Scott, IVM: Give me a rundown of who’s in the band.
David Duffield – Vocals, Keyboards
Jonny Duffield – Drums
Ian Anderson – Guitars, Vocals
Jamie Pena – Bass
What’s the back-story of the band? How did you guys all hook up?
Well, Jonny’s my (David) little brother and we grew up in Colorado. I’m seven years older. After finding out how much God loved me at the age of 18, I decided I wanted to give my whole life to God and gave up my high school dream of being a basketball player. LOL>
I went to work with Acquire the Fire and Teen Mania Missions. I went overseas to Egypt, Thailand, Philippines, New Zealand, the U.K. After that, I wanted to learn more about music and God so I moved to Wisconsin to attend classes at “the School of Worship” which is a music/spiritual learning program based out of living light church (home church to Leo and to SKILLET Grammy award winning Christian band).
Ian, Leo’s guitar player, was one of the other students at the school of worship. He and I formed a friendship which later turned into a band. We sent Jonny, (who still lived in Colorado) some demos of what we were working on and he fell in love with the songs we were writing… so he moved out here to join us.
Jamie is actually our third bass player. But the third times the charm they say :) We think it is. And of course Jamie is, by all accounts, charming. He was originally just a Leo fan who came to all our shows. That’s how we met. Eventually he began to help us run our merchandise table and do little projects for the band. We loved his fun, energetic personality, his hardworking attitude and his love for music. To top it all off ( besides the fact that he’s very good looking) we loved that fact that Jamie loves God so much! So when we needed a new bass player we asked Jamie to try out. And the rest is history.
What’s the story behind the band’s name?
Leo means Lion in Greek. It’s about being Lionhearted. It is an image of God’s Strength, Passion, and Fearlessness. And it’s an image we aspire to reflect in our lives and music. The righteous are as bold as a LION. RRRRRRRR lol.
Christian band, Christians in a band, or other? Can you elaborate?
LOL. Good question. We write almost all of our songs about life, and the songs are honest. The good times, the hard times. Times when you feel close to God and times when you feel far away and wanna feel close again and how through it all we are finding hope and love in God. Our songs are often in story form or in direct address like from God’s point of view so I think people have to dig in and think about what we are saying to get the whole affect. That said, I think there is something uplifting about the songs that completely by-passes the head and goes straight for the heart… a lot of the songs are love songs. We fell in love with God and the Bible says to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and I believe that our songs describe that love in creative, original and beautiful ways.
How would you describe the band’s style of music?
Pop rock electronica
What are some of the band’s influences?
Switchfoot is my all time favorite band. Lyrically they’ve written so many songs that have inspired me. Ones that have really picked me up when I was down. I feel God when I put their music on. And on many nights when I’ve felt far away… somehow, as I listened to their melodies, I found my way back.
U2 is second and they are so inspirational to me the way that they play and live and you know they are helping kids in Africa and stuff. Also the Cure, Copeland, Coldplay. Lyrically, I love P.O.D. and Lifehouse; their faith in God and how they write love songs to/from God are amazing. As far as a sound… Jack’s Mannequin is my “right now favorite.” I also like this whole new wave of 80’s dance sort of stuff that’s hitting the scene right about now… that is to say that I like the sound of people like Hello Goodbye and Metro Station and all that. The lyrics are pretty much the opposite of everything that Leo is about… some of it is just good clean love stuff… but I do like how bands are really using electronic stuff and combining it with pop/rock.
What are some of the band’s inspirations?
I think the biggest inspiration has been and will always be how God has loved us. I remember being eighteen and finding God’s love as I was down on my knees and tears flooding my eyes and I just knew God was real cause I could hear Him speaking and I could feel him all around and I was overwhelmed how much He loved me. I had been looking for a love like that my whole life and it was right there in front of me all along.
Let us in on a stand-out moment where you just thought, “Thank you, God.”
I think that everyday when I wake up. But I think it was last October when Jonny decided to move out from Colorado to play drums for our band. We wouldn’t have got far without Jonny!
Fill us in on the direction that you believe God is taking you as a band.
We aspire to write and sing the songs that will express God’s love to young hearts and minds across the world. God has shown us so much love and brought hope to our hearts in such a real way and we wanna share that in ways that people can understand, you know, without throwing a bunch of clichés at them.
Share your heart for a moment. Why do you do what you do?
It’s deep down inside. We can’t not do this. These songs have been burning inside and we gotta get them out. They’ve been pounding in our hearts and minds… keeping us up at night… can’t sleep ‘till we get up, find a piece of paper and write them down. Leo was started as basically just an outlet for the songs we were coming up with. It wasn’t like “oh let’s start a band!” and “hmmm…. we should write some songs.” It was like “I have all these songs in my head and I gotta get them out.” And by the time we had learned a few songs people were already asking us to come play shows. It would be probably be easier to do something else… but we couldn’t. This is what we were born for. :P
What do you hope a listener comes away with after listening to your cd?
Well I hope they come away feeling like a million bucks. I hope that when they will listen to our record they’ll remember that God is right there. That He loves them. And that hope will rise in hearts. Depending on the song they will be hyped up or calmed down. Hopefully they will listen to our songs on repeat for days and listen them when they feel happy and when they feel sad.
What were the best and worst venues you’ve played? And why?
Oh my. Our worst night ever was at a place called The Venue, it should have been called, THE WORST EVER VENUE. LOL. We drove from Wisconsin and we didn’t realize that it was in a different time zone, so we got there late. I felt terrible and lost my voice. We were awful. Only 8 people came to the show. We had spend $80 in gas. The venue gave us $15. The next week we got an email saying that they were closing down.
One of our best shows was at the spring hill music festival in MI.
What was the most encouraging and/or humbling thing(s) to happen at a live show?
It’s amazing when everyone sings along to our songs especially when they are songs to God. It’s such a beautiful moment when hearts join together to sing out their love for God.
In what ways do you feel that the band has grown and matured since it’s formation?
Maturity? What’s that? Just kidding. I don’t know, man. When I find out I’ll let you know. My singing has definitely gotten better. Musically we’ve improved. Stage presence, yeah, we’re jumping off stuff and smiling now. :)
If you could say one thing to a young person struggling with purpose and direction in life, what would it be?
Watch the sunrise. Then watch the sunset and the fireflies come out. God is real, He is beautiful and He is speaking all the time even if you can’t hear it. Maybe you’ll see it in the colors of the sunset, maybe you’ll hear Him in the rhythm of a song, and if you take the time to slow down and open your heart and your eyes and your ears you’ll hear him say “I love you” and those three words mean more than careers or money or what you do with your life.
That said, I know God will lead you and guide you so fall in love with God, seek Him first. Which, by the way, doing that is by far the most rewarding thing in life. As you seek Him, He’ll give you vision for what He has for you to do.
Any last comments you would like to leave the readers with?
Keep the BASS BUMPIN’ LOL. Buy Leo’s new cd. Tell everyone you know to call us up and have us play in your town.
Thank you for your time.
No, thank you.
And thus ends my chat with David Duffield from the up and coming band, Leo. Stay tuned for a review of their CD. And in the meantime, check them out at: www.myspace.com/bluepacificmusic