The Stereoheads Interview

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The Stereoheads are a four piece indie rock band out of Glasgow, Scotland that formed in early 2006. Although they have only been around a short while, the group has already put out an EP and done plenty of touring. I had the chance to ask the entire band some questions, ranging from their musical style to what they plan to do in the future.

How and when did the band form? Were any of you in bands previous to this one?

Mick 2.0(vocals/guitar): Well it kind of started from a school talent show thing, there were two bands making noise that night. My band played “My Generation”, it gave me my first taste of clappy-ness…and how I thrive on it. The other band basically became a local punk band call Dexter. Eventually they saw the error of their ways and came over to the dark side. At first we went for the name ‘The Black Hands’ but that just didn’t cut it so we changed it to “The Stereoheads”. Thus takes us to present.

Mick 1.0 (guitar): Yeah, the band formed properly in January 2006, but The Mick’s and John had been playing together since late 2004 – just jamming and what not. Mick 1.0, John and Steve were in a band called Dexter/Your Tragic Silence. It was tragic, but far from silent.

You guys have an EP out, called Hotter in Motion. Where did you record that, and what kind of equipment did you use?

John (drums): The recording of the EP was great fun; we recorded it at The Washhouse Studios in Ayrshire, Scotland. It really is a great studio; it’s in the middle of nowhere surrounded by forest and woodland so to be honest it’s more the isolation you enjoy; it gives you plenty of time just to think about one thing without any distractions.

Steven (bass): We recorded in a place in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a forest called the Wash-house. It was brilliant; the guy that runs the place was sound. It’s basically his house with half of it turned into a studio. We brought all our own guitars and things, the studio had all the other necessary techy thingy’s.

Equipment:

Mick 1.0 (lead guitar)
Line6, Spider II 150 watt amp
PRS Soapbar II
Stagg 30ft Lead
I was wearing Calvin Klein boxers

John (drums)
Yamaha Stage Master Edition
Pearl switch foot Bass Pedal
Zildjian Z Custom Hi Hats, 14″ Sabian AAX Crash Cymbal, Zildjian Scimitar 18″ Crash, 20′ Ride
Vic Firth 7A Maple Sticks

Mick 2.0 (vocals/guitar)
Epiphone Les Paul
Avt150 head and Marshall cab

Steve (bass)
Black Nameless Bass
Epiphone Thunderbird
Crate Half Stack Bass Amp

What bands would you say most influenced the kind of music you make?

Mick 1.0 (guitar): I’m digging U2; early U2. This new-age U2 stuff is pretty bad. Anything U2 and from the 80s is for me. I listen to a lot of Dashboard Confessional songs too. I don’t think they’re an influence as much though – except for our one acoustic song – Letters. Errrmm… Boy Kill Boy, We Are Scientists, Postal Service/Death Cab… a lot of stuff really. And of course, Bon Jovi… although I’m not really a fan of the newer Bon Jovi that is too ballad focused. I like the older, Dry County Bon Jovi.

Steve (bass): We all have a really wide range of taste in music, and I think it shows through our songs. We don’t sound like every other band out at the moment; we’ve been compared to Snow Patrol and U2, and I definitely get influence from bands like those.

John (drums): For me man, bands like Sister Hazel, Bryan Adams, etc.; a lot of older stuff. As a band we all have very different tastes in music, but I think it’s better like that for the music we write. It means you can listen to a track and it wouldn’t sound like any other bands out at the moment; it’s all mixed from so many different styles that it becomes our own sound.

Being that I am from the United States, I am not overly familiar with the Scottish/British music scene. What other groups are good over there, and what’s the overall atmosphere like?

Steve (bass): The Scottish music scene is considered one of the most vibrant in Europe; I also think it’s one of the most underappreciated. There’s tons of amazing bands from Scotland about right now and no one seems to take interest in them.

