Stone Broken released their second album, “Ain’t Always Easy” through Spinefarm Records in March and have been busy touring in support of it ever since. They played their first gig in Belfast on 12th June when they supported Buckcherry in The Limelight. I met up with singer Rich Moss ahead of the show and chatted for about 25 minutes about the album, future plans and more. That interview, plus 4 tracks from the album, was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 15th June. That Show is now available on our MixCloud page - https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-rich-moss-from-stone-broken-on-he-friday-ni-rocks-show-on-15th-june-2018/
Stone Broken are Rich Moss on lead vocals and guitar, Chris Davis on guitar and backing vocals, Kieron Conroy on bass and Robyn Haycock on drums and backing vocals.
Check out their website at - https://www.stonebroken.com/
The interview has been transcribed and posted below.
Playlist for the Show
STORMZONE – Cushy Glen
JUNKYARD DRIVE – Sweet Little Dreamer
SUGARCANE – When The Fire is Burning
SAFIRE – Heartbreaker
STONE BROKEN – Worth Fighting For
Interview with Rich from Stone Broken Part 1 (8.5min)
STONE BROKEN – Heartbeat Away
Interview with Rich from Stone Broken Part 2 (7.5min)
STONE BROKEN – I Believe
Interview with Rich from Stone Broken Part 3 (9.5min)
STONE BROKEN – The Only Thing I Need
EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE – Delta Voodoo
BEYOND THE BLACK – Heart of the Hurricane
ASPHODELIA – Cassandra
TRILLIUM – Full Speed Ahead
KINGS OF THE SUN – Black Leather
RATT – Lay It Down
LAST KNOWN ADDICTION – Dirt & The Dust
MOTORJESUS – The Damage
FRAMING HANLEY – Puzzle Pieces
BULLETS AND OCTANE – Bad Mother Fucker
JIZZY PEARL – When The Devil Comes
TREAT – Build The Love
DEE SNIDER – Tomorrow’s No Concern
CONJURING FATE – House on Haunted Hill
NI ROCKS – Hi, thanks for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI. We kicked things off with the track “Worth Fighting For” which was the first single released from your new album “Ain’t Always Easy”. Can you tell us something about that track?
RICH – It was a song kinda built from inspiration I guess, and kinda giving people the ammunition, in a way, to stand up for what they believe in. It’s an encouragement things. There are a lot of things going on in the world. We’re not specific about what we’re writing about on this song. It’s not about a particular thing, but there are a lot of things going on in politics and various other things; lots of issues around the world that people feel strongly about, but sometimes won’t want to do anything about. It was just about saying if you believe in something strongly enough, you can do something about it and you can make a difference. That’s what it was born out of and it’s quite a powerful song with a driving rhythm behind it. It’s one of those fists in the air kind of songs. That’s why we put that one first on the album.
NI ROCKS – The album was released in March through Spinefarm Records. Where was it recorded and who did you work with for production etc?
RICH – We recorded in Cardiff with a guy called Romesh Dodangoda, at his studio Long Wave Recording Studio. We actually did our debut album with him as well and it was great. The first time that we went to record with him we were quite nervous as he’d produced some great albums and great artists. You almost feel like you’ve got to step up to the plate in a way. But it’s great, because he gets the best out of the artists and he knows exactly how to achieve what is in your head. That’s why we went back to him for a second time and it worked out great. He knew what he had to do to better the last album and we knew we had to write a better album. So it really did work well and I’m glad that we went back to him.
NI ROCKS – Process wise then there wasn’t much of a change between albums one and two as far the recording went?
RICH – No, it was fairly similar. What we wanted to do was add more production value to it, so there are more highs and lows throughout the album. The production carries that through, and I think he brought more of that aspect to the whole album. It was definitely a step up, just possibly in a different way, just to subtly bring that through.
NI ROCKS – In terms of song-writing, is there a pattern that you’ll follow for each track or does each song come together differently?
RICH – There is kind of a way that we write, that we use more often than not; which is, we’ll have a riff or an idea musically and we’ll start to put some meat onto it and turn it into a song. Then we use that music to draw a flavour from it, if that makes sense. Like, with “Worth Fighting For” it was a stompy kind of song and we thought yeah man this is like a fist in the air kind of song; so we’d write the lyrics on the top of that, to compliment the music. But there are a few songs on this album in particular, where it all came together at the same time. I had a melody line for the vocals and I just grabbed the acoustic guitar and started to write along with that. That was quite a new way of writing for us, as we’d never really done that before. We had more time pressures with the second album than we did for the first, so we had to make a lot of decisions quickly, and that changed the way that we wrote. But, in essence, the majority of the time we’ll start with a riff or a chord progression and we’ll build on that and keep on building, and keep on building until we feel we’ve got a song out of it.
