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Meet The Musos: Get To Know Genre-Bending Sydney Trio STUMPS

3 May 2023 | 4:16 pm | Jessie Lynch

Here's what you need to know about STUMPS following their latest track 'Brinawa St'.

More Stumps More Stumps

Sydney trio STUMPS recently dropped their emotive new single Brinawa St., kicking off an exciting new era with their most dynamic and determined sound to date.

Brinawa St. opens with silky, wistful vocals from frontman Kyle Fisher, flowing freely over a gentle guitar line that soon melts into a sepia-toned soirée of atmospheric synths, soaring vocal melodies and a drum machine-inspired beat that’s low-key, but loaded with soul. 

It marks a striking shift away from the groovy, party-ready sound of STUMPS’ debut album, 2020’s All Our Friends, but the song most certainly carries all the heart that Kyle, drummer Jonathan Dolan and bass player Merrick Powell have become nigh-on iconic for in Sydney’s indie-rock scene.

According to Kyle, the ethereal sounds of Brinawa St. “came out of nowhere, really”. 

He says of the track’s creation, “I believe when we first put down the chords we wanted this song to be as big as possible, but just as quickly as it began, it turned into something far more intimate than we expected." 

"We have a penchant for being overly metaphorical in our lyricism but this song pulled us inward more than any other song we’ve written."

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He continued, “In essence, this song is about the nostalgia I have toward my family home on Brinawa St. It’s the street my Nan moved to so she could help my mum after my dad passed away; the street where I learned to run, cry, drink, dance and swim; the street where I met my best friend, the street where we first all became friends; the street where this band started.”

In celebration of the release of their latest tune, we sussed out what you need to know about STUMPS.

Give us the story behind your name?

MERRICK: I’m not sure why this was the case, but we were really invested in the idea of having a name associated with cricket. I think when we realised we could say ‘that’s stumps’ at the end of a set, it became the clear favourite. Sounds way less cool and impressive now than it did when we thought of it.

JONNY: Kyle suggested Innings but I couldn't pronounce it, so we landed on stumps. 

KYLE: If you line up all three of our faces side by side, we look remarkably like cricket stumps too.

If your music was a flavour, what would it taste like?

KYLE: Whiskey and bubblegum.

MERRICK: I think it would be a sour lemon sorbet. Hahah.. I don’t know, I’m trying to think of foods that have real juxtaposing flavours. Something that is angular and sharp but also kinda smooth.. something that is mellow but also really out there? I’m not sure, it’s a great question though.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences and how have they impacted your own sound and style?

MERRICK: I think our biggest influences are the indie rock songs we listened to growing up. Phoenix, Bloc Party, bands like that. We do draw from a lot of other artists like Talking Heads, Blur, Paramore, Mura Masa and Grizzly Bear too that might not make their way into the music as obviously.

What’s been the biggest moment in your career so far?

KYLE: Selling out Oxford Art Factory in Sydney was a massive milestone for me personally. It truly felt like the beginning of something special. 

MERRICK: Hearing ‘Mt. Pleasant’ was used during the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics Australian broadcast was pretty special. They played the whole track too which was wild. Channel 7 used it to theme the channel’s coverage over the following two weeks. Being tied to something as inspirational as that was incredibly humbling.

What's the most unusual or unexpected source of inspiration you've drawn from when writing a song?

MERRICK: Haha we get delirious very, very quickly in the studio. Our song ‘I’ve Had Enough’ was originally about baba ganoush. So there’s that I suppose.

Can you share a hilarious or cringe-worthy moment from your early days as an artist?

JONNY: Our debut single Piggyback was accompanied by an Aerobic OZ-style inspired music video, choreographed by Kyle himself which saw us sporting some questionable attire. The video has since been taken down for numerous complaints, mostly from me and Merrick 

What are the top three tracks or artists you’re vibing on rn?

KYLE: Boygenius, Hayden Calnin and SPEED.

MERRICKS: The new Caroline Polachek and Lil Yachty records. Both bringing worlds together that feel really unique and inspiring.

JONNY: I’ve been listening to the new Shame record a lot, heaps of Sleep Token and deep diving on old Bombay Bicycle Club.

What’s something that fans not might know about you?

MERRICK: Me and Jonno both missed drum solos at primary school band performances at the same Mcdonald's play place (Beacon Hill, one year apart).

KYLE: Merrick has a doctorate in psychology.

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

MERRICK: Probably the self-titled Bon Iver record. I don’t go back to it often enough, but I feel like I am amazed by it more and more each time I listen to it. 

KYLE: Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes. The lyrical pensiveness and incredibly delicate arrangement has made me want to be a better man ever since I first heard it.

JONNY: Gotta go with Silent Alarm by Bloc Party. It’s on my Spotify Wrapped consistently year after year. It’s my go-to when I just need something to put on.

What's in the works for you in 2023?

MERRICK: Releasing lots of music. Playing shows in as many places as possible. Festival slots. All of our favourite things, and some things we haven’t done for a while. We are chomping at the bit for this year.