So last week through the power of Twitter and my blog on The Musgraves, I connected with a fab singer/songwriter from the UK by the name of Stylusboy. He has a great new EP out called 'Whole Picture' which I love. It's charming, sweet and poppy.
So next thing you know we're chatting away on Twitter and email and I managed to sweet talk him into doing an interview.
And here it is.
So who is Stylusboy?
I'm Steve Jones and I'm a singer songwriter from Coventry in the UK. I came up with the name Stylusboy when a few years ago I was trying to create myself an email address. With a name like Steve Jones the address if I had used my name would I have included loads of numbers which I didn't want! I was sat in front of a well known printer and thought 'ah stylus, I know Stylusboy'. Then when I started writing my own songs and playing them live I thought it would be more memorable to perform as Stylusboy.
Growing up in Coventry what music did you listen to that you would qualify as musical influences?
Coventry had a very rich musical history with bands like The Specials and The Selector but they were a bit before my time really. I was very much into loud guitar music when I was younger. Bands like Idlewild, Seafood, Foo Fighters and Switchfoot. I still love those bands but I am also influenced greatly by great singer songwriters like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Recently I love listening to people like Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Elliot Smith, Foy Vance, Ian Archer, William Fitzsimmons...the list goes on and on!
What artists/songs are on your radar right now that you love? We'll call it the 'Official Stylusboy iPod playlist'.
Elbow, Bon Iver, Paper Aeroplanes, Jess Morgan, Wes Finch, Fyfe Dangerfield, Rue Royal, Villagers, The Sorry Kisses.
Love the track 'Whole Picture'....great hook and vibe to the song....what makes a good pop song in your opinion?
Thank you for your words about Whole Picture. In terms of my songs I always feel it is important to have a hook line, something that the listener can grab onto. Melody and interesting lyrics are also important as well as having some light and shade in the song. What I mean is elements in the song that are loud and then some quiet sections, but along with those sections of the song that are taking the listener to a different place. I also think that often good songs don't always do what you expect them to, it's a fine balance between allowing a song to follow its own natural path but also making it interesting.
You're a father of two, has becoming a dad changed your musical perspective at all?
I have written a number of songs about my children, so yeah they have changed things a great deal for me. Whole Picture is about a time when my little girl was at a swimming pool and wouldn't let go of the blow up ball she had because she was worried she wouldn't float. Then the ball slipped out from under her and she realized she could float. So the song is about wanting to show her things in her life, but not telling her everything, allowing her space to discover things for herself.
What is about being a dad that you love the most?
I think the fun and the excitement of the kids discovering something new and also just being able to guide two little people to have a positive life.
Best piece of parenting advice you ever got?
Don't always be too serious!
You collaborate with Rachel Grisedale - how did you two hook up?
Yeah Rachel is a really good friend of mine and we have known each other for a number of years. We met through friends of friends and played in bands at church together. When I was recording Fingerprint EP, I got in touch and asked if she would sing on it and from there we started playing some live shows together too.
Not sure if you have gotten your car radio fixed....but are there any favourite online sites where you source out new music?
I have actually got it fixed now! I discover most of the stuff through Twitter and Facebook with other people talking about things they like. I follow a number of great music bloggers on Twitter and find music through them. Sites like my label (Lazy Acre Records), the 405, sourmash and a few others.
Last word is yours...
You can download my new EP 'Whole Picture' from my website for a 'Pay What You Want Price' from June 6th. I love starting conversations with people, so please come and join my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.
And finally in the tradition of one James Lipton from the Actor's Studio...
What is your favourite word? Aesthetic
What is your least favourite word? Yesterday
What turns you on? A beautiful sunset over the sea
What turns you off? Having too much to do
What sound or noise do you love? Early morning bird song
What sound or noise do you hate? The windows xp start up tune!
What is your favourite curse word? Pants!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A film maker
What profession would you not like to do? A doctor
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Hello chap, nice to see you.
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Stylusboy cover)
Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love (Stylusboy cover)
Ellie Goulding 'Starry Eyed' (Stylusboy cover)