The Stolen chats Chardonnay, Hitclips and high/low points of touring!

It’s an incredibly hard thing to go on tour. Long drives in a van, you could play for two to two hundred people depending on the night and it costs a lot of money. A band that is taking that risk and has booked several DIY tours is New Jersey residents, The Stolen. Their last album release was ‘Adults’ and with a few new singles out like ‘Empty’ and ‘Chardonnay’, a new album or EP looks like it could be on their horizon. We were are able to grab a few minutes with the band a few hours before they took the stage in Cambridge where we talked everything from tour essentials to their songwriting process as well as some high points and low points of their summer!

You guys are doing a really big US run. You’re doing on it your own. You’re playing a ton of cities. Three things you must have with you while on tour.

Dom: Must have with us on tour. I’m going to say my phone, underwear and sunglasses. Yeah I’m going to go with that. For sure sunglasses.

Kevin: Definitely sunglasses and hair products and new pairs of socks.

Mikey: New pairs, not the three same pairs. Brand new pairs of socks.

Kevin: Definitely!

Mikey: Headphones, money and more important than a phone you need a phone charger. You actually need at least three. At least three phone chargers.

I understand that!

Mike: I’m going to say my face wash because I get bad acne. Then I don’t really need much else, I don’t know. Obviously like the obvious stuff. Like what they said.

Dom: Something you can’t go without?

Mike: I don’t know! That’s all I got. My face wash. That’s all I need.

Rob: I think I’ll go with everything Dom said except instead of sunglasses, I think I’m going to have to go with a toothbrush because the idea of dirty teeth freaks me out.

Dom: That’s a really hard question. There are so many things that you need. Well clearly Mike you only need one thing.

Perfect then from looking online, you guys are about halfway through this really, really long run. Maybe what are like some of the higher points then if there are any, I’m sure touring has been hard. You guys are still young, a low point. Like maybe long drives or like something that happened to your van? I’m sure things have happened!

Dom: Well I guess we can start with a low point. It was actually the first night of tour. We were in Maryland in Baltimore and we had the doors open and the lights on. We were charging our phones like three at a time in the power inverter we have then we went to go start our van at the end of the show and it wouldn’t start. The battery was dead but it wasn’t like, okay you just jump it. Like it was actually dead. We almost had to get a new battery but it worked out that we didn’t have to. So that was cool. First night of tour and we already messed up our van. Then high point? Do you guys have any ideas? We went down to Florida and hit some beaches. That was always fun. Do you guys want to chime in?

Mikey: My low point is when Mike and Rob, because they’re brothers, have their daily argument. It’s at least once daily. My high point is all the high points.

Rob: I’m going to go high points first. On this, high points have been really the shows. I can’t really complain. Every show we do, it’s a new experience and a lot of fun. We’ve played a lot of new cities we haven’t played before. That was really cool. I’m going to say the low point was this morning when Mike just randomly started puking.

Mike: That was my low point. A lot more low for me.

Rob: Mike has a very, very weak stomach.

Mike: Yeah I didn’t even consume any alcohol whatsoever. I just had some greasy food and I was sick all morning. I had some greasy food the night before, then I woke up and had some more greasy food. Then I had Chipotle and I was okay. I don’t know how that works.

Kevin: Always a high point.

Mikey: Rob locked the keys in the van last night that sucked. I had to open the door with a coat hanger and a broken drumstick.

Dom: It wasn’t even a coat hanger.

Mikey: It was like a handle from a bucket. It was really interesting. Something I don’t want to do again.

So it’s been rough but it’s been good?

Dom: I say more great then rough. There’s only been a couple rough points.

Rob: A lot worse things could happen.

Dom: Like the last tour was a lot more devastating.

Mikey: Let’s knock on wood guys.

Then I believe it’s been a while since you released like a full EP, ‘Adults’ but you did just drop ‘Chardonnay’ in July. Maybe can you tell me the story behind that song? Maybe what it means to you guys as a band?

Rob: I mean when we wrote the song initially, it was obvious what the lyrics and what the song was about. When we were first writing, I can’t tell you how many directions this song has probably gone in and different little ways it was going before it became what it is now. I think we were just trying to find something that was really us as a whole. Something that was different as cliché as that sounds. Something where we were all really a hundred percent satisfied with. At one point, it almost sounded like a reggae song. It was kind of funny. I mean we’re more then satisfied with how it came out. As far as what it means to us, I mean in a nutshell to simplify it or dumb it down, guy’s into a girl who’s really showing ill intentions. That’s the basis of it.

