Judah & the Lion at Bonnaroo (Interview)

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Folk-hop rockers Judah & the Lion performed at Bonnaroo this year.

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So photographer Mallory Turner shot some live pics while Free Bike Valet asked drummer Spencer Cross some questions.

You’ve never played Bonnaroo before. What do you expect from the experience?

“Judah [Akers], Nate [Zuercher], and Brian [Macdonald] have all been before as volunteers and attendees and have talked to me nonstop about what an incredible experience it is –the sweat, the mud, the long hours, the new music you discover. It’s such a bonding experience. As a first-timer, I’m stoked to be able to experience both as an attendee: camping and seeing as many shows as possible. And as an artist, playing Bonnaroo is definitely on our band’s bucket list. So it’s incredibly humbling to see this dream come into fruition.”

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As a Nashville-based band, how does it feel to represent Tennessee at Bonnaroo?

“We’re always proud to represent Tennessee wherever we go and Bonnaroo is no exception. Knowing that there’s so many people here that have traveled far and wide to get a taste of Tennessee and hear some music that is influenced by living and growing up here, it’s an honor that we get to represent that to people.”

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What do you want your audience to experience during your set?

“We just want people to let go and have a blast. We feel like this is the perfect place to let loose so get ready to go crazy. We’re playing songs from our new album and older songs as well but all focused around the audience having the best time possible. Be ready for some surprises too!”

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What’s the story behind the title of your new album Folk Hop N’ Roll?

“The four of us have a myriad of influences. We draw inspiration from hip-hop, bluegrass, and punk rock. You name it, we listen to it. So we just didn’t want to hide our influences on this album. We wanted to break down any limitations and barriers we or anyone else had set on our music. We think the title does a good job of explaining this quest.”

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How did you find your producer Dave Cobb?

“We first met Dave when he mixed our Sweet Tennessee EP and then decided to do a whole album with him for our debut Kids These Days. We love the way Dave pushes us and his work flow. It can be challenging but he ultimately pushes to be our best possible self. We wanted to work with him again on FH&R because we knew he would be able to help us achieve the vision we had and we love working with him. He’s a beast.”

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You’ve toured with talented artists such as Mat Kearney and Parachute. What makes a good tourmate?

“Being able to hang well honestly. There’s only a short amount of time you’re actually on stage but there’s 23 other hours in the day so being able to get along with people is key. We’ve been fortunate to tour with not only talented artists but incredible people. People like Mat Kearney and Ben Rector who will take the time to get to know us, take us under their wing, and also attempt to take us on in a game of Spikeball!”

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What can you tell us about your next release?

“We’re in the very, very early stages right now. We have some down time this summer so we’ll spend some time writing and dreaming. I don’t know exactly what the next album holds but I can promise that we won’t ever stop pushing ourselves so we’re excited to see what songs arise as we continue on this journey.”

Mallory Turner: Website, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr

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