Recently, I had the chance to sit down with local Miramichi artist Taylor Sheasgreen and Kortni Nicols, two of the founding members of the rock and roll group Lionsault. A kick- ass band that delivers hard-hitting distorted guitar and rage fueled vocals with effortless and passionate drum beats. Lionsault is blasting over local airwaves and social media.
I was invited over to Taylor Sheasgreen house to conduct the interview, upon my arrival I was greeted by Kortni and Taylor and was welcomed inside. We sat around the kitchen table and just caught up on the passing years before we conducted the interview.
With a name like Lionsault, they have been constantly asked what the meaning behind the name is and it’s very simple answer.
Kortni: “It’s a wrestling move by Chris Jericho, I’m waiting for the day, Chris Jericho serves us a fucking lawsuit..it’s either that or he’s going to ask us to open up for Fozzie!”
After we shared a laugh, Taylor and Kortni informed me that they were just a cover band. Before they were known as Lionsault.
Taylor: “we’ve been playing together for 8 years, around 2009. But Lionsault, us writing music and making our own stuff, was almost 2 years ago”
Kortni: “June 20th, 2014
During the first eight years of jamming and playing local gigs, Taylor and Kortni sat down with local musician James M to discuss the possibility of mixing and mastering and releasing their first album as Lionsault.
Kortni “We got bored with covers, so we started writing and we were talking to James about mixing and mastering for us and we said, yeah were gonna do an EP and he said fuck the EP thing, do a full album!”
Taylor: “We just hammered down and started writing songs, we pretty much set a mission of creating an album and we just did it!”
After years of playing together, Lionsault decided to stop covering songs and start writing their own material but was not set on their sound or the genre they were going to play on their upcoming album.
Kortni: “We tried different genres, obviously Taylor was writing metal stuff, I was writing shitty pop-punk stuff and we try writing those sort of genres and it just didn’t work until we tried bluesy-rock and then it felt effortless”
Taylor: “It changed when we discovered Monster truck, we seen them live and we didn’t know who they were and thought it was pretty cool and decided we should start writing like that.
Monster truck is an award-winning Canadian rock band from Hamilton, Ontario and has opened for big name bands such as Alice Cooper.
With the genre of Rock and Roll set in stone, Lionsault began working tirelessly on their first album. The 10 track album entitled “Are You Feeling Lucky?”was released on September 19th 2015.
Kortni “We wrote the songs, Taylor would come to us with a riff as an idea and we would work around it, I guess I would take charge in structuring it more I guess?, and then we would sit down and write the lyrics together. Taylor wrote most of the lyrics but I wrote all the melodies. Then we would record everything ourselves too. Once recorded, we sent it away to Under Tone studios in Saint John and It was mastered by a guy named Adam Dincorn
Taylor: “He did a really good job and were probably going to go back to him. When the first album was out. We sent it to all kinds of album review website and I probably sent out a shit-ton of them and probably like 20 different websites all came back super positive!
With Humble begins, I asked Taylor and Kortni, how they got into music and what their first instruments were?
Taylor: “I was 13. I wanted to play drums, just listening to Nirvana and Metallica and that kinda changed. My first instrument was acoustic guitar that mom had lying around but then I got a drum set and played that for a while then i stopped drums and got serious on guitar.
Kortni: “First instrument was a guitar when I was 13, it was my step-dads fathers guitar and it had like 4 strings on it and I would just play around with it when I was 11. So I use to listen to songs and figure out the melodies, I couldn’t play chords.”
Being from a generation when high-speed internet wasn’t available and dial-up was prominent, musicians would have to learn on their own without the help of online tablature
Kortni “We had dial-up. We couldn’t go online to learn, I couldn’t do that. So I had to figure out things by ear, like I learned to play smoke on the water first, once I learn that I’d move on to other things. I didn’t get guitar lessons until I was 13 and started to play bass. I would bring a CD to the teacher and he would figure it out by ear and then write it out on white paper for me, the chords and everything.
Taylor “It’s funny that It’s easier to learn now, more than ever but no one wants too“
Every band in the existence of music has always been inspired and influenced by other bands or singers. Kortni and Taylor shared their influences with this writer.
