Experimental rock group Stolen Babies will be hitting Pontiac on July 19 playing a show at The Crofoot with Hate Eternal and Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, who will be performing their score to George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead.
Stolen Babies have been out touring behind their 2012 release Naught, which is their second full-length album. Naught is a dark journey that represents the idea of hopelessness and it features the band's single "Second Sleep". The album has seen a lot of praise including being named Revolver's Album of the Week.
Since Naught's release, the band has toured relentlessly, beginning with the Epic Kings & Idols Tour, supporting Devin Townsend, Katatonia, and Paradise Lost and followed by the With A Vengeance Tour in support of Otep. Most recently, they toured with Pop Evil and Stone Sour.
The band's trio of vocalist/accordionist Dominque Lenore Persi, bassist Rani Sharone and drummer Gil Sharone have also stayed busy with their many side projects and contributions including Persi's recent guest vocals on Devin Townsend's upcoming Ziltoid II album.
With all they have going on, Persi says that the band is most excited about working on new music that will continue to mesh genres.
Q: When does the next tour start?
Dominique: July 14 is when it starts. That's when we head out.
Q: What's different this time for people coming out to the shows?
Dominique: Well we're playing some different songs. We may be playing some of the same songs, I can't really remember what our set list was the last time exactly but there will definitely be different material. There will be newer material and the nature of the tour is very, very different from the last few tours that we've done. We're playing with Hate Eternal and Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin so it's very different. It's a dark-themed Dawn of the Dead epic themed tour.
Q: As far as the set list goes, is there a song you are looking forward to playing the most on this tour that you haven't played in awhile?
Dominique: Well like I said, it's hard for me to remember the last set list that we played but there's certain songs that I remember that I always love playing. There is a song called "Awful Fall" that I love and although we might have played that once or twice on the last tour, it wasn't every night. We all have such short attention spans that if we do a tour that's long we tend to switch up a few songs as we go along. Plus our sets have tended to be so short because we've been the opening act so when we have a half hour sometimes we have to switch it up. So I think we may have played "Awful Fall" a couple of times but we really want to include it in our regular set. We've played a song called "Filistata" a lot. We've pretty much played that on every tour I think and we're saying we're not going to play it on this tour but again maybe at the end of that run we might say let's throw that back in.
Q: What do you have coming up after this tour?
Dominique: Well it's just been working on new material and figuring out whether the next recording that we do is going to be an EP or an album. We have an idea on what the next album is going to be. The material is all there. We have an album concept that we've been working on but we don't think that's going to be the next release. We've been debating on that. It's more just this urge to release new material and not take too long because a lot of people are afraid we're going to go on hiatus and take six years again! So we really have to prove to people that we're not going to run away from each other again; we're gonna try to keep recording. It is a little hard because I do live in northern California and Gil and Rani and are in southern California but I do go down there pretty often so yeah we're just working on the new material and we're probably going to be releasing a EP before the next album. That's what it's looking like.
Q: It's hard for people to box you into one genre which I think is a great thing but if you had to describe yourself as a band to someone who hasn't heard the music, what would you say?
Dominique: I think we are experimental rock. There's definitely like dance rock and a little bit of progressive metal. There are some pop music influences in there too and some twentieth century classical composers that influenced us as well. I listened to a lot of Bollywood and Oingo Boingo is my favorite band so I just say experimental rock because I think that's a safe enough umbrella and it's a bit more honest.
Q: The accordion is an instrument that I don't think people think of when they think about rock music. What made you decide that you wanted to play it and how did you wind up incorporating it into a rock band?
