Interview by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Few new bands capture the excitement and heads down work ethic like the Midlands very own Stone Broken. Forming in Walsall in 2013, the four piece have been constantly working and earning their place in the hard rock pantheon the only true tried and tested way: by getting out on the road and this has seen them rising from the pubs and clubs to some of the biggest stages across the UK and beyond.
With two albums under their belt, the band have brought their own brand of anthemic and muscular metal to the masses and opening for Glenn Hughes, Living Colour, Black Stone Cherry, Cheap Trick, FM, Inglorius, Black Star Riders and Fozzy, not to mention their own headline tours.
It would seem that the likeable quartet are sometimes still a little overwhelmed by their own success and popularity, but still determined to make the most of every moment.
That ride has been enjoyed by all those who have joined them along the way and the joy that saw the band playing the Rising Stage at Ramblin’ Man Fair one year, drummer Robyn Haycock sitting enthralled behind headliner BSC’s skinsman John Fred Young’s kit only to be sat there a year later as Stone Broken opened the main stage was very much a shared experience.
No-one there would be able to forget the band’s first appearance at the hallowed grounds of Donington for Download festival either, a packed Dogtooth Stage full of the self-styled ‘Broken Army’ and a particularly emotional ‘Wait For You’ probably being heard all over the site as hundreds sang along as if their lives depended on it.
This love would seem to be mutual, the respect and contact between band and fans bringing a close bond that stretches beyond those precious hours on stage and it’s this relationship that has seen Stone Broken through good times and bad.
Truth be told, the journey hasn’t always been easy but these potholes in the road to success have toughened the band up and made their resolve even stronger it would seem. Lead guitarist Chris Davis gives details of how the band have been preparing for the next stage of their world conquering plans, not even a global pandemic able to slow them down.
First off, and most importantly: How are you doing?
Yeah not bad, keeping spirits high and all that. Obviously with everything going on in the world right now times are tough, but we’re musicians, we’re a tough breed!
How have you been keeping yourself busy?
Well we’ve actually been very busy during lockdown as we’ve been writing and producing our third album. So, we’ve been constantly working on that for the last few months.
However, it was pretty tough during the first stint of lockdown with the rules being pretty strict, so we couldn’t really meet up as a band in person, but we did a lot of video calls and writing separately to make up for it. We even had a weekly live stream just so we could chat and remotely hang out with our fans. But as rules relaxed, we met up safely and shared ideas.
Have you been doing any online live shows or seen any good ones?
Well in July we did a pretty cool online show hosted by Planet Rock, which was titled Planet Rock Live Rocks the Asylum. It was a three-band bill which was us, Those Damn Crows and Massive Wagons and it all took place at the Asylum venue in Birmingham.
It was all broadcast completely live from start to finish so it felt like a proper gig. It was brilliant! The only and pretty big drawback was that we didn’t play to a live audience, just to a camera crew. So, it was pretty weird just to hear silence in-between songs, I suppose it was just like the old days when we were starting out! Ha-ha. But it got us out the studio and playing again, and it was great to catch up with people.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u68dXowKtyw&w=560&h=315]
Have you had to change your way of writing material?
Well our writing style was slightly different with this album but it’s hard to say if that was because of lockdown or that we were working with a new producer. Dan Weller who was our producer for this album was very hands on, which was great, so we were all bouncing ideas between us.
I’ve never been great with recording software, but I used the time during lockdown to become more confident with it, which really helped recording my ideas and sending them to Dan. I think it definitely helps if you’re on your own to record ideas and play them back, so you can hear them as another listener would.
Do you keep in touch with your fellow bandmates / other musicians much?
Yeah as a band we’ve pretty much kept in contact all through lockdown. We’re always in touch through some means of communication, a lot happens behind the scenes so it’s good to keep in regular contact. I think with all the technology we have at our disposal it’s pretty easy to remain in touch.
What plans have you had to change this year?
Well mostly everything has had to be delayed, we were hoping to be doing a headline tour in October but that had to be moved to next year, which in turn delays our album release. So, we’ve had to do a lot of switching and moving around dates and campaigns behind the scenes.
What do you think of the social distancing gigs (like the one that happened in Kansas recently – 229 people in a 1,100-seat venue) or the thought of drive-in gigs?
I think it’s cool that people are trying to think of ways to get live music up and running again. If there’s a way we can get gigs up and running, while conforming to guidelines then we should explore it. Although a part of me wonders what the atmosphere would be like at a socially distanced gig. It would feel very odd not being able to feed off the energy of the crowd. But I do worry how venues will survive if this goes on for much longer.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG1vCCs0cJo&w=560&h=315]
How do you think the music industry will have changed after this period of lockdown?
I think it’s a hard one to call. My hope is that as soon as restrictions are lifted, and it’s safe to do so, people will jump at the chance to go to live gigs. We’ve all missed that live atmosphere and the whole arts industry will need all the help it can get to recover.
On the other hand, I also understand that after lockdown has been lifted, will it take time for people to feel comfortable going out again. I think we’re all in this state of limbo right now, just waiting to see what’s going to happen.
What plans have you got for when the isolation finishes and gigs start back up again?
Well we have our headline tour in April to do which we’re really looking forward to. Tickets are on sale for that right now. I think personally, I’d like to catch a few gigs where I can, whether it’s a local gig or something bigger. It’ll be nice to get out again and enjoy some music.
How can people support you during this time?
Just keep following and supporting us. Head to our website www.stonebroken.com where you can find a link to tickets for our headline tour, as well as links to our merch.
Our fans are awesome and are always wanting to help with donations or anything like that, but honestly the best thing people can do at the moment is keep buying the albums, and get your tickets to the tour which promises to be one of our best yet! We look forward to seeing you all on tour next year