BEC Recordings duo Lion & Bear has just released their debut album Hollows. Hailing from southern California, Lion & Bear comprises of Drew Enos and Michael Landingham. Both of them have been friends since childhood.Their new album is filled with songs that speak about the unending love of Jesus, songs that offer praise along with lamenting, proclaiming the truth that pain is messy and uncomfortable, and full of hope.
We are honored to be able to catch up with Drew (D) and Michael (M) for this exclusive interview.
Q: Thanks for doing this interview with us. Before you guys formed Lion & Bear, what were you doing? And what inspired you to form this duo?
D: Michael and I have actually been making music together for the past ten years, but something special happened when we formed L&B in the fall of 2019. Actually, the main inspiration for us was having an avenue to write music from the place of hurt. We wanted to start something that lived in the tension of lament and praise like the Psalmists.
M: Like Drew said, we have been together over decade making music together having several bands but Lion & Bear really let us tap into what we have been yearning for all along in our music. To express the raw emotion of what we go through in life with pain, tragedy, anxiety, depression... and how we are met by God in the process.
Q: Why did you decide to call yourselves Lion and Bear?
D: Our name came from 1 Samuel 17 when David was going to face Goliath. He said, "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine."(V.37) Our intention was to think of all the tragedy that we've faced as the lion and bear. If he could get us through that, he'll deliver us from any giants we face in the future.
M: To be honest I just really love lions and bears haha but then the name really started to make sense as we wrote the album! Drew says it so well. Drew is the Lion and I'm the bear!
Q: How would you describe your style of music and who would you say influenced you musically?
D: we're both really big fans of Johnny Cash. I kind of love it all! Indie stuff like David Bazan and Death Cab... pop stuff like Bieber and Adele... hip hop stuff like Jackie Hill Perry and Andy Mineo... worship stuff like Steffany Gretzinger and Maverick City... classics like the Beatles and the Mills Brothers... I'm all over the place! Haha. I think our music reflects that a bit. We try to have a little variety in there.
M: This is a tough question. I honestly listen to everything! I was raised on David Bowie and Keith Green haha but have always loved listening to new and different music. I love sounds and songs that make me feel something and hope our music does the same.
Q: How then did you get to work with BEC Recordings?
D: Michael knew Brian Ortize who is our A&R guy now. Michael, tell him about the process.
M: Well very long story short I met a fellow BEC artist at a Matt Redman concert in 2016! and we connected over my testimony and music. Shortly after we met he flew me out to Nashville to do some songwriting where I met our A&R guy Brian! I continued doing writes for the label but wasn't until a few years later L&B formed and we got signed after we sent in a few demo songs.
Q: You just released your debut full-length album. How would you sum up the message of this record in a few sentences?
D: Yes! We're so stoked. I'd say the message is this: life is really difficult sometimes, but we have hope beyond the things we see. The creator of the universe is a relational God who loves his children. He's with us.
M: For me, I would say this album encompasses the fact that no matter where you are at in life, what you have gone through, no matter how far you run! or try to hide the love of God is right there at the end of that road to meet you.
Q: What were some of the highlights in the making of this album?
D: For me, getting to work with our producer Chad Carouthers has been the greatest highlight. Also the BEC team as a whole. AND getting to work with Bryan Fowler and Micah Kuiper on the song "Cling "was such a treat.
M: This album has a lot of blood, sweat, and tears put into it. So many special moments in the making of this album but with even more special people! We were so privileged to work with our producer Chad Carouthers! He really helped define our sound for this album and we did it basically all through zoom because of the pandemic!
Q: I have read in your bio that many of your songs came from personal sufferings. How have sufferings shape your songwriting and singing?
D: Yes, I think the suffering has shaped our songwriting and this band a ton. We can't sit down to write a song without thinking about the stuff people go through. For us, the loss of children and other loved ones, for others is sickness, losing jobs, family stuff, and so much more. Life is heavy, and we want to consider that as we write songs. There's a lot of hope in the songs, but in some sense, hope isn't necessary if everything is perfect. The suffering keeps us hopefully for the day when the kingdom is fully here and pain is gone.
M: Honestly I have nothing to add, Drew said it so well! Suffering and pain inspire hope to breakthrough.
Q: If you have a song (from the new album) that can speak to some of our readers who may be suffering, which song would it be? How do you think the song would minister to the person suffering?
D: For me, "Held By Your Love" is one of the most meaningful for me. It came in a voice memo from Michael the day after my wife delivered our lifeless baby. It was timely and healing for my heart. Still when I hear it, the song takes me back to the emotions I felt when we were finishing it at my house. It's heavy, and I pray people connect to it in their suffering.
M: To be honest a lot of these songs I haven't even fully grasped and I wrestle with them a lot but I hope that these songs do just that in people. It's okay to not understand the "why" sometimes! To ask hard questions, To look inward! To go boldly before God with all our pain and brokenness. Every song holds that tension I feel BUT "Stillness" has spoken to me ever since we wrote it which really is a song to pause and reflect if that's lament or praise.
Q: What are your hopes for this new record? How do you wish this album would impact the lives of your listeners?
D: My personal goal with this record is that everyone who listens would experience the love of Jesus through the songs... not in a religious or stereotypical way, but a true experience with God's love for them. All I know how to do is share the love I've experienced, and music is one of the ways we get to do that.
M: My prayer is that this album will bring people to a place of knowing God is with them. Even if you feel like the last person on earth! That they would be reminded that they are known and loved. No matter how far you run or no matter where you try to hide He won't let you go.
Stream or download their new album HERE.