Stereo Reform describes their unusual sound ahead of Hilton Head Island show

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMarch 21, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    WHERE: The Smokehouse, 34 Palmetto Bay Road, Hilton Head Island

    WHEN: 9 p.m. March 22

    COST: Free, but 21 and older

    DETAILS: www.smokehousehhi.com

Will Evans and Neil Turner were always at a loss for words when asked to describe the sound of their band, Stereo Reform.

So they made one up.

"We call it dance-a-funk-a-rock-a-tronic," said Evans, the band's bass and keyboard player. "We really do think we do a little bit of everything. There are tracks that definitely feel more rock influenced and then others where we know we wanted something with a more modern element mixed with some retro-sounding synth. It's all infused together."

The result is a band whose sound toggles seamlessly between electronica, 1970s funk a la Average White Band and more contemporary indie rock reminiscent of Phoenix, Franz Ferdinand or Bloc Party.

"We've been influenced by a lot of different bands -- from Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Metallica to Hall & Oates to Phish," Evans said. "We never wanted to do just one type of music or be easily grouped into one genre."

Formed in 2007, the Charleston duo who now call Greenville home will perform at 9 p.m. March 22 at The Smokehouse on Hilton Head Island.

Evans discusses the band's formation, their brief stay in Los Angeles and how they used Kickstarter to fund their upcoming LP.

Question. How did you and Neil meet?

Answer. We originally met through a friend of a friend who had put a Craigslist out because he was looking for musicians, and Neil answered it. He introduced us, and we just started working together. We played around Charleston for a while and we ended up moving out to L.A. and we were there for about nine months, made an album (2008's "Robots of Evolution) and then went on tour.

Q. Sounds like it happened pretty fast. How long was it between the time you met and when you moved to L.A.?

A. It was under a year. Neil had a bunch of songs that he had written that we had been playing around Charleston, and we met a guy in L.A. who owned a studio and we thought, "If we are going to do this, let's do it" and off we went. I think we knew pretty early on that we liked playing together.

Q. You recently used Kickstarter (a popular crowd-funding website) to raise money to record a new album. What was that like?

A. Yeah, we were looking to raise $10,000, and we had heard of other bands doing it so we gave it a shot. To the people who backed our Kickstarter, we were offering things like T-shirts and stickers and copies of the record -- to people who donated $10 to $75 -- but for bigger donors, we were offering to put their name in the album credits. I think at some of the really high amounts, we offered to cut their grass and perform a private show at their house (laughs). Most of the people who donated are getting T-shirts and tickets.

Q. For those who might be seeing Stereo Reform for the first time March 22, what should they expect?

A. It kind of depends. For a show like The Smokehouse, we'll probably do a pretty good mix of covers and originals. We do Three Dog Night, some older (David) Bowie stuff, The Climax Blues Band and a bunch of older stuff that we dig. Our preference would be to play all originals but when you're playing somewhere new to people who haven't heard you, you can't just come out with a bunch of songs no one's heard before.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.

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