Kortni: “I saw School of rock when I was 10! ….No seriously, I never had any talents, like never, Then one day, one of my moms friends said I had a pretty voice and I was like I’m gonna roll with that and then I saw School of Rock and that’s when it clicked that I wanted to make a rock band. I don’t know? …. Anything I saw where girls were playing instruments, I said” “I wanna fucking do that“
After a shared laugh, and all agreeing that Jack Black saved the day once again, Kortni went onto explain more of her influences
Kortni “Haley Williams, from Paramore, I was the biggest Paramore fan in high school. Like growing up when I was younger, it was bands like Blink-182.
Taylor: “I was always a big James Hetfield guy!
Being a musician is a very difficult job as well as being very costly. Even though the achievements and recognition is very rewarding. The constant expenses of instruments and accessories, as well as lodging and fuel and dining out on the road can be very expensive. In order to fund their dreams and inspirations, Taylor and Kortni have to find the time to work in between the gigs and practice.
Taylor: “I give guitar lessons and work at a hotel”
Kortni: “Every time I do an interview, my answer changes. I do bookkeeping, I took a course in business accounting at a car dealership.”
With more recognition and more fans, the members of Lionsault become more prominent in the eye of the public and when I asked if they were ever recognized outside of gigs, Taylor shared a very funny moment that he experienced at work.
Taylor: “I was at work one night, and I was checking people in, and this one guy, he was like hey are you in a band?”
“And I guess he just asked that from the look of me so I said yes”
“And he asked me what band?”
“So I said Lionsault,”
“He goes OH! I’ve known Taylor for a long time!….”
“I just stood there for a moment and said..Me?”
“Luckily he saved himself by saying he just knew who I was. I should have played along with it.”
Over the last year, Lionsault has made significant strides in music with constant gigs all throughout the Atlantic provinces. Live interviews with local radio stations. Being printed in local newspapers. Creating music videos and winning the 2016 “New Goal Song” music contest that was held through MusicNb for the Moncton Wildcats Hockey team, entitled “In The Wild”, Lionsault performed live in front of 6000 people at the Moncton Colosseum.
Kortni: :We played in front of 6000 people, and we had no vocal monitors, our amps were on stage, we had no way of hearing each other, all we had was like an echo and we were just up there, it was tough because the red carpet was slippery.
Taylor: I was nervous, brand new song, on ice, slippery as hell, in front of 65 hundred people and we couldn’t hear ourselves, so it made me really nervous.
Kortni: “On top of that, they wanted us to get the crowd going and all that, it was rough”
Taylor: “But we got through it!, we just had to play a small part of the song and it was great!”
In April of 2017, Lionsault leaped even further in their musical career by winning the 2017 “Loud Recording Of The Year”
Kortni: “You apply for the E.C.M.A. Thankfully we had Don from Motorleague, and he sort of talked to Taylor about the do’s and don’ts and what to apply for. He told us It’s your first year, don’t expect to win anything, so we applied for some showcases and also applied for loud recording of the year.”
During the E.C.M.A, bands in each category, play a showcase, a half hour set to perform live. The E.C.M.A award for Loud Recording Of the Year is prominently for artist who specializes in the metal genre but that didn’t stop the members of Lionsault from giving it all they got.
Kortni: “At the showcase, we played a set, so were playing with Orchid’s Curse, Abysseral Throne and Last Call Chernobyl. All these super heavy and super tight bands and were just like, I felt out-of-place, I was saying guys, we don’t have a chance. so whatever, let’s just have fun. and then…. when we won! my grandmother screamed and like threw her scarf in the air…. like we didn’t see it coming…. we didn’t think we would win at all.”
An amazing accomplishment for a band just starting out, Lionsault Won the 2017 Loud Recording Of The Year and became a household name in Miramichi N.B and Recognized by the community.
Taylor: “Our phones were blowing up!
Kortni: “When we left the venue, and loading up our gear, everyone from the venue was like standing outside and we got this huge applause, I felt like the fucking queen of the E.C.M.A for a few minutes.
As we came to the end of the interview, I simply asked what any writer would ask someone. What’s next?
Taylor: “World Domination!….Just kidding, expect more material and tour dates very soon!”
I would like to thank the members of Lionsault: Taylor Sheasgreen and Kortni Nicols for sitting down with me and sharing their stories with Modern-Typewriter. I look forward to all your music accomplishments in your career. You can check out their Facebook page here and buy their first album here.
The Modern Typewriter