WILL STOKER & THE EMBERS The X-Press Interview

Eccentric public figure Will Stoker has resurfaced with his Embers and a new EP Russian Brides, their first release since 2010. The five-piece are celebrating the launch this Saturday, December 14 at The Bird with Filth Wizard, Didion’s Bible and The Mackerels. BRAYDEN EDWARDS talked to Stoker to hear all about what’s changed since we last heard from him, including his appearances on Meal Tickets and The Bachelor, the “lyrical apocalypse” about to be unveiled in this release and what his restless, creative soul is likely to put his hand to next.

So Russian Brides will be your first new music released since your self titled album in 2010. Given the band now has new members, has the sound and overall vibe of the band changed much?

Not so much as The Embers serves as a sonic avalanche for my lyrical apocalypse. We lost the Dux brothers (The Floors) but gained The Dylan (Thee Gold Blooms/ Verge Collection) and Anthony Jackson (End Of Fashion). The Embers are a group of supremely talented craftsmen who are ready to fight for music, or fight me on stage. We are all comrades working for the common goal of quoting Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster documentary as much as possible.

A lot has happened since the first album. You featured in the movie Meal Tickets, you were on The Bachelor, then got married and now recently have had a baby. Congrats! Those are some great achievements! And I guess answers the reason there was so much time between releases. Is the time right for Will Stoker re-enter the world of rock?

Will Stoker & The Embers have always been in the world of rock as we could never afford a ticket to another world. It’s merely a typical case of laziness, depression, distraction, death. But yes this world will do for now as our EP is out and were are proudly puffing our chests in adoration for ourselves. We’ve included an ode to our predecessors in Van Morrison and Patti Smith with our rendition of Gloria which bears the influences we wear on our sleeve with pride.

You recorded everything on Russian Brides yourselves at home, how was that process? What was the motivation behind taking it on yourself?

Lack of money. We’ve never had any representation in Perth and it’s difficult keeping the fire burning when I, the band’s namesake, must summon the courage and interest to engage in logistics. I’ve been born with a severe allergy to logistics and in effect, one’s band suffers with regard to recording, organising gigs, organising band practice and getting the money needed to record in an actual studio. But it sounds good, huh?!

What are the songs on Russian Brides about? Is there a theme either musically or lyrically that ties this work together?

My dearly departed friend Matt Doust (as featured in Meal Tickets) was a famous painter from Perth. He was fascinated by the concept of “mail-order Brides,” and he kept an account online to chat to potential brides. He was curious to learn about their lives and why they were willing to leave it all behind for a stranger. He was going to travel to Russia to meet these brides and paint their portraits. Alas, it was not to be as he died young. I wanted to make sure the name and energy of the concept wasn’t lost after his death and decided to link the name to our new release as our artforms were intertwined by studying humanity through a sceptic and contrarian lense, seeking understanding and truth through longwinded babbling.

A lot of your journey as a musician, artist and as a person, in general, has been conducted in the public eye with you being featured in the film Meal Tickets and also your appearance on The Bachelor. Is that challenging when you put something new out into the world?

Not particularly. My mould was cast early in my life as ‘the jester’. Making a fool of myself has always been my modus operandi to express my ongoing existential crisis on a daily basis. I thrive on discourse and for anyone to challenge my work will only make my monster grow thanks to the attention gained.

And how did featuring in Meal Tickets and the hype that came with it effect yourself and the band and what part of the film continues to resonate with you the most?

Meal Tickets was a grind that was realised like a bird that had been in its cage for too long. Mat de Koning spent a decade of his life on that albatross and I’m simply thrilled he has released it to the wild. We had some fun during the festival period for a short time, then were let back into our box. My general pissy attitude continues to resonate with me as all that was missing for me to sustain a long term career was my confidence and self-belief. I’ve always had the confidence to create art, but lack the confidence to be the salesmen/ manager/ town crier.

Of course, those things were a long time ago now, but what does a normal day for Will Stoker look like these days?

Contorting my face for my baby daughter’s, and sometimes (my) wife’s, amusement, wondering where she inherited her ear-splitting screech. The Embers text me many questions relating to being sent an audio file or arranging a gig, but I commonly cannot help as I am too busy writing the 16th Will Stoker & The Embers album within my blessed imagination/ daydream time machine.

What’s next for Will Stoker, can we look forward to any more music, art or even TV appearances in the future?

We are working on the next album. It’ll be a good time. Art wise I’m working on my scribbles, attempting a new concept and execution. As for TV I’ve applied for Sale of the Century but I’m yet to receive a callback.

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