Get to Know Lone Tree: the Grooviest New Rock Band on the Block
Lone Tree is an up-and-coming rock band based in Nairobi, Kenya. The band is made up of five teens from all over the world: Teresa Sanders (lead vocals), Patrick Sanders (lead guitar, vocals), Ben Matsaert (bass, keyboard), Gabe Gebremedhin (drums, vocals), and Silas Piper (rhythm/slide guitar, vocals).
The band was originally called 'Refuge.', which symbolized the authenticity and deep themes of social Issues within their music. As the band members continued to hone their skills and sound in their home studio on Lone Tree road, they knew that 'Lone Tree' was the perfect band name with which they could honor their roots and create change.
Lone Tree's unique and timeless sound is derived from influences in classic and psychedelic rock, reggae, funk, and the blues. The band is perfect for fans of Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers Band, and Deep Purple.
In 2019, Lone Tree released their debut album entitled Haven to a Heavy Soul, which incorporates all of the band's inspirations to form a powerful, cohesive work of art. Haven to a Heavy Soul highlights the group's high-energy sound through soulful vocal melodies and runs, catchy guitar riffs, and a groovy pocket deeper than the Mariana Trench. The album has a massive dynamic range, with both mid and down-tempo songs, such as "Only Time," as well as lively ones, like "Gone Astray," which features gritty guitar distortion and bluesy riffs.
During the quarantine, Lone Tree has been hard at work writing and recording new music, which will represent the evolution of the band's sound and relevant global issues.
We spoke with Lone Tree about band influences, Haven to a Heavy Soul, and upcoming releases and tours.
Read the full interview and listen to Haven to a Heavy Soul below:
Where are you all from?
Our keyboardist is the only one of us actually from Kenya, but most of us are expats in Kenya at the moment. We’re from all over the place; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Bolivia, the U.S.-- we’re quite a diverse group.
How would you describe your sound?
We fluctuate quite a bit, but overall we’re kind of a mix of classic rock, blues, and psychedelic music.
Who are your influences?
The names that come to mind are the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin... we have musical influences individually, but as a band those are the most influential.
What inspired the band name ‘Lone Tree’?
Previously we were known as ‘Refuge,’ but 'Lone Tree' represents what we’ve developed into. Our homemade studio is actually on a road called Lone Tree, so it kind of feels like a name from home, something that matters to us.
What was the inspiration behind Haven to a Heavy Soul?
It was just a collection of songs that we were developing at the time. We were still seen as a kids’ band at the time, which we didn’t really like, but we wrote the songs from various experiences. It was in the past, but it still allows us to showcase our sound.
If you could collaborate with any artist/band, who would it be?
It would be really cool to work with Eric Clapton.
What are your plans post-COVID-19?
We hope to play at some festivals and hopefully tour in the U.S. We’d like to open for a band that already has a name for themself. We’re in the process of songwriting currently; we’ve recorded a few songs and we hope to release them soon. In the future, we’re hoping to release a lot of music that shows how our sound has evolved and play live.
Is there anything you can share about your upcoming music?
We’re going to release it quite soon-- we’re hoping to put out a single later this month or in early June. We’re going to release another one right after that, and hopefully another one by September. None of the songs are too similar to each other, but all three singles we’re planning to release are a really good representation of everything we do-- from funk to psychedelic rock to blues.
Describe your songwriting process.
We base our lyrics around actual issues and things that are close to us. For example, we write about how the world is very focused on social media, and we have a lot of metaphors in our lyrics. When it comes to instrumentation, usually everyone contributes as a whole. A song isn’t just something one person wrote, it’s everyone’s input on the sound and structure. It’s really a fun process because we get to see everyone’s creative thoughts and individuality come through.
You mentioned a U.S. tour; in which states do you plan to play?
We’ll definitely try to do something on the West Coast, primarily because of its history with music, being a hotspot for musicians in the 60s and 70s. It would be pretty cool to play at the Fillmore! We’d love to go to the West Coast and maybe the South East because we have a big concentration of fans down there.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
We’re really passionate about music, and it’s a way to communicate with people. It’s long lasting-- when you listen to legends like Bob Marley or Johnny Cash, they're all trying to tell you something. It’s one of the purest ways of expression. We want to communicate something in our music that’s genuine. We want to convey a positive message that can change people’s minds or just bring happiness in general. We’re really thankful to be able to do this, and can’t wait to see where it goes.