STEALING HEATHER INTERVIEW

Los Angeles-based pop-rock band Stealing Heather stands for something; they represent a foregone era when talent wasn’t a purchased commodity, when singing live didn’t require more digital machinery than a tech expo.
The band represents a necessary musical counterpoint in both sound and depth. In the age of 30-second attention spans and banal pop songs, Stealing Heather’s sincerity and their emerging reputation as the thinking person’s pop-rock band stands in stark contrast.

FAME Q&A with Stealing Heather’s singer/songwriter Joshua Aaron:

WHO
Joshua Aaron – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Jim Briggs – Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
George Bohdan – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Carling Schatzman – Drums, Backing Vocals

WHAT
We try to make music that we love to listen to and that has an energizing and/or emotional energy. In this era of music that has no meaning, and usually talks about how cool the person singing the song is, or what party they are hitting up next, we try to go the other way in order to create something meaningful.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
We’re quite an eclectic group. I (Joshua Aaron) am originally from Cleveland, OH, but spent quite a bit of time in New York City over the years while I was playing with The Rosenbergs.

Jim is from a small town about an hour and a half south of San Francisco, CA. George’s family is Ukrainian but he was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Carling is from Macon, GA, a smaller town about two hours south of Atlanta.

Now everyone lives in Los Angeles, CA, which is of course where Stealing Heather hails from.
HOW
After releasing the first Stealing Heather album in 2006, “Six Minutes to Somewhere”, and while still living in Cleveland, I spent a few years working on “Your Mistake”, the current album which is available now on iTunes

The songs I was writing were very personal to me and I was in a place where I didn’t want any outside influence. So, I worked on it alone for about 90% of the process. Once I relocated to Los Angeles I spent months looking for the right group of guys to make up what I like to call a “real band.”

I had no interest in working with hired guns, or a backup band. I wanted a band like how it used to be back in the 60’s and 70’s. A group of guys that all shared the same vision, and were a family.

After trying out a bunch of different people, some of which stayed on longer than others, I finally found these guys and couldn’t be happier.

Each one of them brings something different to the table, and all of them are extremely talented and wonderful individuals.

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
When I was growing up I listened to everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis, to The Grateful Dead, to Pink Floyd, and of course The Doors.

I think Jim Morrison’s poetry and the way he connected with the audience is what most influenced me back then, and it still does today.

These days I’m listening to Weezer, Snow Patrol, Coldplay, The Killers, Radiohead, and Stereophonics (just to name a few of my favorites).

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST PART OF BEING IN THE BAND FOR YOU?
As the de facto “leader of the band”, I think the hardest part has been making sure that we all share the spotlight together, and it never becomes Joshua Aaron this or Joshua Aaron that, while everyone else is left in the dark.

The energy that we have on stage is because we are a group, not just one person and some musicians. I think the fans really connect with that as well.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR EARLY DAYS AND HOW THEY DIFFER FROM NOW?
The early days were definitely different. Depending on how far you want me to go back, I can say that as a songwriter I’ve come leaps and bounds from where I started.

As a performer, I’ve always tried to play every show as if it was my last performance, but I’ve become better at interacting with the audience. Certainly the big difference is the amount of people that come to see us and their dedication to the band.

There’s nothing like having fans singing your own songs back to you. It’s really one of the best feelings in the world.

WHAT WAS THE LAST GIG YOU PLAYED, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
The last show we played was here in Hollywood, CA at The Viper Room. It’s a great venue on the Sunset Strip and the sound is amazing.

We had an incredible time, though George and I had the worst colds we’d had in years. Luckily we were able to pull everything together for the set and still kick ass.

HAVE YOU ANY FORTHCOMING GIGS IN UK/ IRELAND? IF SO ARE YOU LOOKING FOR WARD TO THEM AND WHY?
I would love to come over and play a bunch of dates but we don’t have anything on the schedule right now. Last time I was over there I didn’t want to leave. Maybe next spring or summer we can make that happen.