Dom: With writing ‘Chardonnay’, I think obviously we’re growing up so I think our music is going to be a little more mature. Like obviously as we grow up, our music’s going to grow. What I like about our writing process just in general is that if one person isn’t like vibing it, we’re kind of like okay what can we do to make sure everyone is into it. Make sure everyone is happy with what we’re doing. With ‘Chardonnay’, I think we’re all pretty happy with it.

Rob: With what Dom said, just to build on it, like what he said about the writing process, he’s a hundred percent right. If someone’s not feeling it, like between ‘Empty’ and ‘Chardonnay’, there’s been quite a few songs that we write then scrap just because someone whether it’s like Mike or Kevin or me isn’t feeling it, we’ll just kind of scrap it. Not that we’re scrapping it because we think it’s a bad song but if not every single one of us is on board with it, we’ll kind of toss it.

Dom: It’s a team effort.

Rob: Basically, the writing process is now I’ll come in with a bass part or just chords, or lyrics. Everyone adds their own thing. Dom changes the vocal melodies, Mike might change the drum beat, Mikey adds his own part.

I was going to ask you that so you answered my next question.

pretDom: There we go, that’s perfect. Yeah, we like to do two in one.

Yeah I like it. You’re old pros at this.

Mikey: Speaking of Old, I just bought some Old Spice.

Then I wanted to ask you. Like you said, you’ve put out two singles. ‘Empty’ and ‘Chardonnay’. Are you guys currently working on something? Do you think it’s going to be a little while before you work on something? Is it something that’s done? An EP or like a 7 inch kind of thing.

Dom: We’re always writing. When we’re off tour, we’re writing. Even on tour we’re actually writing. I think we would like to have an EP. Nothing is set in stone but we’re always constantly writing and putting out new music.

Kevin: I think once we get off tour.

Dom: Yeah once we get off tour we’ll be banging out some new songs. I agree with Kevin.

Mike: We haven’t even started working on something yet but after we get off tour, the next move is to start working on our next EP definitely.

Rob: The amount of tracks. That’s nothing we can even say yet. It’s still in the baby stages of writing. To work on what it is as a whole, we haven’t really gotten to that. Like they all said, once we’re off tour in the fall we’re planning to hit the studio and figure it out from there.

Then a soft one for each of you. The first CD or first cassette you can remember getting as a kid then the first concert you ever went to?

Dom: Oh my god, I think the first cassette was AC/DC. A classic rock CD there. First concert I think was KISS actually. My dad took me to a KISS concert. That was interesting.

That’s pretty solid!

Mikey: The first record I ever bought with like my own money was ‘Save Each other, the Whales are Doing Fine’ by Patent Pending. I think. I bought it at Best Buy when I was like thirteen, fourteen maybe.

I’m so old.

Mikey: My first concert ever was John Mayer. I went with my brother.

Kevin: That’s awesome. My first CD that I got was John Mayer’s ‘Room for Squares’. That was in 2001.

Mikey: That was the record that he was touring on.

Kevin: Yeah dude that’s my favorite John Mayer album.

Rob: Well my actual first piece of audio was when my aunt got me a cassette. There was that song in the nineties. That “I Get Knocked Down” song or whatever. I just remember getting that cassette from my aunt for like one of my birthdays when I was younger.

Mike: What a shitty gift.

Rob: Dude my aunt put a lot of thought into that gift. You’re a jerk. My aunt put a lot of thought into that. The first CD that I bought on my own was ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day. First concert was probably some blues concert with my dad.

Mike: My first CD was probably like a Justin Timberlake/Backstreet Boys kind of thing but then the first one I purchased myself would be AC/DC. Concert probably like a blues festival with my dad. Same daddy.

Dom: I think my first one was like a Kelly Clarkson CD. Dead serious. I had like a boombox.

Mikey: We had HitClips dude. Dude, I wish I could wrap up all my HitClips. I had like a stack.

Rob: Dude, I used to steal Dom’s HitClips. He had Aaron Carter. I stole his ‘Aaron’s Party’.

Dom: ‘Aaron’s Party’ was my jam and I’d go over to Rob’s house one day and he’s bumping Aaron Carter. I’m like you jerk, you took my CD.

Do you remember your first concert, Kevin?

Kevin: I think my first concert that I like went and bought a ticket for was the Defend Pop Punk tour which I think was like 2011. Who was on it? It was Man Overboard, The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, This Time Next Year.

Rob: That’s actually a dope tour.

Kevin: It was an awesome tour.

Then you kind of talked about it. You obviously still have like half this tour to go. Nowhere close to being done. You talked about recording but once you finish this tour, are you going to like stay home for a while, do you guys play locally? Kind of what’s the plan for right now.

Rob: We’re going to work and make money.

Sucks to work right.

