don’t judge me.) Therefore, when Chimera Magazine had the opportunity to interview lead singer Austin Dickinson, I dramatically volunteered as tribune so fast it would make Linda Blair’s head spin at twice the normal speed of velocity. Granted, this was the day after the band played to a sold out show in Syracuse, however Austin was the consummate professional, ready to chat about the band’s new album, their videos, and what they mean to the band.
Right off the bat I had to ask about my favorite song, “Selfish Age,” which focuses on the present day obsession with wanting more and more, but continuing to find yourself empty even after obtainment. When asked if this interpretation was accurate, Austin agreed, stating that “it’s a song about materialism, and trying to fill the void of who we are and what we want. It’s about being the sum of who you are, rather than what you have.” Reawakening the inner and seeking solace in reflection is a theme that plays heavily throughout the album. The video for the track “Aftermath” is another excellent example of this. Although it takes place post-apocalypse, the imagery of a man rescuing a scared young boy from a mound of rubble, could be from any place, at any time. “Lyrically this song is about dealing with destruction, and finding a way out,” Austin tells Chimera. The video was actually the suggestion of the director, and serves as a literal interpretation. However, the lyrics are more open ended.” Dickinson also tells us that despite the serious tone of the video, the behind the scenes shoot would reflect a drastically different atmosphere. “Yeah, the kid in the video was actually the director’s son!” he says with a laugh, stating that while the boy looks somber on camera, he had a blast at the shoot.
Unlike “Aftermath,” the stunning video for “One by One,” is more ambiguous, using heavy symbolism to drive their emotions home. “This one is really personal to me,” Austin says. “Because of that we wanted to keep the video loose. Balance was the director’s idea, and although we didn’t have time to shoot the narrative, the (contemporary) dancer choreographed her dance, and the result was a beautiful job.” He also states that the song is about “stepping back into yourself,” and finding yourself after dark moments.
Another song that is deeply close to Dickinson’s heart is the epic rock ballad “World on Fire,” which the band also recorded live for their YouTube channel. Although they sadly did not play this track at their Syracuse show when I attended, the As Lions singer declares it his “favorite song to play live,” followed by “The Great Escape.”
It was an absolute honor not only to be able to interview Austin, but to see the explosive As Lions perform live. Their album is climbing the charts, and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s because of the quality of the record, the talent of the band, their captivating live performances, and their genuine, authentic, and poignant lyrics. Trust me when I say, this band is one to watch, because they are something real in what they’ve sadly but accurately dubbed ‘The Selfish Age.’