Beginning in spring 2014, Derrik Schiersing (vocals/guitar) began writing songs around the time his old band broke up. In summer 2014, he ventured to Los Angeles to record an album and bumped into old bandmate Jamie Bigaj. Fast forward several years and you’ll see Lost Like Lions as a foursome after adding bassist Matt Kusmierz and drummer Jim Kaczmarski. We chatted with Derrick Schiersing (DS) about their latest EP The Devil That You Know, future plans and singing in the shower.
OSR: How did the band form?
DS: Lost Like Lions officially became a thing in 2015 with the release of the first EP The Way of the World. It was recorded through the fall of 2014 and officially released in 2015. I started the band as just a solo/side project with the intention of filling out the lineup and playing a few shows. Sadly, life got in the way and we only ended up playing a few shows before stopping.
In the summer of 2018, Jamie (guitarist) and I ran into each other at a show in our hometown and that is where the preliminary discussions started to start playing shows again. Jamie and I had been in a band together for over ten years and Jamie had played the few original Lost Like Lions shows a few years prior. So, it made sense that he become a permanent member.
Ironically, and confusingly, Jamie did not play the first Lost Like Lions show in the fall of 2018; our friend Joey played guitar at that gig and Joey introduced me to Matt (bass) and Jim (drums) a month or so before the October gig. We played the show in October and, after that, Jamie had joined in permanently on guitar. That sounds super confusing so I apologise. *laughs*
OSR: What about the band name? Was it a simple decision or were there disagreements?
DS: I wish I had a better answer for this, but, to be honest, when I started Lost Like Lions it just came together quickly as I wanted to put a name to the side project I had been working on. I wish there was some super cool story behind it, but I just had to put it together and it kind of stuck.
OSR: Can you tell us about your EP The Devil That You Know?
DS: Devil was written over the span of last spring ’til the fall of 2019. We started sprinkling in these songs to our live sets through the end of the year. We started recording the EP in Brooklyn, New York, in the fall and finished up drums and bass in our hometown of Buffalo in February this year. Writing and recording the EP was really fun because it was the first bit of material that we had all written collectively as a band. We had a few more songs that we have been working on/playing out that did not make the EP, but these were definitely three of our favourites.
OSR: Does the EP have a significant meaning for you?
DS: I’ve always loved that phrase and it rings clear on some of the songs on this EP. ‘The Devil that you know’ is essentially something bad, but it’s familiar: you know what you’ve got with it. So, in a sense, it’s better to stick with what is known as opposed to what is unknown. You can apply it to anything in life from a relationship to your job. How often does someone want to quit their job but stays with it because it’s comfortable and familiar? The EP’s opening lines are ‘you could be something else to someone else if you wanted to’ – that was definitely written in direct correlation to ‘the Devil that you know’ phrase.
OSR: What do you hope people take from your music?
DS: I hope when people listen to our songs they feel some sort of connection to it. I think that is always an artist’s intention. I want the songs to get in as many ears as possible and have songs people can relate to. As I’ve gotten older, I have realised that I just want these songs in as many ears as they possibly can get into.
OSR: If you could, would you change anything about the EP and why?
DS: We are all very thrilled with how these songs turned out. It took a little longer than intended to get out there to the world because I feel like I am always second-guessing little bits and pieces of songs. If I could, I would tinker with things and never get a song released. So, at some point, I need to just be like, ‘okay, this is it, this is the mix we are going with’.
Our producer, Chris (Flury) definitely had his fair share of mix bounces needed on these songs and, ironically, usually what we ended up settling on was something that was how it originally sounded earlier on in the process. I guess that just goes to show sometimes I tinker stuff too much and it’s better to just go with your initial reaction to something.
OSR: How do you keep yourself motivated, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdown?
DS: Lockdown was interesting! I was out of work from the end of March ’til the end of May, so two months off was rather interesting. We haven’t been able to practise at all as our practise space all went down, so it’s been a while now. I have a two-year-old daughter, so I watched my fair share of Frozen and Frozen 2.
Musically, it was weird. At first, I didn’t know what to do. Everyone’s routine was just flipped upside down; for me, musically, it seemed to come in spurts throughout the week. I would pick up my guitar and play it a ton. It has definitely resulted in some skeletons of songs that we will hopefully get to turn into a full song at some point.
OSR: Do you think the Covid-19 pandemic will change the future of the music industry?
DS: I think, if there is one thing this whole pandemic has shown us it’s that nothing will ever compare to being at a show and seeing the real live thing. We can all sit and watch virtual shows and full concerts on YouTube, but it will never duplicate the feelings you get from seeing a show live and in person. I think that will be one constant that will never change in the music industry. So many people are missing shows right now, including the musicians who put on those shows.
OSR: What sort of challenges did you face when writing and recording The Devil That You Know?
DS: Honestly, it went incredibly smooth. One of my best friends is our producer so it works well. I get to hang in New York City for a while, hash out some recording, check out some bars and breweries, and then we came home and finished the drums and bass in our hometown of Buffalo. It’s a nice system that works well for us and made this EP incredibly easy to get done.
OSR: What is the worst job you have ever had?
DS: My very first job I was a cashier at a local supermarket here in Buffalo. Easily, my least favourite job ever! I’d cash someone out and be like ‘what?! that only took three minutes?!’ I was 16 so I could only work four-hour shifts. No! *laughs*
OSR: If you weren’t playing music where do you think you’d be?
DS: All of us are pretty set in our lives as far as careers and stuff go. I assume things would not be much different; however, I think after not playing shows for years and stepping away from music in general for a bit I think I can say I appreciate it a whole lot more than I ever have before. There is nothing better than getting that creative outlet that music gives you.
We are very grateful to have a small audience that gives us the time of day. I think we are at the point where we are just grateful to be doing this. We aren’t doing this to be the next ‘big thing’. We aren’t doing this to get signed or to try and make a living off this. There is no pressure, it’s just fun to be able to do this hobby that we love so much. To just have people listening to us is everything we could ever ask for. Being able to have a listener’s ear is definitely something we are very thankful for.
OSR: What does the future hold for Lost Like Lion?
DS: I am pretty sure that we have found out that the exact same system we did for The Devil That You Know is a nice cycle that works very well for us. I dig three-song EPs because I think, in an age where new music is so easily accessible, the smart thing to do is record your best three songs at the moment. The listener has no time for filler, so our grand scheme is a cycle that worked really well for us.
We write songs from the beginning of the year, work out the kinks through live performances through the spring, summer and early fall, and then go and record those songs in the fall/winter. I’m almost positive you’ll see a three-song EP from us yearly because it keeps us going and it allows us to consistently put out new music.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?
DS: If you’ve never heard us before, give us a listen! We’re pretty stoked on this EP that we just put out and hope you will dig a song or two on it.