There are probably many people out there who haven’t heard of StereoKid. I’m not going to say that’s anyone’s fault in particular, there are a lot of bands out there, and one can only learn about so many at a time. But if you have the chance, check out StereoKid. It’s not only cause they’re some of the most laid back and nice guys around, which they are, they’re also incredibly talented.
A little about the band: made up of brothers Greg and Dan Neal, and members Roger Lambert, & Kenta Aoki, StereoKid comes from this town called Oakville outside of Toronto, Canada. I learned that fact after listening to their music, and was kind of surprised. The band’s sound ranges from rock and reggae to funk and rap, and honestly it’s sort of hard to believe four guys in the middle of Canada could pull off that whole chilled-out reggae aesthetic; but after listening to their album Mission For Love multiple times I’m still impressed. Those out there who listen to Dirty Heads, Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Walk Off The Earth, will find that StereoKid is right up their alley. And if you are like me and are already putting together a summer playlist and need some sun-tanning music, StereoKid should definitely have a place in there.
I had the awesome opportunity to chat with StereoKid’s lead singer and frontman Greg Neal a bit about the band, touring, music taste, and the future of the industry. Check out our interview below!
Also, Stereokid’s album Mission For Love is up for free download off their website, or you can support the band by buying the album off of Bandcamp or iTunes. Also keep updated on the band via their twitter @StereoKidBand, and youtube channel here. StereoKid will be releasing a new album this summer, so look out for presale and crowdfunding perks soon to come!
For more StereoKid you can purchase a CD here.
Interview with Greg Neal
Infectious-Magazine: You guys just released a new music video for your song “Young Heart” (Which you can check out below.) It’s pretty cool with a projector and you (Greg) playing guitar. Artsy stuff. But honestly, you guys seem to be kings of music videos, seeing that you have 9 official music videos on your YouTube site.
And being such kings, do you have any advice for bands/artists out there who want to make music videos? Any tips on where to start?
Greg Neal: I think every artist needs to have a “vibe.” Think about how you want to represent yourself and aim for it. Your vibe will evolve and adapt as you grow as an artist and a person, but in order to get anywhere you have to start somewhere. You’ll need help from friends and fans, especially if you’re just starting out and don’t have much of a budget. Anything from having your homies act in the video, to having them lend you their house and/or boat, or even operate the camera. These friends need to feel appreciated and it’s important you let them know how much they mean to you and the project.
IM: You guys have toured with the likes of AWOLNATION, USS, Walk Off the Earth, New Politics, and Dirty Heads. How do you think touring with other artists has influenced your stage persona and performance techniques? And are there any tips you have learned while touring and performing that you could pass down to other acts?
GN: Each successful act we play with has an element that makes me understand why they are doing so well in the industry. Usually it’s production, stage presence, and songwriting. Most important in my mind is the songwriting. Good songwriting takes countless hours and an endless need to keep getting better. You definitely need to put in the hours. The same goes for being on stage and knowing your parts. Practice really does make perfect, but it’s very important to appreciate the moment and FEEL your performance. After 5 years, we’re still constantly trying to improve in every way we can. I think that urge to improve is definitely necessary for success.
It’s cool to see great friends of ours like illScarlett, USS, and Walk Off The Earth gain so much success. I can remember playing with Walk Off The Earth in a small suburban pub over 5 years ago, and now they’re selling out huge venues all over the world, and they did it all on their own. It’s reassuring living proof that it’s actually possible.
IM: Following up on that question, have there been any bands you’ve toured with that have blown you away? Or any concerts that you’ve been to that have shaped you into the musician you are today?
GN: Definitely. The first that comes to mind would be Half Moon Run. I remember playing a small college festival and we watched them sound check. Instantly we all knew we were going to be fans. They had elements of all our favorite music. The reverb’d out harmonies, the Radiohead like songwriting, and rhythmic-yet-mellow vibe; it was beautiful music. I’ll never forget that.
For inspiring concerts, my top 5 would have to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Damian Marley, Outkast, Radiohead, and Future Islands. But truthfully almost every time I go see a show I feel super inspired. Live music is one of those things that brings out crazy emotions. Sometimes it’s so powerful that I get all choked up and teary-eyed for no reason at a show. As wimpy as it makes me sound, it’s true.
IM: I’m genuinely curious; you guys have put out all your produced music for free on your site. (You can also buy their album “Mission For Love” on iTunes!) How do you feel the change of the industry towards online streaming has affected the music scene, and why have you decided to put your albums out at no cost?
GN: It’s hard for us to compare, since our band started after the industry collapsed. As a fan of music, I would say that the internet and streaming services like Rdio and Spotify are amazing. StereoKid has always been about getting our songs and message out to the people. Not about making money. I mean, it’s really tough financially to be in a band, and that sucks, but the good of having people listen to your music strongly outweighs that. For us right now it’s about expanding our fan base, and giving our music out for free seems to be working. We also sell albums, which usually stems from someone getting it for free, liking it, and in turn they want to support by buying it on iTunes or Bandcamp.
IM: The band has posted live videos performing a Daft Punk Medley, a Wu-Tang Clan Freestyle, and Bill Withers‘ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” all of which I have to say are awesome. What’s your process in choosing cover songs, and what do you think makes a successful cover?
GN: Thanks a lot! We often learn a couple new covers every time we play a hometown show to keep things fresh for our fans. So the jam space is usually where they start, and the ones we’re able to really make our own we tend to film. I think in order to have a successful cover you need to spice it up with your own style. Mess with it a bunch. Take the chords and lyrics and mess with it acoustically first as if it was your own song you were writing. I’ve also noticed that every song we learn, we each become a slightly better musician & songwriter.
IM: Lastly, you have two daughters, and along those lines I was wondering what you think the next generation should listen to? And what do you think they will listen to?
GN: Man, that’s a good question. I mean, as it stands now my daughters listen to and love all types of music. I think no matter what genre or style of music, it has to be genuine. Trends come and go, but the lasting time-less jams are well written songs, which the artists and producers took the time to really make them the best they could possibly be. As long as there’s heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears in the music, I’ll be happy with whatever they listen to. However, having a Trinidadian background I think my young ones will listen to lots of reggae and soca!
I’m hoping that the next generation will be more into lyrics and poetry. I’d hate for the world to miss out on the next John Lennon‘s “imagine” because it’s not “radio friendly” or whatever. But with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Nneka, Future Islands, etc, with such strong lyrics and passionate messages, I feel like we’re in good hands.
IM: Anything else you want to add?
GN: We have a new album we’re going to be crowdfunding for, so look out for funding perks and for pre-sale. It should be coming out in the early summer!
StereoKid’s “Young Heart” Music Video:
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