Dom: I think once we get off tour, we’ll go back to our usual life. Some of us go to school, we’ll be writing still. Kind of that whole process.

Mikey: Some of us look at dogs all day.

Dom: That’s Mikey. He stays at home and looks at dogs all day. No, I think we’ll go back to a little bit of our normal schedule of work, writing music. Stuff like that. I wouldn’t say count out a couple shows but I think for sure we’re going to be writing as well once we get off.

Do you guys all go to schools in the same area?

Kevin: We all go online.

Dom: Yeah we all go online actually. Well, three out of five of us. Then the other two didn’t go to college and pursued careers.

Infinity Girl chats “Harm”, touring plans and Boston music scene!

I know like you guys were just talking about, you live in New York now but you were based in Boston. You formed in Boston. You’ve been doing this band for a while, the three things you must have with you while on the road to survive?

Nolan: Waterproof pants.

Waterproof pants?

Nolan: No, I don’t know.

Mitch: Do you own waterproof pants?

Nolan: These are waterproof. Do you mean like practical things? Like our instruments.

Sebastian: Sweater, definitely a sweater. You never know. Even in the depth of summer, you never know.

Mitch: A good hat. A good tour hat.

Sebastian: You don’t own a hat.

Nolan: I’ve never seen you wear a hat.

Mitch: I do wear a hat. I have a tour hat.

Nolan: Oh okay well we haven’t been on tour in a while. You need a neck pillow. Mitch’s neck pillow, definitely.

Mitch: I change my answer. Neck pillow is the most important thing.

Sebastien: Ear plugs!

Nolan: Oh ear plugs for sure. Sorry we’re giving more than three. Ear plugs, neck pillow and Seb’s sweater. For the band.

Sebastien: Final answer.

Then like I said, “Harm” came out about a week ago and it’s on Topshelf. Maybe how did singing to Topshelf kind of come about? The label has been doing really well lately.

Nolan: Yes! We sent them the record when we finished it like forever ago and not really expecting to hear back. Then they wrote an email a couple days later just saying that they loved it and it was like one of the best things that had ever been sent and things like that. We were like really? It was pretty cool.

Mitch: They said it was one of the best unsolicited things that they had received.

Sebastian: Because we were doing that. We were sending it to labels despite seeing on all their sort of FAQ pages that like we’ll listen but we rarely respond to it (unsolicited). We were like fuck it, let’s do it anyway. They really liked it and we after talking to them for a while we really liked them so it just worked out.

And you kind of talked about how this record is something that has been done for a year and I know the last record came out in 2012. How long was this one really in the making?

Nolan: Probably about a year from start to finish. Like around when Kyle and I moved to New York in the fall of 2013 is kind of when we really started writing and talking about it a lot. Then by August of the next year, it was mastered.

Sebastien: There was kind of a break in between there where we released the EP towards the end of 2012. Right, that’s when it was?

Nolan: Yeah.

Sebastien: Then I was overseas for a year and then Mitch had moved to Brooklyn already and they were still playing shows with a friend of ours on drums but it was like a bit of a hiatus. Then when we were kind of all back in the country was when things really picked up in the end of 2013/beginning of 2014.

And for the writing for this record, do you feel it still changed or maybe if you’re writing now do you feel it’s still changing? Does one person bring each idea or is it more collective?

Nolan: Kyle and I do most of the main writing of the bare songs. We’ll bring it to the band and work it out altogether once we usually have something that’s close to being done. Then we kind of work out the details with everyone. Sometimes they’ll change in big ways but most of the time, they stay as we’ve kind of written them. Just little things change when we bring it to the band. And it’s staying like that. We’re working on new stuff now and it’s kind of for the most part like that.

Then I wanted to ask you, like I said you guys moved to New York and maybe as of late in Boston, TT’s is closed after being around for a long time. Church just announced it yesterday that they’re going to stop doing live music. Two venues in a few weeks closing and a lot of bands are making that move to New York then it’s picking up and going well. Maybe advice to Boston bands to kind of keep at it? Like keep at playing shows and making new music despite things in the city declining a bit?

Sebastien: I think we’re all a little out of touch with Boston now that we’ve been gone for a few years. I don’t think people should move out of Boston. I think that they should stay for that very reason that these places are shutting down and stuff. At least when we were here, there was a pretty vibrant DIY scene. Especially around here in Allston. I know a lot of those places have been shut down by the 5-O but I guess my advice would be to like keep opening them up again. Not just for the scene here but for bands passing through and stuff too. We’re in the middle of booking this tour right now and we’ve had a lot of trouble booking in Boston which is strange for us because it was our home for so long. It was like alright Great Scott’s full, O’Briens is full. Fuck do we do now because we’re sort of out of touch with what’s happening in the DIY community. I hope it’s still alive and if not, revive it.

