The Stifftones, a newly formed Americana duo are a 2 piece acoustic band from Greenville, IL are the husband and wife team of Shaun and Rachel Stief.
Shaun, a talented songwriter and performer, has played rhythm guitar and has been the lead vocalist for many bands throughout the Central IL area for over a decade.
Shaun and Rachel met in 2011 through the local open mic scene, Rachel began learning guitar with Shaun as her mentor. The two began performing together and ended up getting married in 2018. They have been performing in kitchens, at campfires, and open mics across the country as a duo for the past 2 years while Rachel worked as a travel nurse. In December of 2018 Shaun and Rachel decided to take the plunge and officially form a professional band due to the over whelming positive response they received performing together.
IndiePulse Music Interviewed the Band about their music and Musical Life, Join us now for a intimate look and a couple in love, and in love with music.
IPM: Tell us about your recent release “MidWestern Town”, what was the initial inspiration for this track?
Midwestern Town began its life as a love/hate song about my hometown, when I was an angsty youth. It was actually more of a rock song. Just like most, I grew up, fell in love, and changed as a result. Now it is more of a reflective love/hate song.
IPM: What inspires you to write music the way you do?
Some people express themselves through woodworking, or painting, or even writing a novel or poem. I express myself through music, songwriting in particular. Not every song is autobiographical, but they all are in one form or another, an expression of an experience I’ve had, or had knowledge of. Usually I’m trying to convey a sentiment about something.
IPM: Tell us about yourselves being a married couple on the road and the strategy behind your tours?
Being a married couple on the road is definitely a make, or break you experience. There were several times that we had near break up fights when we first started out. When you’re five hours from your closest friends, walking really isn’t an option. You better mean it before you get out of the car, or drive off. You’re forced to really deal with your shit, or end it. Fortunately, we had a really strong friendship, and deep love for each other before we set out. It makes it easier to spend that much time with someone, if you like them.
As far as strategy goes, there is an old saying… If you throw enough shit at the wall, something will stick. We go into every situation being kind to people, just in case we suck that night. At least we can still make friends, right?
IPM: Tell us about some of your past work and how do you compare it to your present work?
Past work definitely has a much more forlorn, youthful, and growing pain-esque vibe to it. More currently written songs have a much more, just rip the band aid off kind of approach. I like the mash up of the two. On our first EP there is a really nice mix of songs written as a younger man, as well as an older, and hopefully wiser, well-adjusted human being. The addition of Rachel’s vocals and song insights, really adds to the overall sound and feel of the songs.
IPM: What direction do you see the music industry heading towards?
I have no idea, I don’t think the industry itself even knows. The emergence of streaming music, and live videos and instant free access has completely changed the way things are done, whether anyone wanted or planned it. The only certainty is that the old system doesn’t work in the new world. The Indie DIY movement is rapidly growing, with a very cool old school punk grass roots feel to it. Perhaps we all are pioneers, it will be through this generations trials, errors, failures, and successes that will show the way. Also, people are hungry for music, good music. Music with good roots. The A+B=C formula and autotune gets old, and the people want voice cracking, soul stirring music from the soul.
IPM: What would you like our readers to know about you?
We love what we do! We are nobodies from southern Illinois, chasing our dream. We started raising children too very young. We got caught up in the business of life, with no time to chase our dream or to even be ready to. When we met, it was cataclysmic, and our lives have been on a crazy trajectory since. Our only regret is that we didn’t have the courage to try and chase our dreams sooner. We love being on the road, meeting new people, and seeing new places. The best part of the road is this: meeting people from all over and seeing how alike we are, despite our our beautiful differences. It is the people that make this fun!
IPM: Where can our readers find your music?
Bandcamp! You can find us on Facebook, and most other digital media platforms as well. Live, on the road is always the best!! We are open for all kinds of bookings. We love an intimate setting!
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