(By: Josie Mills)
The Stolen is back with a new sound and songs that will be stuck in your head all summer.
The pop/rock quartet, consisting of Dom Cuce on vocals, Rob Chiarappa on guitar and vocals, Kevin Smart on bass and Mike Chiarappa on drums, is from New Jersey but has a devout fan base in Canada and the U.S. The boys started their music career covering their favourite songs in 2005 and then began recording music in 2009. They went on to win over fans of Neon Trees and The All-American Rejects during opening slots on their tours and had media outlets like Buzznet describe them as “feeling like The 1975 married The Maine”.
The group has continued their rise by releasing their new EP ‘I’m So Dead’ on April 8. The EP is co-produced by Rob and Mike Oettinger who have also worked with bands like Man Overboard and Transit. The guys also enlisted the support of Grammy-nominated German mastering engineer Robin Schmidt, who worked with The 1975 on their debut album.
The Stolen played at D-Beastro, a vegan restaurant and event venue in Toronto, on March 31 as part of their Spring EP release tour. We caught up with Dom, Rob and Mike before their show to find out about life on the road and their new music.
Where did the name The Stolen come from?
Dom: We’ve been a band since I was nine years old. We were playing block parties and other things around our local area and I said, “Guys, we need a way to identify ourselves. Who are we?” So, our bass player who had his bike stolen suggested the name.
Rob: It’s the most phony thing since now we are all 20-23 years old and at that time we were around 8-11 years old. The name has a sentimental value to us that we kept.
How would you describe your sound?
Dom: I would say we are an alternative pop/rock band. We consume so many different types of music. When we are in the van on long drives, we’re going back to what we used to like. I’ll say, “Let’s put on the Stones” and so we start jamming to the Stones, but we don’t abandon anything else. I guess you could say our palette is more complex.
You guys started music by doing covers. What is your favourite song to cover?
Rob: I’m going to go with the one we are using on this tour. We throw one cover into our set and we’ve been covering “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. It’s a fun song to play.
Dom: I’d have to go with a throwback. We used to cover “Roxanne” by The Police when we started, or “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. I’m a massive Nirvana fan and I love that song.
You guys do a lot of touring. What’s your favourite part about touring?
Dom: It’s cool because I’ll say, “Alright guys, let’s wake up” and we drive to a different state or we drive to Canada. We see fans that are singing the words back to us and coming out and really supporting us. I think that’s like the best thing – knowing that you have fans following you.
Rob: I had poutine today and I know that’s the most cliche thing for an American to do when they do to Canada, but poutine is awesome.
Dom: People ask what touring is like, or they expect a tour to be a certain way, but it’s completely different. It’s really hard to explain going on tour. It’s fun, but there is so much more going on behind the scenes.
Mike: We don’t have roadies, we don’t have a driver. If we stay out drinking til 3 a.m. we have to wake up and drive hungover for seven hours.
Dom: As an emerging artist, people think it’s like a documentary on Netflix, but no, we’re all crammed into a conversion van that has a broken speedometer. Actually, our windshield wipers broke today.
What do you guys do when you’re not touring?
Dom: I play and coach hockey.
Rob: I work at a recording studio and I record people in my home studio.
Mike: I cut lawns and I also work for an entertainment company.
What is the craziest thing a fan has ever said or done to you guys?
Mike: A few days ago, this girl put a bunch of blow-up dick balloons on our van.
Rob: Someone got a tattoo of our lyrics! That was awesome. Good crazy though.
Dom: We were playing a show in Pittsburgh and these fans showed up from Michigan. The problem is they had another show that night. They drove all the way to Pittsburgh to say hello to us but we were late because of traffic, so they had to leave and drive back to wherever their next show was and it was like a six or seven hour ride. It was fucking insane. That’s dedication. How cool is it though that someone would say, “I wanna drive that far?”
Mike: I say it’s crazy. They didn’t even see the show. Beyond three or four hours is kind of crazy.
Rob: Dom and I disagree; we say it’s dedication.
How do you guys think you have grown as a band since you formed in 2005?
Dom: We’ve grown so much. I mean-
Mike: You’ve grown like two inches.
Dom: Yes, I barely grew. But as a person, where we started to where we are now, it’s crazy to see the transformation. You don’t realize it until you sit back and you remember when we were playing these block parties with our shirts off and we were 10 years old doing classic rock, and here we are now. Also, the way we write music, you can see that we’ve gotten better at that.
Rob: We’ve learned how to express ourselves more too. Music is an art of expression and by doing it longer you start to think less about what others think and more about what you’re really trying to say and how you’re trying to get your message across. As a 13 year old, not only do you not have much to talk about but the way you express it is different.
Dom: You can’t give a shit about what people think about you. We make music for ourselves. We love putting it out to our fans and we love that they support everything, but in the end we write music for us and what we feel and what we think. That’s how it should be, because if you’re writing for someone else or for the biggest hit then you’re not making music for the right reasons.
Rob: Being in a band is a strange addiction.
Dom: I feel like we’ll be 40 one day sitting back and finally realize that’s how we grew. We’ll call you up and finally tell you that we have a great answer for this question.
Thank you, The Stolen! Find The Stolen online at http://www.thestolenmusic.com/.