NI ROCKS – Was there any track that took more time to come together or took more effort to come together?
RICH – Yes, “Heartbeat Away”. I wrote the music for that at the beginning of the writing sessions and it was almost the last song to be finished. It actually got put on the back-burner for a while and it wasn’t going to make the album. We were getting the vibes from the songs and it took me a bit of courage to take the song where it went and I had to get over that hurdle first mentally. I think subconsciously it was stopping me from being able to progress the song, until I finally turned around to myself and said look, do it, just write about it, and then it was fine after that. But that was a tough one to get going because it needed to be the song it ended up being, but in a way I wanted to hold back and that wasn’t good. In the end it turned out to be a tough song to write for a couple of reasons, but it’s probably one of my favourites on the album.
NI ROCKS – The band formed back in 2013. Did you have a clear direction at that point of what you wanted the band to sound like and what you wanted to achieve?
RICH – We definitely had a vision of what we wanted to achieve. That was apparent from the get-go. When we first met up with Kieron, one of the first e-mails that he sent me was ‘look what do you want to do with this band? If it’s going to be just a throw-away band then I’m not interested’. I said no, this was like the last chance saloon for us, we want to take this as far as we can take it. So that was always the intention and when we got Chris in he was very much on the same page. He was fed up of being in bands that didn’t really do a lot. So we always knew that whatever we had we were going to put it into the band, and that has always been our philosophy. As for the sound, we spent probably the first year almost just writing and re-writing songs, refining what we do until we came up with what we felt worked. The middle ground was that we all had to really love what we were doing and how we sounded. Although it could have been very difficult to get to that point because everyone has different influences, it just so happens that in the middle of all those influences we share a big chunk of music that we all enjoy.
NI ROCKS – What are those influences?
RICH – Chris will listen a lot of Tremonti stuff, so anything that Tremonti has been involved with, he will listen to. Shinedown, Halestorm, Hinder we all listen to. A lot of American style rock bands. We all enjoy listening to that style of music and I think that’s kind of where we sit in a way. I say to a lot of fans when they talk about our songs, when we put a song down on record, that’s like us committing to play that song for the rest of our lives; so we’ve got to love every single track. That was the intention and we thought smartly about that in the beginning.
NI ROCKS – We’re going to play another track from the new album now. Do you want to pick one and tell us something about it?
RICH – I think we should play “Heartbeat Away” as we’ve already mentioned it. It was a tough one to write because of the subject matter. It’s about domestic abuse and domestic violence and how that can affect people. Not even the people in the situation, but the people around the situation. It’s a very heart-felt, honest song and I think people need to speak about it more.
NI ROCKS – You played Dublin last night with Buckcherry. How’d that go?
RICH – It was great. There were a few technical issues during the day, but the show at end of the evening was absolutely superb. The crowd, they were on it, there was a lot of energy in the room. It was our first ever Irish show so we were over the moon to be there, and it seemed like the crowd were happy that we were there as well. There was a lot of energy being thrown around the room and it was a great atmosphere. I think we played a blinder.
NI ROCKS – And this is obviously your first time in Belfast, tonight at The Limelight. Any expectations for playing in Belfast?
RICH – It’s tough really, because we’ve never been here before, but I suppose the expectations are in a similar vein to yesterday. We expect there to be some energy. We’re definitely going to be bringing that to the stage and we’re here to show Belfast what we can do, as we’ve never been before and have a point to prove.
NI ROCKS – There are a lot of people here who are keen to see you, that haven’t seen you before as it’s your first time in Belfast.
RICH – Yeah, that’s the thing, and we want to make sure that we leave them thinking, yeah, they were worth the wait.
NI ROCKS – Your next gig after tonight I think is the Stone Free Festival in London on 16th June. That’s a great line-up. Have you played that Festival before?
RICH – Never, this is our first time; and it’s going to be our first time playing at the O2 in London, which is going to be great. Like you said, there’s a brilliant line-up, but unfortunately we won’t get to hang around much to see the headliners and people on the main stage as we have to drive to France. Because we’re playing Download Paris the next day. That’s always the way. A lot of people say, I bet you see loads of bands when you play all these festivals, but the reality is that we don’t (laughs).
NI ROCKS – You mentioned Download in France, what other festivals does the band have lined up for this summer?
