STONE have announced their debut album, ‘Fear Life For A Lifetime’: “The universe doesn’t like desperate”

STONE are about to release their much-anticipated debut album, ‘Fear Life For A Lifetime’, but it’s a record they’ve been crafting for years. If it comes to it, they’re even willing to fight an alligator. Read and listen with our latest Hype playlist cover feature.

Words: Steven Loftin.
Photos: Claudia Legge.

If you’re going to face your fears, what better reason than for your debut album’s artwork? STONE frontman Fin Power found himself doing this in the name of ‘Fear Life For A Lifetime’. But before taking the now-immortalised leap, the band had to throw themselves into making the actual record.

Recorded in verdant Vermont while housed in the woods, miles from a city and only a small town for reality (and a college town they’d occasionally visit for a night out), STONE discovered a newfound perspective and pride blossoming for the world they cemented on ‘Fear Life’. Vignettes of the cold hard truths that come with growing (‘Never Gonna Die’, ‘My Thoughts Go’), living (‘Jump Up’), loving (‘Queen’), losing (‘Love Sick Disaster’), and witnessing (‘Train’) in their hometown of Liverpool. But being thrust into the spotlight as the Brit out-of-towners meant the four-piece fell in love with the mundane and inane that, at that moment, felt a world away.

“We felt our identity stronger than ever,” Fin remembers, “because that was the only identity within a square 100 miles; that was the only piece of home… All we had was each other and our own thoughts. So I felt like when we got in the room, we pushed our own identity, and being with an American producer and American crew, they had their ways of doing things I quite liked.”

It wasn’t just the crew they teamed up with; the local wildlife also gave STONE pause to reflect on how far they’ve come. Excitedly recalling a list of creatures they’d see out on their regular walks in the woods, including bears, porcupines (“They’re fucking huge!”), and snakes, “And then I’d go in and sing about being in Liverpool,” Fin laughs. “So I think if anything, I probably performed more proud than I performed it with nostalgia.”

Having already laid foundations with their pair of ‘Punkadonk’ EPs, this full-length, due out in summer, is a vision coming to life. Those EPs were a taster menu. Rather than establishing the STONE sound, these mini-releases were instead a way for other bits and pieces to see the light of day. “We had songs that were touching on metal, and there was a bit of drum and bass,” recalls drummer Alex Smith. Fin adds, “It’s different variations of genres and styles, and we’ve still kept that – STONE doesn’t have a box. People keep trying to put us in a box, but there is no one box. But with the album, it definitely feels like the album is a story; there’s a storyline to it and a lot more emotional depth to it.”

In the background, they’ve always been focused on the bigger picture this debut was going to be. “We have been crafting this album to the tiniest, tiniest detail. We’ve had the name for like four, five years,” reveals Fin.

STONE doesn’t have a box. People keep trying to put us in a box, but there is no one box

Fin Power

Since their inception, STONE have been all-or-nothing, dedicatedly driving towards an idea that’s been burning wildly in their minds. With Fin first recruiting guitarist Eliot Gil, then Alex, and finally bassist Sarah Surridge over a span of years, the four were all united under the impression that this was it – STONE is the only thing that matters – and it’s paid off. They signed with Polydor in 2022, and where previously part-time jobs were helping fund the dream, now, it’s all systems go. Being so devoted to the cause, however, does come with its pitfalls.

“There are positives and obviously negatives,” Fin says. “Sometimes we caught ourselves in the past pushing too hard that we’d rush, but now we’re in a great place. Even with the album, in the end, we took our time. It’s making sure you find that fine line where you’ve got to still nurture the artist but also try to make the art better.”

STONE is certainly a case for a long-con paying off. For years, they’ve offered up their ambitions to the world while also establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with live and this debut of theirs plays out with the same ruthlessly driven energy of a band itching to get off the start line. Opening with a short, titular poem, Fin recalls writing it “about five years ago, and I went, ‘It’s our time, we live to get fucked and fear life for a lifetime’.”

He explains further, “Everyone’s out there partying, trying not to worry about life, and with the album cover, that’s where it links in.”

This takes us back to the STONE vocalist plummeting through the air into the cold blue-grey below. Facing his fears – heights, water – was naturally the only option for such a focused album by a band hell-bent on scoring the dream. So, after (finally) getting the all-clear from an understandably concerned record label, and after some dive training assisted by Alex, Fin took the great leap, taking full circle the band’s ambitions, drive, and restlessness into a ready-baked metaphor. “That was the whole point,” Fin beams, “it doesn’t have to be that way.

With this being their big moment, the only feeling they have is a fizzing anticipation. This is the step forward that they’ve been building in their heads. It’s an encapsulating of a uniquely British experience, like their 90s Britpop forbearers with mid-00s indie homages, which relishes in finally being uncaged through every snarled quip and yowled hook. It’s safe to say that STONE are ready to establish themselves with ‘Fear Life’. That’s not to mention the growth they’ve each undertaken on this journey. Having grown both individually and together, Alex reckons, “The band, as a unit, has really matured. If we’re gonna do this, we want this to last, and we want this to be our lives, then you’ve got to mature. I’ve definitely seen in myself that I’ve fockin’ grown up a lot since when we first started writing the tunes.”

If it makes sense for me to go and fight an alligator for an album cover one day, then I’ll do it in the name of rock’n’roll!

Fin Power

Recalling when they initially inked their deal, they found themselves thrust into the fast-paced world they’d been eyeing up since forming. Sent out on the road early last year to support The Kooks for a month in Europe, it was the first time the four of them had been put into that pressure cooker environment. “We’d never been slammed in that environment so close together,” recalls Fin. “We’d be kidding ourselves if we said it was perfect and everything went great. But what we have done is we’ve grown so much as a unit, and we’ve always spoken out, and we’ve always been so open with each other [since].”

Recording in such isolated surroundings was another scenario that could’ve led to a weaker band’s downfall. But, for this young, burgeoning group, it was just another way they could prove they’re all inextricably linked by a desire to succeed. “To make a cake, you’ve got to have certain ingredients,” says Alex. “Everyone brings something different; we might clash sometimes, but, in the end, the arguments are conducive to a fockin’ brilliant bit of art. So I think all them disagreements, you can acknowledge that they’ve allowed us to get to where we are.”

STONE have set the bar for themselves with ‘Fear Life For A Lifetime’. The future is even already in their sights. “We’ve got the second album name; we’ve had it for about two years,” Fin excitedly grins. Yet, how far they’ll go next is anyone’s guess – especially Fin’s. “I might jump out of a plane next thing and dive into an ocean and fight a shark,” he laughs. “How do we push harder? We just keep doing what we’re doing and be honest with ourselves.”

That honesty extends to the reality of being an up-and-coming band – it could all go their way, or it could not, but as long as they stay true to themselves, the rewards will eventually come. “If we set an expectation of how big we’ve got to get or what we’ve got to do next, we’re going to be desperate,” Fin explains. “And the universe doesn’t like desperate. So we’ve got to be relaxed and carry on making our music and doing our thing. If it makes sense for me to go and fight an alligator for an album cover one day, then I’ll do it in the name of rock’n’roll!” ■

STONE’s album ‘Fear Life For A Lifetime’ is out 12th July. Follow Dork’s Hype Spotify playlist here.