It was a year ago that STEREO IS A LIE were featured on Exploding In Sound's Glorious Noise compilation, and our love for the band has only grown in that time. The five piece Austin band has constructed a massive arena ready debut record, swirling with sonic glory, which is now available for your enjoyment. We caught up with the entire band who were gracious enough to answer our questions amid a busy release week schedule...
EIS: How/when did the band form?
Glynn: The band formed in late 2008. I’d been writing and had reached the point where I felt it was time to let some other musicians hear what I’d been up to and see if they fancied being involved in a new project. I knew Justin, so I approached him, then after that it was pretty much a case of friends recommending friends.
Marcus: I saw STEREO shortly after moving here from Seattle in late 2009. I introduced myself to Glynn, and noticing his Geordie accent, quickly bonded on our mutual English upbringing, music, and football (also known as ‘soccer’). We stayed in touch and some months later (April 2010), I received a call to come down and play some STEREO songs. A few weeks later, I was playing my first gig, and then was down the studio laying the bass tracks.
EIS: If STEREO IS A LIE, is the album recorded in mono? Where’d the name come from?
Glynn: I hate to disappoint you, but it’s stereo. We have talked about doing a mono mix though funnily enough. I woke up one morning with the words stuck in my head, so I opened Google to see what references there were. The only reference I could find was in an article about Moses Asch of Folkways Records where it discussed his views on capturing a recording. After reading it I was sold, fortunately the rest of the lads liked the name, so we went with it.
Marcus: Would be cool to do a mono mix, for sure.
EIS: Congratulations on the record, it’s fantastic from start to finish. It was a long time in the making, are you excited now that it’s finally been released?
Justin: Thank you!
Glynn: Thank you very much Dan, you’re too kind! We’re all very excited that the record is finally out, we’ve been aching for people to hear it for months now.
EIS: What comes next for the band?
Marcus: Record release parties, shows in around Austin, world domination, then drug addiction, therapy, and a ‘Behind the Music’ feature.
EIS: From initial song writing until final mixing, how long did it take to create the record?
Glynn: It varied really, some of the tunes have been around longer than others. For instance “Cracks” was written a few years ago, but “I Won’t” was only just completed while we were recording.
EIS: What was the recording process like for the band?
Glynn: The recording process itself was lots of fun, but very time consuming. If we’d have taken any longer I may have finally gone insane though.
Danny: By the time I joined the band (May 2009) most of the framework for the songs was already complete. I just came in and added some (guitar) textures in places. Within a few months Glynn and I started laying down the basic tracks for the record. There was no scratch vocal - and we recorded the record backwards to how people normally do it. We laid down the final lead vocal and acoustic guitars first then we recorded all the electric guitars, keys, drums and then bass last.
Marcus: For me it was pretty unique. Everything had been tracked and there was a rough bass track. All I needed to do was come in and not mess it up! I rehearsed the parts very briefly, then came in and tracked them in Danny’s studio. Even though the recording process had begun almost a year prior, for me the tracks were fresh and I think some of that ‘new song energy’ definitely comes through.
EIS: Do you enjoy being in the studio?
Marcus: Yes, love the studio.
Glynn: More than ever.
EIS: You guys were voted the best new band in Austin, a city known for being the “live music capital of the world” by Deli Magazine in ’09, was there any pressure to “strike while hot” so to speak?
Justin: No pressure, we were going to strike regardless.
Glynn: Not at all, the most important thing to us was making the record we wanted to make. Someone could have held a gun to our heads and it still wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.
EIS: The record is being released via the newly formed Monolathe Recordings, what made you decide to create your own record label (Glynn is ¼ of the label’s team) and keep things in the “family”?
Glynn: You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned “family”. I think it’s massively important when a label releases a record that the artist has complete trust in the people who will be helping it get out to the masses. Everyone at Monolathe Recordings lives and breathes music, so when it came to SIAL’s debut, we knew it would be in safe hands.
EIS: You guys seem to have conquered Austin, do you have plans to tour outside of Texas this year? Can we expect a national tour in support of the album?
Marcus: We would like to and if the right opportunities present themselves, we certainly will. If that means a few shows on either coast, then yes.
EIS: What can fans expect from a typical STEREO IS A LIE performance?
Marcus: Lots of sound. Lots of guitars. Pounding drums. Thunderous bass. High energy.
Glynn: Everything we have to give.
EIS: Does the album capture the band’s live spirit, or are your performances their own aspect of the band?
Marcus: I think the album does capture that spirit, and also reveals some of the nuisances of the songs that you can’t really appreciate in a live setting – there’s more ear candy on the record. Live performances add another dimension – more power and volume. You should definitely see a live show if you are digging the record. And vice versa.
Glynn: I agree, it feels very much like a symbiotic relationship to me.
EIS: The radio in Texas has already embraced several songs, and the entire record manages to rock while remaining radio friendly. Are you looking to have radio play a major role for the band?
