We love discovering new bands. We recently got to hear indie alternative rockers The Ariston for the first time and our pickles were well and truly tickled.
We were immediately hooked on the band's unique brand of thoughtful, introspective rock. Artfully blending emotive lyrics with savage riffs and piercing lead lines, The Ariston sound is sometimes melancholic, at times haunting, but always hopeful.
Frontman Luca Slade’s vocals are notably expressive, taking you on a journey from anguished depths to anthemic heights. Joining him in this Surrey-based four piece are Finn Bunce on drums, Will Parsonson on bass, and Clay Bennett on lead guitar.
Mates since college, the boys have been gigging hard and honing their skills since forming the band in 2021. Their well-received debut single ‘Yellow Lines’ was released in August 2022.
Noted for their impressive stage presence, The Ariston boys love playing live. New EP ‘The Vinyl’ (Live) reflects this and is a collection of four crowd-pleasing live tracks that perfectly capture the band’s distinctive style. All killer, no filler. Opening track ‘Blackout’ is probably our favourite. Check it out.
We found The Ariston when they had the good sense to find and follow us on Instagram. Wanting to know more, we met up with Luca, Finn, Will, and Clay for a lively, occasionally chaotic, chat about the band, the EP, and what’s next ♣︎
Thanks for agreeing to be grilled. To start, please describe The Ariston for anyone who hasn't heard you yet.
CLAY - We're an indie / alternative rock band, but The Ariston sound also has influences from a variety of different genres, with elements of synth and classic rock.
WILL - Some bands we get compared to are The Killers, Two Door Cinema Club, The 1975, and Arctic Monkeys.
Tell us about your backgrounds in music. How did you each get started?
LUCA - I used to sing in a choir when I was young. We went on European and US tours, singing in churches and cathedrals all over the world. My school was heavily music focused. I played piano, drums, violin, and flute. Guitar came quite a bit later when I started my first band.
WILL - I got my first guitar for Christmas 2018. I was 15. I’d always dreamt of being a rockstar, but my first real love was acting. I got a scholarship to ArtsEd for Sixth Form, where I met Luca and Clay, and got more and more into music.
FINN - I started playing drums when I was 9. My parents got me a secondhand drum set for Christmas. I remember it being far too big for me. I took lessons at a local music school and performed at school concerts, as well as playing in various bands and ensembles. I got to play a decent-sized music festival with a band I was in at school. That was the first sign of festivals being my favourite type of gigs to play.
Gotta love a good festival. Clay, when and how did you start?
CLAY - I started learning piano when I was around 5 years old, but I quickly got bored. When I was 12, a school music teacher I got on really well with told me I should try guitar.
I started on flamenco and Spanish traditional music, then had a mate who taught me folk. Then my dad introduced me to Santana. I became obsessed!
I used to be a session musician, working for some awesome rappers and musicians. Then Luca introduced me to busking. Before long we’d decided to go for it and make a band.
Is that how the band came together?
CLAY – Yeah, Will, Luca and I were at drama school together, studying acting. We spent most of our time in the music rooms writing songs. Then, a year ago, we met Finn and started gigging.
LUCA – We're all actors – well, Will, Clay, and me – which, I think, is why we bring something new to our performances on stage. We’re all comfortable performing in front of big crowds.
What about the band's name?
LUCA – Will is largely responsible for that. His dad used to play his old vinyl on an Ariston record player.
WILL – Every time he heard a new song he liked, he’d say, ‘That’s one for the Ariston.’ It seemed like a cool thing to call the band.
Nice one, dad. Tell us about your first gig as The Ariston.
LUCA - The first gig we played was in Twickenham with The Basement Door. It's an amazing organisation that puts on gigs and shows for young bands. It was in a church hall. We just had a blast.
WILL - We’ve had loads of people come follow us from that first gig. True fans.
What’s been your most nerve-racking gig to date?
CLAY - We’ve had a few. It’s mostly due to us not being able to hear ourselves.
FINN - We played a pretty nerve-racking gig last year at the Hanwell Hootie music festival. It was the 60th anniversary of Marshall Amps, so it was their biggest ever festival. Both Luca and I got really sick. But it turned out to be one of the very best gigs we’ve ever played!
Sick? Is that a euphemism? Give us more highlights.
LUCA - Another would be supporting Craig David at Twickenham Stadium last year in front of tens of thousands of people. After the set, we were given a private box to watch the game.
I’ve been a Harlequins fan for my entire life, so it was a particularly special moment for me. To play to a rugby crowd at the home of English rugby was pretty special.
Tell us about the new EP.
