I’d very much like you all to meet a new friend of mine, Stuart Styron. While I confess I’ve never ‘met him’ per say, at least not physically; getting to know him through this interview experience has been a complete and utter pleasure. He’s not only a very talented artist with a pure-insight into music unlike any other I’ve encountered; but also extremely driven and serious about his music career. Check this out – we’re ecstatic to have him be the first interview up since we’ve re-launched our homepage!
- Jer @ SBS
Stuart Styron Interview
SBS: First off Stuart, huge thank you to you for taking some time to talk to us about your music – so let’s DO that! Tell the people out there how YOU would describe the sound of your music, but also tell us what personally fuels & drives you to make music at all!
Stuart Styron: Music contains the highest frequencies and gets the true essence of what & where we are. Music is the key to our universe. It doesn’t matter which genre; one deep note resonates within us all.
SBS: After talking with you briefly through correspondence back & forth, my first impression was that you are 100% completely serious, like, ALL the time! Of course I know this can’t be the case; but musically, it may very well be. From your perspective – how seriously do you feel you take your music and how do you avoid becoming too wrapped up in the particulars of the industry and taking it all too seriously?
Stuart Styron: Deeply concentrating is what I’d say I am most of the time. Life must be exciting and interesting; it takes you to the best places at the end. You must be in a concentrated mode to get and understand the essence of life. So…yeah…all the other emotions are also precious; I can be very, very funny too.
SBS: Now…as I’ve been talking to you, there was a moment there when you were talking about your music, describing it as ‘not for everybody.’ Now, certainly this can be said somewhat of anyone’s music – but I’m curious as to why YOU might feel that way about the music you’re making. If this music isn’t for everybody…what would you say a good example of music that is for everyone might be?
Stuart Styron: Yeah, you should be an adult to experience the music. So congratulations to you…
SBS: When songwriting…how easily do you find your emotions translate into music? You’re into some fairly unique musical territory…so I’m wondering if you’ve found that the music you’re making now fully allows you to express yourself? While you might not think the music may be for everyone…those that it might be for, do you feel that their listening ears will hear the emotion and be able to make that connection? Explain…
Stuart Styron: Everything comes from ‘above.’ I have no concrete plan. In our visions, we are free.
SBS: Something that stood out to me when talking with you earlier…was something I had never actually encountered an artist or band ever telling me before. In talking about your album, When I Hit The Time Ghost Of The 22nd Century, you mention how it literally shouldn’t be allowed for very young children to listen because of its “dangerous energy” and darker thematic concepts…
…so there’s two things I want to know. One – I want you to go into those thematic elements a bit for us…help us understand what’s happening behind the scenes in the music to give it the heavier atmosphere it displays… And two – hehe, I gotta admit – your statement got my wheels turning Stuart! I started to think about, well, how old are very young children? You know what I mean? Where’s that line that says they can/can’t handle information like this…especially in today’s world? So…even though there’s a chance it was simply an off-hand comment, not to be taken THIS seriously…well, like I said – my wheels are turning…so TWO, is that I want you to personalize this story a bit more. Suppose Stuart Styron has children of his own one day…how old are they going to have to be before you’d let them listen to When I Hit The Time Ghost Of The 22nd Century – and of course, why?
Stuart Styron: I’d set the line at about 18 years-old, better safe than sorry. There is a point within the album, that if you’re starting to understand the message behind the music, you will reach the shadow-side. It’s not negative and it’s not positive; that’s the difficult point. Therefore, it’s better for more mature people with a strong personality.
SBS: In terms of imagery and music…how important is it for your image to be tied to the music to be successful – at least by your own definition? When people close their eyes and listen to your music – what would you hope they would see? Where would your music take them in their mind’s eye?
Stuart Styron: They should see my face.
No, seriously – if they get pictures from whatever’s happening from the music, that would be enough. To inspire someone in any possible way is the best form of compliment.
SBS: Tell me a story Stuart…tell me a story about the creation of a song like “The End Of Coward Souls.” I’m interested in this one…don’t get me wrong, I like a ton of your music – but this track for me…it stood out because I was almost expecting something angrier with that particular title there…but instead, it dives into a great-groove & dark melody. What you’ve done certainly fits thematically with the title now that I hear it…but I’m interested in what’s going on behind the scenes over there my friend…start to finish – how does this song come to life?
Stuart Styron: The album When I Hit The Time Ghost Of The 22nd Century is about this generation, before starting the next one. The next generation is the 22nd century, so therefore the songs are about the bridge between this century and the ones to come. I describe my opinion about the energy/frequency we are in now, and about which one we are going to. “The End Of Coward Souls” is a track about cowardly people here on Earth. Whatever the interpretation of a coward may be; if a human being continually ignores the fundamentals of life, it becomes dangerous, and our nature as society will no longer tolerate this as it once has. There’s a verse in the Bible that also mentions this, I can remember. The ‘world-frequency’ is higher than ever before. No one has to be a philosopher to understand these messages.
