Although you’ll want to lose your religion to Daniel and the Lion, no Gideon bible is necessary as you listen to their sweet tunes full of hope and the vulnerability of raw human emotion.

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Sometimes a band name like Daniel and the Lion is just cool for coolness’ sake with no intentions of referencing any biblical story. (Could you blame them? After all, it’s a pretty kick ass name if you ask us.) With two of the raddest dudes in the biz, Jimmie Linville and Daniel Pingrey, their music is full of various life themes, which make us feel so personally connected to one another. In a way, they seem to suggest that, after all, the world is an incredibly small place, and if we really look close enough, our lives are interconnected on so many levels because we feel and seek the same emotions as every other human being alive today. Emotions are everywhere, guys… With that in mind, as we at SHK listened to their recent EP, Final Night, we couldn’t help but share with you what we found out makes them tick as artists (as well as their rad-ass impromptu cover of Bon Iver’s “Holocene.”) — MEGHAN FARNSWORTH

SO I FOUND YOUR BAND ON YOUTUBE COVERING BON IVER.

Right! That video just went over 100,000 views. Pretty cool!

HOW’D THAT VIDEO COME TO BE? WHERE WERE YOU GUYS?

We were in Eau Claire on tour, where we played a little tea shop across the street. Afterwards, when we were packing up the marimba, we realized the street sounded really resonant and vibe-y. Daniel started playing what you hear in the video, and then I just started singing. Our tour manager grabbed the camera and started filming. Then Ross, a local guy who heard us from his apartment across the street, joined in. It was very natural and clearly a bit magical. We’ve gotten way more views on that video than we have on our others, I think.

YEAH, THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT IT THAT IS SUPER EMOTIONAL, AND YOUR VOICE IS AMAZING AND QUITE HIGH LIKE JUSTIN VERNON. HOW’D YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME DANIEL AND THE LION?

Well, Daniel is Daniel, and then there’s the lion thing… I don’t know. I just didn’t want my name in the band, and Daniel and the Lion had a ring about it. I get asked about its meaning a lot though, and I should have a better answer. I could say “I’m the lion,” but that’s not really true. It’s just a name that wasn’t already taken, and those things are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

WHO WRITES YOUR ORIGINAL SONGS, AND ARE THERE ANY LITERARY INFLUENCES INVOLVED? ALSO…NO BIBLICAL REFERENCE IN THE NAME, THEN?

We’re not making a biblical allusion, no, though I am aware of the story.  I write the lyrics and, Daniel and I work on the music together. Our band is also very relevant in the process, and they write their own parts. The records are a team process. As for literary influences — do you mean novels I’ve read, which inspire our musical or lyrical style, or that have inspired me in general?

YES! ANY LITERARY WRITERS OR NOVELS THAT HELP IN THE WRITING PROCESS. FOR SOME REASON I FEEL A LITERARY CONNECTION, BUT I MIGHT BE CRAZY… 

Well, there are a lot of writers and poets I like. I  like H. G. Wells, because he’s imaginative and conversational. . I suppose those are both very important in music, lyrics. But usually lyrics sort of spring forth without coaxing or help. It’s lucky — I wouldn’t know what to do otherwise.

HOW DID YOU AND DANIEL MEET? ALSO, DOES DANIEL ALWAYS GO BY HIS FULL NAME?

Yeah, he’s always Daniel. we met in high school actually, in a little town called Baraboo, WI. I went over to his house and played Halo with him. He was a music kid, and I hung out with some of the weirdos in Phox, so we weren’t all that close until after high school, when we started playing music together. That was in… 2006. We’ve been playing together since!

(By the way, weirdos is a term of endearment.)

I GET IT! I SOMETIMES CALL MY FRIENDS THAT, AND I’M NEVER QUITE SURE IF THEY LIKE IT OR NOT… ANYWAYS, THAT’S AWESOME! SO WHAT KIND OF MUSIC WAS DANIEL INTO, AND WHAT MADE YOU GUYS WANT TO START MAKING TUNES TOGETHER?

He mostly listened to classical and world music. I listened to basically anything that wasn’t that. Except jazz. Neither of us were into jazz. I had written some songs, and he liked them, so we just started playing together. It was comfortable.

WHO STARTED PLAYING WHAT — PIANO, DRUMS, VOICE, ETC.? ALSO, WHO WERE YOUR GUYS’ MAIN MUSICAL INFLUENCES AT FIRST, AND HAVE THEY CHANGED SINCE YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN TOGETHER AS A BAND?

Well I play guitars, acoustic mostly, and Daniel plays everything else. He was a music kid growing up, went to college for percussion performance, so he really does play almost everything. Our main influence is Elon Musk. Dude seems to know what he’s doing.

WAIT…ELON MUSK THE INVENTOR?

The inventor, yes. Big influence.

IN WHAT WAYS? MUSICALLY OR LYRICALLY?

Neither… I don’t know. I suppose I always wanted to go to Mars.

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IS THAT MAYBE WHY THE COVER ART FOR FINAL NIGHT SEEMS KIND OF SPACE-ORIENTED? 

Final Night was released in the summer of 2013, and I think I chose the image of the Earth because it had significance in relation to the lyrics of the title track as well as the dotted lines on the album art.

WHAT WAS THE CHOICE BEHIND THE TITLE “FINAL NIGHT?” HOW DID THAT IDEA OF EVERYTHING FINAL OR “THINGS ENDING FOREVER” PLAY INTO YOUR CONCEPT OF THE LYRICS? WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT LOVE MAYBE?

The song is certainly about the death of love among other things.

WAS THE SONG AN EXTENSION OF SOMETHING THAT WAS HAPPENING IN YOUR LIFE AT THE TIME?

No, actually the songs almost always come out long before or after they’re relevant in my life. It’s strange.

Ray Charles Cover ” Hallelujah I Love Her So”

FOR THE SONG “NO GHOST,” WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CALL IT THAT?

That song is very abstract and implicit. There are themes of journey, religion, loss and fate.

IN A SENSE, YOU HAVE NO REGRETS?

There’s definitely an element of that.

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