“You probably hate me, but what can I say? I’m a hateable guy,” comes the opening snarl of Fin Power on ‘Waste’, one of the stand-out early tracks from Liverpool rockers STONE.
As those unrepentant lyrics suggest, STONE aren’t here to make up the numbers in the UK’s crowded musical landscape. Instead, they’re intent on delivering a musical mishmash of punk, garage rock and subtle electronica that you’ll be unable to peel your ears and, if you’ve seen them live, eyes, away from.
They may be a ferocious live prospect, led by Power’s relentless commanding spirit, but debut EP Punkadonk proved that STONE’s music demands your attention too.
Read our full Q&A with STONE below.
If ‘Punkadonk’, your debut EP, was the first taste of STONE, where are you heading next?
Fin Power: We’re working on a second EP and then eventually an album which will be the first big drop and indication of what we’re all about. But equally it feels like a lot to take on and there’s a lot of emotions flying around too. I’m battling with wanting to be an artist and then when I get home, walking my dog, seeing my family and just being healthy.
Elliot: This is the first year that we’re fully seeing the world and going to festivals with this stuff That’s the craziest feeling, stepping onto a plane and knowing you’re there for work and not for your jollies. It takes getting used to, but seeing the reception we’re getting across Europe has been amazing, just to be able to see people all over the world, like singing our stuff back to us is just amazing.
But it doesn’t matter what the crowd is, we’re going to shell it and leave it all out there each time. We played to 10,000 people at Rock Werchter and then came home to a smaller crowd at a UK festival. It doesn’t matter about the size, you’re getting our all. It keeps you on your toes too.
So playing live is really where STONE comes alive?
Fin: Yeah. I recently had an epiphany and as much as I love making the music I just want to play it to you. When you’re in a studio you’ll hear takes, but I can’t get up on stage without feeling the emotion of it all. I want people to almost feel like they’re having a religious experience. Even if they’re not a fan of us, they’ll be unable to take their eyes off us. I think STONE gives off an energy that you just naturally want to go and look at. I want us to be captivating, I want to completely dig into the soul of every human in our crowd.
It seems like there’s a great deal of relatability in your lyrics too. ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ captures that sense of electricity in a room before it’s about to kick off.
Fin: It took me a long time to find out how I write and the moment hit me when I was 18 and I’d just quit my anti-depressants and drank a bottle of Sambuca and wrote a song called ‘I Don’t Like Myself’. That song got written in a matter of three minutes and it allowed me to reflect how I was feeling at that time.
I guess maturity has allowed me to learn about that even further and how to really bring melody and collaboration to the band. Over the last year I’ve been collaborating with Elliot and it’s felt like a real 50/50 thing with lyrics and musics. We’re starting to find our rhythm as songwriters and really refine our art.
Elliot: We’re eclectic too. It’s not just guitar-led, we’ve got a real blend of styles and there’s a little bit more of an electronic influence coming in there as well. I think it’s just nice to have the sort of creative leverage to mix different styles so it’s not just all a fucking hard punk song.
What’s the story behind ‘I Gotta Feeling’?
Fin: That song came from me walking around Liverpool after the Grand National and just getting the sense that something was about to kick off. I sat in the back of the van on the way home from a London show after that and just wrote about how I saw this angry ego, these guys trying to lose loads of money to impress women. I could relate that to myself in past and how toxic masculinity affects every dude in their life, whether we like it or not. That just really impacted me.
Social observations are quite intrinsic to your music then?
Fin: Well, I keep spoken word music at my core and I think a lot of our album will be like that. I’m a huge fan of The Streets and remember listening to Original Pirate Material and A Grand Don’t Come For Free for the first time. It felt like Mike Skinner was really speaking to me and I just loved how deep he went. The Streets really captivated me.
But again, Ell is great at that kind of writing too. He wrote our song ‘Money (Hope Ain’t Gone)’ and it’s almost like poetry.
Elliot: I touch on the stuff that happens around us. You know, something awful happens in the world and it’s relentlessly documented and now there’s this kind of idea of like everyone is perceived online and there’s all these kind of pressures and that’s on everyone. We’re all in the technological hellscape we’ve created, but it also keeps us together as we’re trying to not get consumed by it.
But ultimately, live shows are where you really come alive
Elliot: Yes, I do think there’s a beautiful community in live music you get to see that in front of you and it’s tangible and you can see these people and they’re putting their hands up and they’re sweating and shouting. It’s a beautiful thing and what we always want to be a part of.