Liverpool's rowdiest newcomers on the block, STONE, have gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months, releasing anthem after anthem. Their brazen Punk attitude and in-your-face Rock sound is hard to ignore and radiates with an infectious rebellious spirit perfectly fitting for the live environment. Ahead of a huge summer full of festival slots followed by an October tour, we caught up with Alex and Elliot from the band to talk about the thrills of playing live and the unity that makes STONE such a force to be reckoned with.
Can you explain how much your biggest hometown show earlier this year meant to you as a band?
Alex - "Yeah it was insane. The volume of people was like the first thing, getting that many people through the door in our own city, that was like an absolute hallmark of where we're at. Then seeing them go feral on top of that was like, that was like the kicker. Huge. It was a huge, huge moment".
Elliot - "It was amazing. It was like a hardcore show at times. What we aim to do is turn up and then make the space our own and to do that in our hometown was crazy, like you can't describe it".
Alex - "I get a smile on my face thinking about it because I just remember standing up after one of the songs, looking out and thinking ‘This is our place’ you know what I mean?".
Is the live stage where you feel in your element?
Alex - "Yeah I think for myself it is really important because it's where I get to just blow off the cobwebs. We always come back to thinking ‘how is this going to sound live?’. A lot of our rhythm section recordings have been done live to keep that feel".
Elliot - "The live show is so important to us and I think you can hear that in our sound as well. It's about getting the energy and keeping it. You've got to do it, like on stage I'm running around like Basil Fawlty. I’ve learned that energy is in me and now that I know that about myself I’ve got to get it out then. Otherwise, if I'm not running manically around the stage, I'd just be in my room and that's not nearly as fun. It's just such a good way to channel any and all aggression, rage, anger, love, hope. It's like a big amalgamation of just like a beautiful piece right there in the room".
What’s your favourite memory of playing live?
Alex - “There's a couple of them but we had a special moment the first time we did Leeds Festival back in 2021? We came out of lockdown and our first proper gig was Leeds 2021 at the BBC introducing stage. When we turned up to it, we had this big anticipation. So we're all excited. We're all like, oh my god, what's going to happen? The fear of this unknown. Then, before we go on, I take a look out the curtain and I'm like, oh my God, there's actually people here for us. I thought it would just be spectators on the way to the main stage but it was rammed for us. Then we go on stage and they're starting to get a bit rowdy and when we get to the last song after playing our hearts out Finn just jumps in and it is like a takeoff moment like, lift off… This is STONE! We've been riding that wave ever since!”.
How do you think you guys have developed since your first single?
Alex - "I think we've all grown as people.There's been nearly three years of maturing, honing our craft, getting better at what we do and different people coming in with different writing styles like myself. I didn't really used to get involved in the writing process as such but now I feel myself really getting involved with it. I'm trying my best to come up with new, fresh ideas and I think that that's how it's changed. We’ve kept the same visceral energy and that live energy, but we've channelled it into newer sounds and started experimenting a little bit more".
Elliot - "We have created this sort of space creatively that gives us leverage to dip into different styles and throw a lot of stuff at the wall. We keep these central kind core tenets of STONE and have our own individual styles of playing so as long as that is consistent we can make a Dance track, we can make a more Hip Hop inspired track, we can make one a little bit more Poppy or we can go really Punk with it".
Alex - "We surprise ourselves with some of the stuff we come up with, and we're like, wow, that actually works. We're like a different version of ourselves every week. So it keeps it exciting".
Has the writing process become more collaborative as you’ve developed too?
Alex - "Yeah, we're blessed to have amazing musicians in the band. So I can just literally give Elliot a new idea and he'll go ‘trust me’. I'll be watching him do it. I'll be taking it all in, learning as I'm going and then the end result will be an amazing track that's got so deep and so intricate and there's so much going on that only Elliot can truly understand".
Elliot - "With me and Alex at the moment there's a really good intuition that you can only get with time. It's being able to understand that everyone has a slightly different approach and so after years and years of working together and picking up what each other puts down it builds a sense of intuition".
Does this collaboration and unity translate over into the lyrics and messages of your music too?
Alex - "The thing is Finn is lyrically so strong so it's very rare that we'd want to change stuff but Finn's open to like bits and pieces being slightly tweaked. More recently, there's certain songs where Elliot's come up with a batch of lyrics and Finn's cherry picked out of that".
Elliot - "Me and Finn have been songwriting together so like, ‘Money’, like our biggest song is like 50/50, it's a proper Lennon/McCartney job. Again, it was this really intuitive song that kind of just came together. He's like I need a chant and then on the way home that day I just wrote on my phone.
There isn't a dichotomy because we're all aware STONE is a band. It's all four of us and all cylinders are firing. There's going to be loads of challenges but we're just trying to get bulletproof, you know".