Down the Boozer with STONE

We hit the pub with one of Liverpool’s bright new bands, STONE, and had a chat with lead singer Fin Power and drummer Alex Smith. With a rambunctious energy and huge ambitions, they’ve just signed to esteemed label Polydor Records.


They call themselves ‘The Underground Voice For The Lost Youth’ – a strong tagline, no doubt. Yet it’s one that chimes with the time and spirit of our age and is justified by all the community work from the band members that you don’t see.

So lads, you’re down here in London – what have you been up to?

Alex: We’ve just done a few photo shoots for some magazines, blessing you with our presence. We’ve been in our labels’ offices before, doing a bit of stuff…

Fin: You can announce that we’ve just signed to Polydor.

Alex: Yep, we’re very excited because we’ve just signed to Polydor. It’s great for us, and great for them as well.

So how did you guys form STONE?

Fin: We were a band before called the Bohos – with me, Elliot and Alex. Eventually I felt like something new was coming. It was the end of our old band, we didn’t really know what was going on. Then Inhaler’s tour manager, Gary, just said ‘Why don’t you call yourselves STONE?’ Because that’s my last name, Stone-Power. My Mum’s family are Stone.

I didn’t want to go solo as STONE, but I liked the idea of telling my story a little bit more, with a little bit more spoken word. So I said let’s call the band STONE.


When you say you felt like something new was coming, what was that?

Fin: I was a teenager in the Bohos and we were just trying loads of different vibes out. We changed our image so often, but I remember writing ‘Stupid’ and ‘Leave It Out’, and thinking we’re actually different now, this is real, this is a real sound.

Alex: I always put it back to when we first did ‘Leave It Out’. When we started writing it, we thought this is something completely different.

Who does most of the writing then?

Alex: Definitely Fin.

Fin: I’d say I do ninety, ninety-five per cent of the lyrics. Musically, if I write the song on an acoustic guitar then we’ll work as a band to come up with the music together. Sometimes these guys will write the music separately and I’ll put my lyrics on top.

You describe yourselves as an ‘underground voice for the lost youth’. Could you elaborate what you mean by that?

Fin: People try and call me out on it and say it’s a bit of a bold statement. I’ll be quite stern with this. I’ve worked in youth clubs, and in mental health for two years as a care worker, with kids with schizophrenia, psychosis, all kinds of stuff. I do multiple charity events for mental health charities. I own my own charity called Cloud Nine where I do fundraising events; I walked from Wrexham to Liverpool, which was 32 miles, and raised over £1,000 for charity.

So I do a lot of work and that’s why I like to say STONE is a voice for people who feel unheard, people who feel lost in life. It’s all about being together, but not in a cringey way, in a real way. It’s not, ‘listen to my music and it’ll make you happy’, because that’s impossible. It’s about a real message of unity and looking out for one another – but not in a superficial, marketing way.


That’s interesting because having read around you, I didn’t know that. It’s not clearly not done in a virtue signalling way…

F: It’s not a marketing thing. It’s real. I do a lot with people. Elliott, our guitarist, works in a youth club for free and teaches guitar, still now. We all do our bit.

A: I was a teacher up until recently. A lot of the problems Fin was talking about then, I’ve seen among the students I see.

F: I’ve grown up with OCD and ADHD. And being misunderstood is a very real thing. People shit on that statement. And I’ve never really explained it, people have been giving me a lot of shit [for it] for a while. But that’s what I feel like: I’m here to help.

What I talk about are the problems that a lot of people go through, [like] social media being a drug that controls everyone’s lives and it’s not healthy. Social media’s a very powerful platform for positivity and negativity. But people say it’s a fun, creative platform – obviously these platforms do a lot more damage than good. It’s a pressure. I don’t have social media on my phone.

I read you described the guitar on ‘Stupid’ as sounding “like an alarm siren letting you know how real everything is getting”, and wondered what you meant by that…

F: ‘Stupid’ was written when I was about 17, 18. Swear to God, I could tell you word-for-word what the story’s about. It’s about me falling out with my mum. And my mum – I love her, we’re so close – and she just told me a mother thing, ‘you need to grow up’. In my head, I thought I was an adult, but I was a child at the same time. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I was so unhappy but full of so much pride. My family obviously love me, but I just wanted to be left alone.

A: That song is from that period in Fin’s life and the band’s life, so we’ve had it for a while. I’ve always loved the way it symbolises where we were then. Fin’s lyrics relate to that path, but also I was quite stupid then as well, so it’s very much a youthful song.

And you made up with your mum after that fight?

F: I pulled a hissy fit. My mum and I are best friends. This is five years’ ago, we’re talking. I named the band after her last name, she’s the most powerful person in my life. Without her, I’d be lost. She has guided me, believed in me and I don’t think I’d be signed to Polydor if it wasn’t for her. She has never let me feel too comfortable in my own position, she’s always motivated me.

Touching. Let’s talk about your live shows because they’re gaining a bit of a reputation. Your Reading Festival set last year was almost pulled after your antics the day before at Leeds… what happened there?

