StoneWire! A band stepping out of their South East London digs and thrusting themselves upon us. Their self titled EP is dirty to the core and is promising if you wanna shake your ass and listen to some great rock and roll.
These guys are really something to be excited about. From their thundering bass lines to their solid drum beats they don’t fail to impress.
Tracks like “Why me” and “Walk on” Have quite a bluesy feel to them. Sky’s vocals show hints of her influences in blues while still retaining the dirty rock sound, these tracks should certainly get you moving.
Then on the other hand you have tracks like “Forgiveness” which is the track that stood out the most to me. It has a great melodic guitar riff and key changes. The harmonies in the vocals give me goose bumps. Combined with the drums and bass it’s a really well written song that definitely delivers on the ballad front. I love a good rock ballad and quite clearly these guys feel the same.
I went to meet up with Sky for an interview just as they have come back from a sold out tour in Munich to talk about the band and also get personal insight into Sky and what made her wanna rock!!! So we took ourselves to a surprisingly quite pub in the west end for a Friday night and settled ourselves on a nice table on the one of the only warm days that we have had this summer. We have ice cold beers and the mood is set.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician and how old were you
When I first knew I wanted to be a musician it was at a very early age, I started music when I was about 6 years old. I played the accordion, very rock and roll! In an orchestra (laughs) but it taught me the structure of music. When I was about 9 years old and I heard Kiss for the very first time and there was Paul Stanley, I marched into the living room, where the family congregated for something and I said well that’s it! I’m gonna be a musician and after that I said I want to be a singer and everyone was like “yes O.k, whatever” I have a musical family so they kind of went with it
When you say musical family, who was musical and what did they do?
My father wasn’t so musical, my mum is a very good singer. The sister of my grandmother had an operatic voice, she wanted me to go to a special boarding school where they only train musicians and she wanted me to go into opera, but I thought after hearing Kiss its very rock and roll so I had to decline, (laughs) I got hooked on the dirty rock very soon. It runs through the family a bit and I’m guessing this is where the singing comes from. My mother’s side.
Who are your major influences and are there any that might seem unusual to anyone listening to your music? Maybe someone they wouldn’t expect?
Um…Difficult because obviously where I was very much into the rock music after hearing Kiss I discovered AC/DC and deep purple. I really found my love for the 70’s rock you know the Who, Zeppelin one of my favourite bands ever, Aerosmith, oh my god I get goose bumps just thinking about them. There aren’t as many women in rock. Most of the women in the industry are a touch too heavy for me. Like Doro Pesch she is amazing but it’s just not my cup of tea. I’m influenced quite heavily from people like Robert Plant that’s very obvious but I orientated myself a lot on the black soul gospel scene, I love that music, I might not want to sing it all the time because it’s not aggressive enough for me or edgy enough but I love working with it. Early Ike and Tina Turner funnily enough were very influential for me along with gospel singers such as Mahalia Jackson was very important for very much the Diva’s, Aretha Franklin that’s an obvious also. My vocal coach was from New Orleans. She taught me Jazz. I love the soulful voice with the umph of the beat and the guitars, I love the marriage of those too so heads up for the black ladies, and they taught me!
Awesome. So what struggles have you all faced in the band and why?
I think it has a lot to do with being female in this industry that we are in. It’s not pop it’s rock and this is the struggle we face I have always found that I have had to prove myself much more than the guys. It is a lot harder I find for females. So I have found that a bit of a struggle. In terms of the band it’s about finding the right musicians. I have worked with some fantastic people, great people, but I think from a musician’s point of view it was never 100% they didn’t quite get me. Or I didn’t get them so it didn’t always work. When I started taking a step back from it all I thought I wanna be in a band I don’t want to be solo artist, that isn’t for me. I was looking with a fresh pair of eyes for want I wanted in a band. That’s how we overcome it and I thought still gonna kick their ass as a female! So yeah that’s how I did it! I grew some balls! (Laughs)
How did you and Rob meet the other guys in the band?
Again, it felt very natural, that it was meant to be. We had other musicians first; unfortunately we had a guitarist that didn’t work out. So he had to go. We had a bass player who was quite good but un-reliable. Obviously I have worked with Rob in the same band for years. We looked at what we wanted, and found Steve through a friend he is the bass player. He comes from a very heavy background I’m talking Megadeath, Rob Zombie and all that sort of rock. But he loves the roots rock, he loves Clutch as well and that’s very much me. So that really worked and we got on great. But then the other guitarist left so then we got Rich who is the rhythm guitarist. I knew I wanted to have big vocals you know harmonies and all that and Rich could sing with us, he could sing with me as well as play. He plays acoustic guitar as well, which is very important for our sound too. Then the other guitarist had to go, so then we got Jack, he’s lovely but I was against him for so long due to his age.
How old is he?
He’s young (laughs) the other guys were the ones who said look it’s music, you don’t want anyone giving you shit for being a female so you can’t give him a hard time for his age. So Jack came, I knew he could play but then he came for an audition and I thought right I am gonna run him through the paces, I said lets do Led Zeppelin and the most difficult Deep Purple and there he was and I forgot my cue for vocals as I was just gobsmacked.
He stepped up!
