The best kind of art has the power to transcend. It can happen with an alt-rock four-piece that can’t score a break. It can happen with a rapper that spins his craft like no one else, but aims for the attention of the underground. It can happen with a young producer building up his portfolio. That next song or that next project can be the foundation for something powerful. A key criticism of American culture is the lack of satisfaction; always wanting something better or something more. It’s a moot point when you want something better out of yourself or your craft, and it’s always a tremendous start for any kind of art form.
There’s something exciting going on in Southern California. It started out organically, like most great things do, when Mika Guillory a.k.a. Prophet met up with Forrest Fulmer. The two started a freestyle session and it sprouted into the group that’s now known as 7Lions. One session between two men turned into a six-man group that’s looking to turn out a sound that’s yet to be heard. Catching up with Alternative Addiction to talk about the release of 7Lions’ Born 2 Run EP, Prophet talked about how the band started as well as their live presence.
“This project was born live,” said an excited Prophet. “It was born of a freestyle session that I had with Forrest. That’s how the synergy was incubated and it’s moved forward from when he and I first met to now. The live experience for us has been paramount. Even when we had no music we were playing two or three shows a week. It’s in our blood; all of us are performers. It’s what we love to do, connecting with the fans and showing them something great.”
Fulmer and Prophet are the co-lead vocalists but there’s another driving force behind 7Lions, producer Morgan Taylor Reid, who’s worked with The Ready Set and South Jordan. He began working with the group in its early stages and was such an integral part in the band’s development that he became an official member. Prophet credits the producer and keyboardist as a major factor in the advancement of the group as a recording act.
“When we first started we had some records that were more rock with lots of live instrumentation. They were dope and I love them. But something having to do with some of the influences that we were feeling was missing. I think working with Morgan really gave us the sound that we were looking for we just didn’t know we were looking for it.”
The discovery of what they could achieve came from the very first time working as a unit. The first song that Fulmer, Prophet, and Taylor Reid worked on was “Born 2 Run.” It’s a catalyst for anybody who listens to it- the guitar in the intro with the accenting piano, Prophet’s steadfast delivery in the verse, and Fulmer’s demanding vocal in the chorus- everything about that song says ‘listen dammit!’ It turns out the creation of “Born 2 Run” was a catalyst for the group too.
“That song was the culmination of our first time working with [Taylor Reid.] It was our first ever birthing of this particular sound- the fusion of electronica on the scale of what it is with his influences. When we heard that and what we realized we had with that it kind of lit the path of where we wanted to take our sound. That was the backbone of the rest of the songs where everything else grew from.”
The songs that budded out from that track are equally invigorating. All of them have this three-headed attack that’s balanced to near perfection- Prophet’s rapping, Fulmer’s vocal, and Taylor Reid’s electronic work. Prophet has an intense belief in both what the group has made with the EP and what they have the capacity of turning into.
“7Lions, where you can understand what we’re saying or not, the anthem vibe of “One Man Symphony” or the painful expression of “One More Time” – I don’t think there’s a limit to those songs. I really think we can push the envelope and get this sound and this message out to people.”
The California-based band and avid sports fans have notched some giant victories already for themselves. “Born 2 Run” is perfect for sports broadcast and it’s been featured on ESPN content and as the theme song for the Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings. But they’re aware that this is just the beginning. What this EP is going to tell the group and rest of the world is what they can do outside of that song. It’s an amazing piece of music that’s still just beginning to gain national attention, but there are four other songs here that have the ability to do some heavy lifting too. No matter what happens with the rest of the EP, Prophet says he’s thrilled to be a part of something fresh.
“We’re all stoked to be where we’re at. It feels good to have something different and do something different rather than to listen to something on the radio and try to orchestrate something that’s like something else. I don’t want to say that’s easy, because I can’t lie… when I was in my first band I was sitting there trying to figure out what was on the charts and how we could make something like that. But it feels good to do something straight from the chest that’s unlike anything that we’ve heard and have people accept it, love it, and give it wings of their own.”