Growing up in and around Sydney's southern beaches isn't easy. As a general rule you have three options: You can surf, become a DJ or leave. Shitty choices if all you like doing is playing guitars and pounding drums. With the dire thought of becoming a bunch of disc spinning, fake tanned roidheads seeded deep in their psyche, five guys rallied together, branded themselves STRANGERS and began writing gritty rock anthems for the masses.
Formed in early 2010 after a bunch of irrelevant bands went their separate ways. Ben Britton (lead vocals) Mark Barnes (lead guitar) Benny K (guitar) Tristan Griffiths (bass) and Timmy Hansen (drums) started out with one sole purpose: to write songs that they actually enjoyed playing. This simple yet often overlooked ethos is exactly what has helped define the sound of the band and its members. There are no delusions of grandeur, no ego and no rockstars. It's the same band whether in front of 5000 or 50 people; hardworking and grateful for the opportunity to perform. A rare quality in an industry obsessed with celebrity. This attitude is exactly what has shaped the band's first two triple j powered singles 'Red Brick' and 'Bred For Breeding'. It's a tough-as-fuck sound that swings in all the right places. Guys get to lose their shit, chicks get to shake their asses and everyone's happy. STRANGERS make the kind of music that wouldn't be all flush and embarrassed after waking up next to the hook-soaked intensity of Kyuss, The Bronx or early Smashing Pumpkins after a big night on the town.
For STRANGERS, there's no real answer as to why they've chosen music to be their religion. Mark Barnes, the impressively mustachioed guitarist elaborates 'We all grew up loving the fuck out of bands and live music. Whether it was Motorhead, Black Flag or any number of killer local bands, it didn't matter. We were at the shows then and we're still at the shows now. The only thing that's changed is we're now adding our particular brand of rock'n'roll to the legacy we love'
Recording their debut album Persona Non Grata with acclaimed producer Tom Larkin (Shihad, Calling All Cars, The Getaway Plan) was a process STRANGERS loved every minute of. Britton explains 'We get one chance to make our first record, only one chance. That thought has been in the back of our minds the whole time. We never lost sight of that and as a result, it's kept us constantly improving and pushing forward. We're really proud of how it's shaping up'
Adding another string to Strangers growing bow was the inking of a recording deal with Permanent Records, the new Imprint label for Shock Records. Somewhere they feel at home and amongst friends, important for a band as down to earth as STRANGERS. Label head Leigh Grupetta feels the same way, 'From the first time we saw STRANGERS live at BIGSOUND in Brisbane we knew they were something special. After meeting them it was obvious they were in it for the long haul. They have a brilliant team backing them and we couldn't be more excited about the long-term prospects for these boys.'
In a time where it's seen as 'cool' to be indifferent and nonchalant about your shitty indie band, STRANGERS are genuinely bucking the trend by simply 'giving a fuck' They write songs that have heart, guts and soul. Music that simply needs to be heard.
Debut album Persona Non Grata released October 12, 2012