Artist Feature: Stillia
- NQ's Emily Wade has an in-depth look at up-and-coming Manchester band, Stillia
- The 4 piece indie-rockers from St. Helens have just signed to Manchester label Beautiful Noise
- The band have just released their debut single, Let Me In, with Radio X naming it their Song of the Week
With new artists emerging left right and centre and manufactured pop acts taking the number 1 spot, it’s becoming more and more difficult for new bands to make their own mark on the industry. So, it’s not every day you find a new up and coming band receiving the help of well-loved comedian and household name, Johnny Vegas, before they even released their debut album.
Northern lads, Stillia, managed to do just that.
Initially Jack Bennett (lead singer and guitarist), Matty Bennett (drummer), and Connor Moran (lead guitarist) started the band as part of a school music project, however, after realising their star potential they started playing gigs around their hometown of St Helens. After playing the odd gig at local bars and clubs, they decided to take it further and write their own material to become an originals band. They then enlisted the help in new bass player, Johnny Waring to complete the line-up.
A few years down the line with a feature on BBC introducing and 50 plus gigs completed, including a set at MMU’s student union and appearances at local festivals, they’re now dedicating all their time to the band having signed to Manchester label Beautiful Noise. With their new music video having been directed, and starred in, by Johnny Vegas, it’s safe to say this band is well on their way to success.
Last year Stillia managed to get a small set at a David Bowie tribute day at Sound Control alongside numerous other artists and often perform at local rugby matches to promote their music.
Taking influences from a massive variety of music, the band credit each of their own individual influences for their unique sound, explaining: "We think that our sound is very fresh and modern sounding but it still has that underlying rock background. Our songs are always uplifting and feel good tunes."
Something their management are obviously proud of is BBC 6Music’s Chris Hawkins’ take on Stillia: “There’s no need to debate whether they are indie or pop, Stillia are a fresh and exciting new sound."
Unlike so many artists these days, the indie rock band tend to focus on the live aspect of their music rather than just recording and releasing single after single. Hawkins commented: “Our live show is what we pride ourselves on, it’s where we get to show everyone why we should be doing what we are doing.
"They are always very energetic and we definitely go for it at all of our live shows. We always say that any gig could be our most important gig so we give it 100% no matter what."
Also hailing from St Helens, comedian Johnny Vegas is definitely their original number one supporter. Having met Vegas at a local show three years ago they kept in touch and became good friends, it was only natural that working together was often a topic of conversation. They said: “We always talked about working together at some point in the future but it didn’t happen for a while because he’s clearly a very busy guy and obviously so were we. When the idea came up for him to direct and star in one of our videos it just felt like it was finally the right time and luckily we all had a bit of time to do it.
“Johnny is a top guy and he puts his all into everything he works on. He always made sure that everyone was working as best as they could but then at the same time he is one of the funniest guys we’ve ever met and we didn’t stop laughing for the whole time we had to make and record the video.”
Although they have released several songs before, Stillia only signed with their management in 2016 so Let Me In is presented as their debut single and so staged a single launch at the new Northern Quarter bar, Jimmy’s. This venue was always sure to be a successful platform for new up and coming artists, having been opened by One Night Only’s frontman George Craig and brother/band member Jimmy. The bar hosts This Feeling, a club night held all around the UK which aims to promote new artists and launch them into success. It’s no denying that this was definitely a lucky break for Stillia
Stillia managed to easily fill the maximum capacity taking them all by surprise: “Our manager, Ben, knows Mikey the promoter for This Feeling so he sent him the track and thankfully he loved it. So then we were offered to do our launch night with This Feeling at Jimmy’s on 4 February, we had always wanted work with them so this was such a great opportunity.”
“This event stands out to us because we were bringing 50 people from our hometown St Helens down to this and a couple of weeks before we had found out that we had sold it out at its max capacity of 120. We were buzzing because we had 70 people that we didn’t even know come down to our debut single launch when we live 20 miles from the venue. Not only was this brilliant for us already, but then every person in the crowd even sung our tunes back to us.”
Music blogger, Nat from USN Music blog, has followed Stillia for years now. Commenting on the band's new single, she said: “Let Me In has the sound of experience, raw edge and everything I love. Guitar riffs that make my heart flutter and drums that make it pound. Vocals that wrap around me like a velvet blanket. Stillia have produced an absolute gem of a single.”
Upon release of their debut single, Radio X named it their track of the week, a massive step for any band, never mind one from such a small town.
The band have already started thinking about their future endeavours, having recorded their debut album in their limited spare time last year: “We actually recorded our debut album late last year because we had the songs ready and the time to do it.
“The plans for release are still not set in stone because we’re constantly writing new music and always changing things around. We will hopefully be releasing a few singles before we release the album but if all goes to plan we would say it will be out just after summer this year.
“We love having the opportunity to play alongside and support a lot of bands around the UK but we would like to support bands like DMA’s, Blossoms, The Courtneeners and The 1975.
“Ultimately our goal is to be as big as we possibly can be. We want to sell out bigger shows, release more singles and albums. We want to have people love what we do. We are lucky enough to be doing this full time at the minute and that’s what we want to continue to do”
Stillia have a number of gigs coming up around the country, including one in Manchester’s very own Soup Kitchen later on this month. They’re also playing at Warrington’s music festival on the 27th May and Leeds’ Kazoopa festival in November.
Saturday 11th March at The Blind Tiger in Bolton
Thursday 16th March at The White Hart in Chorley
Friday 17th March at Soup Kitchen in Manchester
Friday 31st March This Feeling show at The Rocksteady in London