Having featured an exclusive stream of their recent Beware, Dark Lord! Here Comes Bell-Man! EP, we felt it only fit to invite Straytones back to be our Band of the Day.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
How did you meet?
About 8 years ago, Artem and Denis (former guitarist) decided to start a project, more like blues rock and garage rock. At the same time, Marina was looking for a band to play garage rock. Denis contacted Marina, we’ve gathered for a rehearsal and afterwards drank a few shots of Tequila. That’s how it all started!
How long have you been playing as a band?
Something like 8 years, but the core is Marina and Artem. The rest of the members have changed quite a few times.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
When there was just three of us (meaning Denis, Marina and Artem), we’ve been thinking about different names. And the only one which we all agreed at that time was Straytones. The thing is that we didn’t know how our music will develop and evolve, and we didn’t really want to enclose ourselves in some clichés for life, and we agreed that our tone may “stray”, if you know what I mean.
What are your influences?
You see, we grow not only as musicians but as listeners too. So, pretty much everything that we ever heard and what touched us, in a way, can have its effect on our music, and sometimes you can’t even track where exactly “muse” came from. But we do admire Californian and Australian neo-psychedelic and garage rock scene – Ty Segall, John Dwyer, Kevin Parker, Stu Mackenzie, Anton Newcombe – these guys are super talented, and what they’ve been doing for years is impressive. Don’t you agree?
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Each and every band member (in any band, I think) makes their music unique. We’re no exception, and even though we didn’t invent a new genre (at least for now, laughs) the way each of us thinks musically, how each of us plays respectful instrument, our emotional experience in the past – all this helps to build up something, that may be similar to other bands of these genres, but with some specific, unique vibe and feel.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
No, we don’t. The latest EP is a conceptual release, and each song (with lyrics) depicts the characters. S/T is very different from it, there’s no whole concept in that album. Each song on S/T is about something different. For instance, the song “Into the Mist” is about a mystic journey on the night of Ivana Kupala. “Trippn’ 69” is about being free internally, and felling harmony within. “Long Road” is a sort of love song, when you feel sparks and magic between the two and share moments together.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Usually we’re trying to do the best we can in terms of performance, and we like to use background video for our set, the pace goes up and down. There are no fireworks or strobe lights. We didn’t get used to seeing moshpits at our shows, but lately they started to appear more often, and it’s a bit of surprise. Most of the time people listening very precisely, which I think is a good sign – we’re all here because of the music at the first place, and if you’re listening carefully (from our own experience) – you most probably are intrigued. How many shows? Never counted that, but something like 100.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Does playing in an old-school woman’s dress counts?
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Marina is using NATAL Café Racer drum kit with vintage sizes (20×14, 16×16 and 12×10) plus a set of Zildjian A Avedis cymbals. Artem plays on Fender TVL Jazzmaster (Fender American Vintage Tele ’72 Deluxe Custom is a spare guitar) through Fender Blues Deluxe (used to be Orange Rockerverb) plus a huge pile of pedals. Vova is playing Woodstock PJ Bass (that’s local Ukrainian guitar brand) and also is using pedals.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We’re still promoting our recent EP Beware, Dark Lord! Here comes Bell-Man! and a cartoon-video which is going to be released very soon.
We’re a quarter of the way through the year now, what are your plans for the rest of 2019?
To release another single in spring, record an album and release it in August/September, shoot a couple of video clips and live videos, and to go on tour in September/October!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Woah… We’d love to open for Oh Sees / King Gizzard / Pond / Wand / Allah-Las / Night Beats / Mac Demarco…the list can be very long. Speaking of the opening band, let’s say Me’Leron – a band from Ukraine, they’re super cool. And Somali Yacht Club – we used to open for them during last year’s tour, so now it’s their turn, haha!
From previous Band of the Day, N.E.S.H.:
At a local level, what do you think can be done to help the music industry and bands of the future?
The vast majority of people here in Ukraine don’t have such a habit, as to go to a concert. It seems that this idea doesn’t occur in their heads at all. And there are few reasons (mostly historical and economical) why it happens that way. So, maybe musical education for kids and students may help develop musical taste and love for music in general, and as a result, more people will support the scene in different ways.
From Fall Flavored:
What would you do with an eleventh finger?
Stick it to the nose of course!