Published in Drum Perth (Jun 7, 2012)
THE TRAVEL BUG
Lawyer by day, international rock star by night, Mark Di Renzo manages to slip out of a business meeting to chat with Daniel Cribb about The Stanleys’ debut EP Always and the band’s somewhat backwards game plan.
Release an EP or two and an album, hit the radio, conquer your hometown, head over east a few times, and then take on the rest of the world. This is what seems a logical sequence of goals for a band, and often each component somewhat rely on one another, but Perth power pop-rockers The Stanleys had a different blueprint laid out in front of them when they started in 2011.
Their mission to take over the world began long before any official release had surfaced from the band – even before they were stage ready. In fact, it begins with frontman Mark Di Renzo laying down musical roots throughout the US in his other band Gigantic. In 2011 Gigantic were offered a slot at The International Pop Overthrow Festival in LA, but declined as the band were on holiday. Di Renzo suggested his new musical endeavor The Stanleys, who at this stage hadn’t even played their first gig. Locking in an international show, more US dates unfolded and eventually expanded to Europe and Japan, transforming their live debut into somewhat of a world tour. Returning home victorious, songwriting became the main item on their agenda.
“The [Always EP] came about through Gigantic’s last visit to Japan, where a promoter told us about an act called Caddy, and that is Tomas Dahl who is a studio member of The Stanleys [and the drummer for Norwegian punk-rockers Turbonegro]. Essentially what happened was, we started talking online – Tomas and I had never met or spoken on the phone – and we started writing songs over email. Just shooting MP3s to each other and we were pretty happy with what was going on, so we got in the studio,” Di Renzo explains. “Lyrically, it is pretty simple. We’re not necessarily trying to change the world with what we do, we just want to play rock ‘n’ roll, have fun and if people want to jump on the train and have fun with us then that’s awesome.”
With Always coming out in China a month before the rest of the world, it was fitting to kick the EP tour off there. A couple of hundred people at each show confirmed they’re on the right track. “It’s really quite amazing that you can write a tune on your sofa at home and jump on a plane and have people waiting there for you to play it and for them to go nuts, have a dance, have fun – especially on the other side of the world, where English isn’t their first language. It’s fantastic that music can break those barriers.” And no tour of China is complete without an appearance on Chinese television. “We did an interview on this show called…the English translation of the name of this show is, House Of The Kick Arse People,” he laughs. “Any show that has a name like that that ask you to be on it, you cannot say no.”
Touring the world as well as managing the band and holding down a day job can leave Di Renzo with a lot on his plate at certain times. “The lead up to tour time is bloody busy…I could do with a couple of extra hours sleep, to be honest. But look, there’s plenty of time for that when we’re dead, right? Also, I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and I’ve learnt that if someone offers you something, and it’s something you want to do, you’ve got to do it because you don’t know what’s around the corner.”