Spotlight Band: Stranger Than Fate
Let’s start with the basics, tell us how long you’ve been together and how you came together as a band?
Kris-Well, we have been together about 3 years altogether now. Tim and I were in a previous band together and Jim was also in a different band a while back as well. Both of these bands parted ways after a while. A few friends were hanging out at my house one day and a good friend that knows all three of us had mentioned that we should hook up with Jim. Not too long afterwards we got together and to make a long story short…here we are!
Jim-Little over 3 years. Kris had contacted me over the computer to get together to jam. One thing led to another . Kris talked to Tim and wah-lah!
Kris-We all have different but similar tastes and style. You could probably categorize us as hard rock or rock/alternative/metal. We each add a special element to the songs we write.
Jim-Hard Rock. Cool breakdowns. Godly lyrics.
I know that you come from different kinds of musical backgrounds, what have been your biggest influences as musicians and as a band as a whole?
Kris-For me, I listened to a lot of hardcore music back in the day and I have always been a big fan of metal. I also spent a lot of time in high school listening to quite a bit of alternative. However, as a musician and a music lover I listen to and all sorts of different kinds of music. Concerning the band, I think we all pull from our individualities and then incorporate them into one sound. This sound is what gives STF a particular identity.
Jim-I always liked old Christian heavy metal, like Bride, Stryper, Whitecross, Tourniquet, Deliverence, Disciple, etc. I like Robert Sweet, Ted Kirkpatrick, and my buddy Brian Blaine.
Tim-Growing up in the early-late 80’s…there really was no such thing as Christian rock. Not until bands like Stryper. Before that, the closest thing to rock was Petra. Now, I loved both of them, but once Alternative music came on the scene, that was it for me! I couldn’t get enough. But ya know, my best friend in high school, Jeff, also introduced me to the world of Jazz. That really helped me gain an appreciation of a wide range of music.
Did you all grow up wanting to pursue music as a career or when did you find your musical roots?
Kris – I’ve loved music all my life. There was definitely the aspiration and dream of being a famous rock star or something like that dwelling in my mind and heart while I was growing up. I had always had some sense of emptiness in all that though. All of that changed for me in 2001 when I had an encounter with God that changed my life forever. Now, I play with and for a purpose, not for my own selfish gain or desire. My relationship with Jesus is what made music come alive to me. Beforehand it was all awesome guitar riffs and drum beats, now it is so much more.
Jim-No. I enjoy doing it for fun and for ministry to spread the love of Jesus.
Tim-I think every kid, at some point, dreams of being a “rock star”. It wasn’t until I started playing bass in my church, that I even seriously considered it.
You’re based in upstate New York – how is the current music scene there?
Kris-We are from Utica, NY. Utica thrives with music and musicians. You will find a lot of folk/acoustic performers and rock bands out here. They are both pretty prominent in the area. There are quite a few cover bands also.
Jim-For Christian rock-terrible. There are a lot of artists, though.
Tim-This is definitely one of the best areas for music. One thing, though, that I think is probably true of most cities is – it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know. You could be the next Clapton, but if you don’t make some connections, no one will ever know you’re there. That is why we are so grateful for The Utica Music & Art Fest and the Clinton Art & Music Fest. They have really helped give local music a voice. Ya know, another thing is, if you’re not a cover band, then those connections become even more important. I’m not saying cover bands have it easy, by any means. But, honestly, when people go out to see a live band, 9 times out of 10, they’ll go to a place where they’ll hear their favorite songs from the radio. Artists who write and perform their own material have a steep hill to climb.
I saw that you have a release party coming up in January, can you tell us about the new release and what music fans can expect?
Kris-Our new album called Making the Man is going to be the staple of our career as a band thus far. STF fans can expect to hear nothing less than that classic STF sound on this record.
Jim-Yeah, it rocks! Just get ready to bang your head!
Tim-We definitely worked hard on the record. We had to be really focused in the studio because we only had a week to get it all done. So we took some time to really prepare ourselves, and I think people will really like what they hear. People can expect some high energy songs that bring a positive message.