LUCA – Our debut EP - ‘The Vinyl’ - was released on March 3rd. It’s been a long time coming. It’s a live EP with four songs: ‘Blackout’, ‘Øne’, ‘i hate it when ur high’, and ‘Closer Honey’.
Is there a theme to the songs on the EP?
LUCA – It's meant to be a type of love letter to us in the future; a stripped-back, grassroots type of EP that we can look back on in 20 years’ time and see how our live sound has changed and adapted.
It’s always changing and developing. It has already evolved in the time it's taken us to release the EP!
How and where did you record it?
WILL - We took the stems straight from the mixing desk and some of our live shows all across London and Essex.
What’s your usual song-writing process? Does someone take the lead?
LUCA – All the songs currently have been written by Will and me. Some of the basslines are actually written by Clay, while Will writes some of the lead lines. Complete role reversal. And Finn spends hours coming up with new and interesting drum fills to push the boundaries.
What’s the response to the EP been like?
FINN – It’s been great. People have been sharing the songs on social media, tagging us, and messaging about how they like the fact that it’s a live EP and very different to the usual high-production tracks. They like the raw sound.
And where should people go to listen to and download it?
What roles do each of you have in the band? Who’s the punctual one? Who’s the worrywart? Who's the diva?
CLAY – I‘m the punctual one, for the most part. And I take care of planning, scheduling events, rehearsals. Finn probably worries the most. He also neutralises any disagreements.
FINN – And Luca and Will are both divas. Watch any interview. You’ll get it.
We’re saying nothing. Who are your musical heroes?
FINN - Roger Taylor and Dave Grohl. They were big inspirations when I was first learning drums. Their drumming has heavily influenced the way I play now.
CLAY - Gary Moore, Santana, and Slash, of course. A few years ago, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and being mentored by guitar legend Bernie Marsden. He was one of the founding members of Whitesnake and co-wrote ‘Here I Go Again’.
WILL – 1. Alex Turner. 2. George Harrison. 3. Van McCann. In that order. Turner was 90% of the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place.
You've already achieved a lot. Knowing what you know now, what advice do you have for new bands starting out?
FINN – Don't treat the music industry as a competition. Focus on you and your music. And support other artists and bands.
Be nice to each other. Changing subject, how do you like to spend your downtime? How do you relax?
LUCA – You can’t beat sitting down with a pint, playing a bit of pool, or having a few games on FIFA. I’m also a massive rugby fan and a lifelong Harlequins supporter. I used to play in the first team for my school and club. I stopped because I’m also an actor and the injuries and bruises I was picking up from rugby started to become a bit of a problem.
FINN – Will and I like to play golf in our spare time. It’s nice to take your head out of the madness every now and then.
CLAY – I have a fascination with cocktails and mixology. I love skiing – I used to be a ski racer when I was younger – so I’d love to do a lot more of that.
WILL – I love sports. I’ve always played as many as I can. I love watching Formula 1. And I play chess to relax and sort my head out.
LUCA – You are lousy at chess!
What’s next for The Ariston?
FINN – On the 19th of May we’re playing a massive gig at 93 Feet East in London. Go grab tickets for that.
LUCA – We have so much new material we want to get out and get people’s thoughts on. The dream, of course, is to work on our album, but that’s realistically still quite a way away.
WILL – We don’t want to force anything. We have got a massive surprise for 2024 that we can’t announce yet, but it’s going to be huge!
You tight-lipped tease, dangling your big news and making us wait till 2024! Where can people go to support you in the meantime?
WILL – We've recently set up a new Discord community for fans to interact with us and each other. There’ll be band updates, ticket links, general discussions. We love our fans and want them to feel part of our community.
Thanks again for making time to talk to us today. And we commend your excellent taste for having followed us on Instagram.
LUCA – Of course. You’ve got the exact style of clothes we wear, onstage and every day. Really cool stuff. We’re particular fans of the cassette tape tee.
That’ll be the fan favourite TAPE LONG SLEEVE. Exclusively available from TEN OF CLUBS, while stocks last. Cheers guys. Any final words?
CLAY – Yeah, we’re in with a really good chance of playing the Isle of Wight Festival this summer. But we need you to vote for us to advance to the nextstage.
WILL – If you share with your friends and tag us once you’ve voted, we’ll put you in the raffle to win some exclusive Ariston content.
FINN – Playing the Isle of Wight Festival would be a dream come true for all of us, so any support would be massively appreciated. We’ve also just announced that we’re playing the Wokingham Festival this summer too, which is very exciting.
WILL – And go listen to 'The Vinyl (Live)' now!
LUCA – Cheers TEN OF CLUBS for having us.
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