Dominique: My dad had one sitting in the house. It was just there in the garage when I was a child and my brother picked it up first and his bedroom was next to mine so I heard him and I remember thinking, what is that? I was probably like ten or something and I heard this and I really hadn't had much exposure to it besides going to Disney Land and seeing the animatronic characters on the rides. You heard a lot of it in country music and in cartoons and like in the Muppets and Disney-related things. I guess it just seemed to have a magical association as a kid. When I was in a band in high school with some guys it was a metal band and when I joined their band I didn't want to sing all the time. I was a little shy. I wanted to be a part of the music but I didn't necessarily want to be the vocalist all the time so I thought well there's an accordion at my house. I mean, it's half the size of me but I'm gonna pick it up and try it out! So I did and I had a piano background so I was okay on the keys. I mean singing has always been my first instrument but I've tried to escape it and always tried other things. When I was thirteen I played bass for a little while but when something is your main instrument, it's really hard to find a way from it, it'll chase you. But I loved the accordion and I had it and as we wrote more rock music it was just the instrument I was comfortable with. It was like I found this instrument and I'm just going to use it here and there throughout the music regardless of what kind of music it is. It wasn't like this intentional thing. It was like this default thing that still to this very day I try to make work for me.
Q: And it does because it gives you that unique tone in the music. Obviously your influences are wide-ranging.
Dominique: Yeah it's a lot of different types of music. I listened to a lot of Stephen Sondheim musical theater when I was younger. I mean a lot of musical theater I hate and I can't really jibe with emotionally because it's a lot of grandiose and fabricated emotion but I like the strength of the vocalist in that kind of music even if I couldn't get with the rest of it but Stephen Sondheim was definitely the one out of all of it that I could really relate to. When I warm up for a show I will often go into a Sondheim song in the van where nobody can hear me and totally humiliate myself but it helps. Yeah and then Kate Bush. There's just a lot.
Q: Is there someone you're listening to now that your fans might not have heard of yet?
Dominique: I've been getting into this band called Dead Rider that's out now. A friend of ours is in Free Salamander Exhibit, an awesome new band that used to be members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and they are about to go out on tour with Dead Rider so I've just been listening to them a lot. I have their latest album and I've been listening to it a lot and really love it. Again, I don't know what kind of music you would call them. I want to say kind of like an electronic like alternative, I don't know, I'm not even going to try to describe them because it would probably not do them justice. I also know what it's like to be incorrectly described. Dead Rider is pretty cool though.
Q: The visual aspect of your band is so important as well. Your stage show and things like your "Second Sleep" video filmed underwater really stand out. How do you come up with those ideas and concepts? Where do you draw your influences from?
Dominique: Well we influence each other. I mean just the way we write music where we just throw ideas in each others faces and then we will just riff off of that. Like Rani wanted to shoot a video with underwater footage and it's not the most original idea but what really is anyway? That just came out and you have to try to use it in a way that represents you as honestly as possible. So he wanted to do a underwater thing and I wanted to incorporate my blog flower guy and it just sort of came together and their older brother, Ilan Sharone, who directs videos from time to time, he directed some videos for Dillinger Escape Plan and he directed our first video for "Push Button", came in and directed this video for us and he had some ideas. We just sort of all bounced ideas off of each other until a story was born. I love a lot of directors and I love a lot of early silent German expressionist films. It's just being influenced by the people I was working with.
Q: What impression do you want people to leave with when they come out to see your shows?
Dominique: That hopefully they enjoyed it and that they found something in it that they could relate to. It's always such a big deal for us when we have fans come up to us that are people who don't really identify with this scene or genre or group of people and they like us. They like our music because it kind of gives them a sense of being okay. I think if there's anything that I would want people to leave with it's that they enjoyed the show but that they were like I don't know what kind of music that is but it doesn't really matter.
Q: What is your biggest goal moving forward?
Dominique: Longer sets. [laughs] Definitely better controlled lighting and sound. We're still climbing towards that goal. Just to put on a good, longer show for the fans. We have such amazing fans that will come out for a half hour set when we're opening and playing with bands that they might not necessarily want to see. I hope that's not a strange thing to say but I think we tour with bands that we don't necessarily fit in with and their fans feel the same way about us and there's nothing wrong with that. For those fans, I really want to put on a longer, meatier show for them. We want them to know that we really appreciate their support and give them something more worthwhile as time goes on.
Q: What is your favorite thing about doing this?
Dominique: Being able to tap into a side of myself that I wasn't able to express. I can be a very unpleasant person to talk to because there's a lot of nervous energy that I can really let go of when I'm writing or recording or performing. It's a way of releasing and I think everyone can relate to that. Some people go do yoga or take a ceramics class or whatever. It helps me be in a better place.