From Cynon Valley to the desert of Doha, stalwart rock-pop band the Stereophonics will be bringing a night of new material, nostalgia and awesomeness to the city. FACT’s Sofia Graniello caught up with Richard Jones, bass guitarist, backing vocalist and co-founder of the band about their set in Doha, their motivations and what the future holds…

Welsh band the Stereophonics will be visiting Doha for one night only, performing some of their classic hits and new material. The group has had significant success over the past two decades and are one of the most eagerly-anticipated acts to come to the city this year. Well-known for singles such as Handbags and Gladrags, Have a Nice Day, Maybe Tomorrow, Dakota, and Mama Told Me to name but a few. Last year, the group scored a number one UK hit with their album Keeping The Village Alive. Here’s what Richard Jones had to say when we caught up with him last month…

What can the audience expect from your gig in Doha?

We’ve been performing the new album for a few months, dropping in three or four songs from the new album into the set. It’ll be similar in Doha. We have over 100 of our songs to choose from but have to whittle it down to about 20, which isn’t easy. So far it’s been really successful and it’s great to watch the crowd’s reaction. I’m looking forward to coming to Doha and hoping for the same kind of response. We’re excited to see how they’ll react.

What’s song tends to go down best with the crowd?

There’s some that we can’t not leave out of the set list. They expect to hear them and we are happy to oblige. That includes Dakota, which goes down really well. There’s also Local Boy in the Photograph and Maybe Tomorrow. People expect to hear these and I don’t believe in bands playing obscure songs just to please themselves. The people in the crowd have bought tickets and we want to make sure they have a good night. In turn, we also then have a great time.

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Is seeing the crowd enjoying themselves your main motivation to keep making and playing music?

Yes, absolutely. If you’re performing in front of a crowd that really likes your music then there’s nothing better. That’s the reason we got into it in the first place. We wanted to show what we can do, hope people have a good time and enjoy it ourselves.

How has your music developed over the years?

Storytelling is still at the heart of what we do. That’s what our lyricist Kelly does best. He writes short stories and we make songs out of them. The only thing that’s really changed over the years is the story content. It still relates to what goes on around us but it also takes in all the experiences we’ve had. We just want people to connect with the song and certain elements of it. That’s what makes it so enjoyable when we perform, knowing that there’s an emotional attachment for some of the crowd to that piece of music.

How do you decide which songs to release off an album?

When we’re recording the songs and play them to people, such as management and people that have been with us for a long time, they can help us out to pick which ones can be a hit. For us as a band, it’s really hard to decide which ones should be singles as we’ve all got different attachments to them.

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If you had to choose one song of yours that defines you as a person, which would it be?

I would pick something off the second album. People had just started taking notice of the band. I can’t pick one in particular – it’s just too difficult – but I have many happy memories performing from that album.

And who are you listening to right now?

I’ve recently been listening to a country singer called Lera Lynn. She’s on the second series of the True Detective soundtrack. She has a brilliant voice and does excellent story telling with a dark twist that I really like. There’s also a great band called Drenge – they are a rock band. I listen to anything and everything really – I don’t look for anything in particular.

What’s been the secret to the Stereophonics’ longevity?

I think it’s a couple of things. I think consistency is important, as well as not just resting on laurels. We don’t want to be a band that relies on one song or album. We want to show people we have got different tastes and musical interests that come out in our records. Fortunately for us we are also really good friends so it makes it a lot easier touring together.


 

GO: The Stereophonics will be performing at Indigo, Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel on November 10. Call 3369 2133 for tickets and more information