AthFest 2014: Stokeswood x Vinyl Mag

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Imagine a group like Young The Giant on 80’s dance steroids. That’s kind of what comes to mind when I try to describe the incredible and unique sound of five-piece Atlanta rock group Stokeswood.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the guys before their set this weekend at AthFest, and let me tell you – they’re awesome. Sometimes speaking with bands makes you realize that the people you thought were cool aren’t actually that cool.

But man, these guys are cool. After a long buffalo wing and World Cup filled discussion, we got down to business discussing their newest single, their killer logo, and of course, Smashmouth.

VM: So, how did you guys meet?
Jon Joiner: A couple of us went to school together, you know, college years.

Justin Mullinix: Adam, Jon, and Mark went to college together, and technically Mike, too. So I’m the only one. I did go to elementary school with Adam, though.

VM: So you guys have a new single out – “Our Streets” – and a video. Tell me about the song.

Mike Roman: We were just writing songs one night.  We’d just get together and say, ‘cool, we’re going to write songs on Wednesdays.’  We’d just clown out chords, hum along, and have our Pro Tools rig open. The song actually came together pretty naturally in one night.

VM: That must be super convenient when something just comes together like that.

MR: Yeah, the best songs always do.

Mark Godwin: They don’t always happen that way.

VM: So is this single leading up to a new Stokeswood album, perhaps?

MR: It is. But no official, ‘hey, we’re putting out an album’ or anything. We’re just writing and recording.

MG: We have enough songs for a new EP definitely, but we’re still working and writing. We also had the opportunity to go film the music video [for “Our Streets”] out in LA with Eli Berg, which was great timing.

MR: This single was just ready, and we hadn’t put anything out in a long time. We actually did the whole song as a ruse to get us to California.

VM: Will the new album sound a lot like the old one, or are you all moving in a new direction?

MR: I mean, how much do you miss Smashmouth?

VM: I mean, I miss Smashmouth everyday. 

MR: More like Sugar Ray and Smashmouth.

MG: It’s definitely like the next evolution of the last album. It’s going to have the same soundscape that the new single does.

JJ: The first album was more rock-y, but it had some leanings into dance music, and we’re now even more on the dance side.

MR: We’re all 80’s kids, so I feel like it’s always going to have that 80’s retro vibe.

VM: Random technical question, but where did your logo come from? Because it’s awesome.

MG: We did that on a night we got together and decided to come up with a logo.

Adam Patterson: Show her your tattoos.

MG: On the first album, we had this song called “The Extraordinary Mr. Hit,” and this is back when Justin wasn’t in the band, and the song was written by Adam before we went into the studio. Justin had produced some hip hop tracks and was showing us some production techniques, and the sound wave image ended up resembling this guy which I tattooed on my forearm.

AP: The images are vocals, so it’s technically our sound waves.

MG: It wasn’t completely planned, but it turned out nicely and worked well.

MR: [Stoner voice] We all got together and-

MG: [Sarcastically] Oh yeah, we were all on meth!

VM: Oh, great! [Laughs] A lot of artists outsource that kind of thing, so it’s cool that it’s something you all came up with organically!

MR: Sean Kaminsky, he actually goes to UGA [University of Georgia], came up with the final draft of the one we use now though.

VM: So you all played Party in the Park, and now you’re playing AthFest. What’s your favorite part about playing festivals?

MG: I think the fans. Festivals are unique, because people save up money, they plan around it, and they’re there for one reason, and that’s to see live music. That’s the best part for me anyway, because you really get a group of people who are there for the same reason as you.

AP: Yeah, the campout festivals versus the one-day festivals are really awesome, because people are there to really let loose for two to three days in a row. We were lucky enough to play Aura Fest the last couple years in North Florida; we played the inaugural CounterPoint Festival, and the campout vibe is awesome.

VM: So this is a question I love to ask everyone, but if you could plan your ideal musical fest with any artists, dead or alive, who would play?

MG: Smashmouth and Sugar Ray!

MR: We were playing a show with Papadosio, and our third show with them, there was a guy who was very clearly on substances, and he wanted to bring a festival to Brazil, and he wanted it to be ‘avant garde and retarded,’ and he was going to call it ‘Avantarded.’  He was onto something, I think. He wanted us, Paul McCartney, Daft Punk, Papadosio, and U2, and I’m just going to go with him, because I think he is a visionary. Avantarded 2020, we’ll see you in Brazil.

MG: I think on my festy of the dead people I’d say Mozart, Whitest Boy Alive, Talking Heads in their heyday.

MR: Bernie Worrell.

MG: Just dueling pianos Mozart vs. Bernie.

JJ: Talk about Avantarded…

MR: Avantarded! Oh, Kilo Ali!

All: Kilo Ali!

MG: Kilo Ali, Mozart, and the Talking Heads.

JM: And DJ Khaled.

[Whole table laughs for about 10 minutes talking about Stokeswood’s hypothetical new side project, MethMouth]

VM: To wrap up, what’s in store for you guys in the future? Obviously, you’re working on an album.

MR: We want to expand our touring to get over to the west coast. But at least for now is making sure we can just put together the best album we can.

VM: What’s the number one west coast city you guys want to play?


MG: Portland.

AP: Oh, Portland [laughs].

JM: Seattle!

MG: All of them – ‘City of the West Coast.’


Stokeswood on Tour!

Jul 06    PARK TAVERN   w/ Radio Birds   Atlanta, GA
Jul 17    River Jam Concert Series    Charlotte, NC
Jul 18    New Mountain Theatre    Asheville, NC
Jul 19    Play it Forward Music Festival    Atlanta, GA
Jan 24    The Rock Boat XV   w/ Michael Franti &…   Cozumel, Mexico
Jan 25    The Rock Boat XV   w/ Barenaked Ladies   Cozumel, Mexico
Jan 26    The Rock Boat XV   w/ Scars On 45   Cozumel, Mexico
Jan 27    The Rock Boat XV   w/ Sister Hazel   Cozumel, Mexico
Jan 28    The Rock Boat XV   w/ The Mowgli’s   Cozumel, Mexico

You could say that Miranda Feneberger is a writer. More accurately, though, she is a hopeless romantic, an adventure seeker, a reality TV binge watcher, a cinematography appreciator, a lucid dreamer and a playlist-making addict. She aspires to someday get paid to do something she loves, though she is realistic and sticks with compensation via free concert tickets and occasional internet shout outs. If you follow her on Twitter, you'll know that she LOVES USING ALL CAPS AND OcCASIONAlLy SpELLS USING BoTH UPPER AND LoweRCaSE LETTERs FOR EMPHASIS. One day she will learn that this is relatively unprofessional behavior, but until then she will live life on the edge of the caps lock key. A list of her life idols would likely give you whiplash; including but not limited to geniuses such as William Shakespeare, Kanye West, Mindy Kaling, George Saunders and Hall & Oates. Her heart will always belong to Sherlock Holmes, but Anders Holm would be a close and well-received runner up. Oh yeah, she has been writing her own blog since 2011, which you can check out if you'd like. She'd love that.

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