RICH – We have Graspop in Belgium, we’re headlining Steelhouse Festival in South Wales and we’ve got another festival in Germany that we’ve just been put on to. I think that’s it for festival season in Europe, but we’ve got a couple of festivals in the States later on in the year.
NI ROCKS – At the end of August you head off to America for a tour with Fozzy. You must be looking forward to that! How long, roughly, are you on the road with Fozzy?
RICH – We’re doing around six weeks over there. It’s quite funny really, as we’ve never been to the States, and we’re from a town called Walsall which is close to Birmingham, and our first show is in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s going to be great, we head over there at the end of August and we stay there until, I think it’s the second week in October. We’ve got a few festivals where we’re playing with bands like Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach and all these different bands and I think Five Finger Death Punch is on one of those. These were guys that we used to listen to when we were younger and we grew up with, or they’re guys we’re listening to now. So it’s going to be amazing and I just hope that we get to see some of those bands. I’ve had a look at some of the routing on the tour and there are some monster drives, so we’ll see!
NI ROCKS – It’s your first time in the States then. I see you are also playing your first headline gig there too?
RICH – Yeah, we’re playing a venue called The Royal Grove in Lincoln, Nebraska, which is great. We never thought that on our first trip to America, that we’d be headlining a show, but there’s a radio station behind the whole show, and they’re giving us publicity and really promoting the show. So hopefully; we’ve had a bit of feedback and it’s selling well.
NI ROCKS – Yeah, I was about to ask, have you had much feedback from America on the new album?
RICH – Yeah, it came out not long after it did in Europe, so it has had a bit of time to garner a bit of interest. We’re getting some radio play. America is so vast, you might get radio play in one state but it doesn’t matter in the next state. We’re building the momentum and we’re starting to get some feedback coming back. It’s kind of like when we released our debut album in the UK; we had a lot of people saying that they were discovering us and coming back with all these different comments about our music. It’s like reliving that all over again, but on a much bigger scale. Yeah, we’re getting feedback and a lot of it is blowing us away as how positive it’s being received. We can’t wait to get over there and let them see us live. It’s been one of the places since we started that was going to be a big target for us – to get over to the States.
NI ROCKS – After Fozzy, what are the plans after that?
RICH – We’re actually taking a look at different options at the moment. Being in a band and in the music industry, it’s ever changing, so there are a few opportunities that we’re chasing up at the moment. There are four or five plans in place, in case ‘A’ doesn’t work out or ‘B’ doesn’t work out or ‘C’. The aim, no matter how it happens, is to be out on the road as much as possible and we’re looking at plans for early next year already. It’s all coming together, nothing is set in stone and we’ve nothing firmed up at the moment. We’re a live band and we want to be out on the road as much as possible and venturing into new places. It’s going to be good and we can’t wait to see what happens.
NI ROCKS – Hopefully we’ll see you back in Belfast as part of that sometime?
RICH – Oh yeah, definitely!
NI ROCKS – We’ll get back to the new album now and play another track. Again, I’ll let you pick one and tell us something about it.
RICH – I will pick “I Believe”. It’s a track which is kind of a nostalgia visit I guess. It’s written about how I was when I was first really getting into music and first time I picked up a guitar. I was excited just to get home from school so that I could sit in my bedroom and learn something new. I used to watch videos and music DVDs and think I want to be that guy; I want to be the guy on stage. I never once thought I want to be the singer, it was always the guitar player. The singer thing never occurred to me until this band. It was kinda about wanting to be the person on the stage, and then it evolves to being the person on the stage and hoping that it lasts forever. So it’s very much about the musical journey and what we’re doing now. I think it’s a great track.
NI ROCKS – You’ve obviously just released “Ain’t Always Easy”, but when do thoughts turn to album number 3?
RICH – Already! (Laughs) We’ve set rough timelines, that again aren’t set in stone, but we’ve already thought about when we aim to go back into the studio. Writing kind of happens in-between these tours that we are on. At the minute we don’t have many days off so it’s tough, but it’s in our sights and we’re ready to start re-visiting some writing sessions and nailing album number three. In a way writing can be all of the emotions; all at once! So it can be quite exhausting, but I think we’re ready for that again. It’s been a while since we had any intense writing sessions. We’ve got a few ideas knocking around and we’ll see how those turn out. It might happen straight away or it might take quite a while to get into, but we’re definitely heading towards it again. I think next year we’ll be heading back to the studio. Keep the momentum going !
