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Stoker Interview with Muzique Magazine

Stoker Interview with Muzique Magazine
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Stoker Interview with Muzique Magazine

How did you come by your stage name?

I realized I didn’t want to have a personal name as the name of the band and I wanted to, you know, be bigger than one person so I sat down with the band at the time and we generated a bunch of names for the band. None of them were very good, so I pulled out my book of Kafka short stories and The Stoker was there.

We just ended up shortening it and the band liked it. I like it because the short story is about a steamship and the person who scoops coal into the furnace to keep it moving. Something about the unnamed person working in the bowels of the ship to keep it going resonated with the type of music I write.

When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?

Probably Middle School. Playing in my first band, writing songs, and getting a huge thrill from that. thinking about the possibilities and all the paths a song can go down. After having been in a music program in college I started thinking more seriously about songwriting and how that could lead to an exciting future.

It felt like a way to do a lot of creative exploration but in a shorter format. The juxtaposition of your chords and subject matter and the arrangement can house a lot of complexity under what appears to be a short and simple form.

To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?

As far as the style of my music goes, Elliot Smith comes to mind as one of my biggest songwriting influences. His unconventional chord structures and melodies he uses are really inspiring to me. He’s a person who really cared about the work and not necessarily the prestige and commercialism. He just wanted to write interesting songs and I do too.

On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?

For my current project, Programmed to Exist, I brought a wide range of subject matter in terms of the songs we wrote for the album and looked for a unifying theme. That theme ended up being what it means to live and to have experiences both positive and negative, to accept the randomness of it all, to experience technology and nature.

I thought about how much these experiences and my ability to have them are pre-built into my character- then the idea of some kind of message beamed out over interstellar space and someone out there receiving it came to mind, maybe receiving a program that allows them to experience life in a specific way. I used that idea to help me create the connecting elements between the songs for the album, so you’ll hear a lot of radio signals, echoes of prior songs, and dreamlike sequences.

What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?

I have a tendency to want to write and rewrite songs to the point where they become new songs. Sometimes it’s hard to say “This song is done, it’s time to move on to the next one”. Sometimes it’s the imperfections that are the most interesting part of the music. I think that on the other side of the coin, I’m not going to stop when a good chorus strikes me. I’m going to want to create some good counterpoint to it. I’m not going to take the easy way out.

Are you the best at what you do in your opinion?

No. I don’t know if anyone is the best. I think that’s pretty subjective! I think that depends on your mission with the songs or album that you’re writing. I think the best is determined by what you’re reaching towards with your project and that should change over time.

What are your plans for the near future?

I’d like to start touring with this album, while at the same time planning the next release. I’m always writing songs, so as this release passes I have to start thinking about the next release. That said, myself and everyone involved in Stoker and I have put so much work into this album and this release- we’re definitely going to have a lot of fun playing it out and introducing people to the new songs. So I’d say the main mission is to have fun and play shows.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout-outs?

I would like to thank Andrew Ryan, who co-produced and tracked the album. Brian Scheiffer, at Firebrand Studios where we mixed the album and did the post-production. I’d also like to thank Karen Choi (singer/songwriter) and Ryan Cheney (singer-songwriter of FiveFold) who both sang background vocals on the album. Jorge Valcarcel (singer/songwriter of Boxcar) also provided background vocals.

On strings, we had Dusty Carlson on the upright bass and Audrey Kwong on the violin. I’d also like to thank my current lineup for taking the songs to a whole new level, June Choate (bass), Gabriel Vianello (guitar), and Joe Layton (drums). I’d also like to thank Aliya Waldman for helping to manage the release of the album.

How can fans find you?

Fans can find us on YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, and Apple Music by searching Stoker STL. We love having engagement with our fanbase and getting to know the people who our music resonates with. I think everyone can relate to the songs, so come find us. We can’t wait to see you at a future show!

What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?

Don’t write music just because you think that it will sell. I believe people want something true in the music that they listen to. That comes from genuine experience. If you just tell people what they want to hear, they’ll stop believing in you.


Alfred Munoz Veteran, Entrepreneur, and Licensed Real Estate Professional

Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Muzique Magazine Alfred Munoz, is an American Army Veteran, Entrepreneur, and Real Estate Advisor with over 20 years of experience in the Music Industry, Leadership, Management, and Branding.


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