Liverpool has always been a hotbed of talented musicians but recently there is an abundance of bands making waves across the country from the city. One said band is the young newcomers STONE, a band that has already received support from Jack Saunders and Radio 1’s Indie Show. They’re a band full of angst and poignant, observational lyricism that taps into life as a young person in this fractured Britain. It’s safe to say that STONE is one of Liverpool’s most exciting exports.
Kieran: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, how have you been?
Alex: We’ve been pretty good, been spending the last year trying to keep creative, we seem to have cracked the code though…
Kieran: So, how did you all meet and at what point did you guys decide to make music?
Alex: Me and Fin both met when we were in the first year of sixth form at a party through mutual friends. The only thing he said to me all night was ‘Fin Power, 24 hour’ when I’d asked his name. About 2 months later we met properly through a friend when he’d invited us to his, and upon hearing that I played guitar he immediately asked me to join the band, which I’d hesitantly agreed to. Sarah then joined later on to form the band you see and hear today.
Kieran: Did you have a clear idea of what sort of sound you wanted to create or was it something that came naturally?
Alex: I think it took us some years to hone the craft of writing songs and finding chemistry as bands and songwriters, but once we settled on getting STONE off the ground and establishing the whole Scouse punk sound it felt pretty natural, as a culmination of Fin’s conversational approach to lyrics and Ell’s post-punk-inspired guitars kind of just clicked. We met aged 17, so we needed to play a good few gigs and put the hours in under the old outfit to cut our teeth and really develop as musicians. After that, it comes pretty naturally, but we have had to take time to establish that sense of ease.
Kieran: A lot of your songs are written from an observational point of view and I’m curious where do you find influence when writing your music?
Alex: Lyrically Fin is heavily influenced via his state of mind, his lyrics are often harsh and abrasive but also give a sense of reality to what can be jovial topics. You can also hear the hip-hop influence heavily within his rhymes. Musically the band are influenced by a lot of different sounds. Smiffy likes his Radiohead and other moody vibes. Whilst Ell likes tapping into his youthful binging of Hendrix, Sarah on the other hand gets her fuzzy bass tone from the likes of Queens of The Stone Age.
Listen/wath latest single ‘Fuse’ here:
Kieran: There seems to be a real wave of great music (you guys included!) coming from Liverpool recently, why do you think that is?
Alex: Nice one – I think there has been a consistency of good music coming out of Liverpool for years, even going back to the scene when we were out cutting our teeth, there has always been an abundance of great bands to watch live that would keep us on our toes. Liverpool is one of the UK’s premier music cities, to the point where attributing that to The Beatles is almost a cliche. Liverpool has always been a melting pot of culture; there’s always new music around the corner, and there is always work being made to platform these emerging artists.
“Liverpool has always been a melting pot of culture; there’s always new music around the corner”Alex ‘Smithy’ Smith – STONE
I think the accessibility of our venues has been a part of it – but that was pre-Corona, so we have all had so much time missing the gigs, to spend our time holed away grafting, whether that’s strategising, writing, practicing, or working on the socials and all that. It has been sink-or-swim for artists the world over, and collectively we are constantly re-assessing the role of social media in our lives and as a tool for artistic promotion, but I’d say now we are all ready to come back with a vengeance, in the flesh, to make up for the lost time.
Kieran: What are your favourite Liverpool based bands at the moment?
Alex: Really into Courting, Monks, The Night Cafe, excited to catch Manzanas Mananas too.
Kieran: What is a common misconception people have about Liverpool and people from there?
Alex: There’s an obvious stigma around Liverpool and the whole sort of ‘scally culture’ that I think some people can get a bit nervous about. As abrasive as the accent can be to some ears, you’ll find that most of us are all sound, and most people who end up moving here or coming for a night out will know that. Just don’t ask us to say ‘chicken and chips’. And no ‘bin-dipping’ or ‘robbing’ shouts either – it was never that funny.
Kieran: On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you to play live again and do you have any gigs lined up?
Alex: I can’t even put to words how excited we are. I think as a band people need to see us live to truly get the whole STONE experience, and as soon as we get the opportunity we know we will deliver. We have a headline gig in the Arts Club loft on the 20th of November which has nearly sold out. Before that we are playing the Big Top stage at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival on the 18th September, Neighbourhood Weekender in Warrington Friday the 3rd September, Sound City on the 2nd of October, a show at the Live At Leeds festival on the 16th of October and hopefully a couple more shows around Autumn time too.
Kieran: What can someone expect from one of your shows?
Alex: In any normal scenario we would tell you to expect high energy, but after a year off the stage I would imagine we are coming back in some kind of feral state. We have never been more eager to get back on it, and ready to start taking our shows to bigger crowds and bringing our energy to bigger stages. I remember some of the last shows we played before lockdown felt like we were really beginning to come into our own, so we are excited to carry on that momentum moving forward into the post – covid era.
“I think as a band people need to see us live to truly get the whole STONE experience”Alex ‘Smithy’ Smith – STONE
Kieran: Lastly, we like to end on a story so can you tell us something weird or funny that has happened to you recently?
Alex: So we thought it would be a good idea to plaster the city in bright red STONE stickers, but it turned out the council didn’t like that idea and have been on our back since. We did go out of our way to “Clean up the mess”. Donning the full-on Bright Hi-Vis jackets and Oakley glasses. However, we now need to ensure we do it properly… nothing like being made an example of aye!