Oh my did he…So we decided to just give it a try you know it was very relaxed. The guy’s were right. I can’t be offended by people saying urgggh you’re a female to me doing the same thing because he is young he is very young but he is an amazing guitarist and for some reason it works.
Well once you have chemistry within a group it’s very hard to ignore it.
And that is the beauty of it the way we work there is not one ego; there is 5 of us and not one ego running around with a self important attitude. Everybody is willing to listen to each other and as soon as we hit the stage it shows. Most people tell us that it looks like we have so much fun and I’m glad it comes across because we are having a great time.
You finished the EP Last month, how do you feel now that it’s completed?
Very proud, I love the EP, I love the songs on it, and I think I am also quite proud because we only just properly formed in January. We all sat down together and said Right! Where do we want to take it from here? What’s the next step; we need a website and EP. We wanted to do an album and we thought what is the point in doing an album when people are not yet aware of you. So we decided for the obvious middle ground of the EP. I don’t like demos. We set a target to be finished so we actually said July is EP. You have to treat it a little bit like a business. I am glad that we have come so far. We are very critical in our music but we are really happy with the songs that we have chosen. I’m even happier at the positive reaction we have received; people contact us through the site and complement the music and us as a band
It must be good to get that kind of response, you don’t always expect it, but obviously it’s what you hoped for. I have been listening to your EP. Forgiveness is a track that really stood out to me and I was just wondering what the inspiration for writing that was?
Again, it is probably weighted on the female thing. I am a big believer in what a song means personally. “Forgiveness” is for anyone out there that feels that they have to fit other people’s expectations and not quite being what was expected and asking for that forgiveness for not being the person that was expected and eventually waking up and going, you know what? I don’t need your forgiveness, I don’t need anything from anyone, this is me, this is who I am so take it or leave it. It is perfect how it is, if you don’t like it then it’s your problem not mine. It’s the realisation that you don’t need to confirm with anybody that you are who you are. Who are they to judge? And that is what “forgiveness” is about. It’s about needing the approval and realising no I don’t.
Brilliant! I think that is a really good message to be portraying. You and Rob have been together for as long as I have known you which must be about 6 or 7 years now. But I know you have been together forever. Do you work well together writing? Do you write together? Would you ever write about your relationship or each other?
Not so much, Rob and me are together, I can not imagine being in a band without Rob. It’s been now 19 years which is a very long time, We used to a write together a lot in the past and Rob used to grab the guitar because my guitar playing is atrocious, or he plays the piano as well……bastard (laughs) and so we used to work on stuff, but we’re not really writing songs together just the two of us. It’s either the band or me on my own. I need a lot of alone time because I have a crazy head and I think a lot.
What process do you go through to write the songs?
It’s two ways really, we rehearse and one of the guys will be like I have come up with this riff or this beat mainly a riff so then we get the structure of the songs together and I sit in and I get inspiration as to how it’s going I get a feel for the song. Sometimes I just get an idea for a melody, or I will pick a theme and think of what I want to write I start writing. Then I present in a rough way, a melody and the lyrics to the guys and we work around that. That is how forgiveness happened. The others it’s just the other way round. We understand each other in such a great way for such a short time it just feels so natural to write together.
You have just completed a tour in Munich in Germany. You had sold out shows but how did the whole tour turn out in general.
The whole tour was amazing. It could have been a bit better in terms of the organisation. However I was a little bit nervous in terms of how everything was done. I was worried because we aren’t well known so we thought we would be playing to a very quiet crowd. But it didn’t happen like that we were sold out several times and it was quite amazing, the good thing is the EP was already online before it was finished and people bought it. The crowd starting singing our songs back at us which are quite something else. Especially in another country it’s quite mad. It went really well. It was a good experience for the band, it was a bonding experience as we have our very own bus she’s amazing. You probably saw the photo’s of the JD dispensers and my white wine dispenser! (laughs)
Yes!! I saw your tour bus and you have literally got 3 dispensers of JD on the wall, I don’t know how you can drink and travel it would make me so ill.
Yeah pretty much! haha we were good we took it fairly easy, none of us take it to the excess which I think is important too. We had our moments, and when the bus stopped we were havin’ a rockin’ time.
Have you got one unforgettable tour memory that would stick with you?
There was one show, towards the end my ears were hurting for the applause and they would not let us get off stage and it was like “Encore!” we were running out of songs. I am looking forward to a bigger tour as well. I was hoping for more dates. For the dates we had it was great.
When do you think that you will release an album?
The album will be next year now; we are going to give the EP a while. We played a charity gig in July and sometimes we do a few covers because it’s a charity gig and its better as the crowd knows more of the songs. We stumbled across a guy who lived next door to one of the venues who came and said he was the promoter for something called legends of rock and he was really impressed. I didn’t believe a word. So we headlined our original set that night we did two gigs that day. Anyway he came to check us out and now we are booked for a 3 day great Yarmouth as an original piece. Planet rock and everybody is involved so I am very excited. But I checked the website and guess who is playing on the bill with us? Our very good friends Voodoo six. But I loved that it just came from him listening to us.
Have you got any gigs coming up or anything we should be aware of?
We are playing on Sunday 11th September at the half moon in Putney we will be playing a full hour. So I am hoping that we see a lot of our London friends as quite an important gig for us. We have played in London before but kept them low key for the beginning. So this is like our proper debut in London.
All articles are © Michelle Nevill