Music contributor Robert Frezza spoke with Sebastian Fernandez of Stone Giant ahead of their May 3 concert and EP Release.
Brooklyn-based band Stone Giant traveled a long way for a shot at making it in the music scene.
“We migrated from our countries in the search of fulfilling our rock-n-roll dreams and infiltrating ourselves in the music industry,” states lead singer Sebastian Fernandez. “Berklee is a great pathway to that goal since you can meet amazing professionals and learn so much.”
Berklee College of Music brought Fernandez, originally from Argentina, together with Brazilian keyboardist Joao Nogueira and bassist Apoena Frota, and Chilean drummer Pepe Hidalgo.
“Clearly we all had the vision of finding a rock band and the family vibe of what being in a band means,” said Fernandez.“Most of our circle of friends and musicians from Berklee moved to NYC after Boston and we have a great community of artists pushing towards the same goal and principles.”
The band’s hard-rock sound is creating much noise in the underground NYC rock scene, inspiring YouTube social media comments that “rock is not dead.”
“The band has that sound due to our early influences of classic rock from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Jimi Hendrix to more current rock artists as Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood, and Rival Sons,” says Fernandez. “When you keep the writing and playing more in an organic approach the music becomes organic.”
At the beginning of 2018, guitar sales took a slump according to a recent article in Fortune Magazine, as auto-tune and EDM continue to take over. Stone Giants aims to take music back to basics.
“There is great music out there from all genres that do that and have an immense impact in today’s industry,” says Fernandez.“As a rock-n-roll band, though, we keep our loyalty to the raw sound and you get to see what we are all about at our live shows.”
And, Fernandez says the band sees their call to music as a mandate to continue the work of their predecessors.
“The music scene has changed a lot and we sometimes have to adapt as well, but rock n roll is very alive and there are great bands out there,” says Fernandez. “I wouldn’t say it’s something that is missing from today’s music scene, but it is our duty to keep this amazing rock legacy alive and innovating it as much as we can.”
If you ever listen to Stone Giant, you know their lyrics leave a lasting impression. The band does not have an agenda when it comes to the writing and recording process. In fact, Fernandez says the process varies a lot with no set rules.
“Sometimes someone brings a finished song and we arrange it, sometimes someone brings and idea and we all evolve it at the rehearsal space, or like many times songs come out of jamming or just singing a melody into your iPhone voice notes while you’re out drinking with friends and get inspired,” he says.
The band paints a picture with their lyrics that stem from social situations, personal experiences, beliefs, and criticism towards certain things they think are polluting our existence as people.
“Usually for us, the music comes first and then we adapt the lyrics to the melody and music that we already have created,” Fernandez explains. “The lyrics are mainly done by myself Sebastian and Joao, with Joao having a strong influence and say on the final lyrics we sing.”
The band’s 2015’s self-titled album was heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin, among others. The band worked with producer Fernando Lodeiro, who worked with Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga.
“Working with Fernando Lodeiro is always a great experience because he is one of the best recording engineers out there,” said Fernandez. “We are really our own producers but not opposed to someday having a producer or co-producer. Fernando did an amazing job with teaching us the sounds the album should have, mics, and overall how to record music in a very smooth way.”
The band expects to finish a follow-up album by the end of the year but is releasing a four-song EP at Radio Free Brooklyn’s RFB Presents 1st Thursdays at The Well show on May 4. Fernandez says this next effort will “maintain our rock essence,” while “leaning towards a more uptempo vibe to create a balance with the heavy slow sound of the first album.”
“We are also more mature as songwriters and producers so we are smarter with our choices and how a song should sound,” Fernandez reveals. “We are looking to create a statement and really create a worldwide impact with this second album. Seems like it’s time.”
Stone Giant sees the success of a band as a reflection of how a band can relate to their fans and thinks social media as an amazing opportunity to bond.
“We read social media comments and always stay connected with our fans,” explains Fernandez, who says it’s only the beginning for the band that’s getting high acclaim in the states and in South America. “It is a great experience when you have someone reach out from places of the world you would never imagine that they listen to your music.”