F: Leeds was the first show after lockdown and we were on the BBC Introducing stage. We got there and we were like, ‘why’s there loads of people there?’ We started, and it just went off. I just dived out and it was like landing on a pillow. [To Alex] What was it like for you?

A: It was funny watching you disappear. We hadn’t been onstage as a band for a long time. And usually bands who play gigs like that need a warm-up show. Then it just happened, and everything was so natural, the energy was spot on. And then he went missing.

That was Leeds, what happened in Reading…

A: That was Leeds. Then we travelled to Reading to play and the first thing that gets said to us is, ‘no stage diving’ and I loved his reply…

F: I said I promise I won’t do it, but if it happens, I’m sorry; if a crowd’s massive I will not be able to control myself. She said they’d pull the set, but I knew I was going to stage dive at the end of the last song anyway. What’s great is they’ve used that now as a poster.

That’s funny: people want the ‘rockstar’ image but they’re equally quite sanitised…

A: Yeah, we also put 4,000 stickers around Liverpool once, then got issued a £10,000 fine off the council. We had to go out in hi-vis. People stage those kinds of things; everything we do is real. If something’s fake, I’d just admit it. In the music video for ‘Waste’, me riding a motorbike is just me riding a motorbike. In a park, on a dirt bike.

Let’s talk about your beloved Liverpool.

A: The club or the city?

Both. Chances next season?

A: I’m confident, but then I’m an optimist.

How much has Liverpool formed you? Have you played every venue there? Have you outgrown it at all, even, to some extent?

F: No. We could never outgrow Liverpool.

A: It’s the best city in the world for me.

F: You know what, there’s a lot of fucking beauty out there, but I am proud of my city. There’s a community value. Alex is a homegrown Scouser. My family’s Irish and Eastern European. But I was born in Liverpool, I’m proud of Liverpool.

A: In terms of the venues, we’ve cut our teeth in near enough every small venue in Liverpool.

F: But we do know there’s a rest of the world, apart from Liverpool.

What’s the dynamic like between you guys?

A: We have a laugh.

Any arguments?

Fin and Alex [simultaneously]: No, never.

A: No, we’ve never argued, ever. It’s all streamlined. [Winks]. It all goes to plan, no arguments.

How ambitious are you guys as a band?

F: Most ambitious fucking band you’ll ever meet.

A: How long have you got?

F: I have said from the start since making music that Plan B is ‘try harder’. I will never let this dream fail. I was never going to get defeated. I’ve had more people turn me down, tell me they don’t get it, and that’s fair enough. We’re not everyone’s cup of tea.

If they don’t like us that’s fine, but I’ve always said I will make sure it happens. And I admit we probably were lost a bit a few years ago, we weren’t good enough. But we are ambitious and we will get there. My favourite lyric ever is from Eminem [in ‘I’m Not Afraid’], it says: “I’m a be what I set out to be, without a doubt, undoubtably. And all those who look down on me, I’m tearin’ down your balcony.”

And if you could pick a track you’d written in history, what would it be?

F: Babyshark…

Recently, I wish I’d written ‘Seventeen Going Under’ by Sam Fender. The social commentary on that about being a young lad is fucking great. I listen to that song and pretend I’d written it, because I relate to it so much.


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A post shared by STONE (@stoneliverpool)

And you’ve toured with Yungblud. What was that like?

A: Good, it was a tour. It’s just what we do, isn’t it: turn up, play. For me, the reason I’m in a band is to perform live, so anything live I love.

What are your next plans for tour?

F: We’re supporting Inhaler. I fucking love them guys. They’re really cool.

A: They played Liverpool a while back.

F: Yeah, and we took ‘em on a night out.

A: We went out with them, had a ball, and we’ve been close ever since. Full circle, we’ve ended up on tour with them.

You’ve released ‘Waste’. What’s it about?

F: It’s full sarcasm. I do get worried about people disliking me. As much as people say they get hate and it doesn’t hurt, it fucking hurts, man. I’m still getting used to it. And ‘Waste’ is about how in the past I’ve really fallen apart from disliking myself, but I’ve just got to fucking get through it. It’s a very ballsy, abrasive song.

Why do you think that is, do you think people just love to hate the frontman?

F: Well, it’s not me in particular. It’s the 21st century, people just love to hate. I could do good, people will hate it, I could do bad, people will hate it. People in this day and age love to brand good people as bad and bad people as good – it’s a crazy day and age. I’m not here to get too involved because it’s the dawn of social media, and people can write bad reviews about you.


Photo: Charlie Harris

A: The thing is, people are so quick to say something about someone and they don’t realise the weight of what they say can have.

F: We don’t invite the hate but if it happens, it happens, it’s just something that goes on. But I’ve got to the point now where I do want to be notice and I’ve just got to do what I’ve got to do.

And whatever people say, that’s going to come whatever happens…

F: Inevitably. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

That’s the headline.

F: Yeah, it can be. In life, you can’t control what happens, but you can control reactions. That’s the whole thing I go through. That’s why I wrote ‘Waste’; it’s an expression of the weight of expectation and just judging things before it happens.

Lads. Thanks for your time.

A: It’s been a pleasure.

F: Nice meeting ya.

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