Lionheart’s Rob Watson: “It’s Insane How Far Hardcore Has Come”

Lionheart’s new album ‘Welcome To The West Coast III’ is out now, and vocalist Rob Watson has let us in on how it all came together.

Lionheart have just released their new album ‘Welcome To The West Coast III’ via Arising Empire.

A crushing celebration of a sound and an attitude that the band have proven to be masters in, it is a bare-bones and brutal look at the world right now through the eyes of one of the most vital and vicious bands that the scene has. And with hardcore in some of the rudest health it has been in over the last few years, it is a pleasure to hear the band still going harder than everyone at the centre of it.

We had a catch-up with vocalist Rob Watson to find out where the record came from and how is exciting him right now…

When piecing together a new album, what made you realise you were creating another piece for the ‘Welcome To The West Coast’ series? 

Honestly, as soon as we had the first 2 or 3 tracks demoed, I knew it needed to be the third instalment. It was funny cause I started calling the guys, and I was like, ‘You’re gonna think I’m crazy, but… how about a THIRD Welcome to the West Coast?’. It just had the vibe and the groove, and I knew it was better than the first two, so it was a perfect way to cap the trilogy.

How do you feel the band, and your approach to it, has adapted over the last eight years since the first instalment? 

I really don’t think much has changed at all. This band isn’t our job or our career; we do it because we love it and enjoy it. I think that’s a really important distinction. I write the stories because I know people out there who have lived through similar shit and can relate. I don’t have anything to prove or impress, and that attitude comes through in the music we make, and it started with the first ‘Welcome to the West Coast’.”

What have the last few years shown you that has affected how you made this record, both musically and emotionally? 

“It definitely made us appreciate having the opportunity to get out there and play shows again. Coming back this summer and again this winter was an incredible feeling. Having the break from shows, though, over the last few years did give us a chance to put even more time into the record, and I think that shows, so that’s definitely a positive.”

What does it mean to have guests like Jamey Jasta, Ice-T and Alex Taylor on this record with you. It’s the creme de la creme of the past and present of the genre, helping you to grind out the future...

“It’s an honour to have every guest we have on the album. Jasta put out the first Lionheart album back in 2008, so coming full circle like this was really cool. I grew up listening to Ice-T and Body Count, so having him on the record is just insane.

We also brought in AntMoney from E.Town Concrete, and he is one of my favourite vocalists of all time, so that was such a rad experience. We’ve known Alex forever and toured with Malev, so that’s a great fit. 

“We also have Los from the band Desmadre on the album, and we just shot a video with him for his guest spot on ‘At War With The Gods’. Desmadre is one of the best bands coming out of the west right now, and if you haven’t heard them yet, stop reading this shit and go check them out. ‘Sin of Man’ and ‘Me vs Everybody’ are my favourite tracks by them.”

What is it that excites you about hardcore in 2022? What things make you proud to be a part of the community now?

“There are so many bands that are killing it these days and pushing the genre to new heights, Desmadre, These Streets and SpiritWorld are a few that are set to explode. Then on the other side of the coin, you have bands like Turnstile who are getting nominated for Grammys. It’s insane how far the genre has come, and there’s a lot to look forward to.”

What does Lionheart represent for you in your life right now? How has that changed or shifted over the years? 

“Lionheart represents an outlet for me to tell my story and a place of solace for those that can relate to the realities I describe in my songs.”

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