Formed in the heart of Northern Virginia, HIS DREAM OF LIONS of Fairfax embodies the passions of heart, body, and soul that make each of us who we are. Assembled by guitarist Nick Jones, the band took shape in early 2012 and consisted of the best players from the area he knew at the time. Added to the mix was guitarist/vocalist Seth Coggeshall, drummer Jack Dunigan, keyboardist/vocalist Colby Witko, and bassist Blair Kilner. United in a passion for heartfelt, honest music, the members of HIS DREAM OF LIONS were eager to hit the ground running. Currently, they have over 21,800 likes on Facebook and 15,400 followers on Twitter, and they are quickly making a name for themselves as one of the top rising stars from the area. We spoke with Coggeshall regarding his band’s recent performances and the keys to their success, the music video for their song “Elsa”, which has over 2,400 views, and their upcoming tour plans, as well as sophomore EP, Part 2.

This past Sunday, you guys played Empire’s first “Pop Punk Takeover” show. What are your thoughts on how the show went?

I thought it was super cool. There were a ton of great bands. We play in the local area a ton and have met a lot of really great people. Mark Fries — the guy who was helping put the show together — realized there was a really tight-knight group of bands of kind of the same genre, and [he thought] doing one big show would be a great way to pull people into the venue to share music and have a great time. So I thought it was definitely a success for what Mark set out to do.

Fortunately I was able to catch your band’s set at that show, and I was really impressed by your band’s stage presence and quality of musicianship. Can you tell me what the keys are to your bands success?

When we started the band, our guitar player Nick had been in bands before, and they had fallen apart. Trying to start a new band, his idea was to call the best people he knew in other bands, the people who are the best at what they do, and he tried to form some kind of super group. So I definitely think that’s really the key to it. We kinda started out not really knowing each other. We were just there to make music, I think, and we of course became really good friends. Everything fell into place after that.

I read in the interview that your band did with EdgeOfTheDream.com that you once played a show in Pennsylvania where they paid you in “shipping boxes full of Mike & Ikes.” What was your reaction to that?

it was kind of like a rec center in Pennsylvania. Somebody was putting together a DIY show of some local bands up there, and I guess they wanted some out of towners. I think they just found us on Facebook, and we’re like, ‘These guys are close. We can just have ’em come up here.’ We thought it was close enough that we could go up there, play the show, and head home in the same day. So we did, and what eventually happened is not a lot of people showed up to watch the show so there wasn’t enough money to pay the bands. So what actually happened is the rec center had a ton of iced tea and candy in boxes that they had just sitting around that they didn’t know what to do with, and they were like, ‘We can’t pay you guys, but if you want you can just take all this fucking food.’ So we took ’em, and I still haven’t gotten through all the Mike & Ike’s. There’s just so much. It’s literally like probably over 1,000 little fun-size packs.

Maybe you can give them out with your merch?

That’s actually a good idea. Like at the doctor’s office they have candy at the front desk just to like make people feel better about what just happened in there. Maybe it will help bring in more fans to our merch table if we just hand out candy.

Earlier this year, you guys released a music video for your song “Elsa”, which showcases you guys playing in what looks like an abandoned building. Can you tell me more about the concept for the video and how it relates to the meaning of the song?

We knew we needed to do a video for what was going to be the single off that EP, which ended up being “Elsa”. We started talking to a video production company in Richmond, and at first, we had really specific ideas about how we wanted to play in a really elegant setting because the song isn’t really that dingy or dirty. It’s moving and got really pretty parts in it. it’s not really like a punk rock song or anything like that. We wanted to stay away from the whole trope of indie bands where every band’s first music video is in a warehouse or some dirty, abandoned garage with big lights going on. They all kind of look the same, so we wanted to stay away from that. What ended up happening was the only place we could find to play was an abandoned paper mill that had burned down in Richmond, but we finally decided it would be cool to do the video there but also make it more interesting looking. So what we did was we went to Michael’s [Arts & Crafts] the day before the shoot, and we bought a ton of these fake rose petals [to add] some kind of element that was aesthetically pleasing to look at. So we put the rose petals on the amplifiers, and it ended up being a cool contrast because the song is definitely a little more elegant while at the same time being punchy. So having the rose petals in the burned down building was a cool dichotomy.


I know your band name is inspired by Ernest Hemmingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea,” but was that also the inspiration for the album art for the first half of your LP, Part 1?

It totally was. There is a really huge metaphor in that book, and we wanted the album art to be something that really was less of a piece of album art and more something that made you think about what you were looking at and what you were listening to. I can’t explain what the second part of the album art is going to look like, but it totally ties in with the first part. The second album art explains the first album art a lot. Everything in Part 1 will reveal to be something else in Part 2.

Why did you decide to release the LP in two parts?

In the Summer of 2013, we had gotten to the point where we had tons of songs, and we decide to get them recorded in the best way that we could. So we recorded all 11 songs, and we sat on it for six months or so because we were waiting for the right time to put it out. What eventually happened is we signed with DJQ Artist Management, who is totally great people, and they really helped us reimagine how we are tackling marketing the band. It was their idea to release it in two parts instead of one big album so we get a longer release out of each. We thought it would be kind of overkill to be a band that nobody had heard about and come out with a full 11-song record. People tend to get overwhelmed by that, and it’s better just to dish it out in pieces. Not only are we making more fans that way, but we also have more time to write material in case we want to put out another record after these.

Have you set a release date for Part 2?

We’re working on that. We are still getting all the pieces together like the album art and distribution before we settle on a date, but it is definitely going to be before December in this coming fall.


What do you hope people who listen to your music will take away from it?

I think when people listen to our music, if they really get into it, I think they are going to walk away with a sense of empowerment. The message we are trying to advocate by doing this band is that your life is totally under your own control, and there is an inherent power that you are born with to do whatever you want with your life. Things can seem out of control, but they’re really not. You can always turn things around, and you can do whatever you want with your life no matter what anyone tells you.

For more updates on HIS DREAM OF LIONS, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and download their music on iTunes.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.

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