The Stanleys from Perth, Australia deliver one of the best New Wave / Power Pop you've heard in a very long time. In eleven songs they prove they are the true heirs of DM3, The Hoodoo Gurus and the Cars.
So this blog could not miss the opportunity to talk to lead singer and bass player Mark Di Renzo about the band and their first self-titled album, released on CD by New Jersey-based US label Pop Detective Records.
To begin with I would say The Stanleys play a classic style of upbeat power pop with catchy melodies, lush harmonies and crunching guitars.
The studio nucleus of the band is me as lead singer, bass guitarist and playing some keys, Jamie Horsburgh on guitars and Tomas Dahl on drums and guitars. Jamie and I live in Perth Australia and Tomas lives in Oslo Norway. Jamie and I played together in an early line up of my previous band Gigantic but Jamie had a break from music for a few years. I was on tour with Gigantic in Japan towards the end of Gigantic’s career when someone recommended Tomas’s solo project, Caddy, to me as music I would enjoy. I did enjoy the first Caddy album a lot. Tomas and I connected on Myspace and essentially began writing a few songs over the internet with no real agenda other than to write great power pop songs we loved. After separating from his wife at the time (around 2010) Jamie was interested in getting back into music and that became the start of The Stanleys.
The record has been recorded over a few years in Australia, Norway and France. Tomas did come to Perth to do some recording with Jamie and I and my brother John, I went to Oslo to do some sessions with Tomas, and I also did some sessions with Ken Stringfellow (REM, Big Star, The Posies) in Paris at his home studio. The geographical logistics made it easiest to record a track by track recording plus this allows you to build on a song and keep writing bits and pieces once the core bed tracks are recorded. Those bits and pieces might be extra guitar or keyboard melodies, percussion or harmonies for example. I feel that recording songs can be like making a salad. Lettuce, bacon, egg, parmesan cheese and olive oil might be key ingredients but without the croutons, garlic and lemon and lemon juice, the salad (or song) is not complete. We were trying to create delicious power pop!
3) What are your favorite topics to write about or the topics that come easily when you write a new song?
I think the most common topics revolve around people and relationships and this comes easiest because we are in contact with others every day. But there are also songs on the album about the cons of the modern online world, cars, dancing and the quest to follow your dreams. I think its best just to let the ideas and topics come out naturally rather than specifically trying to manufacture something.
4) THE STANLEYS have an undeniable Aussie approach of power pop that could lead to compare you to DM3 The STEMS, etc. Do you agree with this comparison or do you consider there is way more than that?
I find it a big compliment for you to compare The Stanleys to both DM3 and The Stems as those bands are both fantastic bands and both from my hometown. In fact my introduction to power pop would have been through both The Stems and Hoodoo Gurus and these three bands are bands that we do get compared to from time to time overseas. I believe we have our own brand of new wave power pop. However, we undoubtedly lend a little from bands that we love who have come before us and that is natural for any songwriter. Music that you love inspires you to make music for other people to love!
5) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody composing his own songs (words and music)?
Its definitely a joint effort between myself, Jamie and Tomas and for us that seems to produce the best result. It also makes the process more fun in constructing a song. The majority of lyrics, but not all, are mine and this probably just happens since I’m singing those lyrics.
6) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.
I grew up listen to lots of classic music quite wide ranging like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Doors as well as some more power pop bands like those mentioned earlier and I really had a thing for 80s pop too! If its got melody I’m a fan and that can spread across genres even into more modern dance music for example. I probably had a number of different favourite bands as a teenager moving around from time to time so not sure I can answer that question. Even now its very difficult to narrow it down to 3 bands I consider still have an influence on my music but the Beatles, The Cars and DM3 would be in there.
7) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release?
Yes we do. There is a video for the single (and opening track from the album) Amy. Here’s the link.
8) What can concert goers expect at a gig of THE STANLEYS? Are you playing any famous cover songs?
I think we deliver audiences an energetic and fun show as we just really love playing! We love to see some dancing, singing along and handclapping from the audience and want people to feel part of the night. We do occasionally play a cover. On the recent Amy Tour we played a rockier version of the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” which was very fun to play and people seemed to really enjoy it!
9) What are the plans for 2018 as far as THE STANLEYS are concerned? Are you guys planning to tour Europe soon?
We recently (in October) toured Italy, Norway, Sweden, Spain and the UK in Europe before heading to the US for a run of dates. Those shows went very well so we’re definitely keen to get back to Europe in 2018. It’s just a matter of timing to see if we might be able to coordinate dates with a festival or two and our commitments back home. Stayed tuned for announcements on that next year.
The next single off the album will be "Everybody Dance" and we’ll be shooting a video for that one early in the new year.
10) Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?
You can learn a little more about the band at our website:
PURCHASE THIS BRILLIANT ALBUM HERE:
Listening to the album now on Bandcamp and I agree with all of the nice comments there. One small complaint though, and if a member of the band is reading this, one that you should be able to rectify easily. I wish there was an option to just buy the download as I no longer like to buy physical CDs or LPs. If there was, I would happily do so but for now I will just listen to you on BC.
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