After a hugely successful 2021 which included releasing six singles and headlining shows across the state, alternative indie rock band Stapleton will be performing at the Fishtrap theatre at MANPAC to celebrate the release of their EP ‘Try to Keep in Touch‘.
While the band prepares to take the MANPAC stage on January 29, the Mail sat down with frontman Jon Stapleton to talk about all things Stapleton.
Tell us a little about how Stapleton was formed.
Jon: It started when I won a busking competition at Nannup festival in 2019, and one of the prizes was to be able to play a set at the festival the following year.
At the time, I was at WAAPA, which is where I met most of the people in the band – I ended up sort of jamming with a few people and got a band together for Nannup.
After that it evolved into more of a collaborative thing and we recorded an EP in 2020 when the lockdowns and things started happening. Since then we’ve changed members a couple of times and have had some amazing people come through and add to our journey.
Gus McKenzie and Dave Chidgzey have been pretty much on board since those first jams and we’re great mates.
We heard you recently got a new drummer?
Jon: Yeah! Sam Newman our last drummer left because he was moving into some other things – we loved playing with Sam, he’s an absolute beast. Basically, we’re all in a friendship group and our friend Madi Hanley is a killer drummer and had been playing for some other bands and then a few months ago Gus and I went ‘I wonder if Madi would drum for us?’
For the first time since we’d known her she had some more time on her hands so we thought we’d at least throw it to her to see what she thinks and she just like, didn’t hesitate – she said yes straight away.
Stapleton – Running Blind
Which artists inspire you as a musician?
Jon: Gus and I work on a lot of the tunes and work on a lot of the guitar parts – I write most of the lyrics. I’ve been writing songs since I was 14 and the inspiration comes from a lot of places.
I grew up listening to the Strokes, the Kooks and Foals – you know, that real bread and butter alternative indie rock music.
Gus is sort of into a lot of more modern funk like Vulfpeck. The longer we’ve played together we’ve played around with a more expansive sound with a lot of 90s influence.
Which song from your EP is your favourite?
Jon: I imagine the answers for the four of us would be different… but if I had to pick one I’d say ‘I don’t wanna need you’ is my favourite – because a lot of the vibe of the EP is about growing up and moving out. I moved houses four times last year, that song was about the first time, and it’s like a snapshot of that moment in my life.
If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead, who would it be?
Jon: I wish I could download my Spotify wrapped to my head right now (laughs).
I think it would be Frank Ocean actually – he’s so secretive and has such a high strike rate of just… wild ideas but incredible good songs. It would just be cool to see how he works and it would be a sick experience.
Why did you choose the MANPAC for your show?
Jon: Gus, our guitarist, has a holiday house in Mandurah – so we’ve got ties to the city and we’ll stay there for the night of our show.
I mean, as a band in WA we think it’s really important to play as far up and down the coast as you can. I played some gigs with my last band in Mandurah and it has a really vibrant music scene and it’s always fun going somewhere and figuring out what the bands there are playing and their culture and vibe.
We are usually hitting up more of the pub and dive bar type spots, and the Fishtrap gave us an opportunity to play somewhere different and create a show that had sort of a different vibe than a pub show. I think our tunes should hold up in a massive room.
What do you hope the future will hold for Stapleton?
Jon: I suppose at the moment, the long-term, two-year vision is to work towards an album. Obviously we won’t be going in to record 10 tracks tomorrow, but for the next few years we want to chip away at 10 or 11 tracks that would work well together. We want to make sure it’s 10 really good songs.
Ideally, for now we want to focus on getting to know people in Perth who are digging our tunes and hopefully get our music out to more people. My dream has always been to play music in different parts of the world and have people tune in all over the place and have it mean something to them.
To follow Stapleton’s journey, visit their socials: