Photo courtesy of Lockeland
Listening to music from the band Lockeland is a bit like a step back in time. These three guys bring back the perfect harmonies and cool vibe of bands like The Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash, and couple them with their own special brand of modern country music. I’d listened to some of their songs prior to our CRS 2020 interview, so I knew what they sounded like, and it was exactly the type of music I have always been drawn to. I’m not sure if everyone is this way, but I always somehow expect an artist’s personality to match their music, if that makes sense.
I just got a super laid back feeling after hearing Lockeland’s stuff, reminding me of easier times when I was a kid in the 1970’s, and that gave me a preconceived notion that the band would be really easygoing to talk with. It turned out, I was right on the money. What you hear is what you get with Lockeland, whether it’s them singing on a record or just having a conversation with them. You’ll be able to tell pretty quickly how true that is once this interview gets underway, so let’s go.
*Please note that there are three band members speaking and often times it’s difficult to detect which person is doing the talking on the audio. Unless a specific band member’s name is noted in parenthesis, I will simply refer all of their responses as coming from “Lockeland”.
Think Country (Annette Gibbons): Hey, so this is the first time we’ve spoken to you guys.
Lockeland: Yeah, yeah it is.
TC (AG): So, you’re new to us and the UK. Why don’t you go around and introduce yourselves and tell us what you’re all about.
Lockeland (Michael Boris): Well, I’m Michael.
Photo courtesy of Lockeland
Lockeland (Kyndon Oakes): I’m Kyndon.
Photo courtesy of Lockeland
Lockeland (Mark Vikingstad): I’m Mark.
Photo courtesy of Lockeland
Lockeland (All Three in Unison): And we’re Lockeland.
Lockeland: We don’t practice that ever, so don’t get that in your head.
TC (AG): How long have you guys been together as a band?
Lockeland: Two years, but we’ve all been in Nashville for ten plus years, so we’ve known each other for at least eight. We’ve been friends, playing together and writing together. We did a lot of work with each other on separate occasions.
TC (AG): So, what happened two years ago after playing and writing together that made you think, “We’re gonna become a boy band.”
Lockeland: We’re totally a boy band. (Laughs)
Lockeland: We were in the studio working, we do a lot of work for each other, and we were helping do a song in the studio and we put a three-part harmony in, and (snaps his fingers) right then and there we decided we should try and do this as a band.
TC (AG): Your harmonies are sick!
Lockeland: Oh, thank you.
TC (AG): They really are. You know, I get so much music and sometimes after a while you listen and it’s like, gray, gray and then all of a sudden, it’s color!
Lockeland: Whoa! Thanks! We love that.
TC (AG): So, tell us about your music. If you were talking to someone who never heard of you, how would you describe your sound?
Lockeland: We like to say it’s 90’s country with a modern twist.
TC (AG): It’s funny because everyone we’re talking to is mentioning 90’s country. I love 90’s country and you’ve got that vibe going, you’re upbeat and you’ve got the storytelling.
Lockeland: The storytelling, yeah, because when we write we want to tell the story.
TC (AG): Do you write all your own music?
Lockeland: Yeah, and we write with other writers.
TC (AG): There’s so many talented writers around, it would be kind of crazy not to.
Lockeland: Yeah, exactly.
TC (AG): So, you’ve got music out at the moment?
Lockeland: Yeah, we do. We have four singles out now. Our debut single was released last March and that was “‘Til the Cows Come Home”. Then we released “Drive”in August, “These Hands” in November and on Valentine’s Day we released “Keep Us Young”. Those are available on all digital platforms, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, all those places.
TC (AG): It’s funny because if we were talking to you in the 90’s, it would be like, you’ll have an album coming out in six months, but now with streaming, it’s so easy. If you’ve got a song and you want to get it out you don’t need to wait for an album or EP. Do you think that’s a good thing?
Lockeland: I wouldn’t say it’s bad, I’d just say it’s a change that a lot of people just kind of have to go along with. That’s the industry now. If you write a song, record it and it sounds great, then you put it out.
TC (AG): Then fans get the album and they’re like, I know a lot of these songs.
Lockeland: As independent artists we have that option to decide if we want to put a song out or save it. If you’re making an album or an EP you want to save some songs so people get a surprise.
TC (AG): There are some real pros to being an independent artist. You don’t have the money that you do with the labels, but you’re able to be true to yourselves, how you record and how you’re going to put the music out.
Lockeland: Exactly, yeah. Michael’s been doing a lot of producing on our stuff.
Lockeland (Michael Boris): So have you, on the last song.
