If you read the interview with The LION’s Benjamin Scheuer, you’ll remember his new album, Songs From the Lion was set to be released soon. Well…you’re in luck! It’s finally here! And in celebration, we’ve given you a quick interview to read while you gear up for your singalong.
MS: Why did you decide to put your story on the stage? Why not, say, release an album instead?
BS: Well, I have made THE LION into an album; it’s called “Songs from THE LION.” It comes out June 3rd 2016. I made the record with producer Geoff Kraly, who’s an extraordinary collaborator, and lots of other marvelous musicians with whom I’ve always wanted to work. Josh Freese, drummer from the band Nine Inch Nails, played on the songs “Saint Rick,” “Lovin’ You Will Be Easy,” and “When We Get Big.” The album doesn’t always sound like the show. And the songs are in a different order. Some pieces of music are cut. Some lyrics are changed. The reason I made these chances is the album exists as its own piece of art in its own medium. Geoff is a masterful record-maker, and making records with him is a joy.
Similarly, I like animated music videos. I think they’re cool, and a great way to tell stories. London based director/animator Peter Baynton is a brilliant fellow. He made an animated video for my song “The Lion” using cardboard-cutout stop-motion animation. We’ve since made three more music videos: for the songs “Cookie-tin Banjo,” “Weather The Storm,” and “Cure.” All three songs are on the album “Songs from THE LION.” These four music videos Peter and I made are all quite different in visual tone, though “Cure” is certainly the outlier of the four. This video [released last week] uses black and white stop-motion photography, and will ultimately match the tone of the photos taken by Riya for the book “Between Two Spaces.”
MS: Has writing and performing The Lion changed your view of your own story at all?
BS: I’ve gotten to know my father better by writing this show. Writing the song “Dear Dad” required me to change the way I had been feeling. “I’ve carried all this guilt with me/now it’s time to set it free.” I really felt that. I had felt responsible for my father’s death, since he died when I was 13 and I felt I had stressed him out. Now of course I wasn’t responsible, but I needed to give myself permission to let that guilt go. To forgive myself of that burden.
MS: Are you working on anything new right now?
BS: Always! I’m working on a new music video for the song “Golden Castle Town”, which should be out by fall 2016, when “Songs from THE LION” will be released on vinyl. I’m writing a new musical for the stage with the playwright Martyna Majok; this is a commission by the Williamstown Theatre Festival. I’m putting together a new album of songs.
Buy Songs From the Lion here, and stay tuned for more awesome writing from Benjamin Scheuer!