How long has this new release been in the works and how many songs are on it?
Kris-We have had the idea for an album called “Making the Man” for at least a year or better. The album will have eight songs. We selected eight of our best tunes to go on this record. Fans can expect to hear some of their favorite STF songs on this album.
Jim-For a couple of years. 8 songs.
Tim-Our original goal was to put out a full length disc in2010. Our first record, “Let Myself Be New…” was a self-released 3 song EP back in2008. We had 150 copies, and once those were gone, we had to kinda improvise a little and burn additional copies. On the second run though, we added an additional track to make it 4. We called it the “Deluxe Edition”. It’s been really cool to see they way things have come together over the past 12 months.
Do you think there’s one song on the release that really defines you as a band?
Kris-I think the song “End of Life” is a song that really shows some vital aspects of our style. We do not stick to one particular pattern in our song writing. Therefore, I don’t think one song alone could really define us as a whole.
Jim-“My Condition” – because it rocks with a cool breakdown.
Tim-That’s a tough question. I’d like to hear what the fans think when they listen to it.
Is everyone in the band involved in the writing process?
Kris-Absolutely! As of late we thought it would be best for Tim and I to have the better parts of riffs and vocals laid out, and then present what we have to Jim. This way Jim doesn’t have to sit around doing nothing while we work on guitar and bass parts.
Jim-Musically, yes. Lyrically, Kris and Tim.
Tim-Jim doesn’t give himself enough credit. His role in the song writing process is just as important as mine or Kris’. It probably would be real easy to just show up with a bunch of lyrics and say, “Ok, here it is.”. I know for me though, it is vital that we all “catch the vision” (so to speak) of a song, so if something isn’t working, musically or lyrically, we each have the freedom to speak our mind. That also means we have to be open enough to hear what the other person is saying. I’m not always right.
Kris-I dunno, it does have a lot to do with being good at what you do, but it also helps to know people. You really do have to devote a lot of time to promotion as well. Sometimes the efforts pay off, other times they do not. As of January, depending on how things go we may hook up with a Management Agency. We have spoken with two different agencies within the past month and a half or so. This should open up a lot of different avenues for us.
Jim-Making money for gigs. Finding time in our busy schedules.
Tim-Ya know, with things like the internet, Facebook, Myspace…you (bands) now have a platform on which you can present your music to the masses, almost instantly. The down side to that is, so do 50 million other bands! So, you’re still a little fish in a big pond, it’s just a different pond. Like Kris said, promotion then becomes key. You really have to promote the daylights out of what you’re doing. Sometimes it works well and really pays off, sometimes… a lot of times, it doesn’t. So you have to be smart about what you spend your money on. “Free” does not always equal “better”.
In reading about the band I read that one of the things that brings the band together is your faith, do you consider yourself a Christian band and if so, have you had to deal with any stigmas attached to that?
Kris-All of us in the band are Christians and yes, I would say in a lot of ways that does make us a Christian band. Our relationship with Jesus makes up who we are as people and it defines what we are doing with our music. I don’t think we should be marketed solely as a Christian act however. I believe that the songs we write can be enjoyed by anyone. I also think our style fits right into today’s modern rock genre.
Jim-Yes, we are a Christian band. No, we haven’t had to deal too much with any stigma because musically, we sound like anyone else.
Tim-These guys pretty much hit it right on the head. It’s about knowing your audience. We try to appeal to people who want to hear good music that has a positive message.
If you were given the opportunity to tour with anyone, who would you want to share the stage with?
Kris-It really doesn’t matter to me too much, I would leave that to Jim and Tim. I am sure they would have some awesome choices.
Jim-Bride, Disciple, Petra, Stryper, Skillet, Manic Drive
Tim-Another tough question but off the top of my head I’d say Flyleaf and Red. There are probably a lot more, I just can’t think of them right now.
How can fans find out more about the band?
Kris-You can find us on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
Jim-Praise God for our talents and all he has done to this point!
Tim-Thanks for havin’ us! We hope to see ya at one of our shows! Don’t forget to check us out online and buy our record!