Facedown Records is a Christian label known for producing some of the best heavier faith-based bands in recent memory, such as Sleeping Giant and For Today -- both who are still touring successfully today. I had the chance to chat with Lazarus Rios, lead vocalist for newly signed band Leaders, from Hollister, CA. We talked about their beginnings, their debut album "Now We Are Free", among other things.
"Now We Are Free" comes out on March 27th, 2012; you can pre-order it here.
First off, how are you today?
Great man just enjoying my Wednesday evening with some awesome Youtube videos!
Leaders is a fairly new band; can you give me a background on how the band started?
Well, we started back in 2007 under the name ALLORNOTHING. A group of us guys just wanting to play music and get our message of Christ across. We went through member changes, and started writing new jams during 2010 and 2011, and now here we are.
It was a long hard road with all the member changes that happened. There were times where I almost wanted to give up on all of it, but God had other plans and never let that happen. I stuck it out and worked hard and it was all worth it, with God anything is possible!
From what I understand, Leaders signed straight to Facedown, as opposed to the traditional method of working your way up through their feeder sub-label, Strike-First. Correct?
Yes, that is correct.
Let’s talk about your debut album that comes on March 27th – Now We Are Free. What’s the significance behind the album title, and how does it tie in with the album art?
Yes, we are very excited about the release and hope that you all pre-order it or plan on picking it up when it's released! Now We Are Free is about knowing that you can leave the past behind, including all the things of this world that had a hold on you -- with the power of God. The album art was captured greatly by Dave Quiggle, it came out amazing!
There’s two lyric videos currently out right now – one for “Conviction”, and “Real”. Can you give us a detailed background behind each of these tracks?
Well, "Conviction" is about running from your call that God has on your life, but still having a sense of knowing that it's wrong to run from it...because he will always find you. In the end, he always reminds us of how much we mean to him.
The song "Real" is about spiritual attacks I've had from demons. It's about how they will try and put fear in you when you are the most vulnerable, which is when you are at your lowest. As always though, in the end God will come out on top. Just keep fighting and pushing forward, never give up.
I’m seeing comparisons to Lionheart and Advent in response to these songs – that being said, what were you listening to on heavy rotation when writing and recording this album?
A lot of different bands, that's for sure! I've listened to alot more hardcore then anything, but some examples are: Hatebreed, Lionheart, Down to Nothing, Periphery, In The Midst of Lions.
What was the most significant challenge when writing this album?
Honestly, the distance between our drummer and the rest of the band; he lived about 2 hours away from us while we wrote the album. With that being said, we did everything through email and a few weeks before the studio we all got to sit down together and work everything out.
Facedown Fest is coming up in the first week of April in California – what can you tell us about that?
Well, it's going to be an awesome festival and great time for us to meet all the Facedown Family and see great bands such as Gideon and Hands! We are definitely looking forward to it. You can get tickets here at facedownfest.com, they have great bundles available for fans.
I remember you being a part of “The Whosoevers”, a group founded by P.O.D. vocalist Sonny Sandoval. Can you explain what that groups all about, and if you’re still associated with them or not?
Yes, we are still associated with The Whosoevers! It's such a great thing to be a part of, we're all blessed to be involved. We actually just got to catch up with Ryan Ries, the co-founder a few weeks ago, and it's awesome what they have going on right now. It's a group of Christians that are out of the ordinary, and are radically reaching out to people just like them to let them know that there is a God in heaven who loves them so much. You can find out more at their website, thewhosoevers.com.
What’s one book and one band that you’d recommend to anyone that listens to Leaders?
I'm not sure if I could give a good book recommendation, but I can definitely recommend two bands: In The Midst of Lions, and A Hope For Home.
In The Midst of Lions is great because musically, they're mind-blowing with the shredding abilities they have, not to mention they are really great friends of ours. We actually had the opportunity to tour with them on their first tour ever. Be sure and check out their current album, Shadows.
As for A Hope For Home, I like them because they are good guys that make music you can emotionally connect with. I never get tired of listening to their latest album, In Abstraction.
What’s next for Leaders in 2012?
Well, we plan on touring as much as possible this year. We are heading out the weekend after Facedown Fest for our first tour as Leaders -- Redeemer and Darasuum are with us on this tour. We are excited for our future with Facedown Records, we know that we are in great hands!
Anything else to add?
Just be sure to support all the amazing bands on Facedown and Strikefirst this year! We look forward to meeting all of you guys on the road!