INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Stoke-on-Trent indie artist Stu Whiston is definitely a name to watch out for.
His debut EP ‘Take a Stride’, released last year, was critically acclaimed for its infectious and eclectically influenced sound, and his gig performances, where he plays with a live band, has also garnered rave reviews.
With a new single ‘The Ones’ out shortly, I decided to have a chat with him about all of this.
What made you want to become a musician?
Watching Oasis – ‘Live by the Sea’.
How would you describe your sound?
A glorious noise.
What is the inspiration behind your lyrics?
‘The Ones’ lyrics came out of listening to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers quite a lot. Like a snapshot of the everyday person against the world, trying to be their best. A hymn for the underdog was the sentiment really.
‘The Ones’, that’s the new single you have out soon. Tell us more about it.
It started off as an acoustic song, then I wrote this melody for a guitar intro, probably influenced by the Stone Roses or early U2. I had the chorus melody written first and developed the verses around that.
I wanted the track to pump in the verses like an early Kings of Leon tune or The Strokes. The bassline just grooves along with the kick. Love it!
I co-produced the track at the Big Red Studios in Macclesfield with Jake Evans who’s a great artist/producer. He’s worked with Jimi Goodwin from the Doves & Bernard Sumner from Joy Division & New Order, so he knows a thing or two.
We recorded the guitars loud setup through Jake’s vintage Marshall amp, and you can literally hear the lead guitar squealing feedback on the small break section near the end. Mental.
I added a Beatles style Melotron in there which you can really hear at the very end, just my little nod to the masters.
The track was mixed by Gethin Pearson who did the last Enemy album, he really brought the track to a place that sounds fresh and now.
Your debut EP ‘Take a Stride’ came out last year. How well do you think it was received?
I think it was really well received judging by the fact I’ve subsequently built a band around the success of the EP and being lucky enough to be offered some really good shows off the back of it.
The lead track ‘There Was a Time’ really is the charmer, as it introduced people to my sound and songwriting in the right way. First impressions and all that…
You’re from Stoke-on-Trent. What’s your opinion of the current music scene there?
I think there’s some great venues in Stoke who really do support the local talent. The gig-goers really do get behind their local bands/artists and there’s a definite feeling of something big waiting to happen.
I think it’s only a matter of time before Stoke is regarded in the same light as say the Sheffield music scene in past years.
There’s a definitive underlining tone in the indie bands from Stoke that deserve to be on the radio waves as much as any London or Liverpool based artist.
How is it for you playing live?
The best, it’s what I love the most. Very cathartic and you get instant gratification.
You have a live band now. How did that come about?
My old band mates liked the ‘Take a Stride EP’ a lot.
We went to watch Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in Manchester and I managed to convince them to come along for the ride.
Do you find it better personally playing solo or with a band behind you?
The band is better for getting the songs across in the intended way, but I do like playing solo shows for the intimacy of it.
However, when you blow the roof off a venue with your mates, it really is the best night out around.
What have you got lined up in the near future?
I’ve got a headline show with the full band at The Underground in Hanley on the 11th November, I’m supporting Shed Seven when they play The Exchange in Hanley on the 30th November, and I should have a new EP out early next year.
What is your long-term aim?
To hear one of my songs on Coronation Street.
STU’S NEW SINGLE ‘THE ONES’ WILL BE DIGITALLY RELEASED ON THE 28TH OCTOBER.