Between Sheets and Walls (2004)
Celebration Of Sorrow (2009)
We catch up with Shawn Stabley of The Dropzines.
Hi, how are you?
Alive and Well.
Would you mind introducing us to your band members?
Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Harmonica, Percussion – Shawn Stabley
Drums, Harmonies, Percussion – Jason Kline
Bass Guitar (live performances) – Grant Jenkins
How long has the current band line up been together?
Jason and I have been together for 10 years
Grant came on board for live performances 3 years ago.
I used to be the bassist and lead vocalist for the NYC group, The Most Sordid Pies in the 90’s. I write and record all of the bass for The Dropzines in addition to guitars and vocals. For live performances, Grant is brought on to lay hands on the bass.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Dropzines’ music had the melody and harmony of Early Beatles and Byrds, combined with the angst and cynicism of the likes of The Standells and The Sex Pistols.
What have you been up to recently?
Still touring the states. I’m working on a side project entitled, The Candy Stains.
What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
Hopefully hearing more of our music on Somojo.
How did you meet each other?
Jason and I met on barstools. I was at a bar after rehearsal one night with a bass player who recognized, Jason and introduced him to me. I was without a drummer at the time. Jason and I began playing together the next day after our hangovers wore off.
How did you come up with your name for the band?
I came up with it. I kept toying with words and phrases to form a unique word that would be the sole result of any internet search.
Did you always want to be in a band?
Always did and always was.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
Beatles, Byrds, Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Adam & the Ants
How long have you been involved with writing & performing music?
A girl never tells her age. At least 25 years. Wow that’s too long!
What were your first music making experiences?
Writing on an old fender acoustic in college. Writing hundreds of songs, but I only ever wrote down the words. A bit of a shame I never bothered writing down the chords.
Are you self-taught or did you have lessons?
I had a few years of guitar lessons in my early teens. Mostly playing the notes to Chet Atkins’ “Alley Cat”.
What is your current equipment?
Not very current. I prefer to use a Rickenbacher 6, Fender Mustang, vox 12 string acoustic played through a Vox Berkeley II amp.
If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
A second guitarist
Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
For the most part. Although every studio I’ve ever recorded in always seems to have an assortment of equipment and instruments that I’ve only ever dreamed of using. So I get more experimental with instruments when recording. But the basic tracks are usually recorded with my aforementioned instruments.
Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
I will write the basic outline of the song. Sometimres playing it with the others will insight crucial development to the structure as well as words will get formed in the process.
Which software/recording process do you use?
We use my studio to rehearse and demo. I use Cool Edit.
In the various recording studios, it’s been Pro tools and 2 inch Apex Reel Tape
Would you sign with a major record company?
Do you have any new recordings planned?
Yes, although, I’ve got a side project going right now with the group, The Candy Stains, I have been holding certain material for the next Dropzines’ record.
How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
I have as much as I can take and as little as the producers can get away with giving me.
Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
I like the development process in the studio, but the console is on the opposite side of the microphone for my tastes.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
With the right people, it is. It’s always good to have some who has your best interested at heart and a clear head. Going it alone or with just a paid engineer sometimes can get a bit one sided and very frustrating.
Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
We do try to perform as closely to the recordings as we can. It takes some work and discipline.
Do you any favourite tracks from your album?
Mine are probably not yours: “Now That I’m Aware”, “Some Of Everything”, “Take That Now!”, “Not Surprising”
Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Shawn (words and music)
Do you have a method for writing songs?
Usually I come up with fragments of the music first. Then comes the hard part, the words. Some songs such as “Now That I’m Aware” took me 2 years to finish penning the lyrics. Just couldn’t make up my mind.
Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
I think a lot of them are about my personal experiences. Cigarette Sun was inspired by an actess/model that starred in our video, “Creature Comfort”
“Take That Now!”, was about a living situation I had with a wonderful girl up in NYC, years ago, and how I couldn’t endure the rich living any longer.
“Not Surprising” is about me and a former drummer from a previous band (names changed to protect the innocent) out around Chelsea on the west side with the girls from the streets.
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Both. The catchy songs come easy, the inspired ones take a lifetime.
Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
Where to begin? I always wanted to by a Byrd. The early Byrds, not the later hippy looking, country crying byrds.
Who are your favourite songwriters?
Well there’s me and there’s Chrissie H, Jacques Brel, Jim McGuinn and John and Paul.
Which countries have you gigged in?
US, Holland, England, Italy, Belgium, Deutschland and Japan(Ciba)
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Australia, US, Holland, England, Italy, Belgium, Deutschland and Japan(Ciba)
Who would you like to tour with?
Any opener will do.
How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Just like this.
Which music promotion websites do you use and do you have a favourite?
We use quite a few. That’s the business side. I’m trying to divest my interests for it gets in the way of making music.
Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit the lesser-known artists?
Good music is not always spoon fed. You’ll have to do the digging yourself, sometimes.
How do you relax?
I like listening to music before Rock and Roll was born. The kind of music that needs winding.
Have you ever entered any ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
Yes last year at a baseball stadium. Each band got 90 seconds between innings. The winner got to open for Blues Traveler. We didn’t open for Blues Traveler.
What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
The worst one was we got pushed back 5 hours at CBGB’s , due to a big act showing up and declaring our spot.
The best one will be our next show.
Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
I do. I usually go into a foetal position and control my breathing. That is between sobbing.
What are your day jobs if you have them?
Jason is self employed.
Grant and I partly own a manufacturing company on the East Coast.
Would you like to be full time working musicians or are you happy with things as they are?
Jason: Aren’t we already.
Garnt: I’d rather be full time music.
Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
“At The Party” and “I’ll Take You Downtowne” both appear in the Damon O’Steen directed film, “29 Reasons To Run”
“Creature Comfort” is featured in the Samsung Fresh Film, “The Super Dupers”
Is composing for film or tv something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Yes we would, please?
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Yes, we are all very excited to be welcomed onto Somojo and look forward to the spoils that it will undoubtedly reward us.