Interview: Stu G

Aug 02 2013

Four years on from British band Delirious ending, the group's former guitarist Stu G is about to release his first ever solo EP. LTTM spoke to Stu G about the forthcoming project, plus future plans with his new band One Sonic Society and his thoughts on worship music in general.

Tell us a little bit about your new solo EP 'Of Burdens, Birds and Stars' and what the inspiration behind it was?

Well... There are six songs and all have been written in the last 4 years or so in my time of transition and figuring out what's next now that delirious? has ended. These are story songs or what i call "therapy" songs. I didn't keep a diary in that time but I did write these songs. I didn't think that I would ever record them but as time went on I realized that they had life to them.

So the things I've been struggling with and figuring out, well, maybe others are doing that too and maybe these can help people on their journeys. There's songs about relationship breakdowns, there's a love song, a prayer song for a friend whose marriage ended, a song about my daughter spreading her wings and leaving home and a song about the fact that we don't have to do life on our own.

I'm not trying to be cool or trendy or "mainstream" I'm being obedient to my story and bringing to an end a time of transition. I've wrestled with "would people rather hear my worship music?" But you all can do that by checking out One Sonic Society or other collaborations like All Sons And Daughters. I don't see these things as separated It's all one thing in my mind.

I'm immensely proud of the songs and have had so much fun and help from some incredible musicians.

Which is your favourite track on the EP and why?

That's hard but I think if I have to choose one it's a track called King Of The Stars which is a prayer for a friend in his 60s whose wife left him. It's epic and vulnerable all at once... yes that's probably my favorite

It's taken you nearly four years to release a solo album, what's taken so long?!

Firstly I've been figuring a lot of stuff out. I've had to move my family to America, I've had to find a way of making a living and I've been focusing on One Sonic Society and other collaborations. It's been a season of helping other people be who they are. I feel like it's time now to put this out there and say "hey I'm still here".

What's happening with One Sonic Society at the moment, any plans for a new album?

OSS is a really important part of my life. Jason [Ingram] and Paul [Mabury] are my best friends here and my biggest encouragers outside of Karen. Currently we're releasing a new single to Radio here in the states to follow up Forever Reign. it's a song Jason wrote with Matt Redman called Never Once. We have been writing some new songs and will be releasing a new collection of songs in the near future. We don't tour but we do play at events and conferences and love to be able to talk in Q&As etc. Together and separately, we are involved in a lot of projects that serve the church with songs... that's our collective OSS passion

Rather than sign with a record label, you're using a Pledge Music campaign to fund the EP independently - tell us about that decision.

Ha that's partly an insecure decision, I didn't think a label here would be interested. It's also partly that the industry is changing shape and with so many people using a "direct to fan" approach I am excited about that and as Derek Webb (Noisetrade founder) told me it's a chance to involve friends and followers and build the "stu g tribe".

I don't have access to the Delirious? database so my followers and likers are quite dispersed. I see this as starting again and gathering the people that want to be a part of something new with Stu g. I'm convinced that there are people out there that I'm not currently connected to that would be really interested and invested in what I'm doing. Social media and my Pledge Music campaign is a great way for that to work. My hope is that folks will share and tell their friends... this is really good stuff. I've not settled but pushed myself with this music. I imagine it's in the direction I would have gone after Kingdom Of Comfort should Delirious still be together.

What's your song writing process?

I generally start with a lyrical theme. That will inspire what i want it to sound like. If I get stuck I collaborate with a co-writer. More often than not I'm better when working with someone else. My co-writers on this EP include Mia Fieldes, Shane Beales (from the UK) and Paul Mabury (who has helped me produce).

How would you describe your style of music and who are your influences?

I'm still very much influenced by Radiohead and Blonde Redhead but since I've been in Nashville the Americana scene and the brilliant Jack White have also been influences. Some people will hear a delirious? influence not least of all because I was such a huge part of shaping our sound.

What advice would you give to any aspiring worship leaders or songwriters out there?

This is a time not to copy a formula. Worship leaders should be writing songs for their communities and that might very well be different to what you hear on the radio. Pull from the ancient as well as the modern. Ask people in your communities what they're feeling how would they express that? Be a sponge - listen and learn with eyes, ears and lungs wide open. Keep notes, record melodies and thoughts in your phones. Co write and ask for help. Get better. Above all be yourselves - invest in the things you truly believe in.

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?

U2 - Stay (Faraway, So Close!)

What does the next year hold for Stu G?

I'm excited! After Of Burdens Birds And Stars is released, my next solo project is a book and music based around my journey with and discovery of the Beatitudes. I visited the Holy land with Greenbelt Festival, Amos Trust and the Telos Group this year and I got a chance to sit on that mountain overlooking the Galilee and figure some things out. I hope to continue collaborating with my friends old and new that share my dreams and heart.

It's great to see what you guys at louderthan are doing! thanks for your support.

Find out more about Stu's album on his Pledge Music page.

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