Gigging NI’s Connor Morris got the chance to spend the day with the guys in The Fallen State as they supported Black Stone Cherry in Ulster Hall last week.
We went Access All Areas in the country’s most iconic venue as The Fallen State did their set-up and soundcheck then seen what the band did in their spare time before the show.
We also took a few minutes to sit down and talk with frontman Ben Stenning and guitarist Jon Price about how the last 18 months have been for them and what’s in store for the future.
This is your first time playing in Ireland, how were the shows in Dublin and Cork?
Ben: “So far they’ve been really cool, they’ve always been quite busy when we played on stage so it’s always been a nice crowd there anyway and everyone seems really into it and just showing up ready for a good time.”
Jon: “Yeah they were great venues, the first one in Cork had a really cool vibe and it was built into a theatre and that was really interesting to see. Then Dublin, it was the first time I’d personally ever been to Ireland, and to be able to just play in Dublin was just a great thing to do.”
You released 3 EPs last year, do you have plans for an album soon?
Jon: “We’re thinking about probably something extended in August with the previous EP’s we’ve done, there’s three EP’s, three tracks on each, and in that you might actually deliver an album in a year. This time around we’re thinking of doing a few more and we’re looking at recording in August, so you can look forward to hearing that definitely towards the end of this year.”
How did you guys come together to form the band back in 2013?
Ben: “Greg and Rich have sort of been fiddling around… Why did I say fiddling? They’ve been playing some cool stuff together and they just thought “let’s put a band together”, so they got some guitarists and a singer, started to jam and write some tunes.”
Jon: “Yeah the rhythm guys put down a really solid base and then me and Ben joined a little bit later in the year, we got the opportunity to put our own little spin on it.”
Ben: “Yeah we found our own sound and started making appearances.”
You’ve already managed to get some quite big shows supporting the likes of Halestorm, playing Camden Rocks and now playing with Black Stone Cherry, how does it feel to have done all of that in such a small space of time from when you formed?
Ben: “It’s a hell of an experience! We feel humbled by it really and so happy to be here, and like with those big shows, when you’re playing to those big crowds and you see the reaction to it you always feel great because of it.”
Jon: “I think with some of the guys in particular, some of these artists are artists they’ve followed for years and they’ve worked hard to get to where they are now being able to do this and to play with these bands is a fantastic achievement, fantastic fun and just gotta enjoy the ride as long as it lasts. We’ve also had “Great Unknown” featured as the first track on the cover CD of Classic Rock Magazine this month.”
What sort of bands do you take most of your influence from?
Ben: “Mainly I suppose the American Hard Rock bands, I mean we’ve always based our sound around those heavy riffs, sharp lead tones and pounding drums you know? We’ve never been that kind of funny, sort of twiddly band that plays really intricate guitar and stuff. We just wanna go heavy and go hard.”
Jon: “It’s gotta be music that when you just hear that kick drum kicking and you hear the rest of it coming that suddenly everyone in the room just looks around and they can feel that atmosphere. Some of the bands are American, some are British but as long as it’s got that good solid guitar tone and a great solid hook in the chorus, that’s what we want.”
What do you like most about touring?
Ben: “Nothing, it sucks! It’s a dreadful experience, don’t do it! Quit your band and go home. No, getting on stage honestly. It’s the whole build up, the thing is you have the whole day to anticipate everything, you know you show up at the venue, you go outside, see the town or city, and you get there and it’s just this huge anticipation build up until you get on stage and see the crowd there. That’s the moment when the lights come up and it’s just “Fuck yeah”.”
Jon: “The performance is obviously the greatest part of it, but the experience apart from that is all the stupid, odd things that never normally happen that occur. The conversations that occur in vans at three in the morning, they’re either incredibly deep or incredibly stupid, but either way round they’re fantastic to have at the time. And Ben’s feet apparently.”
Ben: “They’re dreadful. Dreadful.”
Is there anything you do to prepare yourself before a show? Especially as big of a show as tonight?
Jon: “Warm up.”
Ben: “Yeah we all warm up before the show, after soundcheck and you just try and chill as much as you can, have a beer, chat to the guys, see who else is about, see what the crew is doing, go and see the other bands, just getting yourself ready to play.”
Jon: “I just think about how lucky I am every time that I get to walk on and do that.”
If you could tour with any band, who would it be?
Ben: “Well all of us would say a different band, I would like to go out with Take That or Justin Bieber.”
Jon: “Yeah we gave Justin a ring but he just wasn’t available.”
Ben: “If you had have asked me three months ago I’d have said Black Stone Cherry, you know and if you’d have asked me six months ago I’d have said Halestorm. There’s loads of bands like Alter Bridge that are just killing it right now that I’d love to go out with, there’s so many bands that it’s hard to list. I could name a million bands that I’d love to go on tour with, you know what I mean?”
Jon: “Yeah there’s plenty of great stuff out there. If Dan was here I’m certain he’d love the experience of sharing the stage with Mark Tremonti at some point.”
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
Jon: “When we finish of this tour with got a few shows in July and then we’re writing at this time as well, throughout the course of August we’re going to be recording our next EP for later in the year, should be shooting some music videos and we’ll put them together at the end of the year to support that EP so it’s exciting times for us.”
Ben: “Yeah we’ve also got Planet RockStock in December so we’ve got a nice festival coming up too with The Darkness, Fozzy and Heaven’s Basement, there’s a few bands on that bill that are making some waves or already have made monster waves so we’re really happy to be on that.”