After blowing this reviewer away early doors Friday of Call Of The Wild Festival I made some enquiries about getting the chance to have a chat/interview with the guys in the band. They couldn’t have been more accommodating in allowing it to happen. This is the transcript of that discussion. Most of the answers were from the singer Stevie Stoker, but other members did also speak so I will identify names where I know the actual person who spoke at the time. We discussed the history, the influences, the tours they have been on and the intricacies of their stage set up proving them to be another band that put a lot of both thought and effort into what they do. So without further ado, let’s get to it…
The Interview Begins:
CGCM: As I have only just seen and met you could you tell me a little bit about the background of the band?
Twister: (Stevie): Well the band has been together for a long time but this lineup has been together for the last 4 years. I’ve had the band since I was 13 years old in various forms and guises. It started as a school band, it just went from there. Over the last 7 years, the band has been doing its own stuff, trying to develop who or what we want to be and I think now we have found that!
CGCM: 4 years together is pretty good, I take it you have all come from different bands or is this anyone’s first one?
Twister: Pretty much everybody has been in bands before, whether on the same scale as now I would probably say not. I think it is our first, say in biggish, or in a committment sense, well at least it is for me. Up to recently, it’s been more a hobby, but now this is all time-consuming, we are putting everything into it.
Twister: (Stevie): The thing is now, the band has had lineups before where not everyone is on the same page, you know maybe 2 are pulling in one direction and someone is going another, dragging things back perhaps so things don’t work the way you want them to. This time, this lineup, we are all on the same team, the same mindset with the same goals and pushing in the same direction. It makes a massive difference.
Influences, Whether Noticeable Or Not:
CGCM: I am curious as to your different influences, you know who brings what to the table even if the listener might not notice.
Twister: (Stevie): There are differences right across the board. We have common grounds of course. We are all (I think the recording says Biffy as in Biffy Clyro but I am not 100% sure) and Motion City Soundtrack fans. There’s other stuff like Jake (Jake Grimes guitarist) likes a lot of heavier stuff, more modern stuff. I listen to loads of country stuff.
Twister: (not sure which member, sorry): To be fair I didn’t listen to a lot of stuff before I joined the band. Over the past 4 years the combination of these 3 lads, their music tastes have kind of morphed into mine! (At this point everyone seems to join in chatting over each other, laughing away, finger-pointing and general nonsense) I used to hate country music and I love it now. (Singer Stevie quips “we’re listening to Chris Stapleton all day now” to much hilarity. At this point, I have no idea if they are taking the piss or not. It is entertaining though to watch and listen to all the banter)
CGCM: Looking at your website quickly it looks like you have toured with shitloads of folks.
Twister: (Stevie): Yeah, we have, mind we have been together a longish time now so we have done a lot of different shows with some real high calibre acts which is cool. It’s great as you pick up loads of different titbits. We spent quite a bit of time with Rossi and Parfitt (from the mighty Status Quo of course) and they were amazing with us. Lots of little bits of advice for us. They were really helpful.
Twister: There always seems to be a baptism of fire joining this band (band members laughing, nodding and agreeing with this). It seems a tradition that someone joins just before a big gig or tour. I joined a few weeks before supporting Quo (at this point someone else pipes up “I joined about a month before supporting Papa Roach. We all get thrown in the deep end straight away. (everyone laughs again)
CGCM: You seem happy to tour with anybody, I mean those 2 bands are a strange combination
Twister: (Stevie): We’ll go with anyone. We are just musical whores! (More laughter and chat going on)
Their Time On The Road With Quo:
CGCM: From reading and from your earlier comments it seems like you spent quite a bit of time with the Quo?
Twister: (Stevie): Yeah, they were really great with us. It was quite a surreal time then. Jake joined and we changed the whole band lineup in 6 days. It was kind of ridiculous and we were straight back out on the road for the next show. It was a bit hard. It was great though, when we played with Quo I looked side stage and there was Rossi on one side watching and when I turned there was Parfitt on the other, both watching us. At one point Parfitt’s guitar tech spoke to us afterwards and asked “what was the guitar tone you used in that song?” I was totally blown away. I suppose it proves that everyone is always learning. We can all take a little something from everywhere.
CGCM: As someone who grew up loving Quo that is brilliant. Respect to you that you impressed them enough to watch and then offer advice.
Twister: (Stevie): It was really nice, we were blown away by it. Rossi had a lot to say about our set, went into actual specifics! (starts laughing) We have some of his quotes in our bio now. He was a top guy with us.
CGCM: I remember Rossi kind of admitting in Classic Rock Magazine that he was a bit of a grumpy bugger…
Twister: (Stevie): Yeah, I remember asking him for a photo and he just looked at me and went ” what if I said…” then left a long enough gap for me to take in quite a large breath and then he went “OK”. He was sound like (once again there is laughter as they talk amongst themselves a bit about that)
About The Song “Monroe”:
CGCM: I particularly loved your ballad “Monroe“, I felt it was one of the better ones I have heard recently, could you tell me a bit about it?
