Hello everyone!

Today we present Carbonstone as our next interview focus! Thanks to everyone who has voted for them on our Top 25 Indie Music Chart!

Baltimore, Maryland, the locals call it B’more, the city with the largest population in Maryland and the place where our beloved “The Star Spangled Banner” was born. It is also interesting to note that Baltimore is independent much like our focus on the act Carbonstone and is home to the oldest railroad in the US!

Corey James, a veteran of the music industry and founder of the band, Carbonstone, held the stone of carbon in his hands. They were all over the radio, rockin’ the local Baltimore and other scenes, their music was kept alive. He can tell you the life of an artist is less than bohemian, but his creative energy gives him an incredible ambition to continue in his pursuit of happiness. Suddenly the Carbonstone Band fell into a slumbering silence.  Yet a glimmer of hope never died, being kept alive by one man. That man is Corey James.  Over time, he became aware of riffs in his dreams.  He passed through the riffs, soul searching. Everyone thought it was all over, but the dream that wouldn’t die led him to a new arrangement and configuration for the stone of carbon.  A new facet was chiseled from new members and added to the stone, shaping it anew.  The additional facets enhanced an already amazing ensemble.

Together, they wrote AM Trauma and it rang through the night. Who could of known that the fans were still there…. Oh say does that Carbonstone band never waive…er. The rest is history.

Compelled, Carbonstone will retake the stage in 2022.  It takes a lot of stones to stand up on stage and motivate a crowd. It is that special ability that sets Corey apart from the average performer.

Carbonstone, a diamond in the rough. They are living the life and putting out the sounds they love and doing their best to stay true to their nature despite the continued havoc and upheavals that continue to affect us all.  Carbonstone formed in 2005. Musicians and fans, let us celebrate them on their way to a twenty year-long career, which included a breakup and a successful relaunch.  Their return has infused their fans and whipped them into a frenzy. These guys are that smooth, that polished, they sure do shine. They exemplify the life in the independent music business with the help of their ardent fans. Being a great musician doesn’t guarantee riches, and their story proves that living a musicians’ life is not always about the fame and fortune, it’s all about the need to create and the rewarding response of the crowd that never fails to please them. Their continual radio airplay is another reward that Carbonstone band has found on their journey.  Their ardent fanbase is another.  Carbonstone has the feistiest fans we’ve ever seen.  Stuck like glue, like carbon laid stone. Reflections of the struggles he faced in the silence within his void can be heard throughout the freshly released, “Dark Matter” album.

Carbonstone as a whole is truly a team effort with all members of the band pulling their own weight and bringing something unique to the table. Corey, Dan, Tony and Neely as well as family, friends, third parties and a fanbase to die for, all had their important parts in it. You will read a little more about the people mentioned in our interview below.

Pavement Entertainment (Ted Nugent, Puddle of Mudd, Images of Eden) a mid 90’s record distribution and full service company that began with a BMG/ Zoo partnership.  When BMG/Zoo dissolved and Sony picked up the pieces, Pavement Entertainment came back with a resurgence of new artists under the Sony umbrella.   We all need a break now and then and good friends are hard to find.  Having access to a recording studio provided by a band member is a game changer.

 

An interview with the band

Carbonstone Band

Photography, artwork and graphic design by: Lorraine James

IMB: I have come to realize over the years when asking acts why they make music that most artists must create and it’s why they do music in the first place. Does that ring true with bringing Carbonstone back together after a seven-year hiatus? Also, tell us a little something about how the new members came to become part Carbonstone and for our readers that may not know you guys, who are the original members in the band?

It absolutely does. I believe that for a lot of artists out there music is not a choice, it’s literally a way of life. I Initially kick started Carbonstone back up as a solo project in mid/late 2019 with zero intentions of going full blown with it again, yet here we are haha.

