Love ’em or hate ’em you can’t deny that Short Stack are a popular band. And regardless of which side of the fence you may be sitting on, they are making waves like no other band in the country.
With their debut album charting an impressive number 1 on the Arias and landing Channel V’s Oz Artist of the year in 2008, the band looks to be gaining momentum with every stride.
Bass player Andy Clemmensen answered a few questions for us about the haters, the lovers and all the rest
Hey Andy, how are things?
Doesn’t look like you guys have any shows until December, what do you plan on doing with your downtime?
At the moment we are just working on new songs and rehearsing for the shows coming up at the end of the year.
You released your debut album ‘Stack Is The New Black’ on August 14th and it debuted and number 1 on the Aria Charts. That must be a pretty good feeling. Did you ever expect anything like that to happen?
Yeah it was pretty much the greatest feeling that I’ve ever had. We always aim for the best result possible in everything we do, but we never expected such a result, especially on our first album. We’re just very thankful for all the people who went out and got a copy.
Tell us a bit about the new record?
The new record is sort of a timeline of the last five years of our lives. There are songs on the album that were written when we just started out, and there are songs that were written two weeks before the album was recorded. I think this is quite obvious when listening to the album as there is a wide range of different sounds and styles between the songs.
At the start they were very thrashy and straight pop punk songs, but as time went on we started to experiment more with keyboards and samples leaving some of the songs sounding more electro and synth driven. We won’t go claiming that it’s the best album ever written, but it is one that the three of us are very proud of.
Who is the prominent song writer in the band? Or is it a more collaborative effort between the three of you?
Shaun is the prominent song writer.
Take us through a brief history of the band. You started by playing a few battle of the bands and such yeah?
We started out about 6 years ago jamming in our garage with a bunch of friends playing mainly Blink covers. About 5 years ago we came up with the name Short Stack and began trying to get ourselves on any little show possible. We recorded a whole bunch of tracks on our computer in our bedrooms, and put them up on MySpace. This really helped to build us a fan base.
Eventually we were doing two shows every weekend in between school and shifts at Dominos haha. When we reached Year 11 we started to enter in various underage band comps, eventually entering one called Youth Rock (previously won by Silverchair). On our second year of entering Youth Rock, we made it into the finals and ended up placing 3rd. This is where we met two guys who were starting out a new Indy label called Sunday Morning Records. At this time we already had over 30,000 friends on MySpace and had played over 200 shows. It has been full time ever since then, working our arses off recording a proper studio album and doing various shows in between.
What was the first show/moment where you realized things were starting to turn your way and you had actual fans?
I think when we first realized things were starting to happen was when we supported a band from America called Hello Goodbye. We played to 2,000 of their fans but 90% of them knew the lyrics to our songs, all shouting them back at us.
In 2008 you landed Channel V’s Oz Artist of the Year and if that wasn’t enough you guys are in the top 4 for 2009’s Oz Artist of the year. If I was a betting man (and I am) I would be putting my money on you guys to win it again. Your fans seem to be pretty loyal?
Yes, we have the greatest fans in the country. They are very loyal and have stuck by us through the years no matter how terrible our humor is. We know that we would be nowhere without them. They are the ones that get us on the radio, buy our albums and make us win such competitions as Oz Artist. They are the real Short Stack so I just hope they can stick buy us in the years to come.
I’ve got to mention this since we are talking about the loyalty of your fans: one of our reviewers gave the new record an absolute flogging and I have got to hand it to your fans, they came RUNNING to the rescue to defend you. That review has received the most attention any review on our site has ever had by a country mile. It seems like they would almost die defending you guys. Would that be an accurate assumption?
We don’t treat our fans as fans, we treat them as friends. If someone talks shit on your friend, you’re going to defend them. I originally tweeted the link to this review because I found it rather comical. I did not ask or expect any of them to respond to it, but I guess they saw it as much of a joke as I did. I was originally under the impression that Killyourstereo was a site where the reviewers had some musical knowledge.
