There’s a lot of bad and gloomy things happening in the world right now, but it’s great to have perspective. You can surely feel bummed about some truly depressing political events and the bad impact of the pandemic on most of the aspects of our lives, but it’s also important to find positive aspects of this weird era for music. The Covid-19 continues to impact artists, whose shows are canceled for the foreseeable future, but the good news is that bands, labels, publishers and promoters find ways to continue supporting independent art, making the last couple of months of the most prolific and inventive months in recent digital music history. Dundee based label Make That A Take Records is a great example of such solidarity, and it is our pleasure to give you their new release, the newest offering from their local emo infused post hardcore band STONETHROWER, whose previous EP was premiered on IDIOTEQ back in late 2015. ‘Legacies’ marks the band’s debut full length and will be oficially out this Friday, July 17th, with all proceeds from the digital version of the record to be split between sustaining Rad Apples Dundee/Conroy’s Basement and CRER Scotland.
“We’re making plans with Derrick over at Make-That-A-Take Records to release the record via vinyl a little bit later down the line, but felt we wanted to release the record digitally to raise the aforementioned funds while it was still useful to do so.” – comments the band.
The ear-catching amalgam of aggression, nostalgic melodies and almost ethereal ambiance proves STONETHROWER’s worth both as musicians and composers. . The band knows how to mix emotion and musicality, letting the two blend very nicely and turn the listening experience into something refreshing. Today, we’re pleased to give you the full stream of the album, along with the band’s in-depth commentary about their group, their new work, local music scene amidst the pandemic, and political happenings following the tragic death of George Floyd.
Give us your thoughtson this new record, its lyrical content, and what it means to you to have it finally released.
Ross: It took a long time to write and record the album; I think we initially felt a bit adrift when Avril left not long after we released the EP back in 2015. We were questioning whether we wanted to find another bassist or just keep it between the three of us. There were initial worries, because I know Cal and I have always played guitar opposite each other, and the idea of being in a three-piece was relatively new; two guitars creates a certain kind of intensity and energy that we felt might be difficult to replicate. In the end, I ditched the guitar and picked up the bass and we stuck it out as a three-piece, mainly because it was less hassle than the alternative.
Cal: Somewhere during the recording of this album we decided on the title ‘Legacies’. We felt that the title reflected a lot of meaning in the songs. Not in reference to ourselves but more about the open ended questions asked in the lyrics; what will our generation be remembered for? What will we leave behind? And will it be viewed as positive or negative?
Ross: Yeah, pretty much. The world’s in a pretty bad way just now, and our so-called leaders aren’t the ones to guide us through the competing crises that we have going on at the moment. In fact, they’ve delegated the responsibility to us when they are indisputably responsible, and that’s been sadly borne out once again during the coronavirus crisis. What’s particularly upsetting is that the voting populous are buying this sense of ‘individual responsibility’, and casting aspersions on their own communities. That’s our collective legacy, certainly in the UK. There’s a lot of despair on the record, but there’s a thin slither of hope too. You’ve always got to have hope.
Cal: For me, there are a lot of the lyrics about staying grounded. I’m prone to being very anxious a lot of the time and this is partly the result at feeling so outraged by the news. However, I’m not really interested in lyrics that express outrage, or at least I’m not good at writing them. I get more joy in expressing a kind of middle ground, both as a way of seeing past the anxiety and as a reminder to not be reactionary. I hope it’s a welcome contradiction to how aggressive the music can be.
Ross: I’m in my mid-thirties now, so I tend to get melodramatically reflective about what I’ll leave behind when I move on. But like Cal says, the best thing to do is to try and stay as grounded as possible, and for me I think the best way I can achieve that is to be kind, compassionate and authentic as possible in the face of everything bearing down on us, and to pass that on. I don’t necessarily mean ‘pass it on’ in a parental sense, but just the idea of paying it forward, I guess.
Cal: It’s a very rewarding band to be in for me as the ideas that we each bring to the table can be quite radically different but the final sound ends up being something that we all agree on. Perhaps it’s a way of us finding a commonality between us. As for the future, we look forward to a time when it’s safe to get back into the practise rooms and work on new stuff. Similarly with venues, we can’t express enough how much we love playing to an audience and very much look forward to let folks hear the album live.
Ross: Absolutely! Hopefully we’ll get out and tour the record in 2021, pandemic allowing.
Give us an update on your local DIY scene and community in Dundee.
Ken: We’re pretty lucky to have a very steady, supportive DIY community, with Make That A Take at its core. Big Love to Derrick, Hazel & Co. for repping the set. It actually felt like there was a little revival happening with the rest of the local music scene before CoVID hit. I hope those people are nursing those fires, ready to go when we’re allowed to properly share again. Fingers crossed.
Ross: Yeah, to echo what Ken said, Make-That-A-Take have been amazing, and are pretty much single handedly carrying the local music scene by actually providing a small grassroots venue that people can hire cheaply. All of Dundee’s small, financially accessible venues disappeared over a period of about two to three years, and COVID is challenging the longevity of the one we do have left.
Any new records or artists and records worth a check you’d like to recommended for our ever-hungry musical souls?
I’d also like to highlight that our good pal Fraser Stewart AKA Concept Car released an excellent electronic EP called ‘Luxury Interior’ to help support Rad Apples/Conroys Basement too. It smacks!
Ken: I’ve been listening to a lot of Tricot lately. They released an album called 真っ黒 (Makkuro). Poppy, mathy fun!
Been listening to a lot of Snarky Puppy too. Also, a special shout-out to Carson Wells; I’ve listened (and air-drummed) to the “No Relic” EP ad nauseam for the past fortnight. Particularly “Pilot Light”.
Cal: Been listening to a lot of Frank Ocean again. I can’t get over how good ‘Nights’ is on Blond. Also been revisiting ‘Veckatimest’ by Grizzly Bear. I love the structure of this album, everything is arranged to perfection.
Lastly, what’s your take on the George Floyd protests / Black Lives Matter issue?
Ken: I’m watching with bated breath. I remember one of the last scenes in “Get Out”. The one where it’s nearly over and the police car pulls up. I was one of maybe 4 black people in that screening room, and the whole room groaned because they expected the worst. That says people have been fully aware of the issue. It’s interesting…the role lockdown may have played in increasing sensitivity to it.
I’m going to reference a segment of one of Trevor Noah’s recent monologues; the one that riffs on Malcolm Gladwell’s Principles of Legitimacy. He speaks of a social contract, and highlights the importance that everyone is included and treated fairly for a society to function ‘normally’. Sustained marginalisation for such a long period of time has led people to feel (and act) like they don’t owe society that normalcy. It’s been interesting to see the ‘ahyesbuts’ about protesting and rioting, whilst wilfully failing to address the root of the problem.
Obviously, with lockdown and social media, it’s been hard to get away from things feeling performative. Hopefully as we all venture outside again, words will lead to actions that will lead to change.
All songs written and performed by Stonethrower, except bridge section bass of ‘Unbidden and Untrue’ written by Avril Smart
Recorded by Kenneth Babarinsa and Ross Middlemiss at DM Studios, Dundee
Mixed and produced by Kenneth Babarinsa and Ross Middlemiss
Mastered by Robin Sutherland at Esko Mastering – www.eskomastering.fi
Artwork by Gordy Crawford AKA Gordy Craw – www.gordycraw.com
Stonethrower are: Kenneth Babarinsa – Drums, Cal Sutherland – Guitar & Vocals, Ross Middlemiss – Bass & Vocals