It’s actually funny how the new members joined! I’ve known both Dan (bass) and Tony (synths/production) for almost a decade. We all met through music in the Baltimore area. Once it became clear that Carbonstone would be going “Live” again everything fell into place instantly. I asked the guys to join and they were both more than excited to!

Neely John’s (guitars) is the only original member from the 2010 lineup that has returned. There were lineups even previous to that (I formed the band in way back in 2005).

 

IMB: Did you plan on coming back or were you compelled to return to the stage?

I honestly never had any intentions on returning to music full time (as full time as it can be). When we went on that hiatus seven years back, I really thought that was it for the band. We all jumped into different musical projects almost immediately. Nothing quite felt the same over the years. One thing is for sure… once you’ve experienced that “high” of being on stage, it never ever leaves. It feels amazing that the return to that is right here in this very moment.

 

IMB: How long did it take to get a cohesive group together once you decided to make another go of it?

To be honest, almost all year. Everyone’s schedules are so hectic and chaotic. We all practice on our own and then come together for full band rehearsals. Neely is a sound engineer and Tony is a studio engineer so scheduling is always a nightmare. It keeps us on our toes however 🤣

 

IMB: Were you worried about losing your fan base the longer the absence became?

Oh yeah. That crossed my mind several times. As messed up as this may sound, it almost felt as if I had let them down. It definitely weighed on me over the years. It’s absolutely incredible to see how they welcomed us back with open arms, especially considering we had a massive change in our sound. We are ALL about the fans. Without them, we don’t exist! Shout out and Love to all of YOU!! 🖤

 

IMB: From each of your members, share with us who Carbonstone is and what it means to each of you? What is the vision and long-term goals for the band from each perspective?

<Corey>

 Carbonstone for me is everything. From 2005 to now, It’s the only project I’ve ever been in that has truly allowed me the full freedom to express myself musically.  Vision/goal wise I have zero delusions of ever “making it big”. I just want people to listen and most importantly, connect. If putting my soul out there can even help just one person in the slightest, I’ve done my job. There is simply no greater reward.

<Neely>

“Carbonstone started as a vision for Corey many years ago. After joining, I watched the band become a staple in the Baltimore music scene. The mission has always been, and forever will be, to push creative boundaries and offer music that people can relate to on their own terms. And then to share that music as far around the world as possible.

<Dan>

Carbonstone for me is breath of new life , a rebirth or revival if you will of the soul . As for my vision / long term goals ? I’d like to see us advance to the next level whatever that may be and for this to possibly turn career so I can tell my boss to get Wrecked. lol

 

IMB: You guys jump back into the scene with a new full length 12 track album, Dark Matter, released in Late October 2021 which I read somewhere you guys started working on around January of this year. I picked up the album on iTunes and listened to it in its entirety while working this question. Love it by the way! It feels like there’s a theme and story being told from Track 1 to the end. “Dark Matter” might be a metaphor for what is to be found with-in the album, am I right? Tell us about the dark energies that formed Dark Matter!

Ah Thank you very much!! Yeah that’s exactly

Carbonstone - Dark Matter Cover

Photography, artwork and graphic design by: Lorraine James

It. The title “Dark Matter” literally represents the albums story/lyrical content. The album artwork is used to show it (Dark Matter) physically manifested. We wanted every single bit of this project to tie together especially with track listing. “Laceration” opens the album, “Mend” is in the middle and “Heal” closes it all out.

 I actually wrote a few of the songs for the album a decade ago (Hush, Anyway, Kill The Dark) so it’s been almost liberating in a sense to finally have them out there being heard by listeners! Not speaking for the other members, but I myself went through some REALLY dark times in that seven year hiatus. I lost two immediate family members months apart back in 2017. (“Mend” was actually inspired by both of those tragedies) The depression from that caused a lot of self destruction.  I believe I actually went an entire year without even touching a guitar or singing a note. I became a very numb and negative person. I was very close to quitting music entirely and just submitting my soul to that 9-5 life. Then out of nowhere, while tracking studio guitars for my wife’s project ANOXIA (Check it out!) , Something just woke me up…like getting hit by a freight train. It’s really tough to explain. It literally felt as if I had been asleep for all these years.  Now, I feel that I have even more drive and passion for music than I previously had ever had. Life is crazy and beautiful. You can’t stay down in the dark forever!

