French band Stalled Minds is composed of three quarters of hardcore heroes Youth Avoiders, and even if the Avoiders’ guitar sound has become instantly recognizable far and wide, the two bands don’t share much in common.
Stalled Minds’ music is a lively, warm and energetic take on the poppier side of punk, completed with an emotionally staggering garage-rock edge. The band’s first full-length is called Shades and comes six years after the release of their brilliant self-titled debut EP.
The album begs for repeat listening and you can stream it in full below.
Shades was recorded by Nico Destructure at Swan Sound Studio, mixed by Jacky Cadiou (Syndrome 81) at The Movies Studio, and mastered by Daniel Husayn at North London Bomb Factory Mastering. The artwork was done by Jamie Arteries.
Mail orders are now up from Destructure Records where you can choose limited clear red vinyl or black vinyl.
We also put together some questions for Stalled Minds so you can learn more about the band directly from themselves.
So, where did it all begin for Stalled Minds? Give us a background on how the band got started.
Christoph: We started as a side project to Youth Avoiders more or less because I wanted to sing and at the same time work on poppier stuff. I started writing songs on the acoustic guitar and then sped it up together with Marlon on the drums, and it worked well. We agreed on forming a band immediately, also because we understood each other musically very well since the early Youth Avoiders days in 2009.
Our friend Charlotte then played bass at the beginning and when she quit, Chris took over and now 3/4 of Youth Avoiders are playing in Stalled Minds.
The band has a sound that blends hardcore punk with poppier melodies and a garage sensibility. How would you describe Stalled Minds to someone who has never heard your music before?
Christoph: Your description is pretty precise actually, haha! It’s really between punk and garage rock… Both universes we like.
Chris: Yeah, I would say it’s fast melodic garage punk influenced by bands like The Marked Men, Royal Headache, Jay Reatard…
Marlon: Fast…. It’s never fast enough for me. I accelerate until they yell at me, and then it’s the right bpm.
Your self-titled EP came out in 2015. Why did it take so long to release a new material? Is it because all of you play in Youth Avoiders?
Christoph: Yes, until the pandemic we never stopped playing with Youth Avoiders. We finally had the time to record these songs last winter, most of them we’ve already played for some time.
Marlon: The songs have matured during that time. We played them live enough before the recordings, so we had time to see what was working or not and correct details. It’s nice to do it like this.
What influenced you writing the new songs and what issues do you deal with lyrically? Is the band a personal vehicle, or something more political?
Christoph: Lyrically, it became very personal in the end. During the writing process, my father died so there was this theme for sure. There are some references to the pandemic but that could be interpreted as “punk-issues” like isolation etc. A general issue would also be sorting out his past, growing as a person and trying to be optimistic for the future. These are the things I dealt with and still do.
Musically, I try to come up with a song first that can stand on its own. But we all agree on the garage-punk thing. We have a similar idea of how it should sound, the clean guitar sound, everything mixed at the same volume etc.
Nico from Destructure Records was also a big help as he recorded the album. He is a very patient man haha.
Which aspects of hardcore punk culture do you feel most impactful on today’s society and what impacts do you think the Covid pandemic had on the scene? What changes are you seeing taking place around you?
Chris: The most immediate impact that we see is that some DIY venues and small bars got closed because of a lack of funds, help, and the constant rise of real estate prices in the big cities. It’s really shitty because we don’t have that many places where we can play and host shows with our DIY terms and punk/political values. The only good thing is that shows started to happen again in the past months and we can see that the people are really eager to come, hang out, and share a good time with the bands playing.
What new bands do you like listening to or playing shows with? Which are the active venues that you have in 2021, are you involved in booking shows or doing anything else besides playing in bands?
Chris: There are a lot of bands from France releasing new records at the moment, it’s good to see new bands and also older bands being still active in our scene. We are actually playing a show with Barren? (from Paris) for their release party. If we receive the copies of our new album on time, we will surely bring them at this show so it will be our release party too, haha.
The new record from Kronstadt is amazing, and Syndrome 81 have a new album coming out soon too!
The venues in Paris where we can play now are L’Espace B, the Pointe Lafayette, the Aubergine 3000, l’ESS’pace… I occasionally book shows but not so many.
If you’re to define what DIY punk means to you today, what would that be?
Chris: It hasn’t changed for us. We are still playing at safe spaces with affordable price at the doors, booking the shows ourselves, keeping racism, sexism, and homophobia out of our scene, trying to play in as many places as possible, making friends, seeing friends again, party together, helping each others, and all of this for as long as we can.
Thank you so much, anything else to add?
Chris: Well, thanks a lot for the interview and keep up with your cool website!
For everyone interested in ordering our new album, it’s up on the webstore of Destructure Records, and hopefully soon, in your nearest distro/record store. We have the tracks on Pay-as-you-want on our Bandcamp, don’t hesitate to download them for free and share them if you like (of course any help is appreciated).
See you, cheers!
Marlon: Thanks, now it’s beer time!