Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with The Blue Stones

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We had the pleasure of interviewing The Blue Stones over Zoom video!

When Tarek Jafar and Justin Tessier formed The Blue Stones, they were facing uncertainty about who they were and where they were going. But they did know they wanted to make music together, and so they did, writing songs over time and eventually releasing their debut album ​Black Holes ​in 2018. As confident and self-assured as they are, that record was very much about the pair finding themselves, both musically and existentially, and deciding to pursue the rock’n’roll dream by jumping into a black hole of the unknown instead of choosing a more ordinary life-path.

The band drew the attention of producer, Paul Meany – the creative force behind alternative rock band Mutemath, and who recently worked with Twenty One Pilots, producing their fifth album, Trench. Needless to say, getting Paul involved provided the pair with a huge sense of validation.

Working with Meany didn’t just lead to The Blue Stones exploring – and creating – music in a different way than they had before, but it also led Jafar to approach and tackle lyrics in an entirely new light. Combined with the band’s nuanced and layered approach to their sound, it makes these songs resonate with a powerful emotional intensity.

The band has released multiple songs as singles leading into their highly anticipated sophomore album release, ​Hidden Gems​, in Spring 2021. The first of those is ‘Shakin’ Off The Rust’ – a song, as Jafarexplains, that very much serves as a mission statement for their renewed sense of confidence and newfound identity.

That much is clear from listening to the songs that the pair have crafted for their sophomore release. While ‘Shakin’ Off the Rust’ is probably the closest to the sound the band inhabited on ​Black Holes​, it also represents a clear and profound evolution – it’s more textured, more layered, and, yes, more confident than anything on the first record. That’s an idea the pair – Jafar on vocals and guitars, Tessieron percussion, and backing vocals – have woven into the fabric of the other new songs. Take, for instance, the restrained, layered, hip-hop-inspired vibes of both ‘Careless’ and ‘Make This Easy’, two songs that would be hard to imagine the band that made ​Black Holes ​recording, but which make total sense in terms of their new outlook and approach. Although The Blue Stones were always more than a blues-rock duo, that’s especially true now on ​Hidden Gems​.

The result was not just that The Blue Stones truly discovered who they were while writing these songs, but they’ve crafted something that shimmers with such purity and truth – musically and lyrically – that you can’t help but be swept up and carried off by these songs They’ve redefined who they are, but at the same time ensured they kept their identity intact.

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