Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Stylusboy

Stylusboy by Giles Mead
Stylusboy by Giles Mead.

Sometimes I get contacted by wonderful musicians out of the blue, find and so it was with Steve Jones of Coventry. An email, a link to a website: sometimes that is all it takes. His new EP Whole Picture is out now: meet the beautiful sounds of Stylusboy...


What kind of bands did you play in before your Stylusboy creation?
I played in a few bands before starting to perform as Stylusboy. I was in a punk pop band at school which did pretty well and got played on Radio 1. I was in a three piece rock band, kind of Muse/Foos-ish and then a 7 piece trip hop style band. All great fun and I am in touch with them all! 

Stylusboy by Faye West
Stylusboy by Faye West.

Why the name Stylusboy?
The name came about a number of years ago when I was trying to create an email address. With a name like Steve Jones I was going to end up with a load of numbers in my address if I used my name. I wanted something easy to remember and at the time I was sat in front of a well known printer and thought ‘stylus’ sounded cool. I stuck boy on the end and created my email. Then when I started writing solo acoustic stuff I thought it would be more distinctive and memorable to perform as Stylusboy

StylusBoy by Jessie Potter
Stylusboy by Jessie Potter.

How has being from Coventry informed the way you create music?
Coventry has a great musical history, with bands like The Specials and The Selecter coming from here, and also more recently The Enemy. Plus there is a wonderful music scene with brilliant bands like Wes Finch and the Dirty Band, Shackletons and Shockparade playing around town. There is also a big acoustic scene with a great choice of nights to play at. Some very talented people who play regularly include Emma McGann, Al Britten and Atlum Schema to name just a few. I often play gigs around Coventry and have been playing house shows recently. 

StylusBoy by Sam Parr
Stylusboy by Sam Parr.

Who plays with you on the EP? Is it pretty much a solo affair, in which case what instruments do you play?
Tim Bowes, who is a good friend, plays the drums and percussion. Chris Smith, who recorded the EP, plays the keys. Rachel sings the harmonies. I played all the guitars, bass, glockenspiel and banjo on one song.

Stylusboy camera photo
Beyond the Flags

How did you hook up with singer Rachel Grisedale? Does she have other projects she is working on?
I met Rachel through mutual friends and we played together at various church events. When I recorded my first EP Fingerprint I asked if she would sing on it. She kindly agreed and it went from there. We sometimes perform live together and collaborate on a few songs. Rachel does sometimes write her own songs but she rarely performs them! 
Left to Hide

What was the process of creating this EP?
The process was alot of hard work but also alot of fun. I recorded the songs in my friend Chris’ studio in his garage in the evenings over several months. We recorded all the drum tracks with my friend Tim and then played all the bass, guitar, glockenspiel and banjo parts before Rachel and I recorded the vocals. Dave’s song was recorded live in one take as I really wanted to capture the vibe of the song. Chris (who recorded the EP) played the keys parts. Chris and I spent a long time mixing the songs, listening to the mixes in our cars and different places before we were happy.

Stylusboy hipstamatic photo
Something Worth Keeping

In terms of the song writing every song was different really. Whole Picture was written quite a while ago. Beyond the Flags was a song I wrote with Rachel. We played the first version live a few times and weren’t happy with it so we cut it up and changed sections until it is the song you hear today. Something Worth Keeping is a simple song where I wrote the verse and Rachel and I wrote the chorus. Left to Hide is reworked from a song I used to sing in my louder rock band. Gunfight is a cover of a song by my friend Andy Mort and Dave’s Song was a song I wrote in one hour late one night. So all very different processes.

Gunfight at the OK Corral

What inspired the lyrics? How do you sit down and write them?
All sorts of different things have inspired the lyrics. Whole Picture is inspired by a day I went swimming with my little girl. She spent the whole time holding on to a football which eventually slipped out from under her and she got a little bit worried but then found out she would float. The lyrics talk about how I want to be able to guide her in her life but also let her find her own way and become her own person. Beyond the Flags is inspired by a story of an Australian open water swimmer who was part of a club where the leaders always told him to stay inside the flags. After a while he started to question why he needed to do this and eventually left the club and started swimming beyond the flags and when he did he found more freedom. So the lyrics talk about the idea of doing things differently and not always doing things the way they have always been done. 

Stylusboy photo
Dave’s Song

Left to Hide is a song about forgiveness and moving on from mistakes that have been made. Something Worth Keeping is inspired by having my house in chaos after my neighbour had a flood last Christmas. Gunfight at the OK Corral is a cover and the song is about keeping going in hard times and the fact that as humans we are all the same when we loose everything. Dave’s Song is about a friend of mine who past away. I wrote it when I had the message he only had hours to live. 

