The Stiletto Formal have been working hard at their music for years now, and are finally about to put out their first full length album, Fiesta, Fiesta, Fiesta, Fiesta! Read my interview for an enlightening glimpse into the life of this unique band.
PPJ: First, tell us your name and what you do in the band.
Paul Neely: My name is Paul and I play bass and percussion.
PPJ: What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Do you think that had any influence on the music you're making today?
Paul: I listened to such a random array of music growing up. There was the Beatles and Zep of course, Ace of Bass, ZZ Top, Hank Williams, Patsy Klein, Tag Team (that’s right) and also remember very vividly my mother taking my Blues Brothers tape away from me for playing it too much. All this randomness of music has definitely affected what music I create. Our new record is filled with classic rock riffs, old county/blues overtones and even hip-hop. Bottom line I appreciate any genre of music as long as it produces value.
PPJ: How did you get involved in "the scene?"
Paul: Oh, “the Scene.” Well, when our previous band started playing shows, I wasn’t even aware of divisions of fan groups like this. I just wanted to play music. But soon after we played a few live shows, the division became very noticeable. Overall, it basically comes down to the fact that Stiletto is a band that by sound has been placed in “the scene” and I’m there by default.
PPJ: When you call yourself "eccentric rock & roll," what do you mean by that?
Paul: Because “indie-sex-core”, “the sextet” and “Metallica” were already taken. I don’t know. I always picture it as high-class drink. It’s music on the rocks with a twist.
PPJ: How did you get signed with Eyeball Records?
Paul: Totally random. We ended up on their Showcase at CMJ in 2007 with no intentions other than we just wanted to play at CMJ. But after the show, we met everyone who worked at the label and friendships were formed. We hung out with the owner Alex multiple times in the ensuing weeks and our love for their views on our band and on the music industry grew. Who knew that touring your ass off for over four years still means something to the right people.
PPJ: Tell us a little about what it took to record "Fiesta, Fiesta, Fiesta, Fiesta!"
Paul: With Cory and Darrell in control, the process was amazing. Recording is pretty much our favorite thing to do besides playing black jack so the two-month process flew by. We were able to try many different recording techniques and instrumentation. Cory is especially good at taking our crazy ideas and turning them into realities. Mix that in with a little patience and “Fiesta” was born.
PPJ: How does the new album differ from your previous EPs?
Paul: We were actually able to complete a thought process. Our previous ep was going to be a full length, but due to circumstances out of our control, it was forced into an EP. So it ended up what I feel four songs that had nothing to do with each other. We are very proud of those songs, but there was just no cohesiveness. Also, we have a different drummer and Kyle has taken over the roll of keys. This album is everything we wanted it to be and I feel that we have matured a great deal. Every single part has been boiled down to only the necessary for both the song and album.
PPJ: How does it feel to finally be releasing a full length album?
Paul: It feels like Limp Bizkit reuniting, IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME!
PPJ: Your music isn't easily pigeonholed. Do you think that has made it harder or easier for you to break out and get noticed?
Paul: We knew from day one that with the type of music we were wanting to produce, we were going to have to work ten times as hard to become successful at it. Getting noticed was never the problem, it was that whole break out thing that has always put up a brick wall. We don’t fit any mold for someone to just push us through and we have actually had legitimate labels say that they love the band, but they just don’t know what to do with us. We have also been asked to changed major parts of our appearance and sound in order to sign said record deals. This was just not an option for us. We don’t have our noses so high up in the air that we would drown if it rained, but rather strict moral codes when it comes to manipulating our passion. Patience and belief has held true for us and has landed us a solid home at Eyeball. We knew the good guys were out there, it just took more effort than most are willing to give.
PPJ: You guys are from Phoenix. What's the music scene like there?
Paul: The Phoenix scene has been a roller coaster for the past 2-3 years. Right now “Chug Chug” and “Poptasticness” are reigning supreme. Younger high-school local bands do well here mostly because of the large amount of bigger touring acts that are coming out of the Phoenix area. Kids tend to forget about their previous phoenix heroes because they have been gone on the road and haven’t played a home show in 4-5 months so they latch on to the next new band. We have been blessed with very loyal fans though. We have fans that are at every show no matter what and we owe the world to them.
PPJ: What are your plans after your CD gets released?
Paul: Tour, tour, tour, tour, then we will take a break and count all of our money. When that 30 seconds is over, we will tour some more.
PPJ: Finally, tell us three bands you think we should be listening to.
Paul: Just try to stop me at three. MURS, The Black Keys, Portugal. The Man, Murder City Devils, Astronautalis, In:Aviate and Master Ace.