WHAT’S THE MOST SUCCESSFUL THING YOU GUYS HAVE DONE TO DATE?

It may not be monetarily or publicity related, but I’d have to say that finishing this album and hearing/reading the responses and reviews is one of the most successful things I’ve ever done.

WHO HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
My wife Carolyn has been my biggest fan for over 14 years now. She pushes me to write better music, has no problem telling me when an idea isn’t worth pursuing, and always supports me in whatever I’m doing.

If it wasn’t for her I don’t think I’d be where I am today.

WHAT’S COMING NEXT FOR THE BAND?
Next on the list is touring, and hopefully some making the rounds on the TV shows. We’re going to start here in the USA and then branch out.

IS IT HARD BEING A NEW BAND IN TODAY’S INDUSTRY?
It’s extremely hard. If it weren’t for our record label and our amazing PR team I don’t know how we would’ve done it.

I was very fortunate to have already had some success prior to Stealing Heather and had made a lot of friends in the music industry when I decided to branch out with my own project.

If I didn’t know anyone and didn’t have my industry connections and friends, I think it would’ve been virtually impossible.

I’m certainly not trying to dash anyone’s dreams, but this is one of the hardest businesses there is.

You can be the most amazing talent on the planet, but if you don’t have the promotion to back you up and the right team that truly believes in what you do, very few people will ever get to hear you. Sad but true.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL NETWORK SITES TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BAND?
Being able to immediately share news, events, and interact with our fans all over the world at the stroke of a keyboard has been extremely beneficial to the success of this band.

Not only do we have an outstanding website with a great fan club (which is completely free by the way), but we have our Facebook facebook.com/stealingheather and Twitter twitter.com/stealingheather sites.

Between everything we have online we’re connecting with more and more fans on a daily basis. I love it!

QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS:

WHO’S THE MESSIEST IN THE BAND?
We’re all fairly neat individuals but if I had to choose I’d say Carling, just because he has so many drum related items to keep track of.

WHO IS HARDEST TO LIVE WITH ON TOUR?
Oh probably me. I’m always going here or there, or right after the show I have to do an interview or something and that leaves the rest of the guys to make sure everything is taken care of.

I don’t really think any of us are hard to live with but I’ll take the hit on this one, lol.

WHO IS THE JOKER AND WHY?
Definitely Jim. He’s always got a great joke or a funny voice to make us smile. He’s the plucky comic relief.

WHO MOANS THE MOST?
Again, probably me. Everyone’s so easy going but I tend to be a bit of a control freak at times, and in the words of Dr. Evil, I like to ensure that everything is going to plan.

WHO IS THE MOST ROCK ‘N’ ROLL & WHY?
George. As soon as the show is over he’s on the prowl for a cute girl and a couple pints. The rest of us are ready to fall asleep but somehow George gets the energy to go out and party all night. Totally rock ‘n’ roll.

WHO IS THE LOUDEST?
Carling. Drummers always make the most noise.

WHO IS THE MOST ANNOYING?
We’re all equally annoying in our own ways.

WHAT’S THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING SOMEONE IN THE BAND HAS DONE?
Well, I forgot to bring a second guitar one night, broke a string on the downbeat of the first song, and spent 15 minutes changing the string while the audience sat and watched.

By the way, the 15 minutes it took was because as I was just about done changing the string I realized I had used the wrong string and had to start all over. It worked out though because we played a great show.

WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH IN THE INDUSTRY?
I’d very much like to collaborate with Bono, not so much in a musical sense, but more in a political way.

What he has done for awareness of world issues is nothing short of extraordinary, and being very politically involved myself, I would love to combine efforts with him for the greater good.

WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH IN UK/ IRELAND OR NORTHERN IRELAND AND WHY?
I really love what Gary Lightbody is doing with Snow Patrol. I think it’d be great to work on an album with him and possibly do a tour with the band.

We often get compared to Snow Patrol and I think it’s because both Gary and I try to write in a way that truly connects with people.
www.stealingheather.com

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