StOp,sToP! Is a crazy, honest, and energy-fueled glam/sleaze/hard rock and roll band, often compared to AC/DC, Guns ‘n Roses or Motley Crue; while not truly belonging to any one category.
After over 200 gigs touring the world (Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, the UK and U.S.A) in 2015 and performing at international festivals like Rocklahoma (U.S.A), Ice Rock (Switzerland), Sleazefest (Germany), Godney Gathering (UK), Hard Rock Hell (UK), and Legends of Rock (UK), StOp,sToP! is finishing 2016 with a new album and tour. The craziness and fun will continue…
It’s a real pleasure to sit here with Jacob, Vega and Danny commonly known to many as the band StOp,sToP! Okay, for those that don’t know about the band, what’s the history?
Jacob : Oh f**k (laughs) okay, okay. I started the band in the streets and every time the police came and said “Hey you – you can’t play here! Stop! Move!” So, I played on another street and the same thing happened again – the police came up to me and said, ”Hey you, stop!” so that’s how I got the name of the band – that was 11 years ago – in 2005. I was kicked out from band to band because nobody could stand me, so I started my own. I couldn’t find the right people and I wanted to keep playing so I started busking (because I needed some coins as well). So I did everything together while I was looking for the right people. In the provisional band I was not the singer. I only played bass and along with the singer, guitarist, and drummer we started to get quite successful in Barcelona. That was in 2007, then it started to go downhill because they didn’t want to work at it and tour.
So they basically wanted everything for nothing?
Jacob: Yeah… I got pissed off with them all so I fired them, then I had an email from Vega saying “hey, I hear you’re looking for another guitar player?” I said yes but didn’t tell him I had just fired the band, so I rang a friend who could play drums and said do you want to come and have a jam with me? So when Vega came in, found this weird drummer there who couldn’t really play that well we had a jam. Afterwards Vega came over and and said “whats with the drummer..?” I said “F**k the drummer, you’re in the band!!!” At that time I wasn’t really looking to start a band as such, I just wanted to see what I could get and with Vega I got good feelings and he fitted right into the StOp,sToP! concept. We found a drummer and another guitar player and we recorded our first album “Unlimited”. Soon after those guys lost interest and wanted to do other things and left.
How did you find Danny?
Jacob: Danny was actually a fan of the band. He used to come to the gigs so we knew him from there, then just before we went to record our second album “Join The Party” our drummer left, and Danny phoned me. It was a hard task for him to learn all the songs but he did and a few weeks later we recorded the album. That’s pretty much the first 5 years – haha! We left Barcelona for the UK, we threw our gear in the van, lived in the van and just started gigging. We were playing to 5 or 6 people but the reaction and feedback was really good.
Was there at any point a fear of failure and that what you were doing wasn’t going work?
All: No, no. Never!!!
Jacob: When we were in London, we hadn’t had a gig in 2 weeks, we had very little money but we knew we could make it work, even if it was just to get a bit of food. We spent the only £20 we had on an acoustic guitar and started playing in the streets, but we never thought about going back home. It was a very cool and positive experience and got lots of good feedback, lots of people would stop to watch and listen and enjoyed what we did.
Danny: It was a complete opposite to a “Down” moment… yeah it was hard on the streets, but we saw people enjoying the songs even though it was all acoustic, we thought if they’re enjoying this then they’re gonna love a full on gig. It was a great push for us and gave us great energy.
Jacob: It was the best experience busking in London- better than Barcelona. When you have that kind of exposure on the street you see how many people love it, it wasn’t scary. You do it, then get up next day and do it again. You start playing, people are smiling and throwing coins in the hat. From there you go to a venue that has walls and a ceiling so you’re not going to get wet. It was hard, but they were not bad times because we were enjoying it.
Danny: It was an adventure and we were doing what we wanted to do.
Jacob: and the police again saying “Stop! move along!”
Vega: We would play about 3 songs then they would move us on, so we set up again elsewhere and same thing again. Police would come and move us along..
Just going back, at what point did you decide to leave Spain and try the UK, and why the UK? Why not France or Germany?
Jacob: First of all we were burned from gigging so much and working in our jobs to pay for the hire of venues, some places wouldn’t pay. If you were lucky you might get some money from ticket sales, but the money was running out..the gigs were working well in Barcelona but nowhere else. We needed to try something different..we felt we weren’t getting the reactions we deserved in some places. We love rock music and nearly all the bands we love come from either UK or USA. We didn’t need visas for UK, it was closer and we could speak a little English. Germany was [our] second option but we can’t speak German so we made a decision. We left families, houses, cars, jobs, dog, friends, everything… but everybody supported us 100%. We managed to book two weeks of gigs and we saw how healthy the music scene was. It was very sweet. Spain has a very destructive music culture, it’s very competitive. Here in the UK you can swap gigs with other bands, the pub landlords suggest you to other landlords so you get more gigs. That just doesn’t happen in Spain. We just kept going, there was no way back. We just wanted to try until we died or we killed ourselves doing it – hahaahaa – and the results show its working, from living in the van for 12 months to the house we are sitting in now, it’s f**king amazing. The support from the fans is awesome. It’s a one way street… no turning back!!
The ball keeps on rolling with no signs of stopping.