Twister: (Stevie): We wrote that quite quickly didn’t we (he looks around the rest of the guys for confirmation which he got). It was one of the first we wrote together, wasn’t it? (Looks over at Jake). It was quite an emotional place I was in when I wrote the lyrics, relationship changes. The thing for me is that the words are pure raw emotion to me, there’s no cleverness. It’s just what was happening at the time. (I think it is Jake that came in and said “I think anyone who has been in similar relationship situations can understand, you can replace the name and it would still make sense“)
Some Important Information:
At this point, I ask them about their stage gear. Now I am not a tech person but I think on listening to the recording I have the details right. If anything is wrong I am happy to be corrected by any band member who has the time to do so! The band have what looks like speaker cabs onstage showing videos etc and that is what this is all about. Read on if you dare…
Making Of The Stage show:
CGCM: Can I ask about the stage show? I believe the cab light show has a background story.
Twister: That started a while ago. We wanted an identifiable background, but you know there are places you can’t put a backdrop up, if you are using a house kit there is no name on the skin either (referring of course to the drum kit frontage). We wanted something which meant folks would know it was us. We did white and grill cloth amps (or basket weave) first. After we made the music videos for the album we had used 4 empty speaker cabs, you know cabs with no actual speakers in. In October we were in the pub in Lancaster, off our faces on alcohol (again plenty laughing) talking about what we could do with the empty cabs. We thought could we put lights in them. Jake had the idea of putting in holographic projectors in them but the technology wasn’t there yet for that. Then we came up with video wall panels. As in, is there actually such a thing, how big they would need to be. As it is, we found some that fit nigh on perfectly. That was in October and we used them first time in November on the 11th…
Twister: (Another member takes over): It’s completely DIY. They are actual Marshall cabs that we stripped, painted, did the internals of. We then plexiglassed them and found a way to mount the screen panels, then found brackets to hang them. Did everything. From off the stage, they look quite pro, but they are not.
Twister (Stevie): We are still trying to find images for them. Of course, I managed to break them within 10 minutes of using them (band laughing and nodding) but thankfully it was quite an easy fix. We are now at the point we know what we are doing with them. Design-wise there are things we can improve but they are a great bit of kit to use. The great thing is that on this tour we are using imagery that can change depending on the songs we play. We can be totally creative. It is like a blank canvass which can be used for matching videos, faces, lyrics whatever.
How It Works… But Don’t Tell Anyone:
Twister: (Jake): What surprises folks is that I fire them up from my pedal board with my feet. I don’t do anything else. It’s all a bit magic (everyone laughs at that idea). Actually, I should stop telling people… (CGCM… Maybe a bit late now)
Twister: (Stevie): It is trying to do things live without anyone offstage controlling things, or indeed working with a click track. We are a live band, we don’t want any of that, it’s not our bag. All noise from the stage should be OUR noise and we have been able to do this due to how Jake runs his pedal board along with hours upon hours of editing videos… oh and the programming (“the bain of my life” says Jake laughing). It’s worth it when you see the faces in the crowd. We also run our own lighting rig off the same stuff, you can do so much with it.
CGCM: So what’s next for you guys?
Twister: We’ve got a lot on this summer, we’ve just released dates for places like Greece which we are really looking forward to. It has been a long time since we had some foreign sun (laughing). We have some new music coming out in June, the 17th, a single called “Worst Enemy“. We have got a few festivals up until the end of August then September and October another headline run in the UK. The last tour was a short run to promote the single but we want to do a more comprehensive one.
There is quite a bit of general chat before Stevie tells us that he had been in the arena early morning checking out headliners Massive Wagons stage show. He tells us (Rich is also sitting in) “that he spoke to the singer Baz Mills and when he remarked to him about all the pyro Baz replied, well we gotta do something to compete with you guys“. Everybody is laughing about this.
The State Of The Scene:
CGCM: I take it you know quite a few of the bands here?
Twister: We know most of the bands, there are only a few that we haven’t played with or seen live, it’s quite a tight scene. Going to try and catch all the ones we haven’t caught yet to get the full bag (laughs)
CGCM: It seems such a healthy scene. The whole New Wave Of Classic Rock thing has helped a lot…
Twister: It really is a community of folks who are like-minded, who like rock music and want to hear even more new stuff that’s out there. The folks there (referring primarily to the Facebook group of the same name mentioned) have done us all the world of good. It is so great to be at this festival with all the people who are part of the scene. It’s been a long wait. Hoping that we can return another year but be in a position to be even higher up the bill with a bigger show than now.
At this point, we just chatted about general stuff. We would very much like to say a huge thanks to the guys in Twister for being so kind with their time and making us feel so welcomed. As soon as the band announces their UK tour we will be making sure to let everyone know here at CGCM.
CGCM‘s Full Coverage of the whole event can be found here: CALL OF THE WILD FESTIVAL 2022