Mick 1.0 (guitar): The scene is good – depending on what you like I guess. There’s the whole Sheffieldthing with the “Arctic Monkeys”, who are really just a northern Libertines but not as good. More locally, a few really good Glasgow bands are on the up and up. “The Fratellis” would have to be one of the most notable, as they are headlining the NME Rock ‘ n’ Roll Riot Tour 2006. Also on the tour with them is anotherGlasgow band – “The Dykeenies”. They’re kind of cool. Lastly, recently signed to Lizard King Records (the guys who put out the Killers’ album, “Hot Fuss” over here in the UK) are “Drive by Argument”, who are a kind of funky electro-rock band.

Mick 2.0(vocals/guitar): Yeah the atmosphere in Glasgow especially is great…if you’re a good band that is. And if you’re not, the people of Glasgow will let you know. As for the scene, it has been booming lately. Basically that manufactured pop shit has finally got thrown out the window and indie has exploded into the mainstream again. My personal choice for a notable band at the moment would be “The Fratellis”. They are a post-Libertines band but have a certain glam quality about them. If you haven’t heard them check out “Chelsea Dagger”.

How do you go about writing songs, describe that process briefly.

Mick 1.0 (guitar): Briefly put – each song is a culmination of the 10-20 songs we have tried to write and failed. Most of our songs are really like Frankenstein’s Monster. We try to write a song – scrap it. Try to write another song – scrap it. And that happens a shit load of times ’til we go back to one and then use bits from all the other songs we tried to write.

John (drums): Now Mick isn’t joking ha-ha, it’s a long process man, but in the end I’d say it’s worth it.

Steve (bass): Hah! It is probably the most frustrating part of being in a band. It takes us ages to decide, it’s always worth it though.

If you could have any record label sign you right now, which one would you choose and why?

Mick 2.0 (vocals/guitar): I’d just love to sign my soul away to Simon Cowell, haha. Anyway, I’d probably go for Domino Records at the moment. They have Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys and both of them have been huge. Its also doesn’t seem like a sell out; they seem to be a huge company yet still seem indie at the same time.

Mick 1.0 (guitar): One who doesn’t try to rip the arse out of the band. A record label that is willing to give us a fair deal and get us a decent level of exposure. I don’t expect Sony or WB to come along and give us a deal. Just an indie label who knows what they’re doing and have the money to do something for us.

Our site also covers video games, so do any of you guys play them? If you do, what’ve you been playing recently, and what are you looking forward to? 

Mick 1.0 (guitar): VIDEO GAMES! I’m not sure about the rest of the band but I love them. I’m a real Nintendo fan boy. In my eyes they can do no wrong – except maybe the Virtual Boy… shudders. I’m counting the days and minutes to the launch of the Wii.

I do, however, have a wee soft spot for the Xbox and the 360. I used to be found on Halo 2 most nights – I’m not the best, a respectable 20-22 most of the time, but it’s gotten quiet in the Big Team play lists and it’s not as fun as it once was (thanks to the softmodding community). Don’t get me wrong – Mod away, but not in matchmaking please. Recently I’ve just been playing Live Arcade games, Texas Hold ’em mostly. I can’t wait for Viva Pinata!

Steve (bass): I used to play games constantly, but not so much anymore due to being busy with college. I still find time to play some Guitar Hero now and again, and I am looking forward to the PS3 being released!

Mick 2.0 (vocals/guitar): WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW. Oh yeah, I play WOW (World of Warcraft) when my internet is actually working. Once you start playing you can’t stop; you just want to grab all the loot you can.

As for what I’m looking forward to, I would definitely the Wii. Let’s get together and play, there’s no you in Wii.

John (drums): Video games? What are they?

How have people responded to your music, either locally or over the internet through Myspace? Has the response been pretty positive overall?

Mick 1.0 (guitar): The response has been pretty good. No ones said they hate us, which can only be a good thing. Most of the people in the industry who we’ve asked to have a listen are positive and give us pretty useful advice as far as songwriting goes and how we can improve. We have had a bit of radio play on smaller radio stations, but we didn’t usually know about it- we would usually find out after a fan told us or someone would add us on Myspace saying, “Hey I heard you guys on the radio, you were awesome!”

