Garage rock duet, Black Stone From The Sun, launch their new EP, the fantastically titled Death Threats And Cigarettes, at Jimmy’s Den this Saturday, July 11, with support from The Floors, Skullcave, Filthy Apes and Mitch McDonald. Drummer and vocalist Jack Nelson gives us the skinny.
Sean Mackay and Jack Nelson first met back in high school when they wound up in the same music class. Even though they moved in different circles and played in different bands, they had similar music tastes – a fact which drew them together a couple of years down the track.
“It wasn’t until we left school and our previous bands broke up that we realised we had a similar taste in music,” Nelson recalls. “And that’s when we decided to try something new together. The idea of the band started in mid 2012 but wasn’t until November that we played our first gig together.”
At some point, the pair decided they didn’t need any additional band members messing up their dialectic, functioning as a duo these past three-and-a-half odd years. It’s an arrangement that has pros and cons.
“There’s only two of us to argue and then reconcile, it’s a pretty quick process. Also it’s less organising when it comes to seeing who’s available for gigs and what-not.”
The problems come when trying to generate a fatter sound in a live environment, as Nelson notes. “When we first started, Sean played through one guitar amp and the sound was pretty thin in a live situation but now he plays through a guitar amp and a bass rig with 10,000 pedals which has helped loads. So summarised, things get pretty expensive and there’s lots of gear to load in and out.”
Triple j’s Dom Alessio once compared their sound to both Nirvana and Violent Soho – an assertion that Nelson admits is not without merit. “Nirvana has definitely had a big influence on our sound from the start and I was listening to a lot of Violent Soho around the time Sean came up with the guitar parts to our single, Pastel Roses, so I’d say that was pretty much in the right ballpark. Overall we’d describe our sound as garage rock and grunge, using fuzzed out guitar riffs, pretty loud drumming, throaty lead vocals and bright BVs.
That’s quite evident in the new EP, Death Threats And Cigarettes, which he says is. “…edging more towards the grunge side compared to our first release. We tried not to make everything sound too dark so we’ve included, I guess, ‘happy’ melodies and harmonies to keep a smile on people’s faces. There’s six tracks in total and although it’s still pretty grungy, we’ve given the songs a more structured feel.”
That can be chalked up to the efforts of producer Mitch McDonald of The Love Junkies. “Working with Mitch was awesome. His creative input on the songs seemed to put the icing on the cake. Sean and I are both big fans of The Love Junkies so having one of the dudes from the band throwing ideas at us was pretty rad. As it stands with Mitch, we’re hoping to have a second round with him as producer.”
First up, though is a national tour – the band’s first. And after that?
“When we get back from the tour we’re planning on recording a new single and releasing that as soon as possible.”
Death Threats And Cigarettes is now streaming at themusic.com.au.