The Strangers Academy Tale of Music

Posted on February 2, 2012


Singer and songwriter Euan Stewart, 19, on Academy Strangers,
and what goes on behind in the scenes.

I want to make one thing clear: we don’t take ourselves too seriously – It’s all about having fun. Obviously we take some things seriously and want to get noticed, stuff like that. But it is just a pretty mellow, relaxed atmosphere.

Sometimes it can be quite slow to start off.  We have our days when the rehearsals do go slowly, and everyone is tired or hungover or whatever. Someone needs to actually take the lead and get things together, and sometimes you can spend an hour going over the same song, sometimes two hours.

One of the things I find myself doing before I met with the band is a vocal warm up. I do the same before a gig as well; just go over a few exercises to get me all warmed up, and then we’re ready to jam. The hours are unpredictable at times, since we have to work around everyone being free at the same available time. We can be very lethargic at first – it helps that we have loud as fuck amps behind us keeping us awake.  Although once we’re in the groove, that’s when we become very vivacious. This process all sort of pays off.

Outside of rehearsals we all share the load of keeping the band busy. We all do our parts and bring our own skills to the band. As a band you email a lot of people, and most of the time don’t get a response, the bastards, but we just try to reach as many people as we possibly can. I do a lot of the website stuff, such as blogs, uploading our tracks, the aesthetic, all that stuff. Scott and Matt are really good at finding the gigs, and William just brings the cool to the band. But we are looking to make him much more involved.

One of the things I’ve learnt about being in a band is that it should never become a drag, and obviously with being in a new band, there is still the vibe and the new feeling of freshness to it all. So we like to just sometimes chill and go for a pint and chat about the band and other discernible matters.

Song writing so far has been mainly my role in the band. I had seven songs I had been working on; some of them were just ideas, some were full songs. I thought about finishing them all and making them acoustic tracks just as something to do and maybe become a solo act. But I had always planned them to be big, full on rock songs, so I finished them acoustically and then that’s when we started jamming and we changed wee things here and there and they became the songs we play now.

Weird fact – every song I have written has been written between the hours of midnight and 5am. It just seems to be when my mind is on overdrive. There’s an amazing feeling when you have been working on a new song and you take it to the band, and it becomes a proper song. You get all giddy and excited like a little boy again.

People have been questioning me recently about who my singing influences are. My main influences are Dave Grohl, Andy Hull and Simon Neil. They helped me realise that screaming in a song isn’t a bad thing and people who aren’t into metal can enjoy it too: they all scream in songs, but they just use it in moderation and its not proper demonic screams, which can sometimes scare the living shit out of people.

I have a very Scottish accent, especially when I sing. This is a particular reason why I like Simon Neil – he sings in a Scottish accent and is proud to. One thing I fucking hate is when you listen to a Scottish band and they sound American or English. Then you listen to them speak, and they have a Scottish accent – it just doesn’t make sense to me.

I remember when the guys and us met up about the band – it was casual. They knew that I could sing since we all went to the same school as one another, and they knew I would be the right part for a rock-style band. I actually particularly got into singing through the choir at my high school. They were short of boys and I kind of got pushed into helping out and singing. It wasn’t until a school musical when we did a sound check that I realised I could sing. Everyone else found out that day too.

The one thing I love about being a musician though is that moment when everything just comes together with the band. That feeling of fulfilment, accomplishment, euphoria – name it what you will – is what makes being in a band such an enjoyable thing, and is the main reason I would love to do music for a living.

By Adam Logan

Posted in: Feature