For our latest ‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ feature, we spoke to Rupert Stroud, who released his new album, Along The Low, last week on 19th July
‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ is when we talk to some of our favourite upcoming and established artists, delving into their greatest influences and inspirations, to see how bands, records, tracks, friends & family, hobbies and even environments have impacted on their work and music
More about the new record below, but first, here are Rupert’s 5 Biggest Influences…
My first experience of music was through my parents- they loved to listen to great music- Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, The Kinks, The Who, Small Faces, Tom Waits, Free, Simply Red, Texas to name a few!
My Mum and Dad are massive Texas fans and it was incredible for me to open the show for them in Millennium Square Leeds a couple of years back having listened to them so much as a kid since the age of 3-4 years old. It was a surreal moment having a cup of tea and a gluten free brownie (I know, very rock n roll) back stage with Sharleen Spiteri after the show. My parents love and support of my music career has meant the world to me. They’ve always encouraged me to chase my dreams and do what I love.
I am the second youngest of four brothers and my two eldest brothers are 9 and 12 years older than me. I grew up in a home where music was always blasting out from my older brothers’ rooms.
Their musical tastes included Nirvana, Oasis, The Verve, The Smiths, Morrisey, RATM, Green Day, Bob Marley to name a few. I grew up in the days of MTV so it was always on the TV in our house. I remember watching the Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York session with my brother Guy. That was a real magic moment for me. I’d enjoyed hearing the Nevermind album blasting out of my brothers’ bedroom over the years but to hear these songs stripped back was a revelation. It was one of the defining moments in my childhood which lead to my desire to learn to play guitar.
YORKSHIRE & TRAVEL
I’m a Yorkshire boy through and through and I love driving round the Yorkshire countryside. I sometimes go for a drive, to a walking spot high on the moor, to clear my head when the noise of life gets a little too loud. The epic countryside where I live inspires me.
I recently did a four month trip with my girlfriend to the US, Fiji ,Australia, New Zealand and the SE Asia. It was a great experience and I had the pleasure of playing Sofar Sounds in NYC, Long Island, Boston, Australia and New Zealand as well as impromptu gigs across SE Asia. Many songs on the album are about being on the road/travelling- going from one place to another be that literally or spiritually/figuratively. A lot the songs on the album have been inspired by the US dramas I enjoy watching in my spare time such as – True Detective, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Ozark to name a few. I often picture a scene in my mind when in the studio writing and producing a song. I find it helps with the creative process.
MY HERITAGE & UPBRINGING
I have quite a diverse heritage which has inspired many of my songs and musical taste. My roots are in Yorkshire, but my background is a mix of Celtic and European Blood.
Attending chapel every day at school and hearing bible stories with passion delivered from the pulpit, singing hymns and being imbued with a moral code have had a great impact on me and my music. I’m not necessarily religious but it’s something I have a respect for and an understanding of. I believe in a greater power. I am a believer of good overcoming evil. My school was multi cultural-I still have friends from school who are from all over the world- USA, Hong Kong, Finland, Germany, France, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. I caught up with a few of them on my recent travels. Some of them I hadn’t seen for over 10 years. But we picked up right where we left off which was a wonderful feeling. I even caught up with the only teacher I ever really liked -my old Rugby Coach, while in New Zealand. He’s a New Zealander and put on a great BBQ for us when we dropped in while driving around The North Island in a camper van. I also recently played the first dance for an old friends’ wedding in Ireland which was a lovely moment and one I won’t forget.
I’m one of 4 boys. My Dad was desperate for one of us to learn to play guitar. Dad personally can play 3-6 chords which I suppose is all you need for most pop songs (!). Dad tried to persuade my 3 other brothers to take up guitar-lessons at school etc….but for some reason he never actually tried to encourage me…I made that decision on my own around the age of 14-15…That’s probably why I’m still doing it to this day!
At school I formed a band with a few mates-we played the local pub/WMC/Youth club scene and I got a hunger for performing live to an audience. When in 6th form (our final year of School at18 years old) our School hosted an annual end of year concert. Primarily Classical music from start to finish. I asked the school’s music teacher if me and the band could to take part and perform a song. She gave us the “closing slot” and we performed a cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under The Bridge”. We brought the house down and that sealed my fate! Music and performance is what I wanted to do with my life. I applied to University to study Music and Media Technology and attended the Leeds College of Music as part of my course at Leeds Metropolitan.
MY FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES
My friends and family inspire and influence a lot of my songs along with much of the worlds’ current affairs. Quite a few of my darker songs are influenced by the people I’ve known who have gone off the rails and my observations of where they went wrong and how difficult it is for those people to pull back from the brink. Also, how helpless you can feel in supporting that person when they’ve pressed the self-destruct button. I know not everybody has a strong support system in their life and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for people who don’t have the love and support of their families. I’m lucky to have a great group of people around me-family and friends. They certainly pick me up when I’m feeling down which is such an important thing in life.
Rupert Stroud released his new album Along The Low on all streaming/download platforms last Friday. Along The Low highlights his command of timeless rock songwriting, indie-folk soundscapes and his yearning vocal melodies.
Listen to his latest single and title-track, below…
“I recently heard somewhere that writing the lyrics which scare you the most are the ones that mean the most,” explains Stroud on his writing process for the new album. “My spectrum of emotions and experiences are inherent in these songs – from the universal feelings of love and loss, to personal struggles and the struggles of those close to me. This latest album is born from my home studio, in a converted water tower which sits elevated above the banks of the river Wharfe in The Yorkshire Dales. Any time of day or night, I can step into my studio with an idea and work on it straight away. I have a beautiful view of the river flowing by and the stunning landscape – it’s creatively liberating and incredibly inspiring.”
Drawing from the classic rock of his parent’s record collection (including The Beatles, Tom Petty and Cat Stevens) alongside his own Britpop and folk influences, the songs on Along The Low were recorded with long-time producer and collaborator Will Jackson (Kaiser Chiefs, Embrace) and reverberate with the sound of an artist with a firm control of his craft.
Rupert Stroud’s powerful, rootsy folk-rock and beat-driven sound oozes with heartfelt melodies and sweeping choruses. Rupert and his band have opened for James Blunt, Gavin James and Texas and have also shared the stage with Tom Speight, Little Comets and Jake Isaac.
Find Rupert Stroud at rupertstroudmusic.com