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  • George Wainwright

INTERVIEW W/ Sterling Press: "It’s great for it to finally come off"!

Channelling the charm of Britpop poster boys combined with James Murphy’s ear for shuffling electronica, Sterling Press are a prospect to behold. Since the release of their post-pandemic single ‘Very Fun Times’, the London born but Liverpool based quartet have touted themselves as the next best British boy band. Having spent the past two years touring with the likes of Sundara Karma, Circa Waves and The Royston Club, Sterling Press have now arrived with their long awaited debut EP ‘Baby Steps’. In eager anticipation of the year to come, frontman Marlon Reynier discusses blowout gigs and blown up guitar amps.

Q. Firstly, where does the band name come from? What does Sterling Press actually mean?

A. "The way we came up with it was finding words we liked and putting them together. We started saying “sterling” as another way of saying good - “press” is just another way of saying news. So we started saying it to mean “good news!”. It’s our kind of slogan. People think it sounds like a Tesco cider or something!"

Q. Of the tracks on the ‘Baby Steps’ EP, ‘Crowdpleaser’ is proving to be a favourite amongst live audiences. Could you describe the inspiration behind the song?

A. "It was inspired by the feeling of going out a lot, just kind of wasting your days away I guess, the feeling of wanting something more and wanting to accomplish something. Kind of just deeping life a bit too much to be honest. I remember a few boys going out one night and I stayed in and wrote this song about being stuck in something small whilst dreaming about something bigger. It’s probably a bit over dramatic to be honest!"

Q. When curating a setlist for gigs do you find it challenging to translate songs from the studio to the live setting?

A. "It depends on the song. We don’t always play exactly what’s on the recording. We spend a lot of time and effort making the live set really good and somewhat different to make it a bit more interesting. For our song ‘Doorbell’ we spent quite a lot of time trying to get that sounding good live. Some of our songs we write in a live band setting but some of them we do on our laptops, so you’ve got to work out what needs changing."

Q. It’s recently been announced that you’ll be playing shows in Europe this year supporting STONE. How excited are you to be on the road across the continent?

A. "We’re mates with Stone. I got a text from them one night asking if we wanted to play in Europe, and I was like, “What the fuck?”. We’ve been talking about doing gigs with them for ages now, it’s great for it to finally come off. It’s our first time leaving the country to play music, so it’s proper cool. To do shows in Amsterdam and Brussels is pretty wild and hopefully it’s the start of getting ourselves out there as well. We’re buzzing! It’s going to be a good time."

Q. You’ve also recently supported The Royston Club and Sundara Karma. Is there any advice that you’ve picked up from touring with bands bigger than yourselves?

A. "We’ve been on the gig circuit for fucking years but I feel like recently we’ve been kind of moving up and being with bands who are a bit more established. In a live setting we’ve become a lot better by being around these other bands who are fucking massive. It’s inspiring to be surrounded with names bigger than us. Even the sound at venues is better, it’s not in a tiny room anymore which is what we were used to. We used to go to gigs by train a lot but now we’ve forced ourselves to get a van to bring equipment with us - using our own equipment really helps as well."

Q. Has there been a Sterling Press headline show that stands out as being particularly enjoyable or memorable?

A. "The obvious one would be when we sold out the O2 Academy in Liverpool but for me our headline Manchester gig (November 2023) was so good. We’d just been on a mini tour and we didn’t expect much from Manchester. It was a Sunday night and we weren't sure how it was going to go but it was a brilliant atmosphere. It felt like everyone wanted to be there and they loved it - we loved it as well! That is genuinely one of my favourite gigs."

Q. On the flip side, can you remember a gig where things didn’t go to plan?

A. "Our guitarist Greg has had a few issues, he’s had an amp blow up. In a gig recently his guitar stopped working for half a song. Before, if we had a problem like a guitar string breaking, the set would have to stop and we’d have to go and get another guitar. We have the mindset now of saying “the show must go on”. If something breaks, just keep going. As soon as you bring attention to it, people will notice, then it actually looks like a mistake. You just keep going - half the room won’t notice. Most people in the room probably aren’t musicians, so they don’t fully get it. At quite a few gigs stuff goes wrong. If you don’t notice we don’t notice either!"

Q. The iconography of Sterling Press is synonymous with Britpop and the 1990s. Which bands are you specifically inspired by and look up to?

A. "Everyone always says we sound like Blur - we do love Blur! We’re inspired by so many bands that we’re constantly changing. Recently Andy Warhol’s been quite a big influence. It’s a cool American variation of the Britpop sound. I think we’re kind of getting more into electronica. I've got a synth now on stage which I use a lot more than the bass guitar. We like the combination of the bassy, clubby sounds of the synth with the rocky guitars. It’s sort of like Blur Britpop guitars and LCD Soundsystem bass parts. That’s the kind of vibe we’re going for at the moment."

Q. With the new EP just arriving, what can fans expect next from Sterling Press?

A. "We want to keep getting our name out there a bit more and support bands playing up and down and get a few festivals eventually."


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