an interview with stereo skyline
  • FRIDAY, JULY 09, 2010

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[In this scene, Hanna attempts to convince me that Long Island is worth my time. GOOD LUCK HANNA. -joe]

I'll let you in on a little secret: Long Island has a huge, ever-growing music scene. Huge. It's like its own little, if not slightly deranged, world. The bands that have come out of there don't sound like other pop rock bands, and many have found success with their unique sound. Expect to see a lot more coming from Strong Island in the near future.
Although only two current members are from Long Island, Stereo Skylinestill considers themselves to be from the area. After numerous lineup changes and signing to Columbia Records, the band is gearing up to release their debut album, Stuck On Repeat. I caught up with them on their hometown stop on the Bamboozle Roadshow.

Introduce yourselves and tell us a little about your musical background.
Brian Maddox: I'm Brian and I play bass. I started playing music in seventh grade and had my first band in ninth grade.
Kevin Bard: I'm Kevin. I play guitar and sing and this is the only band I've ever been in so I don't really have a musical background.
Clayton Johnson: My name is Clayton and I play guitar. I guess my first time like playing music would be church choir in like first grade. That's what really started it I guess for me.
Rob Michelsen: My name's Rob and I play drums. I started actually playing trumpet when I was in like fourth grade and then I switched over to drums and I've been in a whole bunch of different bands.

Describe your sound.
Kevin: Awesome!
Brian: Happy!
Kevin: It's positive, a little bit of everything.
Brian: It's a little more rock.
Rob: It's a little less roll.
Brian: It's really new though.

How did the band get started?
Kevin: Me and Rob went to high school together. We were in this band with like a bunch of different other people. I guess like over the years people decided if they wanted to like be in different bands or go to school or whatever. We met Brian and Clayton and for the past couple months it's been working.
Rob: It was weird cause we met...first we met Brian on eHarmony and Clayton on Match.
Brian: Pretty crazy but it worked out
Clayton: It was on the trial run too, like we didn't pay the $10 fee, so it was really special.
Brian: Yeah we got lucky.

Who are your biggest influences?
Kevin: Third Eye Blind. Every interview we do I always answer Third Eye Blind. And now we're on tour with them.
Clayton: I've always been really inspired by LMFAO. The musical genius behind them really inspires my whole life. [Ed. Note: I think, at least I hope, he is joking.]
Rob: I think that any band we've ever toured with and do tour with inspires us.
Kevin: We take a little piece of everything we learn, they teach us stuff, we teach them stuff.

How do you think you've grown as a band and as individuals since being together?
Kevin: I'm much taller than I was last year.
Rob: My hair got longer.
Clayton: I'm much buffer.
Kevin: Stereo Skyline, the new album, sounds like Stereo Skyline still but it, like, I feel like we got more comfortable with it, opening up a little bit. We put like pianos in the songs and just a bunch of different stuff. I mean the songs are a variety as opposed to one specific thing.

Okay, to dovetail on that, what was your process in writing the new album and how do you think it shows through the music?
Kevin: It was so much fun. We had a long time to do it. We would do like little pieces, like we'd do five or six songs and then we'd have to go back on tour and we'd be able to listen to those songs on our iPods and then we'd talk about it like, You think we should do this or this or this, and like got back to go to another studio like the next month and got more time. It took like six or seven months but I think the final product came out really sweet. We got to work with a bunch of great producers.

What's your favorite show that you've played?
Clayton: Mine would be, on this tour actually, we played Chicago, Soldier Field, which is where the Bears play, we played right on the football field.
Kevin: I think today might be my favorite day because me and Rob are from like down the block so Nassau Coliseum to us is pretty crazy.
Rob: Yeah and there's a lot of kids here.
Kevin: Yeah I heard it was sold out last night, like 7,000, and that's really cool.

Any memorable tour experiences?
Kevin: Our first tour with Hey Monday was pretty memorable.
Brian: I don't think that you can literally like forget a tour.
Rob: You always make so many new friends and have an experience with every single person that you always remember.
Brian: It's just like hanging out with your friends, there's always certain times you'll remember. We've definitely made a lot of good friends on the road.

Can you tell us something that most fans really don't know?
Kevin: I can juggle.
Brian: Clayton?
Kevin: Clayton?
Clayton: I'm not going to say it this time.
Kevin: Clayton is a section champion...
Clayton: It's not a big deal or anything.
Kevin: A section champion diver. He jumps into water...
Clayton: I don't know why it's such a big deal, I told them one time...
Kevin:...better than I can.
Brian: Yeah he's really good at jumping into water.
Clayton: No splash. Zero. Intense, every time. Yeah Rob what about you?
Rob: Um, I'm very athletic. I play a lot of sports.
Kevin: If you say so himself. Rob plays soccer, Rob plays hockey, ping pong, basketball.

Anything else you want to tell our readers?
Rob: Give us a listen.
Kevin: Keep an open mind I think.
Brian: And if you have a daughter, show it to her.
Kevin: She would love it. [Ed. Note: Really? What do you think Baeble is, a Cigar Lounge? I don't have any daughters. Still, we're going to need a bigger neighborhood watch for you dudes. OK, I'm done heckling.]

*****
So yeah, have your daughter take a listen. Or you can too. Stereo Skyline are heading out on their headlining "Stuck on Repeat" tour this month and releasing their debut album Stuck On Repeat via Columbia Records on 7/20. -hanna kasper


* * * * * * * * * * * *
MP3: "Tongue Tied" (Stuck On Repeat)
Stereo Skyline on Myspace

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