The Lion The Bear The Fox get asked about their name a lot.
“I got to start giving out other people’s phone numbers for that question,” said Ryan McMahon (the fox). “The story with the name is that it’s very indicative of all of our personalities.”
He describes bandmate Cory Woodward as “cuddly and loveable like a bear,” and Christopher Arruda, who sports a lion tattoo on his chest, as “ferocious like a lion.”
“And I’m kind of a smart ass little fox,” McMahon said. “It’s funny because I never associated myself singularly with it, but when people meet us it’s kind of obvious who’s who. It was pretty obvious to us as well.”
The three respective spirit animals represent not only their personalities, but the joining of three unique and distinct musical forces, harkening to the origins of The Lion The Bear The Fox. The band formed after the three were going through band break ups, the ups and downs of the music industry in B.C. and working as solo acts.
“We were just kind of spinning our wheels and barely making a living at it,” McMahon said.
A fan of Woodward and Arruda’s work, McMahon invited them on a tour of Western Canada in 2012.
“We basically did these campfire shows, singing everything short of Kumbaya, just without the fire,” McMahon said.
The headliner would rotate from show to show, it ended up being a perfect fit when all was said and done.
“By the time we got back to the Kelowna/Vancouver shows everybody was singing on everybody’s material. It was a real natural, accidental, organic process and the friendships happened very easily. We’d all been through the same struggle, the trials and tribulations of the Canadian music industry, there’s a lot of relatability there.”
As time went by, The Lion The Bear The Fox went from being three strong personalities to meshing together as a band and a unit, after a bit of an adjustment period.
“Now it’s really a band, like a real unified thing. As opposed to the first year, and even the first tour and the first record, it was very ‘OK now it’s my turn to sing lead,’ and the other guys would be way in the back as terms of how the song was played live,” McMahon said. “As time goes on it’s now a true, democratic band as opposed to before.”
The Lion The Bear The Fox are currently mixing their full-length, self-titled album aiming to be released in fall 2016 working with Vancouver-based producer Nygel Asselin, who has worked on projects like Half Moon Run’s Dark Eyes and Mother Mother’s Sticks.
“It’s tricky there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen. Yes we’re a band, but we’re made up of three different solo artists we kind of have different ideas of how things should be and go, and Nygel did an A1 job of steering the ship making sure we had final say and serving the song as best we could,” McMahon said.
The follow up to their debut EP We’d Be Good Men, released in 2013, the changes in the band’s approach to the unreleased self-titled album may only be noticed by the keenest of fans, but McMahon said it’s not a huge departure.
“The people who already follow us are going to see a change, but I think they are going to be able to go on the journey with us. I think it’s a definite step forward,” McMahon said.
Some of the band members, in their 30s, are fathers now and their songwriting has changed along with their lives.
“It’s definitely going to be more accessible to new fans as well, and that was the goal, getting your music in as many ears as possible,” McMahon said.
The Lion The Bear The Fox come to the Dream Café April 9. Tickets are $18 and available by calling 250-490-9012.