THE cool and charming chaps of Stray Monroe…
have been spending time with me and discussing the video for their single, Seaside. The band tell me how they came together and what the vibe is like in San Diego – they recommend some new artists to check out.
I ask them whether they’ll come to the U.K. and play; whether they all share musical tastes; what plans they have for the rest of the year; their favourite memories from music – they end the interview by selecting some excellent tunes.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. It’s been a busy week! We just got done playing a packed show at the House of Blues Anaheim with Weathers. Our singer, Blake, had a really bad case of laryngitis so we had to do some very last-minute adjustments to the set to the set. The show was killer, though, and the crowd was phenomenal. We love Orange County; it’s like our home away from home. We can’t wait to come back soon.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Sure. Blake Imperl (Vocals/Guitar), Brett Kelly (Bass) and Colin Croft (Drums).
The video for Seaside is out. Can you talk about the song and how it came together?
Seaside was actually one of the easiest writing processes we’ve been through. The song started as a demo on Blake’s iPhone before he brought it to the rest of the band. Once we started playing it as a band, the song came together in only a few hours. We wanted to make a song that was upbeat and that people could dance to. We weren’t sure if it was going to make the cut for our E.P., Momentary Vertigo.
It was only after playing it at a house-party and seeing the crowd’s reaction that we decided it was worth including on the E.P. We like the song because it has a relatable message and reminds us of our home in San Diego.
What was it like putting the video together? Will there be more material coming soon?
The process was really fun for all of us. We filmed it with Nolan Woodward and Keeyan Irvjie, two up-and-coming college film directors. They pitched us the idea for a V.H.S.-style video and we immediately loved the direction they wanted to take it. We filmed it over the course of three days around various locations in San Diego. It was a very fun environment in which we were able to showcase our personalities. We wanted to make a video that was unique and that you wanted to watch over and over again.
Yes, there will be new material out within the next few months. We’re always writing and are excited to get back into the studio shortly.
How did Stray Monroe find one another? When did you all meet?
We all met at San Diego State University. Colin and Blake had been in a previous band before but it wasn’t until Brett came into the picture that we started Stray Monroe.
San Diego is your base. What sort of music vibe and scene is there?
San Diego has a lot of people who are supportive of the local music scene. That being said, there are many small music niches within San Diego that make it tough to have one unified scene. We’ve always felt like we never fit into any niche which caused us to develop a chip on our shoulder and aspire to more than just ‘San Diego-famous’. We love San Diego but always had our sights on hitting the road and playing in as many cities as we can.
Do you all share musical tastes? Did you all grow up around a lot of music?
We all share common threads in our musical tastes. One of our favorite things to do is to introduce each other to new artists/songs. It’s sort of like a game of one-upping each other by seeing who can discover the coolest songs. That’s how a lot of our influences for new songs start. We all grew up around music in different facets but it was only in our teens that we discovered music as more than just a hobby.
PHOTO CREDIT: Rick Perez
Where are you heading on tour? Where can we catch you?
We just got back from Mexico a few weeks ago and have been busy promoting the E.P. here in Southern California. Right now, we’re focusing on making a name in the L.A. music scene. The second we get the chance, we plan to tour the United States, U.K. and anywhere else that will have us. We have a big fan base in Brazil and would love the opportunity to go play there.
Do you think you’ll come to the U.K. and gig here?
Absolutely. A lot of our favorite artists are from the U.K. and we’ve always believed that our music would be well-received there.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
We hope to get our new E.P. into as many ears as possible. We think we put out a great record and we’re excited to continue to share our music around the world. We’re also continuing to write new music and play shows. Our ultimate goal is to find the right record label and then get back in the studio and make an even better follow-up to Momentary Vertigo.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Blake: I think my favorite moment was when we got played on local radio for the first time. If you were to tell my younger self that one day I’d hear a song we wrote played on the radio, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. We all sat in my car and waited for the song to come on. It was a pretty special moment that we’ll never forget.
Brett: My favorite moment was writing our song Hold the Line. At the time, we were all going through rough patches in our lives and used this song as an outlet to release our frustrations. Our goal was to write a song that was unlike anything we had ever done before and challenged us as musicians. We utilized a variety of new instruments such as the glockenspiel and the Mellotron in an effort to be like The Beatles. I’m not lying when I say that hearing the end product made each of us tear up!
Colin: My favorite moment was when we played our first show in Mexico. The venue was packed; it felt like the whole town came out. The craziest thing was that very few people spoke English, but our music served as a medium to communicate and bond over. We love Mexico and it’ll always hold a special place in our hearts.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
We’re all huge fans of Portugal. the Man and take a lot of influence from their live show; so that’d be a dream come true.
Our rider would consist of sushi platters, blue Jolly Ranchers and a personal masseuse...AND tequila!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Keep on doing what you’re doing; don’t compare yourselves to other artists who are having success. Be involved in your community, respect and give back to your fans and never stop writing and practising. Success doesn’t happen overnight but through persistence and hard work.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Academic
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Our lives pretty much revolve around music. There’s always something we’re working on so, on the rare chance we do get breaks, we always try to enjoy those moments. We like trying new restaurants, exploring San Diego and watching sports.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Blake: I Am the Resurrection - The Stone Roses
Brett: Band on the Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
Colin: Houdini - Foster the People
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