Greg Byrne of Stone Parade (Sydney) talks new single release, crowdfunding campaigns and more!

Sydney-based alternative rock band Stone Parade have toured Australia extensively with the likes of Maroon 5, 3 Doors Down and Hoobastank. Recently, they were support act for Lifehouse’s Sydney show and put on quite a performance with their positive-driven music. With the recent release of their new single, “Be Someone”, we chat to leading frontman of the band, Greg Byrne on their upcoming new EP, crowdfunding campaigns and the realistic struggles of being in a band.

Last Friday night (October 16) I went to the Lifehouse gig and you guys put on quite an awesome show as well. How was it for you guys?

It was incredible. It was really good to be on a big stage again and have a bunch of our fans there as well as Lifehouse fans. It was just an opportunity to just get into the crowd and have a good time, you know.

You guys seemed so happy to be back on stage. You also got the opportunity to meet the guys from Lifehouse too, which was probably exciting for you all.

Yeah, they’re really nice guys. They’re really humbled and they definitely don’t carry a sort of rockstar stereotype at all. They were really cool, sweet guys. We had a few drinks after. Hopefully we’ll reconnect with the Lifehouse guys when they come back to Australia and tour again together.

For sure. Obviously that opportunity was very rewarding. I’ve noticed that you guys have been touring extensively which is fantastic and you’ve been able to share the stage with the likes of Maroon 5, Hoobastank and 3 Doors Down. How have these opportunities shaped you as a musician? 

I think doing those supports has allowed us to kind of push us in a bigger league of shows so it’s sort of given us the boost to write more music every few years. Just the opportunity to be on those big stages has just helped us out a lot.

Especially for a local band as well, it’s kinda hard to break into the market unless you tour internationally. What would you say has been the biggest learning curve for you so far in your career? 

It’s hard to answer that question ’cause there’s so many different things that happen along the way. We’ve worked over in LA over for a while with a producer at Interscope Records in a mad studio and you know, getting amongst it in that sense has been awesome. We’ve been overseas a few times doing things as well – playing shows in different parts of the world and that’s been awesome. We played The Viper Room in LA; there’s a lot of hustle that goes on in LA, especially for people to come to shows so we kinda got amongst that and learnt that even if you’re going into a new city in the world, you’re kinda starting again every time you go there [chuckles].

I feel like you guys have been on-the-go as well which is awesome to see and it’s clear that you have passion and a lot of energy to share your music to Australia and to other places as well. I know for a fact that you guys did a two-year break as well. What did you guys do during that time and how did this come about when it came to the hiatus?

We’ve never stopped writing music but just by in terms of having a break, it just means not touring, not doing shows. You never really do have a break as a band; you’re always being creative and doing your thing. I think it was just the right time to not be touring because a couple of the guys got married and had kids. I think it was a well-deserved kind of break because we’ve been going for quite a few years, pushing hard. We’ve had EPs after EPs and the two albums – we just needed a bit of time to rejuvenate ourselves [laughs].

Touring especially in Australia, you have to travel very long hours. Cities are far apart. Back then, did you write material on the road as such or was it more effective to just focus on songwriting in a separate space?

For us, because we’re not on the road for like extensively for a year, we don’t really write material while touring. Some bands, I know for example, Linkin Park, used to talk about how they would write when they’re on the road, purely for the fact that they were touring for so long and they needed to spend time songwriting, otherwise it would be so long between albums and getting music out there. For them, it was really important to do that. For us, it’s shorter tours in Australia so we just treat them separately. We just have a good time when we’re on tour and worry about the creative side when we get back home.

Yeah, I think it works out better as well because you sort of have your own space to concentrate and focus. It’s exciting to see that you guys have already released new material and you’ve just released “Be Someone” which is a very fantastic, inspirational and positive song as well. How does it feel knowing that you’re able to instil such positive feelings when someone comes across your music?

It’s great. For any new listener who comes and checks out our music and to have those kind of deeper comments people make is awesome for us and I mean, we’re just expressing ourselves and our feelings; that’s all you can do as an artist. If people feel what you feel and understand – that’s awesome, that’s a connection right there. Any new people that come along, any Lifehouse fans you know from the tour, that’s awesome. They’re definitely with Lifehouse, they were the right kind of fans – people that understand our music as well and people that are into it.

I think it’s rewarding to see people connect with your music at those live shows as well and you sort of create a positive impact for themselves when they talk to you. Do those little things in your career keep you going? 

Yeah definitely. I guess it becomes a bit of a soundtrack for people’s lives – our songs. Some of the comments we’ve had over the years have been pretty deep, you know – that’s what makes us feel good. Not only do we enjoy writing our own music but our fans wanna hear it so it gives us a bit of a boost to keep going with it.

