Killing time

Dayton supergroup Lioness releases Time Killer at Jimmie’s Ladder 11

Nathan Peters (front) and some of the other 10 members of Lioness conquer Jimmie’s Ladder 11 June 24 with Time Killer; photo: Jennifer Taylor

By Josher Lumpkin

There’s a uniqueness to the new Lioness record that could only be achieved by having 11 seasoned musicians in your band. Fronted by Nathan Peters of the much-respected Dayton act Captain of Industry and featuring members of The Motel Beds, Me & Mountains, Shesus, and many others, one should probably include the word “supergroup” when talking about Lioness.

Their new CD, Time Killer, serves up delightfully cheery-yet-dark indie pop with all the fixin’s. The attentive listener will discern the accompaniment of guitar, mandolin, violin, piano, and a chorus of singing female voices all layered beautifully beside Peters’ singing. The result is a sound that, while full, does not spiral into the cacophonic nightmare it surely could with so many musicians playing at the same time. Time Killer could be likened to The New Pornographers doing Beatles numbers, with vocals that are more Peter Gabriel than Lennon or McCartney.

It seems that Time Killer is aptly named, as well.

“We’ve been working on it for about a year,” Peters says.

Dayton City Paper spoke with him and mandolinist Evan Davell at Davell’s home in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Dayton.

“We went in and did 99 percent of the record in an hour and a half,” Peters continues. “After that, it was just post-production and getting everybody’s parts right. We overdubbed a few things, we re-did all the vocals… Each time we tried to book a studio session, it was like one thing or another. Like, we spent almost a whole day just with the violin player.”

When a band with four or five members goes into a recording studio, it’s simple enough to bang out a few tracks. When your band has 11 members, not so much. Fortunately, the professionalism of Micah Carli at Popside Recording Studio in Troy, where Lioness recorded Time Killer, prevented the sessions from becoming the chaotic mess they had the potential to become.

“We had percussion and bass in one room, we had scratch vocals in another room… there were so many members,” Evan Davell recalls. “Nathan, Dave, and I were out in the garage area, and then there were people in the control room. It was wild.”

The crowded session was further complicated by Peters’ idea to record the album live, instead of having each musician record their part separately, and later piece the recording together.

“I wanted to do it all in one room,” Peters says. “We set up everything that way, and Micah sound-checked everything, and he was like, ‘This is not gonna work.’ So he didn’t let us just destroy what we wanted to do. He was like, ‘Let’s see if we can work it out a better way.’ The set-up was the extraordinary part of that session.”

Though the songs on Time Killer reflect many different feelings and experiences, Peters and Davell agree that there is an overarching theme to the record.

“Change and growth,” Davell says. “New beginnings.”

“I’ve gone through a rough couple of years,” says Peters, who wrote all of the songs on Time Killer. “I’m kinda getting out of that right now, and this band has definitely been a saving point for me, as far as keeping my sanity.”

How does Lioness plan anything with 11 members? How could they possibly coordinate the schedules of that many busy adults? Peters and Davell say the band relies on the app Slack to communicate and make decisions. They also say the orchestral disposition of the band lends itself well to stripped down versions of songs.

“Every member doesn’t have to be there,” Davell says. “We did a thing for singer-songwriter night that was just Nathan and I—me on mandolin and him on guitar and vocals—and that sounded great, too. It was fun. So Lioness is a very adaptable and mutable kind of band.”

The CD release party for Time Killer is going down at Jimmie’s Ladder 11, the bar where Lioness played their first gig.

“It kind of feels like a full circle thing,” Peters says. “We’ve had a year where we’ve just played a couple of shows. It’s been nice because we’ve been exclusively saying ‘yes’ to stuff that we know is going to be awesome. We can be selective because we came out punchin’ the first show; we showed Dayton what was up.”

There’s something to be said about leaving your fans wanting more.

“I think it’s something different to have an expectation of seeing a band and understanding that they’re gonna be good,” Peters says. “They’re gonna put a lot of effort into performing and putting on a really, really good show, and you’re not gonna be able to see them for a while.”

Lioness plays Saturday, June 24 at Jimmie’s Ladder 11, 936 Brown St. in Dayton. Happy Chichester, Pseudo, and Etch are also on the bill. Admission is $7 for patrons 18 and up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, please visit LionessDayton.BandCamp.com.

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Josher Lumpkin
Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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