Rather than an open mike night where bias, over opinionated and most likely overweight people can write a funny review to impress their friends. Kind of takes away any credibility the site has. The mere fact that she spends more time commenting on our image, MySpace and fans, rather than the album itself is a testament to this.
I mean really, terrible lyrics? “I got away with words, and you got away with murder", those lyrics are genius. Perhaps she should be writing columns for Woman’s Weekly rather than Killyourstereo?
And obviously, for all the thousands of kids that love Short Stack, there are the same out there that hate on you guys. Why do you think people would hate Short Stack?
Part of putting yourself out there is the fact that, no matter how good or bad you are people are going to love you and people are going to hate you. While we understand that our music is not for everyone, a lot of people have the impression that we have popped up overnight, heavily manufactured, and are just in it for the money.
These are the facts…
We have been a band for over five years, doing show after show building up a fan base, there and on MySpace. We have always played the same style of music, it’s the music we enjoy listening to and the music we enjoy playing. We are signed to an Indy label. We write all our own songs, run our own MySpace, design all our own merch and posters. Every decision in this band is made or approved by the three of us.
We are as poor as any other band starting up out there. We all live at home with our parents; every cent we have ever earned has gone back into the band, paying for new instruments, film clips and recordings. We do it cause we love doing it, and will most likely keep doing it even if there are no fans left to play to. A lot of people seem to think we only have fans because of the way we look, but at the end of the day you could be the best looking, the nicest and the most musically talented band in the world, but if your songs suck you won’t get anywhere. Lucky for us (no matter what the haters say) our songs are catchy as hell :). I guess the famous saying comes into play, "Don’t hate us cause we’re beautiful." 😀
In December the band hits the road for the album tour. What are you looking forward to the most about this tour?
We love playing live, it’s the reason we are in a band. Nothing beats the rush you get when you walk out on stage of a sold out venue. I think what I’m looking forward to most about the tour is, now that the album is out, we know we will have 2000+ people screaming back every lyric to every song.
You have stepped up the venues sizes as well, playing Festival Hall in Melbourne which is insane. Are you scared at all about the size of the venues?
At first we were all a bit scared. We were unsure of how big our fan base really is, but we always love to push ourselves and see how far we can take things. Ticket sales are going great, so it looks like the gamble has paid off.
Any word as to who the supports for the tour will be?
We have a few bands in mind, but we are trying to see how far we can take it off our own steam.
There was apparently talk on your Twitter page about you guys getting into a fight recently in your home town. Care to clear that up for us? I’m sure the diehard Stack fans out there would like to/need to know!
Haha things aren’t always as they seem. We’re going to keep that under wraps for now, but the truth will come out soon. But to all those people out there claiming that they did it, let’s just say some people lie. .
What does Short Stack have planned for the near future?
We’re working on a new album so we can get some more great reviews like this one. . . 🙂
Who are some of your favorite bands at the moment?
I’m a major Blink 182 fan and I’m sure their upcoming album will keep that going for me, but I also get into bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Manchester Orchestra, "OLD" Kisschasy, Cobra Starship, My Chemical Romance, Panic, The Getaway Plan, A Fire Inside. . . AFI, Muse, Green Day and of cause the oldies but goodies, The Police, The Ramones and Billy Idol.
Any final words for the Short Stack haters?
Don’t stop hating us. Your hate mail has brought me hours of enjoyment and laughs and at the end of the day your only making us more famous 😀
…and for the lovers?
Don’t let other people’s opinions on us change yours. If you like our music, then enjoy it. If you don’t like our music, don’t listen, it’s that simple.
That’s about it, thanks for your time and good luck with the album.
Short Stack‘s debut album ‘Stack Is The New Black‘ is out now via Sunday Morning Records. The band hits the road for their most ambitious tour yet in December and you can find out all about that on their Myspace page.