After hours of sifting through the best new Indie music from across the country it can begin ti feel quite repetitive. Every artist has their individual charm but when you listen to so many some can begin to blend together, so when a band as boldly unique as Manchester's Sugarstone you can't help but stand up and take notice. The avant garde four-piece have been creating a synth laiden stir across the North West with their vibrant brand of retro electro. Their new single 'Angel Boy', released via Tri-Tone Music (Generation, Oya Paya) takes on an 80s style production with big drums and a huge synth melody combining with a vocal extravagance similar to that of King No-One. The perpetual energy and almost club like build up of the new track is contagious and makes for a dance inducing ear popping anthem. We caught up with vocalists George Miller and Joseph O'Haire to find out what has brought about this exciting amalgamation of sounds.
What reaction do you want people to have when listening to your music?
(George) "To be honest, we don’t really think about the reaction to the music until after we’ve written it. I think we just want people to enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoy writing and playing it. We write music that we’d listen to if we weren’t writing it, if that makes sense. I’d say one of the biggest compliments I get about our music is that people can’t get it out of their heads. Even if it’s annoying them, that’s still a huge positive for me".
Where does you love for the eccentric and the avant garde originate?
(Joe) "I suppose my love for all that comes from my parents and especially my mum's music taste. As a young lad I was introduced to bands such as Duran Duran, Adam Ants and Guns N’ Roses. Then a couple of years ago i delved into the worlds of Kate Bush, Talking Heads and Grimes. I fell in the love with all the wild outfits, crazy hair styles, dancing and the infectious song writing".
How much would you say your visual style contributes to your sound and effects your overall brand?
(Joe) "I’d say it contributes quite heavily! As a band we are really into vintage clothing and fashion. We like to match our styles with the music we are releasing or writing. For instance when we released ‘Tiger, Reach Out!’ we styled the band as very flamboyant New Romantics and most recently with the release of ‘Angel Boy’ we wanted to go for a sort of olden days English school boy/teacher style (with a hint of children’s TV presenters)".
Can you talk us through the concept behind the new single?
(George) "Lyrically, I suppose the ‘Angel Boy’ I’m referring to in the song is myself. I often get this urge to protect the people I’m closest to, even if they don’t necessarily want/need it. Having spoken to people since, I realise it’s quite a relatable feeling to have. I wrote the lyrics all in one afternoon, after a particularly confusing couple of days. I’d had the phrase ‘I’ll be your silly little Angel Boy’ knocking around in my head for a few days prior. It felt strong enough to write a song about, as that one phrase seemed to capture exactly how I was feeling. It’s a moment in time really. The lyrics are packed with meaning if you look deep enough. That being said there’s a large element of sarcasm in the words, and a few ‘in jokes’ chucked in for good measure (but we’ll let you try and figure them out)".
Angel Boy is packed with modern almost club like dance build ups as well as 80s drums extravagant vocals and retro synths - to what extent do you take inspiration from retro influences / from current music?
(Joe) "I’m sure I speak for the other boys when I say this, but we certainly don’t think about trying to sound like our influences when writing music. But I suppose with ‘Angel Boy’ I wanted it to sound like a crazy overly dramatic pop song ! Trying to do our best impression of maybe some of Peter Gabriel’s hits like Big Time or Sledgehammer! I listen to a lot of Dance and EDM/Industrial tinted rock bands too like Panther Modern, Nine Inch Nails, Boy Harsher and De Staat which of course their influence can seep into my writing process depending on what I’m listening to at the time".
With such a vibrant song construction, how do you go about arranging your music? Is it vocal led?
(Joe) "Most of our songs don’t start with the vocals actually, they come last! When I compose I tend to start with maybe a synth bass line or a melodic hook! Something that inspires the creative juices if you will. Once I’m into what I’ve started I’ll just build from there! With 'Angel Boy' I had written the music during the day and sent it over to George to write the lyrics and record his vocals. By the next day we had the original form of song".
What are your plans for the rest of 2021 both musically and personally now that lockdown is set to end?
(George) "We’re itching to get back gigging. But that’s not a surprise really. We did a few live streams the back end of last year, but we can’t wait to play in front of some real-life people. COVID happened just as we’d found a really engaging live set, so we can’t wait to get back on it. The plan is to get back in the studio. We’re hoping to start work on a something larger than a single. We’ve got loads of material ready to record and pretty good idea as to what order we should release it in. 'Angel Boy' marks the start of a very exciting chapter. On a more personal note, I think I speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to go and watch other bands play. We bonded over a shared interest in live music and get a lot of inspiration from watching other people play. So, yeah, as much live music as possible please".
Who are your favourite new artists right now?
"Confidence Man, Jockstrap, Remi Wolf & Ashniko".
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