Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Billy from Short Stories find out more about them…
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
- Joseph Holt - Lead Vox/Guitar
- Billy Stewart - Bass/Backing Vocals
- Ashley Walker - Guitar
- Steven Sayer - Drums
We are all from the East London/West Essex area but mainly perform in London - Hoxton/Camden/Shoreditch/Central. Joe and I go way back - both of our fathers were in a local covers band together which we feel solidified our love of rock and indie music from an early age. We went to every gig that an under 18 at the time could go to! Ash and Steve were both friends that I made through music in my Sixth Form - Barking Abbey - which at the time was renown for its music academy!
The name Short Stories generally came about after us naming ourselves after a shop that Joe's dad found. 'Short Stories Of London' was the original name but after years of it being shortened anyway, 'Short Stories' became the revised name.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Our musical tastes differ somewhat which we think reflects in our own music. Back in the day Joe was more into people like The Clash and The Jam whereas I was a big Muse fan (still am!). We went through the noughts being inspired by bands like The Kooks and The Killers and Arctic Monkeys and so on. Nowadays all of us are enjoying a bit of Catfish & The Bottlemen (Or various arrangements of those words - Manfish & The Catbottle / Bottlefish & the Mancat to name a couple) as well as artists like Royal Blood, The Amazons and a slightly more modern Arctic Monkeys.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound has been linked with that of The Killers - some people have brought up The Verve and even some Lower Than Atlantis has been thrown in there. It's hard to pin your music down to a specific genre but as previously mentioned we take bits from our favourite bands. Joe writes really meaningful lyrics and heartfelt melodies and I whack a nice Muse-esque driving baseline in there while Ash is smashing out riffs left right and centre.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
Our latest single was a release off our EP - 'Valhalla' (which was so named after the studio that it was produced in - Valhalla Studios). The single is called 'Never Gonna Grow Up'. It's probably our proudest release since our flagship track 'Stories Of London' came out. We got a great videographer down from Leicester to help us shoot a great music video for it too!
What’s your local music scene like?
The music scene in London isn't ideal any more. It feels like we may have caught some of the worst years for bands. With electronic music on the rise - not as many young people are as excited about a proper rock band anymore. Not only that but there's lots of venues and so-called 'promoters' that only care about ticket sales and not about the bands. A lot of bands also just get their fans to show up for their set before they all shoot off somewhere else. We try to make friends with other artists but it's frustrating when they don't want to watch your set after you watched theirs! That being said there are some promoters and venues who are really good and appreciate what we do. We've also organised for a very local gig for us with another local band (Cavalcade) for December 16th in Barking.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
The next 12 months are going to be some of the most important in our career. Having attended BBC Introducing's Amplify event at London's Excel Centre this weekend, we feel so inspired to continue our progression. We have a new single currently being recorded which we intend to release early next year with another video and even our first UK tour. We will also continue to improve and write more and more songs and hopefully expand our fan base!
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
In terms of collaboration - we'd love to go out on tour with any well band - it's really great meeting new people. We collaborate our new material with our producer Dan Lambert - he really helps us bring the songs to life.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Our live shows are always a joy to behold. Behind the scenes there's always something dodgy happening. I recall a time when I was rocking out a bit too much and getting a bit sweaty. This led to hairspray running down my forehead and into my eyes - hurt like hell and I went all squinty so turned around and faced my amp to hide my shame until we finished the song! Also we played an acoustic set the other week and there was a power cut mid song so in true rock and roll fashion, we carried on playing - it's acoustic right? Why not?! Joe loved it so much that he jumped up his monitor to sing to the crowd and SO SO SO SO nearly went arse over tit straight through the pool table!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
Ah, if we had to tell the readers anything about us, it would just be to come and see us live. We make such an event out of every gig and have such a laugh doing it that we'd love to make even more friends and fans and share it with them too! We're in the studio recording some new stuff as we speak, our EP Valhalla was released in February and is available in all the normal places. Plus we've got some exciting stuff in the pipeline for 2018 but that's all very hush hush for now!!