Dark Stares; it’s rock… well… darker. The St Albans bred band produce a unique blend of classic straight rocking, with the force and verve of a metal band. Miles Howell leads the vocals with a raffish husk. He’s accompanied by Brett Howell on the bass (key to this band’s bite) and Taylor Howell who keeps time on the drums.
Then last but not least is Harry Collins (lead guitarist), a man that definitely knows his instrument. Harry (21) is at the University of Surrey, studying Music Technology. While Miles (23) and Brett (26) work part-time jobs in between gigging and recording. Taylor (20) isn't working at the moment but he is the driving force behind the production of the band's music and videos.
With such talent it’s unsurprising that their fan-base is snowballing at the moment. ‘Bad Machine’, a track from their EP ‘Octopon’, recently achieved 100,000 views on Youtube.
The band has also received critical acclaim from ‘Shout it Loud Reviews’, who praised Dark Stares for their ‘raw sound’ and their ability ‘to write a damn good song’. This is a group of musicians that seems to be going somewhere. I caught up with the boys to see where they thought the music might take them.
Dark Stares talk dreams, the music industry and band bust ups.
How would you describe your style?
We don’t really like being restricted to a specific style but I guess you could say we play the good blues or rock music that people aren’t getting enough of these days.
Who are your influences?
We could fit in nicely with the underground blues bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Queens of the Stone Age, and who the hell doesn’t like Led Zeppelin or Jimmy Hendrix but it’s not like we have any straight-up influences.
What’s it like being in a band with three brothers? (answered by Harry)
I’ve grown up with them so it doesn’t really feel strange because we’ve been around each for twenty years now.
Are there any bust ups?
Oh yeah! There are disagreements, and there’s been a couple of rowdy bust ups but nothing that won’t be settled later on that day and then there’ll be good times to follow.
How was it working alongside The Darkness and Enter Shakari?
It was great as a fresh band to get on to some cool stages and to play for people that really appreciated music. Earlier than most bands would, we got a chance to play for music lovers.
A lot time and effort has obviously been put into making your music videos, what was the process?
‘Whiskey’ was the first video we released. We were really indulgent in the mixing phase, spending hours and hours in the studio. For ‘Bad Machine’ we went more psychedelic. The production company were really creative with their ideas and in fact Tay (the drummer) did a lot work there too and did a lot of the after affects you see in the video now.
We’ve a got a new EP coming out. It’s going to rock everyone socks off. We’re really happy with it. We don’t have a release date but there will be six tracks. There are some songs that have been floating around in our set list that we never got down and some absolutely brand new ones. We spent much more time in the studio than we had for other EPs and we think people are definitely going to like it.
Are you spending less time gigging?
We haven’t stopped gigging completely but we’ve slowed down. We’ve got the EP, there’s going to be more photography and we’re getting more videos done (acoustic sessions and interviews). We’re focusing on the online world now and when it picks up enough steam we’ll be gigging, no doubt.
Is that normal for young bands in today’s music industry?
Well the power of the internet is getting stronger and stronger. Most young bands think let’s gig five times a week, for a year and maybe we’ll get signed but that doesn’t really happen anymore. The general physical music scene is struggling at the moment but we look how we’re spreading to people online and we think let’s give them more.
Is it working?
Definitely, we’re selling T-shirts in Australia, and records in places like Austria, the States, Hungary, Japan and Indonesia.
So where are you guys going to be in five years?
Who knows? We want to be an established band. Maybe about to release our fifth album and go on our tenth arena tour. That’s the dream and that’s the plan as well. Maybe we’ll still be an underground band but there’s one thing for sure: we’ll still be making music and that’s the most important thing for us.