Marcus: It wouldn’t hurt but not entirely expected. There are a handful of stations that regular play our type of music – it’s not like it is mainstream. Yet I think it has pretty broad appeal.
Justin: We’re looking to play a major role for radio.
Glynn: Who knows, everything is unpredictable these days. We’re certainly very appreciative of the stations who are giving us some love, I know that much.
EIS: How has the reaction been outside of Texas?
Marcus: Good so far.
Glynn: Great, I’m chuffed with how the album is being received.
EIS: Have you guys been pushing a specific song to radio, or offering the entire record?
Marcus: We had a single, "I Won’t," and "Last Call" would be the next single, but the entire record is up for grabs – play whatever you like, thank you very much!
Glynn: Yeah, it’s very much a case of ‘make your own mind up’, I mean who are we to tell people what to like? It’s been really interesting to see which songs people gravitate towards though, it’s not like only one or two crop up on playlists, it’s a bunch, which is always nice.
EIS: I was lucky enough to catch you guys on the final day of last year’s SXSW (which was awesome), what are your plans for this year? How many shows can we expect from SIAL? Being a local band, do you look forward to SXSW or the opposite?
Justin: Definitely look forward to it SXSW. I’ve been in Austin 10 years and it’s still my favorite time of year.
Marcus: I love SXSW. I look forward to it every year, to see bands I wouldn’t regularly see, discover something new, or see old friends. Bring it on. Austin is super lucky to have something like SX.
Glynn: It’s absolute chaos these days, but if you’re smart you can still take something away from it. As far as SIAL at SXSW ’11, we’ll have a few things going on. We’re really looking forward to playing the Dart Music International event at 219 West on Thursday the 17th and Nail Distribution’s day party at The Ghost Room on Friday the 18th.
EIS: As a band, are your musical influences similar?
Justin: There are metal heads in this band.
Marcus: I think there’s enough diversity to keep it interesting – we each bring a different perspective, and that’s what makes it fun to play together.
EIS: If you could have any active band bring you out on tour in the US and one in the UK, who would you pick?
Marcus: Going on the road with PJ Harvey would blow my mind. Interpol would be good.
Glynn: Yeah, they’re good ones. The Duke Spirit would be pretty sweet, as would Constantines.
EIS: I know our friends at Room Thirteen are huge fans of the band, do you have a good following in the UK?
Marcus: Small, yet rabid. Like badgers.
EIS: Glynn, as an Englishman, how did you end up in Austin?
Glynn: I used to play in a UK band from Nottingham called IV Thieves. We did a ton of touring over here, supporting the likes of Oasis, The Bravery, The Pretenders and then ended up recording an album here in Austin, TX. They didn’t chase us out of town with pitchforks, so we stayed.
EIS: Have you ever played to any confused audiences coming to see a “local Texas band”?
Justin: I think the audience may get confused because we’re not all English.
EIS: You guys just signed a major publishing deal… if your music could be featured in any TV show/commercial, what would you pick?
Marcus: I don’t watch too much tele but would want to hear STEREO coming from the jukebox from the Vic on Eastenders. A MINI advert would be okay. I dig the Black Angels’ Target advert – that would be good. Or theme song for the World Cup – but I don’t want to wait until 2014.
Glynn: Does Alex Jones do TV commercials? I have no idea about TV shows, I tend not to watch Lucifer’s Lantern that much.
EIS: Your relationship with engineer/producer Chris Cline (another partial owner of Monolathe) began long before SIAL, how was it working with him on the album? Had you discussed forming the label before you began recording, or was it something that developed over time spent together?
Danny: Working with Chris has been amazing on all fronts. During the recording of the record Glynn kept telling me about his pal who was this killer engineer that had worked with the Trail of Dead (a band I
am a big fan of). Once the recording was completed and the tracks were ready to be mixed, he was the obvious choice for us.
Glynn: He’s a good lad and he’s very talented. It was nice to get a fresh set of ears involved as well. The whole label thing didn’t come up until right at the end of tracking when we were looking at options for the release.
EIS: Will Monolathe be signing more bands?
Glynn: Definitely, hopefully pretty soon. We’re talking to a couple of great artists right now as it goes, but mum’s the word.
EIS: Strangest thing a fan has ever said to the band?
Danny: I had a short conversation with someone once where they tried to convince me that it would be "a lot cooler" if Glynn could learn to sing using a (fake) American accent and alternate between that and his natural (English) accent from song-to-song. "He needs to mix it up and go back and fourth between accents on stage". The funny thing is, they were completely serious and not trying to be ironic at all!
EIS: You’ve received a wide array of comparisons in the press, what’s your favorite/least favorite comparison that’s been made?
Justin: “If Damon Albarn from Blur grew a pair, or if Noel Gallagher from Oasis stopped whining and grew two pairs.”
Glynn: That could be Robert Smith on "It's Too Late."
EIS: Thanks so much for doing the interview, see you guys in Austin!
STEREO IS A LIE by STEREO IS A LIE