After almost ten years fighting for attention on UK metallic hardcore (“Metallicore”!) scene, Stampin’ Ground have decided to give up their ‘day jobs’ in favour of pursuing fulltime music careers. It seems the time has come to sink or swim. They’re fed up with supporting other bands, even if it does let them “steal other bands' fans”. God knows the band have done the groundwork for success, touring continuously, and now with their fourth album under their collective belt it seems highly plausible that payback time could be on the horizon! Following successful headline tours of Eastern Europe and UK dates supporting Chimaira, SG are now aiming at the big-time in the United States, where they’ll be touring from April.
Always enthusiastic, SG agree that, ”this tour with Chimaira has been absolutely amazing. It’s easily one of the best we’ve ever done.” The Manchester show, where I catch up with them, seems to have been a highpoint too; ”the crowd were so responsive, you just ask them to do something and they go crazy; make a pit or run round in circles. It’s great!”
What’s more, Adam Bomb can hardly believe that, ”tonight a shoe landed on stage(!)”, something which seems to have made his night. ”It’s not that often we get new shoes, says Adam. ”Usually people are only interested in stealing ours! We can’t afford new ones either, so it’s a big problem! We haven’t got any money, so if anyone else tries to steal my shoes I will be forced to kick their face in. And steal their shoes. Even if they’re tacky stilettos. And especially if you’re a girl".
Stampin’ Ground seem pretty pissed off regarding their current lack of money situation. ”When you play support you don’t usually make more than 40 or 50 quid per night. That’s one of the reasons we can’t continue to keep doing it!”
But as the nicest guys in rock, surely they can cope with the lack of money? ”When it comes to the point where you’re making just enough to live off, just enough to pay for food and bills it can get pretty hard. But at the end of the day not everyone gets to be in a band, so for that we’re grateful. And anyway, we’re not nice, it's only Neil! The rest of us are all horrible. Nice is just an act for you! We’ve never even made each other a coffee!”
So did you make a lot of money headlining Eastern Europe? "East Europe was fantastic! We played Greece, Bulgaria, Hungarary, Austria, and it was by far the best tour we’ve ever done. Headlining Sofia (capital city of Bulgaria) we pulled 750 people and we’ve never even been there before! When we came onstage they were chanting! It was incredible. They’re more starved of bands over there so the reaction is ecstatic. Most bands leave Greece and Bulgaria out of tours, as they haven’t got masses of money to pay for bands. When bands do play there everyone gives 100 percent, which is really good for us.”
The band’s new album A New Darkness Upon Us was released late last year as the band cancelled a tour in support of Machine Head for, ”various political reasons”. ”We needed to tour the album before Christmas though, so we decided to do that in December, unfortunately when absolutely every other fucking band was touring as well. That’s always bad for getting good crowds!”
As far as the new album itself goes, the band is immeasurably happy. ”We couldn’t have asked for a better producer. He [Andy Sneap] really pushed us. I think we’re a better band for the time we’ve spent with him. Andy made us do everything perfectly. We needed a production to bring out everything going on in the song writing.” High level production seems to have paid off too, with an album which sounds, for perhaps the first time in the band’s career, like it can compete with the high profile rock acts of the main stages at Donington or Reading and Leeds. ”We haven’t worked with a producer before. We’ve just worked with engineers which is more us telling them to try and get a particular sound. In doing that you lose a lot musically. With Andy, we can tell him what we want and he understands completely. It's great!”
Going to America in April is a bold move, how long has that been in the pipeline? ”Well, we never plan anything, we just play. It would be great if people respond to the tour though.”
”Being a band from the UK can be a good and bad thing. Americans are generally full of shit. Not all of them. But as a general rule. We’ll get on with them though.
”Bands like Good Charlotte piss us off from over there, though you have to respect the song writing, which is probably nothing to do with the band. Busted have great songwriters too. But then Busted are a great band! We’d tour with Busted. Do you reckon they’d support us? They actually come from the same town as me”, says Adam Bomb. ”We drink in the same pub, but I doubt they know that!”
”We’d tour with anyone to get noticed. This is what we do full time now and we’d rather put everything into it and see what happens. It’s about getting what u can out of it. As experiences go it's amazing. As long as we can make enough to live on and see the world, we’re happy.”
Stampin’ Ground’s new album 'A New Darkness Upon Us' is out now. Catch them on the end of the Arch Enemy tour or this summer at Reading and Leeds festivals, odds on!