With more than a decade of making music together, the members of Slightly Stoopid have perfected one of the rarest and most valuable skills a band can develop: the art of the stealth groove, that knack for quietly, almost innocently, sliding into a composition, and utterly lassoing anyone within earshot by mid-song. That’s where the band has come to reside, musically: deep in the pocket, that ever-elusive, funky trench where a band can entrance an audience, hypnotize it and hold on to it until the set or CD is finished. Built on a bedrock of nasty, oceanic slabs of dubby bass, meditative vocal harmonies, rock-steady guitar licks and tightly syncopated percussive rhythms, Slightly Stoopid illustrates a case study in underground success, steeped in years of hard touring, an improvisational business model, and a creative process that continues to unwind and push the envelope of a new jam-based genre the band helped to create.
Illustrating the perfect underground success story, Slightly Stoopid’s dual front men Miles Doughty (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) and Kyle McDonald (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) created their own label, Stoopid Records, in the early 2000′s. They later added musicians Ryan ‘RyMo’ Moran (Drums) and Oguer ‘OG’ Ocon (Congas, Percussion, Harp, Vocals) from the B Side Players, as well as C-Money (Trumpet, Keyboard) and Dela (Saxophone) from John Browns Body; solidifying their on stage line up. The buzz surrounding the group continues to increase with each successive release; their album catalog sales have topped the 900,000 mark under their own record label, Stoopid Records, and the group continues to play sold-out shows at the most prestigious concert venues around the world. In addition to that, their annual summer amphitheatre tours consistently rank in Pollstar’s top concert tours of the year.
310 WILLIE PRESENTS:
311 & SLIGHTLY STOOPID AT WHITEWATER AMPHITHEATRE
TICKETS ON SALE MONDAY, APRIL 2ND AT 10AM!
Friday, July 13, 2012
Doors: 6:30 PM / Show: 8:00 PM
RyMo: No, we’re in route. We’re actually in Omaha right now, or actually sorry not Omaha, um… Tulsa. We’ve got a day off here.
ATX Music Mag: I guess you can kind of lose track.
RyMo: Yeah it’s easy to. You know, we’re almost in a different city every day. So, it all just swirls into one big blur after a while.
ATX Music Mag: So your album’s dropping next month, and it’s your seventh studio album. How is it different than your previous stuff?
RyMo: Quite a few ways. We’ve always been one for exploring our musical tastes and seeing where that takes us. This one’s pretty much an extension of that. We grow and live as humans and evolve. As artists, we reflect that in our music. To me, this one feels as though it’s a little more developed, a little more mature. We’re getting a little older now, and we always listen to different stuff. We’re all pretty much music nerds, so we listen to a ton of different music all of the time. I feel like this (album), particularly, we’ve sort of explored some different styles even a little further than we have in the past. So, I’m really looking forward to getting it out to people and seeing what the fans think.
ATX Music Mag: How’d you guys come up with the name of the album?
RyMo: The name of the album is actually one of the songs from the album. We had a couple of ideas, and once we started getting the album ready to put out we had some art developing and it seemed fitting for it to match the art. I think it’s going to be the first track on the album, so it just seemed like a good choice to pair with the art.
ATX Music Mag: This is your longest hiatus in between albums. Your last one was released in 2008. Was there a specific reason for the long break?
RyMo: Nothing specific. A couple of the guys recently got married and we’ve all spent time with our families. We’ve been touring a lot. We also finally built our own recording studio back in California, so we could start recording on our own terms. It was pretty refreshing coming from going into studios where you’re paying $1200-1500 per session. It’s pretty expensive. There’s a little bit of an unspoken demand to really perform at your best. Even though we haven’t released a record (in four years), we have been touring consistently for the last 10 or 15 years. So, with (‘On Top of the World’), the focus was basically on slowing down, getting into our own place and recording the music that we wanted to make in our own time. We had a lot of ideas come to us and evolve in a less pressure-filled type of scenario due to the fact that we’re paying monthly what we were paying daily to be in a professional, high-end studio. When we started this process we were like, ‘OK, we’re not going to force a record out. If it takes us 3 years, 3 and a half, 4 years… whatever it is. We’re going to do that.’ We’re releasing 21 tracks on this album, so it’s a pretty full variety of tunes. We also recorded quite a bit more than we used. We recorded upwards of maybe 45 tracks in fairly developed shape. We decided to refine the top 20-22 songs. These were the ones we wanted to release.
