If there’s a list of new bands who are set to take 2015 by storm, it would be criminal not to include Stoneghost on that list. A band who have systematically carved their success under a different name and doubled the strengths into making Stoneghost as we know it. Virtually unheard of by several, but also one of the more underrated bands within the heavy metal realm at this moment in time.
Their new album New Age Of Old Ways has recently dropped, and you can find my review of it here (shameless plug alert), and I was lucky enough to grab a quick chat with the band to find out a little bit more about what Stoneghost really are all about.
Danuel: You set yourself big goals in 2014, how do you feel they all went?
Andrew Matthews: So far, so good! We managed to get signed to Mascot Label Group and play at Bloodstock. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re up for the challenge.
Danuel: Changing a name is considered a big risk for many bands; or at least for those who do it. Do you feel that the transition from Snakebite to Stoneghost has been easier than you imagined or the opposite?
Andrew: In so many ways, it was like starting the band completely from scratch. The first handful of shows we played as Stoneghost were extremely hard to book, because we had no new music out and virtually nobody knew who we were! It’s gradually become easier though.
Danuel: Judging by the sound of New Age Of Old Ways, there has clearly been an evident difference in terms of aggression between that of Snakebite and that of Stoneghost. Has the change in name somehow sparked a new fire in the Stoneghost machine?
Andrew: We actually decided that we were going to change our name before we’d even finished writing the album, but we didn’t settle on Stoneghost until several months after we’d finished recording. So, for most of the writing and all of the recording we were a band without a name! That was really creatively liberating as we didn’t have to worry about any pre-conceived notions of what the band ought to sound like. I think the freedom it’s given us has allowed us to become a much better band.
Danuel: You have mentioned before that “Faceless Ghost” was a song about facing fear in the build-up to Jason’s daughter’s birth. What are some of the other lyrical themes and ideas you have in your songs?
Andrew: Lyrically, our songs tend to run the gamut. “All They Need Is The Light” is about being chased by a goblin. “The Sound Remains” is about trying to make music that will hopefully outlive the band itself. “Raynardine” is actually an old English folk myth about a nefarious Werefox, but we use it as a metaphor for being wary of people with hidden agendas…we like to cover a range of themes!
Danuel: Do you all tend to write lyrics together or is it mainly down to Jason?
Andrew: With the exception of “Sleeper”, whose lyrics were written by our drummer Cris, Jason wrote all the lyrics on the album. We don’t have any hard and fast rules about who can or can’t write certain parts though, so the door is open for others to contribute lyrics for future songs.
Danuel: How has the response been to New Age Of Old Ways so far?
Andrew: The response has been really good so far, the initial reviews have been really positive. We couldn’t be happier!
Danuel: What was the recording process for ‘Faceless Ghost’s music video like?
Andrew: It was fun, but pretty exhausting. I think we had to mime along to the song about twenty times for the band shots… and after that we had to put on the masks and join the audience to do it another five or six times! It was worth it in the end, though.
Danuel: Your upcoming shows look very stacked and UK fans are going to be very spoiled! Are there currently any plans to tour outside the British Isles?
Andrew: We’re hoping to get out into mainland Europe as soon as possible!
Danuel: What do you enjoy most about playing live?
Andrew: The feeling of synchronicity between the four of us while we’re playing. I think it’s a great privilege to experience something like that.
Danuel: If you could sum up Stoneghost’s plans in 2015 in one sentence, what would it be?
Andrew: More gigs, here there and everywhere!