Vancouver, Vancouver, Vancouver. Damn is there an insane amount of talent bubbling out of that city. Here I am with another badass band from this musical mecca. This one has a sound that combines classic rock n roll with some killer blues and even a little reggae influence. Badass Band 33 is The Stone Pines.
The Stone Pines is made of five talented guys, three of which have a long history of playing together in a previous band (more on that in the interview!): Josh Larsson, vocals, Corey Fenton, guitar/vocals, Ryan Krumins, guitar/vocals, Clark Buchanan, bass, and Tim Watson, drums. These guys together create a perfect mesh of pleasing, soulful rock music.
I heard about The Stone Pines via, again, Twitter. I went clicking away which led me to their website and their tunes. Soon enough, I was hustling to buy their first self-titled EP. The EP includes four songs, ‘The Hook’, ‘Close Your Eyes’, ‘She Ain’t Short’ and ‘Simple’. ‘The Hook’ is the first song I listened to and it exudes the crisp classicness of rock n roll with killer deep bass lines. This rings true for all four songs on the EP, all excellent. I moved on to another EP TSP released last year, ‘Goodbye Devil’ which boasts a few more tunes, ‘The Big Goodbye’, ‘Devil in the Shade’, and ‘Close Your Eyes’. You can clearly tell the evolution of the tunes and the vocals. ‘Goodbye Devil’ boasts faster paced, more bluesy sounds. The vocals are raucous and the variance of them from song to song is insanely appealing. This is a band you definitely want to check out and be on the lookout for. Their newest album, a full length, is due out VERY soon, and in fact the first two singles, ‘Wild Child Style’ and ‘Rollin’ Train’ were released on 4/20. Go check them out!
Corey and Ryan were kind enough to take some time to do an interview with BBB, so, as always, read on to find out about their ‘gnarling riffs’, which band member’s past time is breaking things, and something about napalm and a telephone pole…
When and why did each of you start playing? How did you all meet? Why ‘The Stone Pines’?
CF – Corey Fenton (Guitar/Vocals)
RK – Ryan Krumins (Guitar/Vocals)
CF- I started playing right after high school.
RK- My parents threw me in piano lessons when I was 6 years old, then I moved on to guitar when I was 13 and never looked back.
The Stone Pines name came from a combination of different words that the band threw out there and we all just settled into. We didn’t like pretty much every name we came up with except that one.
Can BBB ask why the hiatus between bands?
For sure! Our old band was called Thornbird, which Josh, Corey and Ryan played in. We went on hiatus while our guitar player Ryan Krumins went travelling around the world for 19 months after he graduated from UBC. Josh and Corey were both living in Vancouver at the time and were writing the songs that would become the basis for The Stone Pines songs when we got back together at the start of 2010. Ryan also wrote a few songs while he was away, so while we were on hiatus from an official “band” we definitely weren’t on hiatus from playing and writing music.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you
listen to now?
CF- As a kid, I grew up with Nazereth, the Wilburys, Neil Young and Rod Stewart. I became a hip hop head in high school and slowly found my way back to rock an roll. There’s just more to discover in rock.
RK- I grew up listening to a lot of Rock and Hip Hop, and as I’ve grown up I listen to a lot more rock now. Some of the bands that have lasted the test of time are Sublime, Dispatch, Foo Fighters, and The Black Keys. Lately I’ve been getting more and more into discovering indie bands, there’s so many talented bands that aren’t in the spotlight these days.
Which musicians do you admire? Why?
CF- The talented ones who just never ended up “making it”. We admire them for having the balls to try.
RK- I admire musicians who have a passion for their craft, and who make music that moves you. The best songs are ones that you can connect with on an emotional level.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
Not usually, we practice hard.
Any rituals before a show?
We do special exercises and stretches.
Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been.
Solid, melodic rock and roll with a splash of reggae and the blues. Ranging from energetic, gnarling riffs and howling vocals to laid back rhythms and soulful moments.
How does your creative process typically work?
Band members typically write about 75% of a song before bringing it into a jam session. The band then tightens the screws and if we can make it work, it becomes a new TSP song.
What do you think you biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far?
Getting to work with Eric Mosher (Franz Ferdinand, AC/DC, Chickenfoot) at Brian Adams’ The Warehouse studios, hands down. It has a reputation as the best studio in Canada, and Eric is such an amazing professional. Also we had the opportunity to play on the Main Stage of the Grey Cup Street Festival last November in Vancouver, sharing the stage with some great Vancouver bands. The Grey Cup is basically the Canadian Super Bowl.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
Being an independent band is difficult as you need to pay for everything. Its been a long saga of trying to put the funds together for different things: professional equipment, recording, and now touring.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you in the coming year?
Glad you asked! We have so much going on! We’ve been working really hard to make this new album. We have a radio show and a funding concert planned before the albums release in which well sneak preview some new songs. We’re following up the album release with a Western Canada tour through BC and Alberta, We’ve got a music video or two that are currently in the editing room/pre production stages. We also are applying for a few festivals that we’d love to get into. There’s a couple contests in Vancouver put on by local radio stations, 99.3 The Fox and 100.5 The Peak that we will be applying for as well. Last year we started a music collective here in Vancouver called iRE, which has a couple projects in the works: a multi band video and were seriously talking about starting production on a 3 band rock musical.
Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan what would it be?
We try to ride the fine line between a few different genres (Rock, Blues, Reggae). Our songs deal with the struggles and joys of life and we want you to connect with the lyrics as much as we do. We make music that we really enjoy playing, and it comes through on the recordings and especially when we play live. We’re real people with real problems and we put our hearts and souls into our music. No slogan so far!
How supportive has the Vancouver music scene been to TSP? Any plans to venture into the states?
Mostly everyone we’ve dealt with has been really awesome, and we’ve had the opportunity to play some of our favorite venues here in Vancouver. Vancouver has a growing rock scene right now and we are happy to be part of it.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
CF- I would re-structure/evolve SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) and its sister associations into a social network based platform, consolidating the music industry internationally and setting up the framework for all musicians to effectively be represented at a collective bargaining table. The Internet is the worlds “bottle neck” for digital music and the only way to stop piracy is to stop shipping loot through un-protected waters. Therefore we must move our representing associations to “cap” the “bottleneck”, securing compensation to hardworking Musicians before their music is released through the Internet and profits disappear into thin air.
RK- Better compensation for indie bands, minimum wages for live shows just like any other industry. There are a lot of start up expenses that could deter a lot of musicians from considering music as a viable career option if they don’t have money saved up or are able to get a loan.
One song you never get tired of.
CF- Stevie ray Vaughan’s version of “little wing”.
RK- Anything by Bob Marley
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
CF- Either The Black Keys at the Commodore a few years back or “No Sinner” at the Biltmore a week ago.
RK- Kings of Leon at Virgin Festival in London.
Last book you read?
CF- Wilbur smith.
RK- The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama
Last movie you saw?
RK- Pirates of the Carribean
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
CF- Breaking Things.
RK- Cycling, Watching Movies, Reading.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
CF- The guy who finally stole Felix the cats magic fucking bag..
RK- Robin Hood.
What is something no one knows about you but you wish more people did know?
Our drummer is building a record studio in his house right now!
Best prank you have ever pulled?
CF- I’m just gonna say it involved napalm and a telephone pole.
RK- Me and some locked bags of dead fish in a rival high school’s locker in grade 12 the day before a long weekend.
People who say “swag”.
What kind of jobs did you have before you were in the music industry?
CF- Construction, Chef.
RK- Event Planning, Aussie Travel Agent.
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