Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘family’

Today we are joined by Todd Stone. He comes from a very musical family and wears his influences on his sleeve. Fans of The Cure and Joy Division will definitely want to check him out, but I recommend everyone give him a listen regardless of your musical preferences!


 

You come from a very musical family. What can you tell me about what that was like and what impact it had on you?

Todd Stone: Yes, my family from my Mother’s side were very musical. My Grandparents used to play to the US Army troops, based here in the 2nd World War. My Grandad on piano and my Nan singing. My Uncle who I haven’t seen since I was a young teen, used to play keyboards in Georgie Fame’s band, The Blue Jets. But he chose to go into business after a short spell of that. Growing up it was kind of normal listening to my Nan playing the piano & my Mum was always singing about the house and the radio was on every waking hour.

You played in “The Wicked Messengers” & “The Love Rats”. What were those experiences like? What did you learn from being in those bands?

TS: “The Wicked Messengers” and “The Love Rats” were my first experiences of playing live. I kind of always wrote everything and then put it to the band and they would fill their parts in. The band members never really came to me with anything they had written. Live I think we were really good, we took our fooling around with us to the stage; at times it got to be more of a comedy show, but it was a great time of drink and other stuff going on. but the downside of being in those bands was nothing really got organized. We really needed a manager to reign us in and keep us under control.

Why did you decide to pursue a solo career?

TS: I went solo, because I felt I could be more serious about the music and not have to rely on other band members turning up or not turning up. Also, I had a lot of songs inside me I didn’t feel were suitable for the bands I’d played with before. I locked myself away and recorded morning, noon, and night. I feel I’ve been at my most creative on my own. But maybe in the future I will get another band together, but there will be restrictions on the drunken behaviour that seems to go on with being in a band.

Why did you choose to do all of the instrumentation yourself as a solo artist?

TS: I played all the instruments myself for 2 reasons. I wanted to grow in my musical knowledge and really push myself to see what would come out. It was a great excuse to explore instruments I had very little experience of. The other reason is I knew what kind of direction I wanted to take the music in and when you have other people involved it tends to get pulled into other directions. I’m very selfish when it comes to my songs.

“Emotion for me in a song is everything.”

Tell me about the importance and impact of emotion on your songwriting.

TS: Emotion for me in a song is everything. I write what comes from the heart and I’m gravitated to music that has an overwhelming sense of emotion, and emotion covers a lot of ground, from happiness, sadness, anger etc.

What do you hope people get from your music?

TS: I hope when people listen to my songs, that they can relate to the lyrics or get where I’m coming from. I have a lot of depressing songs in my catalogue, but amongst them there are rockier ones and happy pop type songs.

Your song writing seems very much rooted in a certain time and place. For me, as a US citizen, I get a late 70s early 80s London vibe. What is it about that music and that time and place that speaks to you?

TS: I guess the early eighties for me was a very inspiring time, especially as I was in my early teens. I was discovering myself. Bands like “The Cure,” “Bauhaus,”  “Joy Division” spoke to me the most. I could relate a lot of what was going on in my life to the lyrics of their songs and the general mood of their tracks. But I feel music had tons more emotion in it back then than it does now. Even the silly pop songs had more originality to it. I think Cyndi Lauper was massively creative in her image as well as her music.

What is your view/opinion of the current music scene in London?

TS: The current music scene, I don’t think has changed a great deal. There’s some great bands out there, but due to how easy it is to record these days and get exposed, I feel the market has flooded itself. But as always the record companies seem to only be interested in kids with very little talent other than to sing. I believe it’s because they’re easier to control and package exactly the way they want it. Which is a great shame for the real bands out there with masses of talent, that have their own very strong image and style of music. London still has a lot of great venues to play, but sadly over the past decade they do seem to be in decline. If live music became more popular again, maybe the record company’s would look more at the live bands that are out there doing it.

What inspires you?

TS: What inspires me, the main things that inspire me, is seeing someone make something of themselves from nothing and seeing people who have some form of disability, just not letting it effect their lives and then go on to achieve amazing things. It has often brought a tear to my eye. I’m silly like that.

