Interview: Stark

Who are you?

We are Stark, a Brighton based alternative folk trio

Why the name?

We felt it summed up the stripped back approach we were aiming for (we’re also massive Sean Bean fans…).

What’s your sound?

We’re a mixture of folk, blues and progressive music. We’ve tried to take influence from the music we all love and do something distinctive with it.

Who could you be compared to?

We’d like to think we have a similar feel to artists like Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Kelly Joe Phelps.

So, being an alt-folk band you’re a bit of a small fish in a big sea of rock and metal bands. How have you been received by the crowds around your area.

There are crowds in our area? When did this happen? People seem to really enjoy the gigs and we’ve been getting some great feedback. We try to give an energetic live show, and people seem to appreciate hearing something a little different.

What’s your ultimate goal for the band?

None of us are too fussed about fame and fortune, but we’d love to pay the bills playing professionally. A few support slots with some of our favourite bands would be a dream come true.

You’ve just released an EP called Where The Grey Slates Meet which one of our team reviewed. Tell us about that record.

We’ve been promoting an older record for a year now and it’s nice to have something more current that best represents our sound. The songs have been evolving over the last year through playing live, and after saving up some money from touring; we invested in a decent mic and recorded the EP in Rusty’s bedroom. For the drums, we recorded at Iron Works Studio which was a great experience. It’s a culmination of lots our influences and it has been really satisfying hearing it come together and receiving some great feedback.

What would you say are the highlight tracks people should look out for?

Seeing as there are only three tracks, please listen to all of them! All of them are our babies, so it is hard to pick. The people who we’ve played it to seem to love Sailor Song, so we guess that’d be the favourite child.

What goes into writing a Stark song?

About four gallons of tea and a sprinkle of homoerotic tension. Generally Jamie will have the initial concept for a song, and then we all work together to arrange and produce it. It will also tend to evolve once we start gigging it.

Most bands have their music infused with elements of material by their favourite bands. Who inspires you?

Rusty is a big fan of Elbow and a lot of the production ideas on the EP were inspired by them. We try to be open to many different influences and everything from Sarah Jarosz to Tesseract are sources of inspiration.

How did the band form?

Initially, Jamie on vocals and guitar, and Evan on percussion played around Brighton as a duo. However, we soon felt limited by the line-up and joined up with Rusty on bass. We’ve got a good chemistry and work well together, so we are happy to have got it right first time round.

What’s next for the band?

We’ve got a tour in the works in support of the new EP which will be happening in the spring. We’re also being booked up for the summer festivals so we can’t wait to find new audiences for our music. Longer term, we’d love to find management or an independent label that could support us.

If you had to cover a track, and it had to be a mainstream one, what would you pick and why?

Ellie Goulding has some pretty cool ideas and melodies. We’d love to rip apart ‘every time you go’ and stick it back together with a bit of banjo and sticky tape.

If you had a label what three bands near you would you sign and why?

Ellen and the Echo write beautifully haunting songs and we’re pretty big fans of them. Tarq Bowen is a very talented song writer with a bluesy voice and puts on a great live show. Lastly, every sound guys worst nightmare, K.A.T.E, have awesome four part harmonies and a fine assortment of weird instruments.

Going off from that last question, if you could throw three major bands or artists into George Orwell’s room 101 and effectively wipe them out of existence, who would you choose and why?

Bad artists aren’t what is wrong with the industry, they are just a symptom of the sickness. Having said that, Bieber is a douche.

The music scene in and around Brighton is great, but what in an ideal world would you like to see happen in music worldwide?

We’d like to see music become more about musicianship and the relationship between a band and their fans. It’d be great if labels started taking risks again rather than just searching for something like their last number 1.

Why should people bother checking you out?

We’re really passionate about the music we write and play, and hopefully it’s not like anything else you’ve heard. We’re trying to do something different with the folk and blues genres as they’ve become quite insular in recent years. Most of all, we just aim to write good songs that people will enjoy listening to.

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