NadaMucho.com Interview: Stubborn Son
Q&A with Andrew Knapp, Blair Daly and Garrett Lamp
By Stephanie Dore / Photos by Sunny Martini
Always looking for my next favorite local band, when I first came across the guys from Stubborn Son rocking the stage of Fisherman’s Village Music Festival just last month, I felt the buzz. Marco Collins was there chanting the band’s praises and Garrett Lamp (vocals/guitar), Andrew Knapp (bass/vocals) and Blair Daly (drums) are quickly racking up fans with their gritty, honest rock ‘n’ roll. (Full disclosure, Knapp is a family friend, though I didn’t know about this new band until we happened to run into him at the festival.)
Their debut album Birthright – produced by Martin Feveyear at Jupiter Studios – is set for July release and it’s full of blues-tinged, gritty tracks that deliver concise punches and rhythmic revelation. We met up with the guys for a cup of coffee and a chat to find out more.
NadaMucho.com: How did you guys come together as a band?
Garret Lamp: Andrew and I met through a mutual friend. And Andrew and Blair played music in high school together and all through college. Blair was living in Malaysia at the time when Andrew and I started playing music together, moved back about the time we were looking for a new drummer and it just clicked.
NM: Where did the name come from?
Andrew Knapp: We came up with “Stubborn” first as a pretty accurate representation of what we wanted our art to be – kind of stubbornly honest – and then we decided as a group we wanted it to have alliteration and we needed a second word. It was almost Stubborn Slug… there was a whole list.
Blair Daly: Because we’re each individually sons, who are stubborn as well, it suits us. But also stubbornly pursuing the dream of making music full time and carrying out your thoughts and feelings through songwriting.
NM: Right from the get-go did you have a good idea of the type of music you wanted to make?
GL: It sort of morphed on its own. I had a handful of songs Andrew and I started to play together. We reworked all of them and started writing new ones. It started as a “we’re not gonna be a rock band” thing, more folk-rock, in between, and it just evolved on its own.
BD: I introduced new beats, which might have influenced the direction of those existing songs.
AK: It definitely took on a life of it’s own.
NM: So does the songwriting process involve all three of you?
GL: Together and separately, just depends on the song. Some songs I will bring to the band and then all three of us will arrange and work out, some Andrew will bring. A lot of the newer stuff Andrew and I write together.
BD: Nine out of ten songs on the albums were written by Garrett, the lyrics and melody. One was written by Andrew. Newer stuff that’s not on the album is more of a mix.
NM: Anything you would call out as influential during the writing of the album, music or otherwise?
GL: I think just life, the process of falling in love and being in love and falling out of love. Watching friends go through life and do the same thing. All the songs on the album deal with the everyday wonderful things and the everyday shit of life, all kind of wrapped into one. The name of the album, Birthright, comes from that as well. Not being entitled to anything, you have to figure it out.
AK: I think a big thing throughout the album is searching for yourself, in these post-college years, trying to figure out who you are and all of the stuff you actually have to go out and find that’s not given to you.
BD: And a lot of the edgier influence that shows up on the album came from some of Martin’s ideas.
GL: He had a big hand in sort of polishing it all off.
NM: Yeah, working with producer Martin Feveyear was a pretty big deal, no?
GL: It was awesome. When we met with him and he was interested. Andrew and I were like “crap, really?” And working with him was a lot of fun. We sat down for pre-production and within the first half an hour he just said, “ok what if you did this…” and the four of us just clicked really well.
AK: And he wasn’t trying to make these “Martin Feveyear songs,” he was just really helping polish it up.
NM: So besides that polished sheen did he bring anything else to the table that you guys hadn’t being doing before?
GL: The vocal effects were not something we had been doing, or really anything we had thought about. There’s distortion and some reverb.
NM: Which carries over to the live show.
GL: Ha, yeah, we had to go out and buy some new mics and equipment.
AK: Yeah we added a little more grit, a little more fuzz.
GL: We had so much fun recording it, it would be a disservice not to carry it over to the live show.
NM: So the album release show is this week, are you planning any touring?
GL: I think we’re doing a tour in September, a little one in the end of August, maybe four or five days, and then a longer one in September.
AK: A west coast tour is in the works too.
NM: What should people expect at the live show?
GL: Rock ‘n’ roll. A full on rock ‘n’ roll show with lots of soul, lots of energy. We just lay it out there.
BD: Expect us to keep your attention! There’s not going to be time for socializing, we’re going to keep you entertained.
NM: If there’s one thing you really want to talk about what would it be?
GL: Andrew’s shirt has quails on it!
BD: How much we love each other! We’re never asked how me love each other?
Nada: How much?
BD: A lot!
GL: Probably like a 7.5 on a scale of 10.
BD: Do you love your wife more than you love me?
GL: Yeah. Sorry man.
BD: Okay, okay.
AK: But I think you see us more than you see her!
NM: It’s about the quality of time!
GL: Yeah, exactly.
BD: I wish people would ask how good we are at ping-pong. Andrew and I are pretty solid players.
AK: We might win the Seattle band ping-pong championships.
NM: We should start one… does that exist?
AK: It does now!
GL: This starts now! I will be the announcer because I’m terrible at ping pong!
Nada: Would you bet on these guys?
GL: Hell yeah.
And so would I. These guys have only been playing together a year and a half and yet everything is already falling in place. Their honest approach, storytelling lyrics, and passionate instrumentation are palpable on the record. Plus Lamp kills it when he switches to slide guitar, giving an even more metallic, soulful edge to their sound.
Judge for yourself this week at their album release show. They’re playing the Tractor Tavern on Friday, June 12. Get your tickets here.
In addition to contributing to NadaMucho.com, the work of Sunny Martini and Stephanie Dore can be found on the Seattle Music News blog.