Interview with Stone Broken
Words: Anne Estella | Photos: Anthony Firmin
Having just celebrated the third Birthday of their debut album ‘All In Time’, West Midlands-based Stone Broken - who admit to being “the least rock ‘n’ roll band out there” - are one of the UK’s hottest new exports, making a big impact on the international stage and breaking the US market. Safely back in Blighty, we caught up with the band in the run up to their ‘Home’ tour this February, and discover why Kieron ended up becoming ‘Karen’, before becoming ‘John’…
You had a hectic international touring schedule last year – where were your favourite places to visit and play in?
[Chris] Well, we did some amazing festivals. Graspop in Belgium was definitely a highlight - the stage, the lights, the crowd - it was all mind-blowing! We played in a tent and it felt like an arena! We also played the Bataclan supporting Ugly Kid Joe, which we know has a tragic past. The venue itself was pretty cool though and the crowd were on it. I think it was a testament that music brings people together even in the midst of tragedy.
[Kieron] When we were touring America, we really enjoyed Nashville. We had a day off, so decided to spend it there. It was a very inspirational place to go. Even if you’re not a country fan, you could still appreciate it. The seven weeks we were out there we really wanted to have the “American experience” and our tour manager over there made sure we did. Trying the local foods, sight seeing, the lot! It was a very memorable tour.
How were you received in the US and do you feel that you’ve ‘broken’ the American market?
[Kieron] We seem to have gone down really well! Plus being British, people LOVED our accents. But the market in the US is very different to the UK. For example, our single Worth Fighting For was our new single over there, even though it had been out for nearly a year in the UK, but that was the main song people knew in the US. There is still a lot of work to do over there, but we have well and truly laid down the foundations.
Do you intend to tour the US again in the near future?
[Chris] Yeah, we would definitely love to go back, as we know it’s such a vast place so you really have to work hard to crack it. But we really did have a positive response while we were over there so it would definitely be a waste if we didn’t go back. But as Kieron said, our accents seemed to go down quite well and it even helped us get some free stuff at some places haha!
You must have some stories to tell – what has been the funniest, craziest or most memorable thing that’s happened to you whilst of tour?
[Kieron] There are so many! But the thing is, we’re the LEAST rock ‘n’ roll band out there! So all of our stories are very boring. Chris ALWAYS ends up poorly. During the Glenn Hughes tour he was hospitalised due to being very ill. I got nicknamed ‘Karen’ the whole US tour as they couldn’t understand me, so when I ordered food and they asked for my name they always thought I said Karen rather than Kieron. I ended up saying my name was John in the end!
[Chris] Yeah, for some reason I always end up being ill and I had a really bad stomach bug for one of the shows we did with Glenn. As our intro tape was playing I was puking up in a bin, then went on stage with our tour manager standing at my side of the stage with a bucket ready, and as soon as we played our last song I rushed off stage to be sick again - that really wasn’t a fun night! Also, in the early days we once had to sleep in the van as there was a mix-up with our hotel rooms. It was cold and the van we were in wasn’t designed for sleeping, so we really didn’t get that much sleep. I personally got about an hour, but the day after we played an awesome hometown show!
Robyn and Rich – as a couple, what’s it like living, working and touring together?
[Robyn] It’s awesome! A lot of people think that it would be tough, but it never has been. When we’re on the road or when we’re writing, or generally just doing band things, we’re bandmates and when we get home we’re a couple, so it works really well. When we first started the band we didn’t want other members to feel as though there was a couple in the band, and within weeks Kieron told us that we weren’t like any other couple he had come across and it didn’t feel like there was a couple in the band… so it seems to work for everyone!
You’re going to be touring the UK throughout February - who will be supporting you and where are you most looking forward to playing?
[Kieron] We have Those Damn Crows supporting us for the whole of the UK tour, we also have SKAM, Dead Man’s Whiskey, Hollowstar, Anchor Lane, Everyday Heroes and Baleful Creed joining us on other shows, so we’ll have a great bunch of bands out on the road with us. It’s always tough choosing our favourite place, because every city or town has its own special value, but a hometown show is always full of energy AND it has sold out again!
