INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTO by MARTIN KESSEL
Chris Munday has made quite an impact on the Stoke music scene in the last few years.
As frontman of rock band Stone The Alchemist, him and his group have gained a good local reputation with their diverse and honest musical approach.
The outfit have decided to take a break, but Chris is keeping himself busy with his new project, YOUYESYOU.
I chatted to him about his journey so far, and what the future holds.
When did you realise you wanted to get into music?
The moment I hit 15. I’d been into pop music for years and done a few talent shows when I was in High School, but then I heard rock music around the time the nu metal explosion happened and it’s stuck with me even now, and a few years later a friend heard me singing, liked my voice and took me down the path of joining bands.
How did your friend hear you sing in the first place? Was it at one of the school talent shows you did?
We were hanging out once, and I think it was a Meat Loaf song of all things, but yeah, I joined his band and it didn’t really go anywhere, but I just remembered enjoying going to the practices, I left them to join another and that’s when I got into my ‘serious’ bands.
What was the ‘serious’ band you joined?
It was a band called Andraste, with three other ambitious guys that was basically a covers band with our own songs cut in between.
It spiked my creativity and got my voice heard and even had a small following at the time, can’t believe that was almost ten years ago.
How did Stone The Alchemist come about?
It was with a few false starts, I’ll say that, but it kicked in around about 2011 after Jono heard me singing once at a place in Newcastle-under-Lyme called The Rigger, and we did our first gig a few months later.
I rememeber Jard walking in and looking nothing like he does now, but the moment that guy started playing drums I was like “I’ve got to do this.”
Are your parents musical at all?
Yeah, My mum and dad have a real taste for any kind of music really.
In terms of being in a band etc, my mum was in one in the seventies doing backing vocals and my dad has a vinyl collection that must be a mile long, I just know you’ll hear Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner who are nothing short of musical idols to my Mum, whereas my dad has been my gig buddy for years, years ago he took me to see Motorhead and it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, I’m gonna stop there because I could go on, so in short, yes.
What band was your mother in? And it must have been quite an experience seeing Motorhead in the flesh.
I think she was in a band called Neon Blue, or Neon Light, something like that and yeah, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the warty faced beaut three times, once with Slash. The loss of Lemmy hurt us all.
What bands are you inspired by?
I have way, way too many. Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor will always be my biggest love though, Kyo from Dir en grey in terms of vocal styling.
At the moment I’m digging Sia, Death Spells and Cane Hill, also Korn’s new song kicks ass.
How and where do you get your ideas for songs?
They just sort of grow, sometimes we have an idea and sometimes it’ll be working through trying to get something, I find sometimes some of the best songs come about when we’ve written lyrics first, then we have a general idea for music to fit the mood of the lyrics.
Having been part of the Stoke music scene for a while now, how do you think it has changed since you started out?
The smoking ban has quite possibly been the worst thing for bands, I’ll tell you that, but I think the best bands in Stoke are the ones that endure and last such as Tussk and HeadrusH, and now with Sons of Andal, Sertaline and Alter Eden whose members were all in Blue Origin.
There’s a fantastic scene in Stoke and it’s vast too.
I don’t think I’ve been anywhere else where there’s more than three or four venues in the area where bands can play and Stoke has been awesome in pushing its bands forward.
You’ve recently written some articles for REBEL. Is writing something you would consider doing more of in the future?
I’ll do the odd interview here and there as well as the odd review too, but at the moment, I’ll be focusing on my music and other creative projects.
What are the other creative projects you’re doing?
I’m currently writing an animation called Camden Terrorist Rejects with a very talented artist called Louise Hodkiss, that too should be out this year and we’ll be dropping a tease trailer in the not too distant future so stay tuned!
I’ll look out for that. Can you tell me any more about it?
Yeah, it’s about four teenagers from the north of London who all kick large amounts of ass, it’ll be a series with episodes similar to an anime, but we’ve got Carl Davis on board too to make it a more immersive experience, we’ve also got Twenty Blocks Away doing the films score and his music is incredible, so please check out our page on Facebook and we’ll keep you posted!!!
What’s happening with Stone The Alchemist? Are you all taking a break, or is that it now?
I’m keeping all that hush hush at the mo, but I’ll be focusing more on YOUYESYOU this year and next.
But, Alchemist will have some news fairly soon on what’s ahead.
Tell me more about YOUYESYOU.
YOUYESYOU are a three-piece from Stoke with a stripped back sound consisting of drums, the noisiest fucking bass guitar heard and me on vocals, it’s more personal in lyrics and a more simple and direct approach in terms of songwriting.
Jord Poole and Liam Stride have been in bands also for years and those two guys were also in Skarlett Arcade a few years back.
What are your plans for the band? An EP, an album maybe?
A few local gigs in Stoke, and the EP should be arriving later this year.