Yeah for sure. Especially now social media is such a big thing for people in the music industry as well. Whether you’re a musician or part of a band, I guess it’s nice to see a comment on YouTube or like a wall post on Facebook. Do you feel like social media has been something effective when promoting your music?

I think social media is just the way of the world now, really – it’s quite broad. Social media definitely has its pros and cons for different reasons but it certainly makes it accessible and easy for us to interact with our fans and to have it a little more personal as well which I guess was never the case decades ago with certain things.

And it certainly breaks down that barrier from people when they idolise you on stage and then realising that you’re like a normal person. I guess it’s really rewarding to see the positive effects coming from your music.

Yeah, I mean that’s it. It just allows that barrier to be broken down and the whole idolising thing, It’s different, it’s a different world these days. There’s a lot of bands out there who have got pledge campaigns going on to raise money so that they can record their next album and I think that gives fans a good idea of some of the background/business aspects that sort of take place to actually create the music in the first place. There’s not a lot of bands out there really doing what we’re doing as well, particularly with our style of music. Because there’s not a lot of stars that are aligning in certain aspects of it so you really have to do it [playing music] because you love it while making an impact on fans and you getting that satisfaction for people that like what you’re doing.

I had this discussion with my friend actually and she’s like totally against crowdfunding campaigns. I’m totally for it as well because if an artist has some vision in a band, it’s sort of like building a community too. Not necessarily just for the money – it’s putting money towards that vision to make it happen. Are you supportive of crowdfunding campaigns for musicians?

There’s a few different ways you can raise money. I think the point I was getting at before is that once upon time there used to be record companies who had money to put into development for new artists so they would sign, and record companies don’t do that anymore because they aren’t making the money they used to back in probably the 90s and early 2000s. There’s literally no money to record albums with artists and so it’s not accessible for fans to hear new music without any kind of funding to go towards. It gives fans insight that it takes money – it doesn’t sort of develop out of thin air. In terms of me being supportive of crowdfunding, I don’t have an issue with it. People who don’t perhaps understand the nature of the beast will be against it. It’s gotta happen some way.

It’s actually quite surprising to hear some stories from other bands saying that pretty much all of what they earn in their day jobs go towards funding for making records. I guess people don’t understand that struggle of raising that sort of money to make an EP of some sort as well. 

Yeah that’s it. That’s just it. I mean, people don’t understand how much money it takes to record things too, you know. Once upon a time, Stone Parade would’ve spent like thirty-grand recording an EP with a producer. One of our film clips cost like twenty-grand to make. It’s a fine line of trying to balance everything to make it work – that’s all.

Yeah and like you said, it’s really important to love it as well and that’s what keeps people going when it comes towards creative projects. For the next year or so, it’s really exciting that you guys are releasing a new EP in a couple of months time. When are you planning on releasing it by the way?

It’d be early next year sometime, I’m not sure. We’re just trying to piece it altogether but I think before that happens we’re probably just gonna sort of release a few more singles and have it out there and literally get the EP out. For the moment, it’s about promoting new music, new singles and just have the CD ready to go when it’s done.

Obviously you guys are piecing the puzzle together with this EP and there’s excitement surrounding it because it’s been a while since you’ve released new material. Was it a refreshing process to work on this EP? Did you feel like you were more focused for this one too?

Not the whole time. Like I said, with other things going on in our lives – this is another reality too of the crowdfunding thing and probably an insight to people who might read this but finding a balance point of doing everything you wanna do with your life as a musician is another point. Because it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, I work my day job to put money into my music.’ At some point, I’ve got to actually think about maybe buying a house one day and think about those other things. Other guys in the band have a graphic design business, some have a fishing shop. There’s other things where we have to draw money to support families and other things as well.

It’s not easy doing all those things but I guess when you’re on that stage, and you see fans singing your lyrics, I think it’s the little things like that which make it worthwhile, right?

Yeah, we don’t take it for granted. We’re up there and we realise that it’s a really amazing feeling, you know. But the reality of it is, one night I’ll be playing to a crowd of three-thousand people, the next night I’ll be playing at a pub to a couple of hundred. It changes like that – it’s a funny beast but it’s awesome. It is what it is and I think for us, the international support was good timing for us with the single release and it’s been a few years since we’ve done an international support. We don’t take any for granted and we just kinda savour the moment because you don’t know what’s around the corner; it could be more big stages, it could be more little stages, you know.

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Check out Stone Parade’s new single, “Be Someone” below and don’t miss the single launch on December 2 at Rock Lily in Sydney!