A tour featuring Stepson, Staunch, Eat Your Heart Out, & Dregg is the stuff of dreams for local punters. But it ain’t no a dream, this tour is actually happening and it’s more than likely going to be one of the better All-Aussie tour packages you’ll see in 2016. As the Snake Or Die ’16 Tour kicks off next week on September 9th, I caught up with Nick Bennett, the guitarist for headliners Stepson, about this new tour, the incentive behind online ticket sales, and when their new EP will drop (spoiler; it will probably be soon. Fingers crossed).
Since I interviewed Brock [Conry, vocals] last year while you guys were on tour with Fresh Nelson, Stepson has since played a lot more shows and been a part of many more tours. What has changed, or rather, what has developed with the band the most in your eyes over the past 12 months?
2016 has been a real building year for us. Developing ideas of where we want both our music to go and ourselves as a band. Creating and setting goals that we wanted to achieve, like bands we’d like to tour with or milestones we’d like to reach. The tours have definitely been our biggest to date and we’ve played bigger venues and new places, which is always an ambition when touring. We only released Never Mind Me in March and it had some new vibes and sounds for us. It’s definitely been more development than change!
This installment of The Snake Or Die Tour is a far more mixed lineup than last year’s bill (which was indeed a solid lineup). I’m curious to know what Stepson’s relationship with the other three bands on the tour?
Well, we’ve known Staunch since 2013 in some way or another, so they are OG friends. Their old bass player Dom is actually in Eat Your Heart Out, who we’ve known for a little while now after playing some shows together here and there! Dregg and ourselves share mutual snakes in Pridelands and are one of those bands that have stuck out recently, so we were eager to do some shows with them and see how wild things could get!
Should be a time and a half. As such, I take it that Stepson doesn’t just listen to sad boy pop-punk and melodic hardcore all day and that you all have way more varied tastes than some people may think?
Yeah, definitely! A variety of musical influence or taste is becoming more common these days for sure, especially because there is so much available out there. Nostalgia rules! We throw on 70/80/90’s mixes and jam out when we are on tour. Maybe some classic Britney bangers like “Toxic”? Plus, RnB/rap also goes down a real treat in the car.
Oh, I bet. Do you think that this tour could become a yearly thing for Stepson? I think that if it catches on, it could become a local sensation of sorts for local bands to be a part of each year.
That was actually part of the idea behind it being officially branded as “Snake or Die” this year. Tours like Boys of Summer, the Big Ass tour etc have that brand recognition where as soon as you hear the name, you think of it as a tour or event as opposed to just one band. Snake or Die is about touring with some of our best friends and some of the best up and coming bands this country has to offer. So for Snake or Die to create an association with quality local talent would be sick! We’ve got a few bands using these shows as first shows, release shows and stuff like that, so that’s very cool to see!
It can be a great leg up for smaller bands, too. The digital compilation of each show’s respective lineup that punters receive upon purchasing a ticket was a great way to incentive ticket sales, I thought! Are you hoping this catches on with other bands and promoters and will you continue you to do it for future Stepson shows?
I tried it out on a headline show we did on our last tour and it seemed to go down well, so this run was a great opportunity to expand the idea and see how viable and accessible it was. It was a bit fiddly to get it all setup and there were some learning curves from the first show we did it, but as the kinks are all worked out and hopefully it does become something that catches on! It’s the perfect idea for a mixed bill tour, I think.
No, I think so too! Hope it catches on. Now, like how ‘Echoes In An Empty Room’ showed the band not just being about fast songs and punk jumps, will your next release – whatever it is – be more hardcore orientated like the first EP or more…different like how ‘Echoes In An Empty Room’ was?
We recorded our 3rd EP in June down at Avalanche Studios in Melbourne with our go-to guy, Callan. I think Never Mind Me was a pretty good amalgamation of the first 2 EP’s but this new one, while not a direction change by any means, is something we feel to be completely fresh, both compared to past Stepson releases and other releases you may have heard come out in 2016. Exploring some of the other musical influences we spoke about earlier!
Stepson’s music is an emotional rollercoaster, I find. It’s both hopeful and determined, but also melancholic and very emotional. As Brock writes the lyrics, does the rest of the band ever find it hard or maybe easy to attach yourselves to the song’s lyrics and their themes?
We all have certain lyrics or sections we can relate to for sure. There are songs I might listen to, more so from “Broken Bottles / Drunken Hearts”, that I can associate with a very specific time in my life and I think as a tool, it’s just as important as the lyrical content when creating a connection. Brocks lyrics are definitely a vital part of our band and what we are about and we all have a song or two that particularly resonate with us.
Likewise, does your music ever bum you out due to the tone and lyrical content? Or is your mindset more of “I’m just here to play the riffs”?
I remember losing my job and then drinking a bunch of goon, watching Liverpool lose to Chelsea and listening to the EP, I got pretty sad [laughs]. But that’s it for me really. I am just here to play FIFA and riffs.
Gaming & riffs all sounds pretty good to me. Also, when can we expect a new release from Stepson? This tour would seem like a good time to release something new…
We have been getting the final mixes down recently as well as having the guest vocals tracked. It won’t be ready for Snake Or Die… but it’s coming really soon!
Right on. Very keen to hear the new stuff! Now, finally, I have never asked this in an interview before, and I have no intentions of ever being like Bryan Stars, but…out of the three bands on this tour, who would you fuck, marry and kill?
Fuck – Dregg because there is a “Sorry Daddy” joke in there somewhere.
Marry – Eat Your Heart Out due to the fact that I could never ever, EVER be married to Mitch Whaley.
Kill – Staunch. Because I could never ever, EVER murder one of Whaley’s friends and have Under Streetlights Pt. II be based on my beatings.
Killyourstereo.com is happy to co-present The Snake Or Die ’16 Tour, featuring Stepson, Staunch, Eat Your Heart Out, and Dregg. Tickets are on sale now, grab yours here.