Mick 2.0 (vocals/guitar): Totally! The response has been great. The best thing about it is we seem to have a broad appeal; there’s no one group of people that are into the music. There seems to be no age restriction on it either; everyone seems to give positive feedback.

Steve (bass): I was actually surprised at how good a response we get. We got a lot of positive reactions when we went on our first UK tour in July 06, which was great fun (even though I was stuck driving pretty much the whole time). It was a good feeling having people coming up to us and telling us how much they enjoyed our set, even though they’d never heard us before.

What is one major challenge that you guys have faced either in touring or writing your music?

Mick 2.0 (vocals/guitar): Transport on tour, and the lack of a hairdryers (god bless hand dryers). We broke down in Piccadilly Circus (London) of all places, if I hadn’t got the car off the road we would have stopped traffic at the center of London, which would have been cool because it would have made radio traffic reports

Mick 1.0 (guitar): Major challenge? Have a look at our tour photos, a-ha. The one with the “Mama Mia” poster in the background is us with another band we played some tour shows with – Kicking Buckets – and with our overheated car in the middle of Piccadilly Circus in London. London’s a pretty old city and such, the road was only one car wide ha-ha. Mick 2.0 and Steve had to push it off the road while Mick 1.0 and John had to look for some police to point us in the direction of a garage. We were driving a 1999 3-Door Ford Escort, for the petrol-heads.

Steve (bass): The biggest challenge I’ve faced is staying awake whilst driving on tour, I severely abused wakey wakey pills.

What are the best and worst parts of being in a rock group?

John (drums): Man there’s a question. The best part is being able to travel and play for new people every night at the shows. Meeting new people is definitely a fun part of being in a band.

The worst parts, god…having to look at the other guys faces every night and day when you go to sleep and wake up. Sorry guys!!

Steve (bass): The best part is the experience of being in a band in general; the performance, different venues, different locations and all the different people you meet, and it’s a buzz.

In response to John, everyone knows you don’t have any complaints about guys, especially me. Don’t hide your feelings, it’s not healthy man. Ha-ha.

Mick 2.0 (vocals/guitar): The best part is making the music, doing what I love, and getting applause; I think I have a fetish for it.

The worst part is being stuck in a car on a sweltering day with three other sweaty men.

Mick 1.0 (guitar): Best – The free beer at some gigs, the crowd cheering you and of course, the love!

Worst – The hassle from hard-faced Glasgow promoters who want x amount of tickets or money. What happened to paying the bands regardless of ticket sales?

Finally, where does the band go from here? What’s next on the horizon for you guys?

John (drums): World domination! Or to play a show at an all girl’s school, where they haven’t seen a guy in like 4 years, now that would be an after party!!

Steve (Bass): Well we’ve still got to record an album, that would be a good start. Fame and fortune would be good and curing disease and world hunger of course.

Mick 1.0 (guitar): From here? Mexico, just after we get that $5 million from the KK Ranch in Utah. But oh shit – they built over it! Crap. Seriously though – from here, I don’t know. Hopefully make a living off this shit. If not, I can always make a living in Big-Pimpin’.

Mick 2.0 (vocals/Guitar): Mo money, mo bitches yo!!

Quotes about The Stereoheads:

“The Stereoheads, whose indie rock and catchy melodies make for promising performances at every gig.” – Dicelines Promotions

“The sound of four guys wearing converse…” – Dave Ross (The Hold)

“The Stereoheads. Noun – An Indie-Pop-Rock band from Glasgow. Known for dancey beats and catchy melodies.” – Burning Haggis Promotions

“Very much in tune with bands like Editors and even early U2” – Daniel Wylie

For more information on The Stereoheads and their music, check out their website at http://www.thestereoheads.com/.

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