If you like grunged out, melodic, hardcore math rock, you’ll be positively priapic when you hear Stanchions.
We've been lucky enough to see the band play live twice in recent weeks: first at Rough Trade Bristol, with awesome support from Iran Iran and Better Than Mending, and then at The Wheatsheaf in Banbury. Both great gigs!
Stanchions is a post-rock five-piece, with Louis Hunt and James Tait on guitars, Will Hensher on bass, Ryan Wilkinson on drums and backing vocals, and Max Macaulay out front with the vocals.
Experienced musicians all, the boys liken Stanchions to a hardcore phoenix born from the ashes of various Bristol-based noisy projects. Since forming in early 2022 the band has been making waves in the Bristol music scene and beyond.
New EP, ‘Roamer’, has the dark, intense flavour we have come to expect from the Stanchions boys. This is best showcased by powerhouse track 'Jupiter'. It's an ethereal, grungy, kick in the mouth!
Elsewhere, Max’s impressive, expressive vocal stylings weave their way through complex riffs, intricate time signatures, and savage percussion.
It’s a first-class debut, blending raw emotion, technical proficiency, and impressive musicianship. 'Roamer' is definitely worth a listen, especially the five-minute masterwork that is 'Deserts of Arrakis'.
Before the gig at The Wheatsheaf, we got to speak to drummer Ryan about the band, his bandmates, the EP, and what’s next for these math rock maestros. Here's what he had to say.
Thanks for agreeing to answer our questions. To start, please describe Stanchions for anyone who hasn’t heard you yet.
We’re thrashy post-hardcore with doomy elements. Math rock and post-rock.
Pithy. Tell us how the band came together.
Me and Louis jammed for years in his shed at the bottom of his parent’s garden. Louise moved away, eventually settling in Bristol. Then, in 2019, about a year before I moved there full time, I started heading down monthly to write and jam with him.
When I moved down to Bristol, I lived with James. He’d played guitar in the bands Back Down and Dogfight. Louis, me, and James soon started talking about a new band, and we began rehearsing for the next year. We were called Dragons of Eden then.
James and Will knew each other from uni. Will was up for playing bass with us, so we then became a four-piece. We changed the name to Convenience Kills.
Louis met Max at a gig and they gelled immediately. Max is a singer with incredible vocal range. When Max joined us, we became Stanchions.
Did it take time for the five of you to gel?
There was a really good dynamic from day one. We’re happy to tell each other if something sucks. It’s a pretty collaborative effort. There’s no real leader. I’m always on time. The other guys, well...
The trouble with being punctual is nobody’s there to appreciate it. What was your first gig like?
It went really well, to be honest. It was at The Crown in Bristol. It’s a really popular venue. Yeah, it went really well. We were all pretty gassed. Five of us crammed onto this tiny stage meant we couldn’t really move around too much, but we made it work.
Max promotes bands in Bath in his spare time, so we leveraged that to just book ourselves a gig without having to worry about asking around and begging to get added to a line up despite not having any music released to show anyone.
Is the Bristol music scene as good as they say?
Yeah, the vibrant culture of the city reflects in the scene. And it’s very accepting of heavy music and anything that's a little more left field.
Who are your musical influences?
We listen to a lot of ArcTanGent-y bands. We’d love to play ArcTanGent. A lot of prog, post-rock, shoegaze, death metal, black metal, synthwave, and any combination of the above.
So many great artists we love: Coheed and Cambria, Opeth, Slowdive, Bossk, Deftones, This Will Destroy You, The Fall of Troy, Self-Evident, True Widow, Cloakroom, Spotlights, Shiner, Charlottefield, Hell is for Heroes, Sweet Cobra, High Vis, Russian Circles, Pigs x7. I could go on.
No! Thank you, that's plenty. Tell us about your new EP.
It’s called ‘Roamer’. It’s six songs. We recorded it over four sessions at Studio 6 Productions just outside Royal Wootton Basset. Really great studio.
Have to mention Chris Sanderson, who produced and mixed it all. He had the patience of a saint with us, dealing with all our requests for levels. Must also mention the cover art. The photography’s by Will’s brother, Thomas Hensher. He’s an incredible photographer. You need to check him out.
We’d already decided on the name for the EP and we were looking for pictures that really encapsulated what ‘Roamer’ meant. We really liked Tom’s work, so we approached him. He was more than happy to allow us to use some of his work. What we’ve ended up with is just perfect.
Before contacting Tom, we’d been really struggling to find what we wanted. There was even a drunken night over at the studio where we all got paper and pencils and pitched in on making some artwork.
The idea was it would reference all of the songs on the EP. It didn’t work. What we created was childlike; the kind of drawing a parent sticks on the fridge!
Well, thank Heaven for Tom. Have you got a favourite track from the EP?
Yeah, track two: 'Jupiter'. We love the dynamics of the tempo changes, time signature changes, heavy and soft moments. And then there’s this incredible burst of energy at the end, with everyone just giving it their all. We’re all really happy with how that track turned out, and the whole EP.
The EP came out in November . What has the response been like?
It's been really positive. People are sharing it around, recommending it to their friends, and we’re getting great feedback. The word is spreading. It’s really encouraging.
Tell us one unexpected thing about each of your bandmates.
James does magic. Louis has a knack for eating super-spicy food. Max walks across countries for fun. And Will is allergic to kiwis.
We guess you mean the fruit, not the people. And what do you like to do when not making music?
When I’m not making music, I’m generally listening to music. I like having a few beers down the pub, cooking good food, getting outdoors, reading. watching live sports. All standard stuff.
You’ve been in bands since your teens. You’re an experienced musician. Do you have any advice for someone starting out?
Timing and rhythm are so important. Focus on those if you want to sound more accomplished as a player. And learn to accept criticism. Listen to as wide a variety of music as possible, not just your niche, to expand your understanding.
And if you’re in a band, work together from the get-go. Be honest with each other. It makes the band stronger.
Wise words. Thanks for making time to answer our questions today.
I’ve enjoyed it. Your tees are wavy-ass garments. We love ‘em! This Blank Stare Tee slaps!
It sure does. Where can people go to hear and support Stanchions?
You can listen to 'Roamer' now on Spotify.
And what’s next for Stanchions?
We’ve got plenty more gigs coming up. You’ll find the details on our social media.
And then we plan to record another EP, mid-summertime, for an autumn release. A lot is happening.
Thanks again for agreeing to be grilled today Any final words?
Keep your loved ones close. Never forget your roots.
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