Sunday, 8 June 2014

SHINE ON: An interview with Stone Thieves frontman Aaron Gardner ahead of the release of their second EP!

The Stone Thieves have returned!  The band released the critically acclaimed debut EP, 'New Mexico', last year, now their back with their follow up effort, 'Brush off the Rust'! AB Records catches up with frontman Aaron Gardner to find out the ins and outs of the brand new EP! Enjoy and share!
AB: "Hi Aaron, it’s been a while since we last spoke.  What’s been happening with the Stone Thieves?"
AG: "Afternoon sir!  Yeah it has, maybe a year or so!  A fair bit.  We picked up a new member on the road somewhere!  There are now two guitars in the band.  Played a shed load of gigs and worked on the new material.  We've been doing the groundwork as they say, building the foundation."
AB: "You’ve recently finished recording a brand new EP.  The tracks seem to have a different feel to them than the ‘New Mexico’ EP.  Was this intentional?"
AG: "Not neccesarily, although we don't play any of them songs live anymore, except the title track.  Having another guitarist who is more than capable of lead parts or rhythm parts has helped it develop.  You start to write with the other player in mind or he'll throw his own spin on it sometimes.  'New Mexico' was us finding our feet after forming.  The good stuff has stayed, the lessons were learnt and the bad stuff has gone.  Different inspirations this time around as well."
AB: "The new sound seems to be routed in a more bluesy, rootsy sound.  Would you say this is an accurate assessment and what influenced this new sound?"
AG: "We're all into the same kind of music, we have just narrowed it down to what influences work when we bring them together as a band.  I've always been interested in blues playing and roots style guitar, it just didn't fit in to the old three piece line up.  Our new guitarist, Mike, has a style that compliments mine.  He's into his John Fogerty, Duane Allman, Neil Young style of playing.  I've also been playing in open tunings a lot which is new to all of us."
AB: "The EP is to be entitled ‘Brush Off The Rust’.  Where did this title come from?"
AG: "It's kind of an answer to the idea of the first EP title 'New Mexico', which was a reference to us testing new ground, all of us at the time hadn't worked in a band like we created.  So 'Brush Off The Rust' is my way of saying that this again is something new, but underneath we are still the same people, still write about the same things, it's just been freshened up.  We're never going to reinvent the wheel, we're just doing what we know.  It may be me saying that we've ditched old habits and taken it back to roots... But rust never sleeps, so who knows where it will go next!"
AB: "The EP is a top class record. The final tune, 'Shine On', stands out for us at AB Records however – especially with the nice wee reference to the Stones’ 'You Got the Silver' in the lyrics.  It seems to be a very uplifting tune with a chorus that you could tunelessly scream along to all day at gigs!  Where did the concept of this song come from and what inspired the tune?"
AG: "Thanks man, appreciate the kind words.  I had the chorus in my head for a long time, just the main hook like, but it took a while to refine it.  I knew I didn't want to complicate the chorus so maybe I do intend for it to be screamed all day long!  The concepts usually come after for me.  But it's basically the idea that two people can be on the same page of a different book, and that eventually is accepted.  It's somebody saying to somebody else... I wanted that, you didn't, so don't worry about, chin up, you shine through the shadows. Somebody recently suggested that I had wrote the song in awe of another band or as an appreciation to another band.  I can see that, but it's definitely not true..."
AB: "How have the new tunes gone down at gigs?"
AG: "Yeah real good.  'Shine On' is a crowd pleaser.  Nice to play as well.  We've got a couple of heavier blues numbers that go down well."
AB: "There are a number of Stone Thieves song which have references to American places.  For example, 'New Mexico' on the first EP and 'Red River' on ‘Brush Off The Rust’.  Your sound is also heavily influenced by American groups and musical styles.  What is it about the culture that attracts you as a lyricist and musician?"
AG: "Red River is about getting drunk!  There's a bottle called Red River Bourbon.  You should give it a try man!  You're right though.  It's also a ski resort in New Mexico believe it or not.  Didn't know that at the time of writing.  Can't put my finger on it really.  I loved western films as a kid.  The romanticising of a story or a place, the imagery as well.  I've never been one for writing about politics or a night out down the local working mans club.  The ideas are probably rooted the same way, I just like dressing it up a bit.  In all honesty it's not too intentional.  I listen to a lot of American roots music though.  I think it's the honesty in the heart of country music and blues that I like but more contemporary southern rock acts seem to dress it up a bit."
AB: "You’ve sent some press shots over to me and the band seem to have a certain edge about them and you always seem to be looking pretty cool as a unit.  Is the look as important to the Stone Thieves as the music?"
AG: "The music comes first, but we're all into our clothes.  Having a brand is important, I think too many people judge a book by the cover nowadays."
Hope you enjoyed this feature on the Stone Thieves!
Be sure to check out our previous feature on Merrymouth and Pete MacLeod!
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