Lockeland: Yeah, we co-produced the last song. Really, the three of us had a lot of input and it’s nice to be able to do that and say all of our hands are in this song.
TC (AG): So, are you musicians as well? Do you have a band behind you or is it you three, or what do you do?
Lockeland: So, we have a few different configurations when we perform live. The most basic, stripped down one is an acoustic set with just the three of us. I’ll play djembe and we all three sing, or I’ll play acoustic guitar.
Lockeland: I’ll sing lead. I mean, I can play a guitar, just not as good as this guy, so I just don’t, you know? (Laughs) Then we have our power acoustic set where we bring in our hired lead guitar player, Robert Williams. Then we have our full band set up, which is the whole nine yards. So, that’s the three of us plus lead guitar and bass.
TC (AG): What do you prefer?
Lockeland: (Talking to each other) I know what you prefer.
Lockeland: I always prefer full band.
TC (AG): Yeah, you can rock out more then.
Lockeland: I prefer the full band too, don’t you?
Lockeland: I’ll be the odd one out. I prefer the acoustic set because it showcases our harmonies.
TC (AG): Yeah, that’s true it does.
Lockeland: I mean, they shine in an acoustic set.
Lockeland: Well, they shine in a full band set too, but it’s a different feeling.
TC (AG): Yeah, when you look at an acoustic set and the harmonies, there’s something about it. What kind of fans do you have? You know, the UK, you have to come over and play.
Lockeland: So, we did actually. We came over last August through September and we performed at the Millport Country Music Festival where we provided direct support for Cam. That was incredible. Then we played for the Nashville Sessions in York and the Long Road Festival. We performed at The Troubadour in London as a part of CountryLine and Cumbrae Promotions.
Video courtesy of Drew Burnett and YouTube
TC (AG): My photographer in Scotland, he was at Millport, his name is Drew.
Lockeland: We know Drew! Hey, Drew!
TC (AG): Do you have any plans to come back?
Lockeland: We’re hopin’.
Lockeland: I’m going to say we absolutely have plans to come back. We’re still working them out so we’re not gonna talk about them just yet.
Lockeland: We’re finalizing things.
TC (AG): So, was that your first time playing in England?
Lockeland (MB): I’ve performed in Scotland before, pre-Lockeland. I played drums full time for other artists, so I did that for like, nine and a half years or so. I was in Scotland performing at the Millport Country Music Festival with another artist, but as far as Lockeland goes, this was our first time.
TC (AG): So, why Lockeland?
Lockeland: ‘Cause we’re awesome. No, just kidding. (Laughter) No, I’m just teasing you.
Lockeland: Oh, you mean the name?
TC (AG): Yes.
Lockeland: So, these two are from New York and I’m from Kansas. So, we met in between, in Nashville with locked land between us and… plus Nashville itself is landlocked, so it’s Lockeland.
TC (Patti McClintic): I’m from New York too.
TC (PM): Buffalo. What about you guys?
Lockeland: I’m from Binghamton.
Lockeland: I’m from Long Island.
TC (PM): Oh, so that’s just down the road. I mean, when you compare it to how far Nashville is from those places anyway.
Lockeland: That’s right!
Image courtesy of Geology.com
TC (AG): I’m from London.
TC (PM): So, that means we’re cooler than you.
TC (AG): Never!
TC (PM): We tried.
Lockeland: That’s true, we tried.
TC (AG): So, have you been out touring in the US?
Lockeland: Starting to. We’re booking.
TC (AG): It’s takes a while, right? People need to get to know your name. There’s a lot of artists and bands out there and it’s important for people to remember who you are. So, what have you got coming up in the US?
Lockeland: Well, we’re looking at Kansas, Indiana, Colorado and Ohio. Mostly Midwest stuff.
Photo courtesy of Lockeland
TC (AG): Are you doing it mostly all on your own?
Lockeland: Yeah. Lately we’ve been getting a little more help.
Lockeland: A little more help lately for sure.
TC (AG): It’s tough isn’t it? I mean, you can’t be a master of everything. You guys, you’re singers and songwriters and musicians, and suddenly you’ve got to be booking agents and dealing with the money and all of that.
Lockeland: Yeah. That’s the part behind the scenes that most people don’t see.
Lockeland: A lot of people don’t see it and it’s very difficult.
TC (PM): It’s not so glamorous, right?
Lockeland: Right. It’s not so glamorous, the business side.
Lockeland: Which it’s like that ninety percent of the time.
Lockeland: We ‘re putting in a ton of work and trying our hardest to make sure we get ourselves up and off the ground. We’re all over our social media.
