Stars in Stereo certainly don’t like to take long breaks. The band that spends most of their time on the road is finally taking a small summer vacation before they head back out on the road with rock acts Sick Puppies and You Me At Six on multiple tours. But while they take their break, their fans are enjoying their latest release, Leave Your Mark, the intense and grittier follow-up to their self-titled. We sat down with lead singer, Bec Hollocraft, to talk summer touring and their new music.
Substream Magazine: Leave Your Mark has been out for a couple weeks now. How have your fans been reacting to it?
Bec Hollcraft: It’s been awesome because it’s a little heavier and it’s a little different direction than the first album, and so far it’s been a positive response. Of course there is going to be a couple of people who are going to prefer the first album or whatever, but it’s never anything particularly negative. It’s just like ‘oh, this is different!’ But it’s been positive so far so we’re really happy.
SM: How has this album been different than your previous albums?
BH: I would say it’s more aggressive with the lyrical approach than the first album. We’re just not tiptoeing anything and we’re just saying exactly what’s on our minds without censoring or being worried about it. We’re pushing it a little further with this album.
SM: Were there any new or different influences or life events that helped shape this record?
BH: I would say just being on tour for basically a year straight helped evolved this album because we were kind of writing it throughout the tour. We’d write a couple songs in the back lounge of our tour bus. Playing live and seeing what we really want from an audience determined how we were going to write this album. When we wrote the first album, we hadn’t toured, we just knew that we liked the same kind of music and just vibbed off each other. Now we know each other so well and we know exactly what we want from the audience and what we want to give to our fans. It was quicker than writing the first album.
SM: You gave away free copies of your album to fans through a virtual tour where they had to visit different sites and watch live performances to find tarot cards. What inspired this unique way to give away some of your music?
BH: You can see them all of those videos YouTube now. We had a video on a different website each day, so it was kind of like touring the internet. It was really awesome for us. It was a great way to incorporate the art with the video and give fans an opportunity to win things. It’s always fun to win free shit (laughs.) I think it’s just having that connection with our fans and just wanting to give something back because they’ve been so good to us. We just wanted that opportunity to connect with them. It’s just something we wanted to do, it wasn’t something really thought out.
SM: What’s your favorite song off Leave Your Mark?
BH: For me, it’s “Leave Your Mark,” the single. It’s just the message, and honestly, we wrote that song in twenty minutes. It was so fast and it didn’t need to be changed. It was just written, we were happy and it ended up being the title track.
SM: Any plans for some music videos?
BH: Well, we just did the Virtual Tour, and that was all live videos, but those were the first videos we’ve released for this album. Outside of that, we are going to release a video for “Leave Your Mark,” it’s just a matter of getting it all ready to go, but we have filmed it.
SM: Do you have any touring plans for the rest of the summer?
BH: We had a tour that we booked and it got postponed, so we were supposed to be on tour in April/May, but that tour got postponed with You Me At Six until September. So we had these plans, then because we had these plans, it was harder to figure out another tour so quickly because it got cancelled last minute. Outside of that, we’ve been doing a lot of single dates like Rock on the Range and Summerfest in Milwaukee. Then we are doing a few more one-offs, like a show in Boise. We have a short run with Sick Puppies and another tour after that so, we’ll be out until late August, then we’ll be going back out with You Me At Six after that.
SM: What’s your favorite part of summer touring?
BH: The summer is great because you can just go outside, have good weather and know you’re not going to freeze. Loading in and out is way easier. I don’t get out much. Like if I’m going to be outside, it’s probably because I’m on tour. I usually am just a studio rat. Touring is great because it does get you out there in that fresh air. It’s a blast, it’s such an exciting time of the year. People are happier and everyone just wants to party and have a good time. It’s more fun to tour in the summer more than any other time.
SM: Any other summer plans like a vacation?
BH: The whole time I’m on vacation, I’m stressing out on all the things I could be doing. I’ve made a few weekend trips, but I’m very work oriented, so no I don’t have anything planned.
SM: If you could tour with any band, who would it be?
BH: Probably a band like Muse. Their live show is so amazing and they’ve influenced us a lot. Matthew Bellamy has influenced me, as a singer, a lot. To be able to tour with a band like that who can play for 20,000 people and have written so many great songs, I would love if our band could one day have success like that. That’s the dream.
SM: You’ve been a strong voice for females in the metal scene, a place typically dominated by male performers and fans. What’s your advice to younger girls with an interest in metal?
BH: If you’re deterred by the gender ratio, you definitely shouldn’t do it. If you’re going to be a performer, gender should have nothing to do with it, it shouldn’t even be in your mind, and if it is, that’s your first problem. For me, singing was something I had to do. I was a solo artist for a while and I just wasn’t feeling inspired and like something was missing. Once I found the right people, it totally changed everything for the better. It’s about finding the right people, and that’s the hardest part. I just did it all on my own until people became interested. You just have to put in the hours and the work, and when you do, people will see that and want to be a part of it.
SM: What is your definition of personal success when it comes to SIS?
BH: I just want to be able to do music for the rest of my life. Being able to live off of it is the dream. It’s just about being able to sustain a life through music.
SM: Thanks, Bec! See you on the road this summer.
Leave Your Mark is available on iTunes now!