INTERVIEW | STANLEYS

Stanleys bring their UK Tour to McChuills, Glasgow on the 25th of May. The indie four-piece from Wigan, England are well on their way to becoming the latest indie outfit from the area to take the country by storm.

Stanleys consist of lead singer Tom, Jake on lead guitar, Harry on bass, and Rob on drums and vocals. They released their second EP ‘Time Waits For No One’ in January which has seen it rack up thousands of streams on Spotify alone.

The band has enjoyed supporting Inspiral Carpets on their recent tour, playing in some massive venues including the Albert Hall in Manchester. Their tour kicks off in Cardiff with stops in Southampton, Glasgow, and Newcastle before they play the highly acclaimed festival, Neighbourhood Weekender.

I caught up with the boys to chat about pre-tour nerves, the latest EP, and dream venues…

What’s your identity as a band? How would you describe your sound?

“Identity Wise, we just try and come across just as who we are to be honest. We’re not contrived or anything, It’s just 4 personalities that get on and try to make music together so it’s quite organic really. Our music is similar in that way, it’s organic. We like all the jangly guitars and stuff but to be honest I think none of us really have an idea how to pin it!”

Where did the name, Stanleys, come from? Is there meaning behind it?

“We all met at a college named Winstanley College and we were thinking of a name for ages. We had come up with some terrible, terrible shouts. But we needed a name for one of our gigs, so we asked my [Tom] Mum who said just call yourselves Stanleys from Winstanley, then pick a name after that. It just stuck and that was us”

Your most recent EP, Time Waits For No One, has gained thousands of plays on Spotify alone. How does it feel now that your second body of work is out? And can you tell me anything about the writing and recording process?

“We were sat on the songs for quite a long time. We sat on the recording for almost a year for some of the releases. So, it was something that we were just waiting for the right time to get out there really. But it’s great to see the response we’ve had from it. Even from the first single, everyone seems to have gotten behind it. That’s always the scary bit going into the release it’s like, is this going to be nack? I’d say it come out pretty well though”.

“The process seemed to drag out for ages because of the lockdown. We recorded it and wrote it in Wigan at a studio called The Lounge with a guy called Gary Nuttall who has worked with bands like The K’s and The Lottery Winners. A lot of big names in the up-and-coming indie bands. He’s become our staple producer really, it took us a while to find our own but once we did we settled in well, he knows our sound quite well. It was done over 8 days, starting with drums and bass then a lot of guitars, lots of styles of guitars too. Acoustic, electric, 12 strings, and then the last 2 days we laid vocals and harmonies. There’s a lot of influence in it, a lot of influence from Manchester bands, James, The Stone Roses, and stuff like that. This was the first release were we aware of modern indie bands. A lot of the references were from bands like Inhaler, Red Rum Club, and other bands that were successful at the time. So you try to blend all the stuff together, new and old.”

UK Tour coming up in May including stops in Glasgow, Newcastle, and Cardiff among more. Must be a good feeling touring the UK with your mates? How do Stanleys prepare for tour?

“Loads of socks”

“We start running the set about 6 months before. Then still manage to brick it about 2 weeks before that we should have done more. I think there always needs to be a bit of panic because I think if there isn’t that push to be like ‘we need to be the best we can be’ then we’re not being true to putting on the best show we can be. That always plays a role. And getting out playing gigs is why we do all this, especially after lockdown. That side of Stanleys we couldn’t do, we had one of the biggest gigs we’d ever played cancelled the week before and it felt like it plagued us for ages. So now we’re in a position where we can get out on tour, I’m just itching to go play these shows. We’ve never played Wales and we’ve never played Newcastle, and it’s been a good while since we played Glasgow so yeah it’s a good feeling to be getting back out there, seeing some new faces as well as ones we’ve seen before.

You’re playing Glasgow on the 25th of May at McChuills. You played in Glasgow before so what was your experience of playing to a Scottish crowd? Excited to come back?

“Our last gig was amazing in Glasgow because we had never played a headline slot outside the northwest of England before. We played up there and I think we did about 70 tickets and we didn’t really know how it would go because it was a weeknight.  Monday night so it was a bit awkward. But it was amazing, the support bands were amazing, the locals turned up and supported us. I thought we had played well considering the nerves so yeah it was a perfect night. We can’t wait to do it all again”

As well you know, many huge bands such as The Verve and more recently The Lathums, all come from Wigan. I’ve noticed you are quite friendly with The Lathums, would you say they’ve been a big help in guiding you through the start of your journey as a band?

“I think they gave us a kick up the arse, to be honest. To put it bluntly. Seeing their success made us take this more seriously than just a hobby. We both originally played covers in pubs at the start and then they sort of leapfrogged us in Wigan. I remember they had a gig at Jimmy’s in Manchester and theirs had sold out while others, a few months earlier, didn’t quite manage it. That was the first time I was like these boys are taking it seriously now, so it was a wake-up call for us to focus on the originals rather than just the covers. We’re a decent pub band but I just felt like they had progressed into something more. They had originals, and management on board. It was so important for us to get that wake-up call and go ‘Come on lads let’s do it’. So yeah”

I touched briefly on the history Wigan has with bands, how much of a boost is that home pride and carrying that with you as you branch out into all corners of the UK?

“It’s like, with Wigan, the culture of new music and music in general is… When you go to other places, you expect it to carry but nowhere seems to be the same as Wigan, really. From when we were first going on nights out in Wigan there’s an indie club called Independence and it was when we were first starting out, and everyone there had a love for guitar music. It was brilliant. It’s a really good community pushing each other to be the best that they can be. I think people think some of the time that it gets like a rivalry but everyone’s pushing each other and it’s the best. Especially when you look at the bands that have gone and done it, The Verve, it kind of contextualises it for you. The Lathums at the minute, they are high flying at the minute. This is real, this can be us, it’s on our doorstep. We’ve just got to go do it”.

You’ve been teasing snippets of some new material on your socials. Can we expect to hear some new tunes on tour? Potentially any future releases? Any details that you can share?

“We were literally just debating this before we came on the Zoom call – if we wanted to start practicing any of the new songs for tour and shows with Inspiral Carpets. We never managed to decide so we’re inconclusive, to be honest! Fingers crossed.”

What’s your dream gig venue to play? The one that you can say ‘made it’ after playing.

Tom – “The Etihad Stadium. The Stone Roses did there, that’s why.”

Rob – “The Heigh Hall. If they ever go back to doing live events again then definitely”

Jake – “I’ve not really got one, probably the same as these two”

Harry – “I’m sure I do somewhere. One of the classic theatres, The Apollo. Brixton Academy. Or Kentish Town”

Thank you very much to the boys for the chat. I look forward to seeing them on the 25th of May, tickets are still available via Ticketmaster or the band’s pages. Check out Stanleys socials too!

About Ryan Smith 26 Articles
Music obsessed student