What are your plans for the future?

TS: My future plans have already been planned out, well at least the next 2 albums. I plan on doing a very acoustic set of songs & do them live.

If you could be one kind of donut what would it be and why?

TS: Haha I think at times I am a donut, just a plain ol’ donut lol


Follow Todd at Reverb Nation: http://reverbnation.com/toddstone

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Beta Lion. Mark Fulinara, Opie Tran, Dean Fulinara, JR Fulinara. That’s a whole lot of Fulinara!!! I wonder if they are related (hint: maybe).

You have a long history together and haven’t always played as Beta Lion. How did you all come together?

Mark:  It started with a high school video project for our friend and original bassist, Joel (whoop whoop!).  Dean was one of the only drummers he knew in the neighborhood, and I was the only A/V nerd he knew to videotape it.  They had a mic setup, but nobody wanted to sing, so I ended up singing for fun and we eventually become a band.

Opie:  We were actually originally called p.o.p. (part of the problem). The line up had already been established of Dean (drums), Joel (bass), Mark (singer), and our friend Ryan that played guitar (JR had not joined yet). I had met Joel through high school gym class and Mark was always in the same friend circle but we never really hung out. All I remember was walking to my class one day and Dean approaching me asking if I wanted to jam with them after school and so I did.  We played  random talent shows, house parties, and punk shows anywhere we got the chance to.  As years passed, Joel left so Mark took up bass guitar along with vocals, then Ryan left and we knew we wanted to keep the band chemistry tight as possible.  Back then, JR really dug the band and came out to all the shows. We figured he knew all the songs already and he’s a Fulinara so we asked him to join. He agreed and here we are almost ten years later still playing songs together.

JR:  Since childhood, Mark and Dean have been the closest of family to me.  Every time our families would get together, we would sit around and play guitar and they would teach me their songs as I was a fan of the music.  Naturally when their friend left the band, I was the best choice to fill the gap or so I’d like to think!  Since Opie was practically part of our family, the chemistry worked out well.

What’s your song writing process?

Mark:  I constantly record these really crappy demos into my laptop.  They’re just pieces of songs, a verse here, a chorus there, maybe the occasional guitar riff.  Over time, I’ll piece them together into rough skeletons, then I hand them over to the boys and they put meat on the bones make them sound like real songs.  I feel really lucky to work with the rest of the guys, I always hear these crazy horror stories about other people’s experiences playing in bands.  Beta Lion is a fun band to be in.  We’re all split between Los Angeles and San Diego, so we’ll go for long periods of time without practicing, then when we do, we’ll do these crazy 8-hour practices with little or no breaks in-between.  But even if we haven’t been practicing, we all hang out pretty often, so we’re pretty good about communicating ideas to each other which I think is also super important.

JR:  It’s a bit vague but it really does vary from song to song.  Usually Mark and Dean will create rough demos of ideas they’ve been working on.  Most of the time they are small like a beat in a different timing, a chorus or guitar lead.  Sometimes it’s just a description of a feeling we want the listener to have.  Once we start to flesh it out, Opie will really start to hammer out the guitar leads based on ideas he’s been wanting to try.  I’m usually trying to complement what everyone else is doing to really drive their parts as much as I can. Little by little, we keep sculpting until it makes sense.  That’s when angels are born.

You all have “day jobs.” What do you get from performing in Beta Lion?

Mark:  I like that I get to cut loose and dance around like I’ve lost my mind for a bit.  Sometimes I feel like Hansel from Zoolander where he falls into a trance right before he miraculously pulls off his underwear to win the walk off.  It was definitely never about picking up girls, I think the band-angle never worked for me anyway.

Opie:  When I’m onstage, I’m the exaggerated alternate version of my normal everyday self.  Performing in Beta Lion is probably one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.  Since I was a child I’ve always had a need to perform and express myself.  Being able to have music as my medium and three other solid dudes to play it with is something I’ll always be grateful for.