Lockeland: It’s just us too, as far as social media.
TC (AG): It’s these tough times that will make you really appreciate it when you get to the point where you don’t have to do it all by yourselves.
Lockeland: Oh, yeah.
TC (AG): Of the three of you, who’s like, the bossy one?
Lockeland (Kyndon Oakes and Mark Vikingstad): He is! (Pointing at Michael Boris)
Lockeland (MB): Yeah, I am.
TC (AG): Who’s the mischievous one?
Lockeland: (Entire band points to Mark)
TC (AG): Well, I really hope you get to come back over because you know, I’ve been talking to some people and they’ve all said, “Oh, they were great here,” and “They were great there,” and I need to see you.
Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography/Think Country
Lockeland: Will you follow us on social media?
TC (AG): I’m sure we do.
Lockeland: Great! Then we can update you and maybe we can get together if we come out there sometime.
TC (AG): Right and if you’re coming over to the UK, we can literally turn you on to everybody.
Lockeland: We also worked with Sonnet (publicity firm) when we were over in the UK. They’re incredible. They run all of our UK publicity. They’re running a campaign right now.
TC (AG): Yeah, they were trying to get us a phoner with you and I was like, “No. I’m having a face-to-face with them.”
Photo courtesy of Lockeland
TC (AG): If I had to pick one of your songs to tell people to listen to, and then I could say, “That’s Lockeland. That’s who they are.” Like, if we’re going to put one song in this interview which one would it be?
Lockeland: One of the songs we’ve released?
TC (AG): Any song that tells people about you.
Lockeland: Of songs we’ve released I would say, “Keep Us Young”.
(The band agreed on that song)
Video courtesy of Lockeland and YouTube
TC (AG): Is that the new single?
Lockeland: Yeah, but it showcases our harmonies a lot.
Lockeland: I think it’s the storytelling in that song. With the harmonies in there, it’s a complicated song with the vocal lines and the rhythms.
TC (AG): So, we can be showing you off with that song. “Look at them, look how good they are.”
Lockeland: I think it’s a good representation of the work that we put in.
TC (AG): It’s what your unique sound is, right? It’s the harmonies, you can shout about those things, and we can shout about it and tell everybody that you’re good.
(Suddenly, we broke off into some side talk about the Nashville suburbs of Lavergne, Hendersonville and Smyrna, and how we Americans pronounce the word “water” like, “wawder”. Apparently, servers in American restaurants do not understand British accents and their proper pronunciation of “water”, or at least that’s been Annette’s experience. She mentioned if she puts on a fake American accent and orders “wawder”, they can comprehend what she’s saying. I’m not quite sure how the conversation turned to this, as the audio was hard to hear just before all of this occurred. It did result in some good-natured laughs, though.)
Video courtesy of ForBenglish and YouTube
TC (AG): What did you like best about the UK? Food, drink?
Lockeland: The fish and chips. I know it’s kind of like what everyone is supposed to get when they go over there, but it was really good.
Lockeland: It was good. There’s a place here in Nashville called The Pub and they sell that kind of food there.
TC (AG): Oh, yeah we’ve been there. You know, on the tables at The Pub they have a thing with all the British sayings. I read it and I went, “We don’t say those!”
Lockeland: We spent some time in York (UK) and that was really cool.
Lockeland: There was a lot of history there.
Lockeland (MB): The people there were such warm, kind people.
TC (AG): We’re just all drunks.
Lockeland: That’s why everybody’s so happy.
TC (AG): That’s right.
TC (AG): Oh, I could talk to you guys all day, but you’re being squeezed out. Thank you so much. We’ll get this out and share the heck out of it. Hopefully, it will help you in some way.
TC (PM): Let me know if you’re playing anywhere locally and I’ll try and make it out to see you guys.
Lockeland: Absolutely, we’ll let you know. Thanks again, this was great.
Interviewing Lockeland was so easy. Of course, Annette Gibbons did most of the talking and I interjected here and there, but it was good just to be there and listen and learn more about them. They’re just three guys who don’t take themselves so seriously that you can’t have fun talking with them. They do, however, take their music very seriously, and that’s the important thing. I would encourage everybody to climb aboard the Lockeland train early because if they stay together and keep working hard, the sky’s the limit for them. Get to know them now on their social media pages and definitely tell them Think Country gave you the heads up. We’re really proud to know them and, as Annette said, “shout” about them.
Photo courtesy of 90 East Photrography/Think Country
Lockeland Website: https://www.lockelandband.com/
US Publicist: https://www.bnoticedpr.com/
*Featured image courtesy of 90 East Photography/Think Country