Records hold a very special place in the hearts of listeners, especially musicians. Whether it be through the distinct artwork, or a stand-out track, records have the unique ability to instantly take us back to the first time we heard them. We spoke to Melbourne born, New York based funk and soul artist, Vic Stone, about his experiences and thoughts on some of his favourite records and the influence they’ve had on his life as a musician, and the making of his newly released LP, One Eleven.
Did any records influence the writing, music or production of One Eleven?
It’s tough for me to pinpoint specifically, as I feel most of the records that Nile Rodger’s did with early CHIC and Sister Sledge influenced the sound of this album, such as: C’est Chic & We Are Family. Rodger’s rhythm playing as a whole definitely impacted my overall playing on One Eleven more than any other factor.
What is your favourite record of all time?
The whole Young Americans record by David Bowie. Sheer brilliance as far as writing and production. I can listen to it any which way and I still always hear something new in it whether it be harmonies or little guitar nuances. Bowie was brilliant at bringing the right people in on his records – in that particular case, Luther Vandross…enough said about the Soul of that record.
What was the first record you bought with your own money?
Purple Rain. That record opened me up to Pop musicality, something that is rare in music today. It was considered Pop but the chords, arrangement & melodies we’re cleverly constructed.
Which record has influenced your music style the most?
Frank, Amy Winehouse’s first record. I loved everything about her and her song writing. Every song had a distinct melody. It’s notable that a lot of the songs were simplistic, yet Amy’s voice and guitar carried the songs…I wanted to do that exactly. It influenced the chord structures I used moving forward and initiated my love for Jazz. I realised that Jazz could translate to Pop and I began incorporating it into my own music. A great song will hold itself acoustically, I firmly believe that.
What has been the biggest surprise release of 2015?
Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special and in particular his collaboration with Bruno Mars that revisited the early “Minneapolis Sound” of the 80s. There is also some tracks that channel the sound of Steely Dan and the L.A 70s sound. His production is flawless. It’s great to see records like it, starting to gain mainstream appeal as they still show musicianship in an era when it’s not so prevalent.
What was playing on your family stereo growing up?
No one in my immediate family was musical whatsoever so I was forced venture out on my own. With that said, my Uncle Ange had a great palette for music and immense Vinyl collection to which I was drawn to. I remember hearing everything from Ella Fitzgerald & Sarah Vaughn to Barry White & Marvin Gaye when he was around.
Which record did you play to death as a teenager?
Sign O’ The Times. Another classic Prince record and the best in my opinion. The production on the surfaced seemed minimal, but after revisiting it, I always and still find something new, especially on ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’. There’s a very distinct sound to that album. A lot of people were using synths and drum machines in the 80’s but not the way Prince did on that record. Watch the concert DVD!
What was the inspiration behind the artwork for One Eleven?
Circa 1970’s New York. Everything about the music, fashion & sexual ideologies.
If you could have featured on any album in history, which one would it be, what would you play, and why?
Playing Rhythm Guitar and “chicken scratching” on James Brown’s Sex Machine. It has that sweet groove that sits right in the pocket with just enough room to groove.
What is your favourite track from One Eleven?
‘How Long’. It’s definitely my favourite song to play live.
What was your most memorable moment while recording One Eleven?
Recording the live video for ‘Rolling Stone’ with The Boys & Girls Choir Of Harlem. The roof of the venue I was using began to collapse due to pressure from the snowstorm. So I had to repair it myself hours before the choir arrived, as I was left the keys to the space. After the choir arrived, we began singing together and I was overwhelmed with their vocal harmonies & energy that they brought to the song. An absolute monster of a choir! My most fulfilling moment to date.
One Eleven is now available for purchase via Offtime Music.