Walk through the creative process of the Sydney indie outfit.
There was no better era for indie rock than the mid-’00s – that’s a fact. The angular interweaving guitars, fist-pumping choruses and driving disco beats employed by Bloc Party, Foals, Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club not only soundtracked the era of flip phone, but helped to bring indie rock into clubs around the world and kicked down the door for hundreds of acts to follow in their wake.
One such group – and one of the brightest bands in Australia’s indie rock scene today – is none other than Sydney’s own STUMPS. The trio, fronted by charming lead vocalist and guitarist Kyle Fisher and bolstered by the relentless rhythm section of Merrick Powell and Jonny Dolan, play a brand of indie rock that’s forever indebted to the heroes of the 2000s without being a pastiche of the sounds of the era.
On their debut album All Our Friends, STUMPS showcase their talents across 12 sensational tracks that merge powerful performances, intricate production and heartfelt songwriting for a record that’s limitlessly exuberant and fun. It’s a record that’ll please both old school indie purists and new listeners alike, and begs to be heard played obnoxiously loud to a sweaty dance-floor full of slippery limbs.
With the release of the record today, we linked up with each member of STUMPS to find out more about the influences behind the making of All Our Friends.
Fleet Foxes – ‘Helplessness Blues’
Kyle: ‘There are few artists out there in modern music that can take you to another place, another world. Especially without the gentle rub of nostalgia. From the moment I first heard Fleet Foxes I was entirely transported. The moment you put on a Fleet Foxes record is akin to taking your first steps into a fantasy.
‘I was a fan of Fleet Foxes after initially hearing ‘Mykonos’ on a surf-movie called ‘Castles in the Sky’, but it was ‘Helplessness Blues’ that blasted an artistic hole through me. How the fuck can someone write a song this perfect?’
Digitalism – ‘Pogo’
Merrick: ‘I was first showed this song by a dear friend and it became the anthem of our pointless night time teenage endeavours. Times when we would sneak out of the house just for the sake of it, with zero plan of where to go and what to do. It was also in the middle of a time where dance-rock combos ruled our listening, when bands like Cut Copy, Midnight Juggernauts, and Gossip were ruling our iPod shuffles.’
Bloc Party – ‘Helicopter’
Jonny: ‘I remember seeing the music video for this song on Rage or Channel V or something when I was young, and was taken aback by it straight away. It definitely wasn’t the best video I’d ever seen or anything about the imagery, but the music itself just struck something with me. It was my first proper taste of indie rock, those jagged guitar driven hooks – it led me down a path to discovering many other bands, like Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys, or pretty much any other band on FIFA ’06.’
CHVRCHES – ‘The Mother We Share’
Merrick: ‘This is probably the last song I remember listening to on repeat, for the next however many days… I was obsessed with everything about it. The same can be said for pretty much their whole discography, it’s incredibly intelligent pop music with the right amount of ’80s throwback (read: heaps).’
Paramore – ‘Decode’
Jonny: ‘This is such a fun song to play on drums. This band’s influence on me as a drummer is pretty immense, and each album they put out makes me love them more. Every new direction they take just works, and they have a knack for writing bangers.’
Black Kids – ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You’
Merrick: ‘This one entered my library as a free iTunes single of the week. It has a classic indie rock guitar part, complete with bass octaves, really playful synth melodies, and chanty group vox. 10/10 indie pop.’
Blur – ‘Beetlebum’
Kyle: ‘If there was ever a soundtrack to my first memories, a four-year-long loop of Beetlebum would be accurate. Every car trip, every lazy Saturday morning, every chance I could get, I begged my Dad to play this song. Something primal within my doughy five-year-old brain simply resonated with it.
‘It wasn’t until much later, and after the passing of my father in 2001, that I realised how formative Damon Albarn was for me. It’s one of my favourite songs of all time, but not for any joyous or melancholic reason. It just simply is. I know it sounds pretentious, but this song has been with me as long as I can remember. I know it almost as if it were a friend.’
All Our Friends is out now via Cooking Vinyl Australia.