NI ROCKS – Social media is obviously a big part of things these days. Do you enjoy that side of thing or is it a case of something that just need to be done?
RICH – It’s a bit of both really, because it’s important that you’ve got a good social media presence, but there’s two minds! There’s being a human and there’s running your band. So, it’s a necessity to be there as that’s how pretty much everything happens these days, and also we like to chat to people and hang with people after shows and see people on the street. On the way to this venue today we passed some people who recognised us and stopped for photos. So it’s just the internet version of that really, which is great. The one thing I do have problems with (laughs) is that I can’t keep up with the amount of messages that I get and it’s tough. If someone comes up to me and says I messaged you the other day, I have to apologise as I’ve about a hundred unread messages that I just haven’t been able to get round to. I wasn’t on Facebook until this band started, but we decided that it was important that we had a presence on there, especially in the early days when you need to share it.
NI ROCKS – As much as you can hate it, it does have its uses!
RICH – Yeah, you can see the other side of it which you have to ignore because there are a lot of people on Facebook who are very blunt about things.
NI ROCKS – And negative!
RICH – Yeah, it can just be a dumping ground for opinions, which is great, that people can speak about things, but sometimes it does go the other way.
NI ROCKS – YouTube is the same. Posting negative comments on videos. Why bother? Why do you feel the need? If you don’t like it don’t listen to it.
RICH – Yeah, don’t listen to it or scroll past, whatever. I think in a way that being a musician you’re vulnerable and quite susceptible to that style of social media I guess. Sometimes you just have to put your own filters on it and scroll past it yourself. Otherwise...you need to have a thick skin. Luckily we don’t have it too bad. There are bands out there that I would struggle to have that! It’s a Catch 22 really – you need to be on there, but sometimes it can affect you mentally.
NI ROCKS – We mentioned musical influences earlier, but a question that I always like to ask is - can you remember the first album that you bought and the first gig that you went to?
RICH – I had “Hybrid Theory” on cassette. That was the first album that I purchased myself; so that is probably what I’d class as my first album - “Hybrid Theory” by Linkin Park. The first gig that I went to was, considering we come from the Black Country, a Black Sabbath tribute band; actually not Black Sabbath, it was an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band. It was actually at that show, because this was before I was really into it; the power and the feeling of the PA and I just thought this is really cool man. It takes music to a whole new level, so for me that was another turning point. It was in a tiny little club, literally down the road from where we were and me and my dad went and it was great. The guys came up and spoke to me, probably because it was unusual to get a thirteen year old kid going to a gig.
NI ROCKS – And on a similar vein. What was the last album you bought and last gig that you went to, apart from one of your own?
RICH – I went to see Mr Big at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We’re on the same management roster as The Answer so it was cool to go down there and hang out with the guys. That was the last gig that I went to. I’ve been a massive fan of Mr Big for quite some time and never got round to seeing them so it was a pretty cool night for me. The last album that I bought....a lot of the time I use Spotify now because we’re out on the road so much. One album that I’ve been listening to a lot is “Got Your Six” by Five Finger Death Punch; and the new stuff that they’ve just brought out I’ve started listening to as well.
NI ROCKS – Music bucket list time? A venue you’d like to play, a band you’d like to tour with and a band / artist that you’d love to appear on stage with or record something with?
RICH – The goal was always to play a venue in Wolverhampton called the Wulfrun Hall; at the moment it’s closed for refurbishment, which is annoying because we could actually fill the place now. Past there, somewhere iconic like the Royal Albert Hall; that’s kinda on the bucket list. A band to tour with....someone like Shinedown would be awesome or Black Stone Cherry. They put together performance packages – Black Stone Cherry have just announced Monster Truck and Cadillac Three – that’s a crazy bill. To be involved in something like that – like they used to have the Carnival of Madness where they put the package together. I think that would be pretty awesome.
NI ROCKS – Any artist that you’d like to perform with on stage as a singer?
RICH – I’d love to get up on stage and duet with Dave Grohl. The Foo Fighters – for me that would be old school Foo Fighters – “For All The Cows” and those sort of songs. I think that would be wicked. When we play Download in Paris the Foo Fighters are headlining and I’m hoping that I at least get to walk past Dave Grohl or shake his hand.
RICH – I think I’m going to go with something a bit different – “The Only Thing I Need” which is the last track on the album, so it seems fitting that it’ll close this session. That is a throwback song to when you used to hang out with your mates over the summer holidays. It’s about being with your friends and being able to hang out with no worries and no stresses. I think that’s a great way to evoke that emotion.