JR:  An escape.  It’s sort of like watching a movie.  For that brief moment, you escape reality.  Dean jokingly once said, “Last night, we were gods!”, as he pretended to tuck himself into bed.

What inspires you most?

Mark:  Fortune cookies, Snapple bottle caps, and motivational posters.  No, but really, I’m a big nerd about movies, comic books, martial arts, and mythology so all sorts of pop-culture finds its way into our music.  For example, our song “Faces & Heels” is about this pro-wrestler from the 50’s named Gorgeous George that I was obsessed with for a while.

JR:  Movies and TV Shows.  They inspire me in many ways.  After an hour, I could be researching cases hoping to solve medical puzzles to fighting crime in downtown LA.  Most of the time I end up going to sleep with a package of Chips Ahoy on the nightstand.

Tell me about your latest CD.

Mark:  Well, we’ve been trying to keep up the momentum of releasing our demo earlier this year by following up with a 5-song EP.  It’s gonna be more ambitious than anything we’ve ever done.  Do you remember back in the 90’s when hip-hop and pop punk albums would have little mini-skits in-between songs?  Hopefully we can pull something like that off.

JR:  “I believe in Beta Lion” was a huge accomplishment for us.  We’ve been a band for quite some time but never had something tangible that truly represented us so this was something we’ve been proud of.  It’s a taste of things to come.

Why should someone see you live?

Mark:  Even though we’re a new band to a lot of people, we’ve been playing live shows together for over a decade.  I think experience, onstage chemistry, and basically growing up together is a pretty hard to beat combination.  If done correctly, NO CAN DEFEND.

Opie:  I always tell people when you see Beta Lion live it’s not so much the music you go to see, but the bond between four guys that you want to be a part of.  Don’t get me wrong we have great songs and play them well but its the overall vibe and show that makes us a worthy act.  We’ve played so many shows we are so comfortable with being on stage and its a lot of fun for us.

JR:  I think we bring something unique to the scene and genuinely, without motive, try to put on the best show we possibly can.  We also give out free kisses?

Why keyboards?

Mark:  Since we don’t quite have the budget for a real string section, a pipe organ, or laser guns, keyboards will have to do for now.  Dean also writes a lot of music on the piano, so it’s natural that a lot of it ends up in the final product.

Opie:  Opens up a world of new sounds which leads to new songs. Fills in the sonic spaces so other instruments can do more interesting things.

JR:  A lot of the music we write translates well on a piano. I feel it creates a fuller, bigger sound that we couldn’t accomplish without one.

Plans for the future?

Mark:  Hopefully to end off our biggest year ever with a bang, then following up with an even bigger one next year.

Opie:  Write and record more songs. Put out some EPs and tour more.

JR:  Where we’re going, we don’t need plans!

How did you all get into Muay Thai Kickboxing?

Mark:  JCVD and lots of nerdiness.  When I was a teenager, there was nothing I wanted more in life than to be a Muay Thai champion.

Opie:  I actually was the last one to get into it. Back in the days during practice we would take breaks and the guys would work pads in the street and I would hangout in the garage playing guitar.  It wasn’t till I was laid off from my job that I had a lot of time on my hands so I got really into cycling. I thought that Muay Thai would be a good compliment to cycling so I signed up for a fight gym and have been a hooked ever since. Every so often you can find us “warming up” wailing on the pads before shows.

JR:  One day I was outside fetching some water when a fly landed on the trunk of a banana tree.  I disliked flies. I punched at it several times.  I got in close and threw elbows and knees, kicking the trunk as hard as I could.  I killed the fly.  Not satisfied with its squashed remains, I kept kicking until its body disintegrated.  The tree fell down and that’s when I created Muay Thai.

If you could be one type of building or structure what would it be?

Mark:  The Deathstar or Castle Greyskull.

Opie:  Batcave

JR:  Something that birds will never take a dump on.  Maybe that huge tower from Lord of the Rings with my eye on top. I would love to see a bird try and drop a deuce on that!


Big thanks to Beta Lion. You can keep up with them at the following links:

Read Full Post »