Kelly Jones talks hmv.com through Stereophonics’ new album Scream Above The Sounds…
It’s now 10 albums and counting for Stereophonics, but they’re still top of their game, packing out arenas, headlining festivals and shifting thousands of LPs.
As their latest, Scream Above The Sounds, comes to hmv’s shelves, we sat down with mainman Kelly Jones to find out how it all came together and why he doesn’t mind a bit of nostalgia these days...
This is your first album with new drummer Jamie Morrison fully in the band, what did he bring to recording?
“Different players bring different things. We had a great time working with Javier and he gave us a lot, but it has been nice to take the same line-up we had on the road into the studio.”
For Keep The Village Alive, you were able to go back to songs you’d written over the previous few years and pick some out, did you do the same this time?
“That’s always how it is. I don’t throw anything away, I also keep songs, I keep collecting them and it’s just a case of finding which ones fit the mood and feel of an album.”
This is a 10-track record, was that something you were keen to do?
“Not consciously, but it does have a good rock’n’roll, old-school feel, a 10-track record. Whenever we make an album, I just want people to be itching to press the play button again rather than waiting for it to be over. You don’t want to bore people, sometimes you have to rein yourselves in and go for something lean.”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
There’s a lot going on in the lyrics, there always is with me. “All In One Night” is much more filmic and widescreen, more of a story, whereas you’ve got tracks like ‘Boy On The Bike’ which are much more vulnerable, where I’m talking about expectations and childish innocence. There’s an openness and an honesty to the words, that’s what I all aim for.”
Is that reflected in the title?
“It is. The title comes from my feeling that we’re constantly being bombarded with information, at the moment it’s mainly bad news, but you can’t get away from it. You need to be able to separate yourself from all that, to decompress, I think too much people are over-reliant on it.”
How easy do you find it to come up with album titles?
“Not that easy. It’s always the last thing. Scream Above The Sounds came to me one night, we were mixing the album and the line jumped out at me.”
How’s touring been so far? You must struggle to decide what to put in your live set with so many songs in there now?
“It’s been great. We’ve moved to become a band who do two and a half hour sets, it feels great to have so much material to choose from, you can pull out anything, we can do a full-on Greatest Hits set one night, then the next night change it up completely and play a few songs we’ve not played for ages.”
Do you all agree on what you’re going to play?
“We bash out a bunch of songs in rehearsal and make a skeleton, make sure there are some big moments. ‘Mr And Mrs Smith’ has this big drum solo and Jamie loves doing that, the others have their favourites too. I just want it to be a great night out, I remember what it was like when you were young and going to gigs, you don’t have a lot of money, you wanna hear the songs you know, we just have to make sure those songs feel fresh every night. The song is really the governor in this band, the right song tells you when it’s ready.”
It’s 20 years since the release of Word Gets Around, are you planning anything special to commemorate that?
“We’ve always done stuff from that album. We did a little gig in London the other week and we played the whole album and some B-sides, that was brilliant, had a real punk rock feeling, but it’s not like we ignore the album normally, we always play ‘Local Boy In The Photograph’ and ‘Thousand Trees’.”
Could you ever see the band taking an older album out in full? Performance And Cocktails will be 20 in 2019...
“I don’t mind touching upon it. But I don’t want to tour on the back of that and make a full-on nostalgia fest. I’d always rather make a new record and keep moving forward, I’m happy to have a bit of nostalgia, but that’d be too much I think.”