Sheffield melodic punk band Steal the City have released their debut EP 'The Time We Needed'. We found it interesting and took a chance to have a chat with Joe Hanson, the guitarist, about the EP itself, their music in general, future plans and many other things!
So, first of all, can you tell us a bit more about your band’s history; how did you guys meet and what has happened to you since 2014 when you all first got together? Joe: When Sam and I met through a mutual friend, we hit it off instantly as our music tastes were very much in the same domain. I attend Download Festival every year and I took Sam to his first one. Seeing all the bands on stage performing made one of us think "I wish I could do that one day" to which the other responded "Well, why don't we try?" Thus Steal The City was born!
I picked up a guitar and Sam was lead vocals as well as bass. I brought Ellis in on drums as I've known him all the way through secondary school and Sam brought in his childhood friend Smit on guitar. We've had the pleasure of performing on the same bill as Heaven's Basement, Glamour Of The Kill and even Skindred! Performing shows such as these has only fueled the fire for us. We want to play and write songs as a band more than ever and we are going to graft for it!
Your sound is very interesting, how did you come up with it? I’ve read that your sound is influenced by the bands like Rise Against, A Day to Remember and While She Sleeps. Is that by accident, or were you looking up to these bands as an influence? Joe: Originally we wanted to be a stupidly heavy band, but we felt that we were forcing something that wasn't natural to us. The main influence we take from While She Sleeps is their passion for doing what they do and their energetic stage shows. We take pride in using the stage as much as possible and don't want to be a band that stand on stage and just play their instrument. Having fun as a band on stage is something that has to happen at every Steal The City show. Musically, we like to mix it up with our songs. On one side we have ‘Beating Heart’, which is our fast paced punk singalong and on the other we have 'So, The Thing Is’ which is more riffy, angry and melodic.
You come from the city that already gave us While She Sleeps and Bring Me The Horizon. Growing up, how much were you influenced by the Sheffield scene and its legacy? Joe: Personally and honestly, growing up I really wasn't a fan of Bring Me The Horizon! That is until they released 'It Never Ends' back in 2010. That song blew me away when I first heard it and it made me crave more. I listened back to the songs I once hated and now I love them! Having bands like Def Leppard, Bring Me The Horizon and While She Sleeps come from our home town is amazing. It definitely makes us want to do Sheffield proud and working ourselves to the bone is the only way to do it.
Nowadays, it's quite common that we see British bands being influenced by American artists and vice versa. Do you find it a bit strange, or you think the borders don't really matter anymore? Joe: Borders definitely don't matter anymore. I take huge influence from bands like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. When I first started listening to them, the last thing that came to my mind was where they were from. It was the music that mattered to me. I'll admit that the only downside to those bands is that they are rarely in the UK but at least I still have the music!
I’ve also read in previous interviews that you all love festivals and live shows. What festival, concert or a show would you say made a huge impact on your life or which one would be the one you won’t easily forget and what’s special about it? Joe: Obviously Download Festival is the big one. I've been going every year since 2010 and the lads try and go every year too. It's like our little holiday where we can chill out as friends rather than working as band mates, and be music fans for a long weekend. Every year influences us as a band and it just further cements the fact that Sam and I regret nothing. Being asked to support Skindred at The Avenue in Chesterfield for a Halloween Special show was also incredible! The most people we had ever played in front of and we were all dressed as the Zombie Village People!
You guys performed at Tramlines Festival and then at O2 Academy Sheffield. How did you feel the first time you went up on the stage and played your music in front of all the people? How different is it for you than local shows? Joe: Exhilarating would be an understatement. I'll admit, before going on stage before any show is nerve wrecking as it is, but as soon as we set foot on stage, the nerves disappear because we know, that's where we want to be. We would be lying if we said that the bigger shows were the same as the intimate shows, but we always treat them equally by giving it our all.
You released your debut EP ‘The Time We Needed’, how satisfied are you with it, is it what you expected it to be? What song would you say is the one you’re the proudest of? Joe: We were really chuffed with how it came out. Originally, the EP would have sounded completely different. At first it felt like we were rushing it, but then we decided to take our foot off the gas a take our time with it. We didn't want to release something just for the sake of releasing it. Being proud of our debut was important to us. Getting overly excited recording kind of shot us in the foot because we would go around telling everyone "it's almost done! Don't worry!" and then constantly having to let them down by saying "just a little longer." That's the main reason behind the title 'The Time We Needed'. If we didn't spend the time we did recording our debut EP, we would have regretted it.
What’s coming next for Steal The City this year? Are you going to promote your EP internationally? Joe: We have a fair few gigs and festivals dotted around England lined up, including performing at this year's Winter Rocks Festival at Corporation in December in Sheffield. Skindred, Stone Broken and Wayward Sons are also on the bill! Pushing the EP is vital for us, especially in countries worldwide! We want everyone to hear it and give us their feedback. Good or bad, it's all a learning curb for us. We are getting a ton of love over on our Spotify. Our songs get played on there more in the States than the UK which is insane!
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