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Born Lion: Not-So-Little Lion Men

Photo by Sandra Markovic.

Not five seconds of summer, nor fifteen minutes of fame: Sydney’s Born Lion are here for the long run, as bassist Nathan Mulholland explains to BLUNT.

In the eyes of many, Sydney rock quartet Born Lion had an enviable and swift ascension through the ranks – radio support for singles, a spot on Soundwave and numerous other choice supports, not least of which being The Bronx, whose influence on the band is unmissable.

Given the hype and the hoopla, it’s a little strange that it took so long for their debut album, Final Words, to arrive, courtesy of FOUR|FOUR. Despite the title, Nathan Mulholland assures us the band are far from done, and that’s what caused the delay.

“We really worked hard on striking a balance between sustainability as a band and striking while the iron is hot. There’s no point chasing all this hype if it burns everyone out and we end up like, ‘Fuck, I just don’t want to do it anymore’.

“Regardless of the radio play, or the people who wanted to see more from us, if that had of burnt us out – which it had the potential to do because of the age we are, you know, we’re all in our 30s; we’re not living like 20-year-olds anymore. Pulling everything back I think really helped for us, and it shows on the album. I think that we managed to get 11 songs across the board that I feel are all really great songs.”

Those songs were recorded in bursts with engineer and producer Dave Hammer at his Def Wolf Studios where comparable noisemakers Gay Paris, Glitter Canyon, and Hell City Glamours have all previously worked.

“There’s no point chasing all this hype if it burns everyone out and we end up like, ‘Fuck, I just don’t want to do it anymore’.”


Mulholland cut his teeth in Town Hall Steps – “Who doesn’t remember Town Hall Steps? It’ll haunt me forever,” he jokes – and learned a thing or two about how not to tour sustainably in the process.

“We went on tour with Avril Lavigne and Hilary Duff and Simple Plan – it was a big pop thing. Like 5 Seconds Of Summer before 5 Seconds Of Summer happened, on a much, much smaller scale. After that I played in a band called Kiai Academy and again we were just gung-ho about everything. I just thought it was all about killing yourself on the road – that that was how bands did it, just going for as long as you could until everything broke down and your life no longer worked anymore. I honestly thought that’s what being in a band was about, so I just did it that way. We slept in airports, vans, and in the Adelaide University annexe once. It’s still how it’s done with some bands, but as you start to get older that sustainability element becomes a factor – we don’t want our bodies breaking down so much, the other guys in the bands have kids… We would rather still be a band in five, maybe 10 years than have this flash of doing everything and then it going away. This band’s sustainability is really important.”

Some things, like pop-punk support slots, never change: the day after Final Words hit the shelves, the band embarked on a national tour supporting Yellowcard. “I’m making all my high school friends jealous,” laughs Mulholland. Other things just get a little more grown up. “I was stoked – we got offered it the night before my wedding, so I was up and we had a conference call with the all the guys in the band and I was excited to get offered these shows with what’s now like a big stadium rock band.”

Final Words is out now through FOUR|FOUR.

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