Mitch: Boston has such a vibrant music scene too. I think that that’s one thing that I always loved about this city is that although it’s concentrated and it’s a bit smaller with only a handful of really great venues. The quality of bands that keep the standard is really high. It’s always very inspiring. It’s a lot different in New York. There’s way more bands and you hear a lot of music that you don’t really like. There are a lot of very good bands too but there’s just been something that’s remained inspiring about this city. Music sort of is born here. It has really great bands and we’re still in touch with them. Best friends with a lot of the bands that we were playing with back in 2012. Tonight we’re playing with New Highway Hymnal who we must have played with dozens of times. Because of that quality, it’s still bands that we want to be in constant contact with because the scene’s so great here. I want to make it clear that we moved to Brooklyn for like our own life reasons mostly. Not to go make it big.

Sebastien: Yeah not to go make it big.

Nolan: For professional reasons.

Sebastien: Professional life reasons whatever. They had all gone to school here. They were kind of over it or whatever. Wanted to do something else. I had finished a job here and wanted to try something else too. It wasn’t like we’re leaving because this scene sucks and we’re going to a place that’s better. Like nothing to do with that.

Nolan: But I think we’re all happy that we could continue there as well but it wasn’t the main reason.

Then maybe a little softer one for you. The first CD or first cassette you can remember buying as a kid and the first concert you ever went to?

Nolan: Both of them are Weird Al for me.

Kyle: Really?

Nolan: Yeah.

Sebastien: My first cassette was probably the Space Jam soundtrack then my first CD was probably “The Black Album” Metallica so you could see how my tastes progressed from the heyday of tapes to the heyday of CD’s. My first concert was Joe Santorini.

Mitch: I think my dad gave me ‘Nevermind’ on CD. That was one of the first things I remember being my first physical compact disc.

Sebastien: Cool dad.

Mitch: Yeah, cool dad. I don’t remember the cassette. I remember vividly having the first Smashmouth cassette. You know the one with walking on the sun. The one with that song on it. I had that one. I don’t know if that was my first but that’s the only one I can think of.

Nolan: Isn’t that kind of late in their career?

He got it like two years ago.

Nolan: Isn’t that the Shrek soundtrack? Did that come out on tape?

Mitch: No that was later. I’m talking about the deep cuts. The early Smashmouth.

Sebastien: Yeah that was a Monkees cover they did.

Nolan: Before they were cool?

Mitch: Before they weren’t cool.

Sebastien: Kyle’s really young so he probably doesn’t know what cassettes are.

Kyle: Yeah my first cassette was, well I bought the NYSNC album. Probably their first album. The one where they did a bunch of songs on Disney and I thought that was cool. I recorded it to a cassette so we could play it in my mom’s car and that was really cool.

Sebastien: So they were both the same?

Kyle: It was the same album but I think I like fucked it up because I think side B was part of side A again or something. Or maybe they just all sounded the same. But then like the first CD that I bought with my money was the Weezer Green album. What was the other question, the first band I saw or concert? The first concert was Ben Folds. I forget who else was the opener. I don’t know if it was cool but that’s what it was.

Mitch: The first concert I went to was Alanis Morisette. It was tight. It was a good concert. Did you say your first concert?

Sebastien: Yeah, Joe Santorini!

Mitch: Sorry how old were you?

Sebastien: Seven, six. Let’s probe this more.

Then maybe to end it off, you played Shea Stadium. You’re playing here tonight. I know you have a show, at least one that’s announced, at the end of the month. I’m sure you have a lot of shows worked out or being worked out like the tour. What’s kind of coming up for Infinity Girl? Are you just going to be playing a lot?

Sebastien: Yeah in terms of shows, yeah we’re booking a lot in September. Then October, around CMJ and stuff. Then a tour in November for like two weeks. Do we have the next record done?

Nolan: We’re working on it. We’re already underway for the next record. As long as Topshelf doesn’t drop us or even if they do.

Sebastien: These guys put together a bunch of demo’s that are being sent like back and forth. Sending notes, sending ideas. Hopefully this album release craziness will cool down and we can start working on moving into the rehearsal space. We are making new songs. We already started playing one of them live. Probably not tonight.

Mitch: They’re a little less “Harm”-ful then “Harm”.

Sebastien: You should expect it to sound a little less “Harm”-y. More “Harm”-less. I think that means that Nolan and Kyle are in better moods these days or something. Making some lighter music. Happier music.

Nolan: But we still got a long way to go before it comes out. Who knows? I might get really depressed. Scrap it all. Reverse it. Things could go down. We’ll see!

Brings Music to Life!