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New Music Friday: Stereo Skull

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Stereo Skull, the four-piece prog metal band from Wellingborough [via Latvia], have concocted something special with new single ‘Play God’, not to mention the accompanying video. Inspired by the likes of Fear Factory, Lamb Of God, Coal Chamber, Mudvayne, and American Head Charge, the band consists of Arthur Sambars [vocals, guitars, programming], Aivars Sambars [guitars, programming], Carlos Fandango [vocals] and Mat Williams [bass]. New Boots had to find out more, so spoke to Arthur. 

How  did you guys get together?
The founding members, myself and Aivars my brother, have been into music since childhood. We arrived in the UK in early 2009 and four years later met Ethan [ex Decadent, Still Remains UK, Motorpace, Black Rose Society]. Another two years later we met Carlos who took some time off vocal duties after departure from Black Ink Sun, then another year passed and we met Mat who just left disbanded Black Ink Sun. The drummer left last summer and after an active search, we’re still auditioning people. Our love for heavy music, being in front of the audience, getting better and bigger are the main reasons for what we do. 

How would you describe your sound? 
The musical background for each band member is different. Everyone adds something to it. The end result is the mixture of industrial, death, and progressive metal.

What was the reaction like from the public to the ‘Madness’ EP from last year? 
Our friends and followers were excited and supportive. We streamed a live Facebook video from the studio the day we released it, and it had whoppi ng thousand views during the stream. Everyone could watch us at home from their mobile devices anywhere around the globe. The EP is entirely self released, it’s available on all streaming platforms, but we’re putting together the physical copy as well, it’s going to be a nice surprise for our fans. Can’t reveal too much at the moment. 

Tell us everything about this new release, ‘Play God’.
There was this track sitting on the shelf for around ten years, and we decided to polish it up. Carlos added the lyrics and with help of our former drummer we improved the track dramatically. It’s a nice blend of black, thrash, Nu, prog and cyber, with orchestral elements – and with a triple layered death metal vocals! We wrote and recorded at our home studio [currently branded ‘Salamander Media Works’].  

The video is incredible. Tell us about it 
The story goes on. Just when we got to the end of composing of the song, there’s this lady, Scarlet Phoenix, from Leicester asking for help from the bands with her uni Art and Performance project. We respond straight away and she gives us the raw video material she and her model friends Gabriela Sindel and Edgars Karklins filmed in Nottingham, if I remember correctly. Our job was just to add the band footage, but eventually we took over the whole production thing. Mat our bassist is a talented guy in making professional-looking videos. He worked mainly on lyric videos in the past, but with my, pre-production and editing skills we managed to produce a decent music video ourselves. The band shoot has been done at my place; you’ll see how it came about in our upcoming Making Of video. 

You work hard travelling and playing shows. Is that Stereo Skull’s best strength, the live show? 
It definitely is. Carlos is amazing frontman. We don’t stand out too much image-wise: we don’t have our own uniform, the only thing we wear is our passion for music on stage. There are some elements we use that help us to stand out among other bands though, and it’s the sampled synths and live video projections if the venue is big enough. We used to have a live VJ in the past, but now with the help of technology it’s all synced up with our performance. The next step is… nah, I’m not gonna reveal it for now. It’s a work in progress, don’t wanna jinx it. Also we happened to have our own meme in the band which was our drummer, his baseball bat incident particularly. Definitely gathered more people around the Skulls, and kinda changed us a little. We continue revealing our funny side, and life on the local scene in our gig report videos. Everybody loves stupid shit. And it’s fine. 

You are part of the music scene in Northamptonshire. Any favourites you want give a shout out to? 
Big shout out to Andy Green from Blackbush Promotions, we had a great time sharing the stage with the Still Remains UK some years back. Our first out of town experiences were a lot of fun thanks to him. He manages the live gigs in the King Billy: needless to say it became our second home. HOPevents, Lost Island Bookings, Attic Promotions and Castle Mountain Promotions gave us great platform locally. Roadmender, Athletic Club, Zombie Hut, Black Prince, Prince Of Wales, Castle Theatre, Picturedrome, Horseshoe, Raff’s etc, we love them all. 
Favorite local bands are Krysthla, From Eden To Exile, Haema, Siderian, ReaperX, Mutiny UK, Ashborn, Fleisch, Fueled Hate, Primal Holocaust, Darkhorse to mention a few. 

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year? 
The video shoot, and getting back on stage after a long break without a drummer and still cracking it. One proud moment we had just this week; we managed to put our very first tour together by ourselves. It’s been a very busy and exciting year so far.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have? 
For now to finish off the special edition of the EP, and cracking on to the debut album. The concept, album artwork and tracks are pretty much ready, we just have to record it – and probably even sign with some label. We’re going on a UK tour with German/Latvian band Māra as a main support at the end of June; that should be a lot of fun. We will try to get to some bigger stages next year. Will definitely try our luck in Metal 2 The Masses again.

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