YouTube Preview Image

What was the idea behind the video for Whole Picture and who helped you make it?
My good friend Andy Mort (the man is very talented) made it with me. The idea of the video was that I am trying to find the answer to something. I start by looking in books and then find envelopes scattered around where I find pieces of something. It is the idea of finding pieces and then having to place them altogether to make the Whole Picture.

Stylusboy whole picture cover_image

You can download or order the limited edition hand made EP from the very comprehensive Stylusboy website for a pay what you want price. Each EP sports a hand made cover by Steve and with each bought copy you’ll get a second copy to pass on to a friend. Follow Stylusboy on Twitter and Like him on Facebook.

Categories ,Al Britten, ,Andy Mort, ,Atlum Schema, ,Beyond the Flags, ,Chris Smith, ,Coventry, ,Dave’s Song, ,Emma McGann, ,Facebook, ,Faye West, ,Fingerprint, ,Giles Mead, ,Gunfight, ,Jessie Potter, ,Left to Hide, ,Rachel Grisedale, ,Sam Parr, ,Shackletons, ,Shockparade, ,Something Worth Keeping, ,Steve Jones, ,Stylusboy, ,The Enemy, ,The Selecter, ,The Specials, ,Tim Bowes, ,twitter, ,Wes Finch and the Dirty Band, ,Whole Picture

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review – Emmy the Great: Virtue

Emmy the Great by Soni Speight.

I’ve been a fan of Emma-Lee Moss for oh so long. And she hasn’t failed me yet.

emmy the great by gabrielle brittney
Emmy the Great by Gabrielle Brittney.

Emmy The Great by Lea Rimoux
Emmy The Great by Lea Rimoux.

Virtue opens with the scratchy sounds of an orchestra tuning up in the oddly titled Dinosaur Sex… it’s a slow and understated start to Emmy’s latest album. When her voice appears it is at its lightest delicate best, clinic gradually curling into a delicate tune about the perils of a modern day life spent in front of a computer screen. Presumably the Dinosaur Sex of the title refers to an outmoded form of human contact.

Emmy The Great - Jo Chambers
Emmy The Great by Jo Chambers.

By Woman, unhealthy a Woman, erectile A Century of Sleep Emmy has gained a stronger voice to tell us a tale of domestic slavery, to ‘sew a dress till the pieces mesh’. She has such a marvellous way with words, but what’s so gorgeous about Virtue is the way she has also embraced a fuller sound to accompany her ever clever lyrics. Current single Iris is an early high, a driving drumbeat accompanying the simple chords and twinkling synth which drift slowly into this new bigger sound. I reviewed Iris a few weeks ago.

Emmy the Great by Avril Kelly
Emmy the Great by Avril Kelly.

Paper Forest (in the Afterglow of Rapture) reveals in crystal clear high notes the aftermath of the relationship she lost to the church. Cassandra is a simple track that calls to mind the Emmy of before.

Emmy the Great by Sam Parr
Emmy the Great by Sam Parr.

Creation starts with dreary minor chords, then reverts to a more upbeat major sound, swinging between the two as ‘she wants to know if there is a narrative’ for ‘she needs a reason for believing’. The dips and turns of the music echo the natural paths of any relationship. Sylvia has a driving disco backbeat, even as it explores stormy emotions: ‘if this is life then why does it feel like I am far away… like I am dreaming.’

Emmy The Great by Giles Mead
Emmy The Great by Giles Mead.

Emmy The Great by Rukmunal Hakim
Emmy The Great by Rukmunal Hakim.

Exit Night/Juliet’s Theme heralds a familiar Emmy type melody of yore, exploring notions of fairy tales, ghosts and other worlds where different worlds exist. In North Emmy is led by the needle, presumably on the record player. Trellick Tower is a song about the days when she was alone in West London, recently un-engaged and single once again. It’s a very small song compared with the others, with just a piano for company, leaving room for Emmy’s voice to meander into the ether.

Emmy The Great by Abi Heyneke.

Virtue remains true to Emmy’s very personal existential wanderings, but with added intrigue and oomph supplied by experimental musical accompaniments that go well beyond her original folk noodlings. What’s so wonderful is that her lyrics can be perceived in so many different ways – above are my personal interpretations but for Emmy’s explanations visit this track by track rundown on the Guardian website.

Emmy the Great by Victoria Haynes.

Lovely Emmy is flying up the charts with Virture and with good reason – she just keeps getting better and better. Virtue is out now on Close Harbour Records. You’d best catch her on tour soon.


Categories ,Abi Heyneke, ,album, ,Avril Kelly, ,Close Harbour Records, ,Emma-Lee Moss, ,Emmy the Great, ,Gabrielle Brittney, ,Giles Mead, ,Ickleson, ,Iris, ,Jo Chambers, ,Lea Rimoux, ,review, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,Sam Parr, ,Soni Speight, ,Victoria Haynes, ,Virtue

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