SBS: I’m definitely interested in the DIY aspect of what you create. One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as a solo-artist myself, is when to cut myself off in the studio…you know? When enough is finally enough, and I’ve already played my best…sometimes my tendency with no one else around has been to spend too long on a track, overthinking it, reworking it, remixing it etc etc etc… What I want to know from you – is how do YOU do it? How do you know when your songs are fully completed?
Stuart Styron: During production, there are many doubts, but you have to come to a final decision. Sometimes you have to make a hard decision, because what is enough – is enough.
SBS: Tell me about your favorite moment during the recording of When I Hit The Time Ghost Of The 22nd Century, what stood out to you as a memory you’ll never forget? And what did you learn during the process that you’ll be able to take with you into recording your next follow-up album?
Stuart Styron: This album is a unique one, one that took a long process to create. I’m not sure if I could produce and play it all in the same way again….there are too many difficult and fantastic moments on every track. Past, present and future are all too close to each other.
SBS: Speaking of that… after When I Hit The Time Ghost Of The 22nd Century came out, how quickly did you find yourself writing new songs again? Was it instantly – or did you give yourself a pause to reflect and take it all in? There’s a visible and audible advantage to both of those directions in a way; but I’m wondering which direction you chose and why?
Stuart Styron: After that album I concentrated on Soundtrack music and more improvisational songs. Improvisational music is the most exciting way to catch the music from yourself.
SBS: What do you consider to be the most important aspect in making new songs? What elements do they have to have for you be happy enough with them to make the album? Cause I get the sense from talking to you, and from listening to the music – that you’re not putting it out there until you’re 100% satisfied with it… For your own satisfaction, what do the tunes of Stuart Styron HAVE to contain?
Stuart Styron: Heart – Pain – Passion – Tenderness – Kerosene – Force.
SBS: I know from talking with you that you sir, are not a fan of what has become the image of the ‘typical celebrity’ these days…and I salute that. We’re very much alike when it comes to that Stuart – we both enjoy the behind the scenes aspect of doing what we love, and keeping it as pure as possible and out of the hands of the business suits like our lives depend on it. But for many people out there, the idea of being an artist, or a celebrity = one and the same; you know this to be very different – so please, explain from your perspective the difference between being a true artist and a modern day celebrity…tell us why one of these two appeals to you while the other clearly doesn’t…
Stuart Styron: You can feel an artist is sincere by remembering his work, and you can sense the insincerity of non-artists by remembering their more private affairs. If I see an actor in a good film playing a hearty role, they give something precious; but if I see the same actor next day in the newspaper with a private paparazzi scandal or stories from a party, it destroys my fantasy.
And artists must be responsible and careful not to destroy the fantasies of their watchers or fans.
SBS: Now…we both know the internet-age is a crazy time to be alive. Those very celebrities we’re speaking of, many of them were born right from the internet itself, becoming overnight superstars on the random posting of a video they put together. And for what it’s worth – I don’t blame them for embracing the crazy ways of this generation, if that’s what they truly want. But for some…keep in mind, not too many, but some – it can happen regardless of what they want, they or feel, simply because their video catches on and goes viral. Suppose that DID happen to you Stuart…and overnight you became one of the most recognizable names on our planet, just because you posted a video like you do regularly… Do you think that when something like this happens, that there’d still be a way to maintain your behind-the-scenes lifestyle and attitude? Like, supposing your music caught on and became the next big thing…you wouldn’t push back against that fully would you? At the end of the day, nearly 100% of the artists and musicians out there use their craft to connect with others…and I’m supposing this applies deep down to you as well; so in that sense…is it ever really that bad to go in a more commercialized route with the music in effort to simply have it sampled to the ears of the many rather than just a few? Or do you feel it’s literally impossible to maintain the purity of art in the midst of commercialized success & recognition?
Stuart Styron: Let the people do what they want, however, most people in the world need to be entertained.
SBS: And just cause I’m enjoying this particular extremely-open question right now, I’m going to ask it to you too Stuart! It’s as open as a question can get; what are three things you know for 100% certain about the music industry today?
Stuart Styron: I’m not sure what the music industry is…just create art and do what comes straight from your heart.
SBS: Of course we have to do websites, info and all that good stuff Stuart! Where can people go to find out more about you, and what will they find there?
Stuart Styron: I don’t know, I’m here and everywhere.
*Editor’s note – Ok ok Stuart, we’ll help. Click here if you want to learn more about what Stuart’s up to.
SBS: Open floor! Stuart I’d like to say thank you for taking part in this incredible interview with you, and for your time & effort in answering all these ramblings! Help yourself to our ‘open floor’ – a place where you can say anything you like to the people out there, anything we missed, or anything that comes to your mind that you want to say to the music-fans. It’s been more than a pleasure getting to know you and your music Stuart – thanks again!
Stuart Styron: Just want to thank all the people who support peace, freedom, love and art. And thank you Sir, for your precise and accurate questions.
Best regards from Germany,
We’ve got questions, you’ve got answers – be our next interview guest at sleepingbagstudios by clicking here!