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24th September 2023

STONE: “We’re not here for a laugh and a toot”

The Mancunion sits down with Liverpool’s STONE to talk about their new album, Manchester, and their rise to being one of the most promising prospects in the UK
STONE: “We’re not here for a laugh and a toot”
Credit: Lydia Clear @ Chuff Media

“I’m still coming out of my shell a little bit. Last year, I wasn’t very good at doing interviews,” Fin Power tells me. “I could talk on stage but the minute it got to interviews I was scared about leaving myself open for criticism. But I don’t really care anymore.” Speaking to me from STONE’s tent dressing room at Victorious Festival, Power is focused, fierce, and excited about the next steps for STONE, which are sure to send the initial buzz around the Liverpool band stratospheric.

STONE are the future. Their lyrics are gritty are honest, their hooks are tight. ‘Let’s Dance to the Real Thing’ heralds a time of honest music, and their new single ‘I’ve Gotta Feeling’ takes aim at Peaky Blinders-core faux-machoism. It is music for young people to be out and have a great time to, but it also carries a separate poignancy when zooming into the lyrics and themes. Intelligent, riot-starting music.

“I’m always a bit fuzzy and stressed in the morning, but this morning I was walking to my hotel room and I was like, ‘Fucking hell Fin, I’m not half living it.’ I’m at a festival today, off to London for the week, then off to Holland for shows then off to record our album. Fucking hell, it could be worse, couldn’t it? […] I’m probably a bit annoying for these guys because sometimes I’m so, so focused on the horizon, I forget we’re in these beautiful clear waters right now.”

The waters are transparent. Following high-profile support slots, headline gigs, and a return to 2023’s festival season playing packed-out tents and stages, STONE are about to record their debut album in Vermont with Polydor Records. “At Kendal Calling, compared to last year, we walked out this year to a full tent. I’m walking out, and I’m like, ‘Oh shit, people are fans of the band now.’ I appreciate all of them.”

The album carries a lot of promise. “You’ll see the songs that have been held back for a while, slower stuff, emotional stuff, different sides to our lives and what we’ve been through in life […] whether I’m making you cry, or making you jump up and down, it’s the same thing, it’s passion and emotion. I want people to hold STONE’s debut album and be like, that’s something I can fucking frame on the wall. That’s a piece of art that spoke to me. Whether you like listening to it eating your mushy peas or you like listening to it while you’re skiing, if our art is making you feel something, then that’s what it’s for.”

The band emerged from lockdown and didn’t feel part of a geographical or genre-based scene. “We didn’t have the opportunity to be in a scene […] I think there’s no scene or competition in STONE’s eyes, every art is a beautiful thing and every artist doing their thing is beautiful. We’re not here for a laugh and a toot, we’re musicians. Artists are artists through and through. And that’s what STONE are. A band of artists.”

STONE will play at Academy 2 on Saturday 7th October, their biggest headline show in Manchester to date. It’s safe to say that the band adore the city. “Liverpool is my home and my fucking city and I love the music scene, but unfortunately venues are closing down. Manchester, as a city that backs its bands and backs other artists, is unmatched. You only have to get a bit of smoke and Manchester backs you. I get really excited about playing Manchester shows and crowds in Manchester. You can’t knock the city as a music city. It’s amazing, probably the best.” Power and STONE bassist Sarah Surrage recall going to Big Hands after a gig with Dublin’s Inhaler. I invite them down to Fallowfield for a night out, which they don’t say yes or no to.

Credit: Russ Leggatt

For a constantly climbing band, the goal for STONE is remarkably down-to-earth. Power’s definition of “all the way” is “a happy career in myself, my friends, and my music. Whether that’s stadiums or academies, a career where we get to live off our art, is all the way.” The band have a background working with young people, and cites it as informing their mindset. “Social care was great for me. We’ve all worked in good jobs; Elliott [Gill] our guitarist worked in a school, Alex [Smith] worked in a sixth form as a teacher, we all worked with young people. Sarah’s our mental health person, she looks after all of us.” Surrage adds that she’s “the glue that holds this band together” with an affirming laugh. It’s clear that the band know how to negotiate inevitable moments of tension.

Disciplined, aggressive, and with undeniably incredible tunes, STONE will soon be your new favourite band. Catch them in intimate spaces whilst you can, to ensure that you can observe them becoming a cult classic in real-time.

STONE play Manchester Academy 2 on 1st March 2024.

Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper

Head Music Editor and Writer for the Mancunion. Once walked past Nick Cave in Zagreb. Enquiries: [email protected]

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