After being together since childhood, Made Them Lions has released their first self titled album. Their sound is a mixture of influences from rock, pop and reggae. The Piston isn’t the biggest venue to play in, but its an intimate environment to watch your favourite band perform. Much like talented acts as Sam Smith and Adele, the band sounds better when you hear them live. Lead vocalist Mike Valletta has a strong soulful voice that verberates across the room, which he shows off during their cover of Smith’s Stay With Me. They have high energy and can be very good at getting the audience going. The show was a short one, but ended on a strong note. Made Them Lions has high ambitions and together as a whole they seem to be on the right path. We caught up with Valletta prior to the show to talk about how the band came to be, and what their inspirations are.
How did you guys come together to form Made Them Lions?
I’ve know the guitarists Matthew and Jeffrey since we were about six years old. We grew up together on the same street in Laval. We just started a band when we were 13 years old and we just kept it going.
Who do you look up to musically?
For me personally its a lot of the old soul singers, a lot of motown and a lot of rhythm and blues. I think for each guy it’s kind of different, for Jono our bassist, he studies jazz. We really like bands like The Police, because we have a reggae influence in our music. We have a rock aspect as well and look up to bands like Kings of Leon.
I like a lot of of classics like Bachman-Turner Overdrive and folk like Simon and Garfunkel.
What’s your inspiration behind the album?
Part of it is what are name stands for and it’s pretty much the struggle that we went through as a group over the past 5 or 6 years that shaped us as people that inspired us to write a lot of the songs. The album is a positive album that talks about rising up and finding your inner strength when you need it the most. Its inspired by the life we were living before and during the time that we wrote it. To sum it up in a nutshell its the difference between have a struggle and then a triumph.
You covered Sam Smith and Mariah Carey. Who else would you like to cover?
One of the artists that I have been obsessed with for awhile and now more than ever is Fleetwood Mac. I have a vinyl player at home and play them at home. Its just such beautiful music and I’ve always wanted to do a cover of Landslide.
What’s your bands biggest struggle?
We are positive guys. Made Them Lions means we became stronger, so that’s what we stand for. So the struggles that we had, we don’t like to dwell on them. Specifically we had differences with girlfriends, love stories, stuff like that which is a big one. As well as in the industry. We had different labels in the past, different representation and we had a really rough time. Some of our old members quit the band a while back. The way things happened, it was just tough.
What are your fears and how do you deal with them?
I’m going to chose to be very honest about this. The state of the environment. That’s a big worry for me, for my children, their children and our future generations. And also very important to me is the quality of food. There are companies out there that are adding a lot of different chemicals to our food that shouldn’t be, but they are, and that worries me. So quality of food and the environment, which is just the tip of the iceberg for me.
We support of lot environmental causes.
You do a lot of shows in Ontario and Quebec. Do you see yourself touring other places?Absolutely. Our ultimate goal is to tour the world. We would love to go to Europe and the United States as well. Our priority is Canada, we really want to tour the entire country all the way to the west coast and back. We are in the process of planning and booking that right now.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Touring Europe and the United States. I would like to have a few songs out on the radio across North America and in Europe as well and Australia too. We have a reggae vibe and they like reggae out there.
Do you believe social media is an effective way to promote yourself?
Yes. The way I see it, its like 1970’s equivalent of going door to door and giving each person a pamphlet about the band. You can knock on someone’s virtual door, their facebook page, and give them a pamphlet. You can send them a link about your band and expose yourself to new audiences that way. Its a great luxury of modern times.
What are your pet peeves in the music industry?
I think that artists should be fairly compensated for streaming services. Streaming services now offer really horrible rates. There are countries like Japan that are way ahead of the curve. They’re rates amazing compared to North America.
April Fool’s was recently. Did you guys play any good tricks on each other?
I played a trick on our guitarist. We did a double trick. It was a reverse psychology trick. We told him that we were going to France in June, to play this big festival, which was actually true. So he got all excited about it until we told him it was an April Fool’s joke. Then he was like ‘you assholes!’ Then we were like just kidding, we’re actually going!
Watch their latest single for “Forgotten How To Dream” below!