Interview: Signal Static

I absolutely love discovering new music, particularly in the rock genre. I was very impressed with Signal Static’s new tune Objects of Affection, as it mixes together a number of different rock genres together, including alt rock, grunge and hard rock. I decided to have a chat with Ryan Stringer from the band – if you like your heavy stuff, check these guys out!

By Jane Howkins

How was your 2022?

2022 was kind of a trip, honestly. Of course we released our first new music after three years of re-building, with Objects of Affection, and so far the response has been exciting. I think it’s just about the perfect song to introduce this new era of Signal Static.

We had spent a couple of years (since Covid) more or less holed up in our jam space as a trio just writing songs and developing our sound. We had released a debut album at the beginning of 2020, and then all of the pandemic shit immediately hit the fan and our singer quit the band. There wasn’t a lot we could do but kind of re-imagine what this band was all about for a couple of years.

In 2022 we got serious about recording, which of course has led up to the new track we’ve just released, and a bunch of others that will be coming out in the next little while. After trying to find a new lead singer and having no luck at all, we made the decision that I would move from bass to lead vocals, and then I had to figure out how to replace myself on bass. We met Alex near the end of 2022, and he has really done a great job taking over what I had established on bass and making it his own thing. We’re stoked to get back on stage as a four-piece again very soon here.

You recently released an track titled Objects of Affection. What can you tell us about the song?

Objects of Affection came about after a fairly dark episode in the band’s history. After having signed with a local record label it came to light that the guy in charge of the label had been accused of a pretty serious history of relationship abuse and sexual exploitation against multiple women (some who had been underage) in the local music scene, which he had been able to do by taking advantage of his position as a prominent figure and mentor in our scene.

By the time the dust had settled, it became clear that his behaviour was something of an open secret amongst the women in the music community, and after we made it clear that we were cutting ties I personally heard from at least 20 women who had either had experiences with the guy or had been warned to stay away from him by others who had.

It was a mess, and we were just so appalled and angry that we had worked with somebody who could act like that. I wrote Objects of Affection as a message to that guy and people like him: we see what you are and your time is up.

How has the reception to Objects of Affection been so far, and where can the song be purchased?

It has been really great so far! We’re hitting around 20,000 streams, and hoping to see even more in the next little while. It’s a song we’re all very proud of, and one that means a lot to us, and so far it seems like other people are enjoying it as well.

Do you plan to release any more singles soon?

Absolutely; we have a bunch of new songs that we’re gearing up to release over the next few months, and we’re really excited to get them out into the world.

Are there any plans to release a full-length album or an EP anytime soon?

Yeah, we should have some news on that in the next couple of months. We wrote and recorded a bunch of killer songs as a three-piece that we’re going to be releasing over the next little while, and then we’ve also got some really cool new stuff we’ve been working on with our new bassist that would work really nicely on an album together.  We’re still working out the details, but it’s coming!

Your music has a punk rock sound. What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

I tend to describe our sound as Tool and Chevelle meets Queens of the Stone Age, but really there are all kinds of influences that play into our sound. To list a few: Muse, Pendulum, Nine Inch Nails, White Lies, System of a Down, Faith No More. I personally listen to a lot of new wave stuff from the 80’s like Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears, hell I even love Platinum Blonde.

What is the composition process like for you?

We’re a very collaborative band, and the nice trick of it all is that we genuinely like each other as people and respect each other as artists. When one of us comes up with an idea, or if we come up with an idea together, the rest of us will swarm on it, record different versions, and build on top of it until we have the basic skeleton of a song, and then we work through it until we’re happy with the result.

The whole idea behind starting this band to begin with was to create a space where we all could benefit from each other’s creativity and musical skillset to make the music that occurred to each of us to make, and we’ve been quite successful at that.

In the case of Objects of Affection, as often happens, I came up with the title first. I knew that I wanted to write this song, and that title just jumped out at me. Musically, it started with a basic version of the verse riff which I think I came up with randomly at a jam and recorded. There was something about the riff that grabbed me immediately, and it felt like the right sound for the song.  As also happens to me with some frequency, the chorus came to me in the shower, and I had to keep humming it to myself so that I wouldn’t forget it until I could jump out and hum it into the voice recorded on my phone. Real high tech stuff. The lyrics I worked out over a couple of weeks while walking my dog Simon. I do a lot of lyric writing while walking Simon.

I put together a little demo of the basic structure, complete with some fake guitar parts that I played on my bass, and that became the basis for several months of refinement before we really felt we had it nailed down.

I’m very fortunate that I get to work with Gino and Randy, and now Alex as well.  Getting to write songs together with that kind of talent is really a major privilege.

You’re based in British Columbia. What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

On the one hand, we have a very strong music and artistic culture here in Victoria, and on Vancouver Island as a whole. However, we’re also kind of isolated, despite being the capital city of British Columbia, by virtue of being located on an island which can be costly to get on and off of. Larger artists tend to go to Vancouver and skip the island, and island artists have a harder time getting off of here to play in larger centres. It can be a little frustrating.

Covid also hit the live music scene pretty hard here, and a number of the mainstay venues where local bands used to really thrive have ended up closing down. We’ve come out the other side of this thing which a vastly different landscape to learn and contacts to make. Now that we’re back up to full strength we’re about to start figuring it all out again.

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

Sadly, no, but Europe would be a blast. We’ll put that one up on the whiteboard as #bandgoals.

Any last words for the fans?

This music is important to us, and we don’t make music that doesn’t mean something. We really hope we have made something that means something to other people as well!