Stereo Off: The Moment of Inspiration
There is a good deal to be said about Stereo Off’s capacity to blend and fuse their myriad influences into something that is uniquely theirs. True, as they say, “[they are] not looking to reinvent the wheel” but they might well try to do just that. What started out as a single effort rapidly progressed into a five-piece band with members comparable to five-star chefs doing fusion cuisine, each bringing something of value to the table. The result: a multi-hyphenated musical genre comprised of pop, electro, indie, post punk to name only a few. And as they so rightfully remind us, Stereo Off is young, with a path to true recognition yet to be travelled. They cannot and won’t yet be asked to concoct an anthology of the rockstar’s lifestyle but they can and do speak with grace and élan true words of inspiration: practice is key and make them mistakes because inspiration is one elusive witch. Thank you Stereo Off for granting us this superb interview!
Stereo Off started out as a single effort, how did it evolve into a five-piece band?
It was originally a solo project by Sebastian (lead singer), who programmed and produced most of it digitally. As the first songs started coming together he realized it had to be a real band with a balance of digital and analog, which started initially with him, Darren and Bridget. They looked at auditioning a guitar player when their friend Steve from electro-folkpop band Peculiar Gentleman and other bands such as Badacaster volunteered to join. In 2012 Niall joined as their bassist to complete the current 5-piece lineup and the group began expanding their sound and track list.
How would you describe your musical style and could you list some of your influences, musical and otherwise?
As noted in your review (thanks) and on several other sites that have mentioned us, we’re not looking to reinvent the wheel here (but maybe renovate and alter it somewhat). As a result, the music ends up adaptable to a wide array of listeners and styles cited often include things from 80’s synth-rock down to faster paced 90’s indie bands. As the band progresses, I think the style and some of the similarities tend to involve bands we like such as Friendly Fires, Phoenix, Chain Gang of 1974, The Strokes, etc, that right mix of indie-electro-post-punk styles.
Your first EP is truly eclectic and displays a variety of sonorities. How do you, as a band, go about writing a song?
Unlike several past bands, the making of a song here has a bit more of a structured beginning. Sebastian will usually have some ideas in mind, various melodies he’d like to explore. Or Niall will lay down a bunch of guitar riff melodies and bass lines for Sebastian to build from. That’s how most of the songs began at least – very much just an initial foundation for ideas. Then when we work on refining these and rehearsing them with each of the other band members, and they tend to evolve slightly as the rest of the band adds their ideas to the foundation.
Your music reveals a penchant for theatricality which also seems to permeate your visual identity. How did this come to be and what inspired it?
I wouldn’t say necessarily theatrical, but I think we identify with people who stand at the corner where the intersection of art, music and DJ cultures meet. The dna of performing is very much within us, be it from our parents and siblings or the many artists, musicians and film makers we are friends with and fans of.
A word of advice to aspiring artists?
It might be too early on to answer that one, our band itself has a lot of aspirations that we have barely just begun progressing towards. If there is anything I can advise on, it’s for any band to get on with it and get it out there. Unfortunately becoming an established artist is not about just the music, but about the business, how you market it and how you get the word out.
What one can initially control is ideally to do as much as you can as soon as you can. Practice, practice and more practice. Get those tracks well cut and get a release out, market your band and continually try to experiment with your sound. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or try to be perfect, or the moment of inspiration may pass you by.