Exclusive Interview: Below The Stones talk writing and recording “Solar”!
Every wondered what goes on behind the scenes in putting together your favourite records? Well our writing and recording series aims to put a spotlight on that while also enlightening the would be writer in you. This week, West Midlands Progressive Metal act Below The Stones talk about writing and recording their sophomore EP “Solar“, the follow up to the equally impressive “Lunar“, so grab a beverage and read on if you dare!
How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path of the new record? “Working with our producer ‘Steve Birkett’ has been amazing as usual. Steve being a previous lecturer for several members of the band, he’s become an inspirational figure we will always appreciate in our work. We’re ironing out kinks, with intention to smoothen out our recording process, though overall we like to be progressive in the sense that working should be a comfortable and enjoyable situation. Writing together gets easier and fluid the more we write together on projects”
How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “Normally we write full songs or sections as individuals, then offer a demo to the band, then we sit down and write sections in or out or change parts on software such as ‘Guitar Pro 7’ and our respective DAWs. From there we record a full demo, send it to our producer and then get to work on a full production version of it.
When it comes to the vocals how do you go about getting the balance right between the eclectic and eccentric styled clean parts and the outright brutal uncleans? “There are lots of different approaches you can take with the angle of balancing clean and harsh vocals, with inspiration from bands who utilise intricate melodies and harmonies, then also the inspiration of heavy ‘core and metal bands, finding the perfect balance for us is ensuring that both melodies and harsh vocals have significant and memorable impact, highlights of the song even. We always want people to feel like they’re able to join in, especially so on the single-line screaming in our songs Visions of Vanity and Heathen. With Oscillation, having the chorus growled entirely, we really wanted to express the level of disdain in regards to the meaning of the song, and it just felt like the best approach”
If you had the opportunity to work with a guest in the studio next time around, who would you like to work with and why? “We would love to work with Born Zero, Ed Barnes from Appocaholics and anyone who reaches out to us mostly ! Content production and release is the way to progress. There are many talented musicians within the area that would be incredible to work with, which we’re confident would produce some exceptional material. There have been previous conversations with a potential collaboration with Born Zero, though nothing has come from that yet. We’re absolutely open to the idea of collaboration and would love to partner up for a song with other amazing artists in the local area, such as ‘Levi Belloir’ from ‘Born Zero’ and ‘Ed Barnes’ from ‘Appocaholics’, of which we hold close friendships and often share the stage with. We believe this would be a great way to expose both bands to an audience that may have missed us respectively”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Euan uses a Schecter Reaper 7 MS, going through his Line 6 HX Stomp XL, the tones are mostly the Horizon Devices Precision Drive informing that tone, plus some Seymour Duncan Invaders switched into the body from the stock pickups, along with a subzero 30” baritone going through the same set of pedals and amp chains”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “It would be a huge impact to the quality of our standing as we could utilise the endorsement to access a larger listenership, and further have access to perhaps specifically designed instruments for our sound which would help mould it further. Endorsements for equipment we use would only benefit our capabilities to what we could achieve”
“Solar” by Below The Stones is out now and available everywhere you’d expect it to be (and some you wouldn’t)