Vega: It’s like a snowball. Just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Jacob: Yeah. It’s an infection getting into peoples brains. It’s what we do.
Last year you played over 200 gigs. What was that like?
Jacob: It was busy. We took every gig offered. We had already played a load in 2013/14 to keep promoting the band and earn some money of course. We did our first dates in the USA which included The Whisky in L.A and Rocklahoma Festival. Then we played in Germany, Switzerland, Italy… it opened a lot of doors for us.
You played Italy for first time this year, just one date and now going back to play three more?
Jacob: Yeah the response is growing all the time. Where once there may have been 50 people there is now 100 so it’s working. It’s always worth it,we love gigging. If we could do it every day, we would.
You’ve got some good festivals under your belt, Godney Gathering last year was one of them.
Jacob : Hahaha yeah it was awesome. There was about 5,000 people there, we had a main stage slot fairly early in the day and not many people in front of the stage, everyone was at the smaller stages or getting food,and no one was really bothered about seeing us as they didn’t really know much about us. By the second song there was about 1000+ people watching our mess. The one thing the organizer had said before we went on was that there was to be no swearing. He said first time I hear you swear… you’re off.
Well… I know you’re not going to listen to something like that!!!
Laughs all round
Jacob: To see his face was so funny when I said fxxk off for the first time. He was shaking his head.
Danny: He was desperately trying to get my attention to tell Jacob to stop.
Jacob: There was a lot of parents trying to cover kids ears. I was trying to get a response so I said ”Everytime I call you motherf**kers… you tell me to fxxk off!”…so I tried it and everyone screamed back “Fxxk Off!” I was like, yeah it’s working dude. I did it that many times the organizer was ready to kill me. We really entertained them and got them going. They were all singing and dancing. Afterwards the organizer came to me and said, ”You were so wrong, but it was so right.” He didn’t wait for my reply he just walked away. Then he booked us to play the launch party for this years festival…hahahaha!!!! The festivals work very well for us. We’re a party band, people want to be entertained and have fun and we’re the band to do it.
You say you are a party band but how would you describe yourself? People like to label bands, when they see your picture they’re going to instantly say “Glam”.
Jacob: We are a mix of lots of things. Yes, there’s glam; but inside there’s hard rock, blues, punk, heavy metal, classic rock. We just put it all in the blender and the result is StOp,sToP! We like to be ourselves and the show is fun, entertaining and high energy with a little bit of danger. People compare us to bands they know but don’t compare them to us. We want to bring back that Rock n Roll spirit – it’s not just the music, it’s the attitude as well.
Yeah… I’ve seen a fair few bands that play Rock n Roll but don’t look Rock n Roll.
Jacob: Exactly. The spirit is lost. To me rock bands have to have the looks and attitude, and we’re trying to bring that back. If you look at bands in the ‘70’s, that shit was real, it was dangerous. We want to do that but keep it fresh and put a little spin on it.
Danny: We’re taking it as a reference point and doing it our way. We love the spirit of these people, but we’re not trying to copy them.
Talking of keeping things fresh, let’s talk about the new album ”Barceloningham”
Jacob: Yeah, it’s been a long one…next question..! Hahaahaaha…
Not skipping a question already are you?
Jacob: Well, what do you want to know about it?
Nothing. Hahahaha! I’ve been listening to it and f**kin love it!!!
Jacob: Hahahaha thank you. It’s the same as what we’ve been doing, but recorded it in a different way. People love seeing us live, so we recorded it with guitar left, drums middle, and bass right (as you look at the stage). I had to convince them that this is how we wanted it done. I was like “Dude…we’re StOp,sToP! We do things differently.” The songs themselves are all about what was going on around us and the world we live in – the disappointments in life, love, sex, people helping others out… good people, bad people… it’s the same everywhere.
Because we started in Barcelona but now live in Birmingham, a fan once said that we came from Barceloningham… that’s where the name comes from. It’s a place where we all want to be. All people need the same things, whether you’re from the UK, Africa, Russia or wherever. We all need freedom, food, rights, love. It’s a place where everyone can go and have a party and forget about the world for a little while. So, we put together the concept.
What is Barceloningham? It’s a place we created where everyone can feel safe, all the motherf**kers can be motherf**kers and enjoy themselves. There’s no fear, no need to protect anything because we all have the same things and same needs. It’s safe and it’s comfortable. It’s what happens at our gigs. You’ve seen it for yourself meeting people from all over the UK and Europe – they all mash together because of a little bit of entertainment and we’re very happy about it. That’s what music does. The people all wanted the same thing…that’s Barceloningham!
You’re heading back into Europe again soon but what about getting back to the USA?
Jacob: We would love to go back but it’s all about the money. It’s very expensive for a fairly new band to tour over there. I know the fans we have from our mini tour last year really want us to go back, but it’s not that easy. If we got a serious offer then we’ll try and make it happen.
A return to The Whiskey?
Jacob: Oh yeah…we’ll love it… but we need to get more exposure and more people interested in us for it to work properly. We’ll see.
Well it’s been an absolute pleasure talking with you guys and wish you every success with’Barceloningham’ and the future. Thank you!
All: Thank you Nelly!!!
Barceloningham is available now. You can download it from Itunes, Amazon, Deezer, Spotify. It’s also available on the band’s website: www.stopstoptheband.com