ATX Music Mag: So does that mean we might be able to expect a follow up album shortly?
RyMo: Yeah, I think that was kind of the goal. We wanted to do a little bit of extra stuff now. Once we do get in that sort of mind-frame where we’re recording all of the time and getting creative and being spontaneous, that’s really when things start developing. I think that was sort of the unspoken goal: have some things that are ready now, and have some ideas for future stuff if we wanted to release them down the line on an EP or bonus disc. We’re planning on releasing some stuff on iTunes in the future.
ATX Music Mag: On your Unity Tour setlist, what would you say the ratio is of ‘Top of the World’ stuff vs. your older material?
RyMo: Well, since we’re doing about an hour show, we’re doing anywhere from about 12 to 15 songs. I would say it’s about 30-40% brand new, 30% stuff that’s more familiar, and what does that leave me? 20-30% older, more obscure stuff. We always try to bring a pretty broad spectrum of our musical timeline, so to speak. We don’t release an album and only play that. We want our fans to hear a some of their favorite songs and also do some new stuff so it’s not getting too stale.
ATX Music Mag: Have you enjoyed touring with 311?
RyMo: Yeah, so far. We’ve just done two shows, but yeah they’re a great band. They’ve been doing it a long time, and in our genre they’re really one of the founders of the reggae-rock fusion thing. Back in the early 90’s it was basically them and Sublime, and they were both really different stylistically. 311, of course, is still going strong, and we’re really happy to be out here with them. They’re vets. They’ve been doing this at a high level for at least twenty years. So, for us to be out with them its great. We’re coming up on the 16 or 17 year mark, and we hope to have a career like theirs to a certain degree in that they have longevity. They’ve been able to tour and release music that’s still relevant down the line, and that’s really what we want to model ourselves after in terms of our business plan.
ATX Music Mag: Have you guys been able to mish-mash on stage together with 311 yet?
RyMo: No. We haven’t yet. Typically when we’re touring with artists, we always like to incorporate other acts. When we’re headlining we always bring up the other acts that we’re touring with for at least a song or two. I don’t know what 311’s policy is with that, but I think as the tour develops we’ll have some collaborative efforts going on. We’ll have some of them come up with us, and us with them. That’s the way we’ve always liked to do it. So, I’m hoping that there are some collaborative ideas that start opening up. Usually, once everyone starts hanging out and getting to know each other it’s like, “Hey, do you wanna sing on this song? Or play guitar on that song?” Hopefully they extend us that opportunity.
ATX Music Mag: Selfishly, I hope that happens too. I hope it happens by Friday. Do you have a favorite venue to play?
RyMo: Any of the big historical places are always sort of my favorite because it makes you feel like you’ve made it. Places that are just kind of land mark zones are always to me the most special because you look back at who’s been there before you. Whether it was the Dead or Santana or whoever the landmark act that was there years ago. You kind of feel like it validates your path.
ATX Music Mag: Before I let you go, any shoutouts you want to give to anyone in Austin?
RyMo: Probably one of the biggest shoutouts I want to give is to Paul Leary. He’s an Austin resident and a great guitar player from the Butthole Surfers. He actually produced some of our music a few years back, and he’s always come to shows when we’ve come through and played at Stubbs and ACL and some of the venues right there in Austin. So, we’d want to give him a shout. Just a shoutout to the whole city in general. Thanks for having us back so many times. We love coming through the city and we’re gonna try to get our hands on some barbeque while we’re there. That’s for sure.