[Chris] Yeah, our hometown shows are always special. I think Cardiff is going to be pretty nuts as well as that is also a sell-out, and I hear the venue is quite intimate so it should warm up pretty quickly on a cold February night. It’s great to have some awesome bands playing with us, so it should be an awesome night of music!
After February, what are your plans for the rest of 2019?
[Kieron] We have a lot going on behind the scenes in Stone Broken, we always like to keep busy! But when we get back we will be working hard on album three. There isn’t a lot we can spill at the moment, but that will be taking up most of our time.
[Chris] Yeah, a lot of time will be taken up writing the new album. But we do some have other plans in the works to potentially hit the road again… but that’s all I can say.
What inspires your music, how do you approach songwriting, and which of your songs mean the most to you on a personal level?
[Chris] Inspiration comes from a lot of different places really and our songs are quite varied in style and subject. We usually start with the music, so a song will be born from a riff, chord progression or melody. Then we flesh the idea out with added parts and build a structure. Once we have the basis of a song in music form, we will add the lyrics last. We usually listen to the music and think of what vibe the music gives off; is it happy, sad, aggressive? Then we think of a subject matter to write about. Or we will already have a subject matter in mind - that was the case for Let Me See It All. As we are probably the most innocent group of people you will ever meet, we thought it would be funny/cool if we wrote a song that could be played in a strip club, so we wrote the music with that idea in mind.
So in some cases we have to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and write about how they would feel. Heartbeat Away however is something that is very personal to myself and Rich, so we could call on our own experiences for that.
Who would you say are the most promising up and coming British rock acts on the scene at the moment and who do you see making their mark on the global stage?
[Kieron] I would say Those Damn Crows or Massive Wagons. They both seem to be making an impact on the rock scene at the moment.
[Chris] I think all the bands supporting us on our tour are certainly making waves on the UK circuit, which is cool. I think any of them could make it globally. When we played with Fozzy in the US, a band called The Stir from Atlanta were opening up, and I thought they were brilliant. If they ever tour over here I think they would go down really well. But it’s cool that there are new bands still out there making a name for themselves. It’s the new bands that will keep rock music alive in years to come.
If you could collaborate with any band or artist, who would it be and why?
[Rich] I would love to jam with Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme - he is my guitar idol!
[Robyn] I would love to jam with Bruno Mars or someone in that genre. I think playing different genres keeps you on your toes as a musician.
[Kieron] I’d like to jam with Metallica. I grew up listening to them so it would be cool to play with them!
[Chris] Mark Tremonti, as I’d love to see the process he goes through when he’s writing songs and guitar parts. He’s been involved in writing some pretty awesome songs so I would love to see how he does it.
Put yourselves in your fans’ shoes… what one question would you want to ask Stone Broken and what’s the answer to that question?
[Rich] I’d probably ask what a day in the life of a band member is like – and the answer would probably surprise people, because although our body clocks are slightly different to the standard 9-5 (and we have all been there), we get up, take a shower and get ready for a day of writing, doing press, travelling to meetings, rehearsing… that kind of stuff. All in all we probably work 12-hour days making sure everything gets done. It’s obviously very different when we are on the road, but that is what a “normal” day consists of.
Stone Broken are:
Rich Moss - Vocals / Guitar
Chris Davis - Guitar / Vocals
Kieron Conroy - Bass
Robyn Haycock - Drums / Vocals
‘Home’ Tour 2019 UK dates:
Thursday 7th Feb – La Belle Angele, Edinburgh
Friday 8th Feb – Unit 51, Aberdeen
Saturday 9th Feb – Garage, Glasgow
Sunday 10th Feb – Voodoo, Belfast
Tuesday 12th Feb – Riverside, Newcastle
Wednesday 13th Feb – Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
Friday 15th Feb – The Mill, Birmingham
Saturday 16th Feb – The Waterfront, Norwich
Sunday 17th Feb – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Tuesday 19th Feb – The Welly, Hull
Wednesday 20th Feb – Arts Club, Liverpool
Friday 22nd Feb – O2 Academy Islington, London
Saturday 23rd Feb – O2 Academy 2, Oxford
Sunday 24th Feb – The Globe, Cardiff
Tuesday 26th Feb – Phoenix, Exeter
Wednesday 27th Feb – The 1865, Southampton
For tickets, see:
[Photos from the Stone Broken show at Manchesters Club Academy, February 2018]