So a bit of an introduction really into one of my favourite singer/songwriters right now, Coventry’s own Stylusboy! I first came into contact with Stylusboy, otherwise known as Steve Jones, through Twitter when he got in contact with me about his music. I checked out his site and his glorious tunes really grabbed my attention. Touching sentiments and all done with doses of morality and grace, simply sublime stuff! So when he agreed to do an interview for me, I was over the moon. Here he is talking about his brand new EP which is released next week…..
Sourmash: So thank you for doing this interview for me Stylusboy, now I know that’s not your real name! How did it come about?
Stylusboy: The name Stylusboy came about when I was creating an email address a number of years ago. My name is Steve Jones and as you can imagine trying to get an email address without a million numbers after it, with a name like that is nearly impossible. So I decided to just create something easy to remember. I was sat in front of a well known printer at the time and saw stylus and that than turned into Stylusboy. When I started making these acoustic tunes I created a Myspace page (yes back in the day when it worked) and started performing as Stylusboy because I felt it was more distinctive and original. So there you go!
SM: Let’s talk about the release of your second EP which is called The Whole Picture, what would you say has been the driving force behind its creation? What has influenced the song writing process?
SB: The driving force has just been that I love to write songs and let people hear them. I really enjoy the recording process particularly when the basic tracks have been laid down and I can start to mess about with melody ideas and harmonies. I have recorded the EP in my friend Chris’ garage studio over several months, going over once a week and then a couple of weekends to finish it. It had been great to work with someone like Chris, who is a musician himself. My last EP ‘Fingerprint’ was self recorded at home and so I didn’t really push myself too hard, where as Chris would often say “No do it again, you can play it better than that!”. I feel that really shows in the vibe of the EP, well hopefully anyway.
All sorts of things have influenced the songwriting. ‘Whole Picture’ is about when my little girl was starting to swim and how she will discover things for herself as she grows. ‘Beyond the Flags’ is inspired by the story of an open water swimmer in Australia who found more freedom when he did things differently. ‘Dave’s Song’ is written after I found out one of my friends, who was very poorly, only had hours to live. So its a big range of influences really. Mainly my thoughts, ideas and contemplations. I often like to use imagery in my lyrics rather than literal description.
SM: Now I understand you are doing some special things to promote the EP, like House shows and a series of live covers. Do you care to elaborate a bit on those for anyone who is not aware of what you are doing?
SB: Yeah I have just been trying to promote it and play in different places. I have done alot of gigs where people are not always listening to you completely. When I play I often play quite quietly and so this got a little frustrating at times. I am playing some House Shows for people where they invite people to come and watch and we chat and share food together. It is really good fun.
I have also been going live gigs from my Kitchen that I have called Screen Gigs. This is where I play my songs through a webcam and studio mike via the Ustream website. People come and watch and then we chat through a chat room and ask me questions and about the songs. They also make requests! I aim to play these gigs every other Wednesday evening! www.stylusboy.co.uk/screengigs
The Live Covers has just been a bit of fun. I play a regular gig where I play a number of covers as well as all of my own tunes and I thought it would be fun to record them and give them away. I called them Friday Covers as on Friday’s for the last six weeks I have posted a video and an MP3 on my site www.stylusboy.co.uk/livecovers
SM: I know you are based in Coventry, with its fruitful musical heritage, has the place had on influence on what you write about?
SB: Yeah I am a Coventry boy born and bred! Coventry does have a wonderful musical history with people like The Specials and The Selector and also recently The Enemy. It still has loads of wonderful music both bands and solo people. People like Wes Finch, The Shackletons, Emma Mcgann, Kristy Gallacher, and The Suit Corps! We also have a wonderful free music festival each July that is called The Godiva Festival where local bands play and acts like Idlewild, Badly Drawn Boy and all sorts of other people play. Its a lovely festival and I love bumping into old friends every year!
SM: As a songwriter who would you say is the biggest influence on you both musically and lyrically?
SB: I think Elbow are stunning. I think they are one of the only bands that I listen to where I do own all their albums. Musically they are just gorgeous with all the different interplay between all the little melodies that each song has. I love the vibe and feeling that lifts the listener. Guy Harvey is a great understated singer and a great guy from what I have been told. The gig they did for the BBC with the concert orchestra is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and listened too.
SM: Are there any new bands/artists that you are really buzzing off right now?
SB: Yeah loads! I am really enjoying the music of Jess Morgan (www.jessmorgan.co.uk) who is a country folk singer songwriter from Norwich. I am playing a house show with her in July. I am enjoying my good friend Andy Mort’s music (www.atlumschema.com) who is like a one man Radiohead Kid A stylus! Another local artist is Wes Finch who I am really enjoying (www.wesfinch.co.uk) he plays americana style folk. They are all wonderful and deserve to be heard.
SM: What is next for Stylusboy? What else can we expect from you this year and the future?
SB: At the moment it is all about this new EP ‘Whole Picture’ and promoting it. I am playing various live gigs, house shows and screen gigs over the next few months.
After that I will start thinking about writing new songs. I am considering a more stripped back recording, just me and a guitar, as people often say at gigs how lovely it sounds. I am also looking at how I might release new songs. An album maybe, or a song a month. I am also talking to different songwriters about writing together which will be very exciting.
Thanks again to Stylusboy for taking the time out to do this interview for me. Please go check him out and also his new EP which is called ‘Whole Picture’ and it is released on the 6th June. It will be available via his bandcamp page and on a ‘pay what you want’ price scheme.
Now check out his latest video too, my how I treat you guys sometimes. This is off that very EP and it’s the title track ‘Whole Picture’