While there are definitely some bands that are pursuing a place in the music industry after becoming disillusioned by the thought of fame and fortune, I am so lucky to work with artists who are truly passionate about what they do for all the right reasons. The Stolen is a band from my hometown of Old Bridge, NJ, who have been working to make music that matters and build a fan base of true friends ever since I saw them play for the first time back in middle school. They were never just another local band that faded into the background of pay-to-play battle of the band competitions and cover shows – they are a group of five genuine musicians who are undoubtedly going to get much further than just the northeast over the course of the next few months. In preparation for the recording of their next full-length record, which guitarist Rob Chiarappa said the band hopes will be “a game changer”, I sat down with the band for a quick photo shoot on a Sunday morning so we could talk about the new record, the local music scene, and their plans ahead.
Emily Tantuccio: Coming from such a tight knit music scene in the New Jersey area, what have the benefits been for you guys of belonging to such an active music community? Any favorite bands from your hometown area?
The Stolen: The central New Jersey music scene is by far the biggest family, and a huge part of New Jersey’s alternative culture that has been rich since bands like Senses Fail and those who came before them. The family isn’t just the awesome slew of bands we’re brothers with, but the kids who come out to shows. It’s not, “Hey, let’s go see our favorite local band”, but more, ” Hey, let’s go out to a show tonight at the Brighton Bar.” Our best friends and some of our favorites from our hometown area are Cross Town Train, On Your Marks, Batten Down The Hatches, Save Face, and Beneath The Sun. They are all definitely worth checking out.
ET: What other albums or artists are you inspired by right now?
TS: We’ve been collectively listening to The Maine’s new album “Forever Halloween” constantly. We really like their more raw, matured sound they went with for it. We’ve also been jamming Mayday Parade’s new album as well as Valencia’s 2010 release, “Dancing with a Ghost”. We’re just really into a lot of music across the board.
ET: All incredible bands, respectively. I’d better see you guys next week at The Maine’s Starland show. After watching bands like that grow so quickly over the past few years, where do you guys hope to see yourselves a year from now?
TS: Our number one goal as a band has always been to make the best music we can. We hope that this time next year, we have an even bigger release than what is to come this December. We see ourselves touring nonstop whether in our 2001 Dodge Minivan, or a huge bus. We just love being on the road, having the opportunity to perform our music anywhere.
ET: How have you seen the local music change over the past few years since you guys first started getting actively involved?
TS: The local scene has changed for both the better and worse. Sadly, so many bands in NJ have broken up and not as many kids are starting bands now as they were in 2008. There are a lot less promoters and venues as well. On a positive, the bands now have by far the best following. These kids will be at every show in central NJ. Shows are being put on more DIY whether it be someone’s basement or the local vfw. Kids go out to see shows, not just bands and it makes the scene stronger. Shows in central NJ are like giant reunions. Everyone knows each other and seem to get along extremely well. It’s just a really great feeling watching kids sing along to every band on a bill.
ET: What kind of mindset do you have going into recording this new record – what are your influences and what kind of message do you hope to send to your fans with this?
TS: We have been putting in endless hours writing this new album. We’ll spend days at a time in the basement working on songs that if we’re not satisfied with, we scrap them. We want to put out only the best music we can on this album. As all artists typically respond with this question as their latest album is more “matured” than the last one, we feel that’s probably the best response we can give, as cliche as it sounds. We think we’ve found a new more alternative-y niche with lots of vocal layers, guitar solos, and heartfelt lyrics with a bit more serious tone. The album though not a concept album has a generalized theme. We need this album to count for us. We’re all getting older and fact of the matter is as adults, you see things a lot differently than as a kid and you have this dream that’s always been there that you have to hold onto. Holding onto a dream through reality is a very frustrating thing and it can be the only thing to get you going at times.
You can catch The Stolen on tour later this winter – keep up with their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thestolennj.