Chicago-area based synth pop group, We Are Leo has been busy gearing up for their debut album on Dream Records, titled Fightback Soundtrack. The album drops on October 14, 2013. Preceding the release of the album is the lead single "You're the Best Thing." After selling 12,000 copies of their debut album on their own, they have signed on to the enterprising DREAM Records (Satellites and Sirens, Loftland, and Cindy Cruse Ratcliff). On their sophomore album, the band continues to evolve their sound and push the songs to have an even grander, epic pop sound than before.
We are so honored to catch up with David Duffield of We Are Leo for this exclusive Hallels' interview:
Hallels: Thank you for your time. Let's start with the most obvious, can you explain for us the name of the band "We are Leo""?
We are Leo is basically about our aspiration to be a community of faith who live strong in The Lord with lives reflecting His Courage and Bravery. Leo is Latin for lion, & the name is all about taking that journey together to become lionhearted overcoming fears and living by faith.
Hallels: For some of our readers who may not be familiar with you, can you tell us a little about your journey. How did the band start?
WAO started in my (David) spare room with a keyboard and a MacBook and a heart full of songs that we're pounding thru my head and heart keeping me up at night. Then it was up early to work at Starbucks for 8 hours and back to music when we got off. We did about 3 years of this. Writing a song then rushing to the internet to figure out how record it and share it on myspace. We built a makeshift studio in my garage where we recorded a demo cd and burned copies to share with all our friends. We knew that we had been given these songs and we wanted to do everything possible to share them with the world. Then it was all about finding the right people. Then band started with The brothers, me and Jonny. The strength of that relationship and shared vision has been a huge reason why we've been able to keep rocking for the long-haul. Later we discovered the incredible playing of Doug who is killer at guitars and has evolved into a force as a producer and programmer. The last piece of the puzzle was finding Andrew our other vocalist, bassist, musician and all around big hearted guy when we played a show at a youth group In Detroit where he was serving as a worship leader.
Moving forward as a team We got a huge boost from Ben Kasica who discovered our band and proceeded to produce our 1st studio record HELLO which introduced us to the music industry. Two years later We won the Christian Festival association's new artist contest in 2012 which propelled us to an unforgettable summer at more than 14 festivals. Following that summer we had a blast rocking on the Acquire the Fire tour and after being an indie band for 7 years we finally signed with Dream Records in spring of 2014. We've been in the studio on and off for about 8months now and just got out a few weeks ago. We're super excited for everyone to hear what we've been working on.
Hallels: Congratulations on the forthcoming release of "Fightback Soundtrack." What does the title mean?
Thanks for asking.
If our lives were a movie, then this record would be the soundtrack that's playing reminding us to be brave courageous and to be strong in The Lord and fight the fight of faith. Also, ....it sounded cool.
Hallels: How would you describe your sound?
Our music sounds like a Phoenix sharpening it's claws on the Rocky Mountains. On a serious note though it sounds like Bill and Ted's excellent adventure but with Key-tars. Musically the best way to describe what we have going on is a New Wave Throwback. So like we all came from a background of listening to pop punk but then as we got older i got into 80s inspired synths and then just added our own artistic eclectic mix of individual influences including the bandwidth of Dance Pop beats and basses.
We've never approached music from a genre stand point like: "oh, what kinda of band should we be?" We've always approached from the point of view that we love great songs and we just wanna make each and every song totes awesome and so we're doing whatever we can as musicians to take it there.
Hallels: I really love your new single "You're the Best Thing." For some of our readers who have not heard it yet, can you tell us what the song's about?
I can have a tendency to only see what's wrong with the world at times. I've fought thru loneliness & depression and trying to figure what the meaning of life is.
We live here in midst of a beautiful, broken world w/ people checking their Facebook in traffic & at stoplights. As humans we are trying to find a way to believe that true love is real, find a job and place to belong and hoping that we can get everything we need to be happy.
And in the midst of it all, Jesus is knocking at our hearts saying. I AM THE LIFE. I'm Truth. The way to get to a life that really matters, is me.
And so we hear Jesus knocking, and we look up from my iPhone and remember oh yeah, i remember God. I remember his love. I remember how he changed my life. That was awesome.
For me this song is about coming back to that truth, That He is the best thing. That His love is better than Life. I want people to hear this song and remember their journey thru whatever darkness they've face and even though we're not to the end yet, we have this chance to celebrated new life.
Hallels: If you have to pick two songs on the new record that you are most excited about, which would they be? And why?
I'd probs say:
I feel amazing when I listen to these songs and I remember why I love music and love God and that life is beautiful.
Yours4sure sounds like flying over the ocean at sunset. It's a perfect mix of pop, rock & electronic music.
Feels like the most We AreLeo song that we've ever written, and talks about life and love and God and dance music and touring and hope and just really feels like flying: I love feeling that way.
FIGHTBACK just came out perfect. The words, the feel, the music. You can really hear the mix of all the people involved from the almost disco style drums that producer Geoff Duncan inspired Jonny to played, my vocals & shimmering arps. Doug's funky guitar lines and Andrew's delivery a hugely wide mesmerizingly smooth background vocal track. The song makes me feel brave and reminds me what it true.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase "Fightback Soundtrack" or find out more about you, where can they go?
Check out our Facebook, iTunes or go to fightbacksoundtrack.com
Thanks for having us guys! All the best to you.