 

IMB: There are always band member personal favorites songs, so which are each band member favs and why so?

<Corey>

This is always one of the toughest questions!! I’ll have to go with “Hush” for starters. Again, I’ve had that song in my pocket for almost a decade and just never properly recorded/released it. I  have mad love for “AM Trauma” for its heavy dance-ish vibe and sheer chaos haha. It was amazing to watch that song come together after it initially started as a guitar riff in my dreams.

Dark Matter” is another that I am really proud of. That’s a really tough song for me to listen to.

<Neely>

I’m actually very proud with how the entire album turned out. “Pins & Needles” is personally my favorite. The lyrics spoke to me the very first time I heard Corey’s demo vocals. It’s really cool to see how the finished version turned out. “Heal” is another.

<Dan>

For me that would be “my own summer (shove it)” There is just too much to love about that one to list.

 “Anyway” is also an all around great song. Deep lyrics and great melodies, what’s not to love . I really love the entire album start to finish but if I HAD to pick, those would be my two.

 

IMB: Here at Indie Music Bus Radio, we had a voting contest on our new Gone Viral API platform, and I got to say, you have a worthy and loyal fanbase! They really showed up to vote for you daily and you can be proud of that! I have always loved bands who are in touch with their fans on social media and you guys seem to be doing a fine job of it! What is your take on being social with fans and who does a major part of that for the band? Also, if you have any advice or tips for other acts who might want to become more social with their fans too?

We really do!! Our fans are absolutely INCREDIBLE and we are so very blessed to have them along for this ride!! As I said earlier, we simply wouldn’t exist without them! We all do our part in socializing since we pretty much live on social media these days lol.  I believe that all artists should engage and include their fans as much as possible.  They ARE apart of the team and Teamwork always makes the dream work!! When you succeed, they succeed and vise versa. You can be the most talented artist out there but if you alienate and/or ignore your fans, they will notice that. I’m a huge music consumer myself (obviously) so when I see another artists mishandling their fan base, it kind of puts a kink in my want to follow and listen to them.  Kindness and genuinely goes a long way. For any other acts reading this , ALWAYS EMBRACE YOUR FANS!!

 

IMB: What kind of support do you have from venues in your local area of Baltimore, Maryland? Which has the best room acoustics? I find many venues in general do not have that in mind in the design of their venue. If we ever get to make ours, it is top on the list!

In our area, we’ve pretty much played them all, big and small and have always been treated well.  Two of my personal favorites would have to be The Recher theatre in Towson and Rams Head Live in Baltimore city. The Recher is an elongated venue with some really killer acoustics. Rams Head Live is a massive arena-ish venue where a lot of big name acts play when they come through.  I’m a huge fan of the acoustics there as well.  You’re definitely correct on that. We’ve certainly played our fair share of venues with some pretty rough acoustics. Rule of Thumb here… the better the acoustics, the better the sonic clarity!

 

IMB: Are you looking to have any kind of label support or are you strictly going it DIY/Independent? I saw a mention of Pavement Entertainment on another article out there.

Great question! That’s a yes and a no. Obviously with label support there comes connections and potential opportunities.  On the opposite, everything they can do is attainable independently as well. This is the 21st Century. You just need to know where to look. The team over at Pavement Entertainment heard “AM Trauma” and and offered us a radio deal.  They we’re excited to work with us and promoted/pushed the single summer/fall while still allowing us to maintain our independence.  I actually met and made a TON of new music friends because of that situation. I’m definitely thankful for Pavement Entertainment and it’s amazing to be apart of their giant family! To fully answer the question, we’re certainly flexible with whatever comes our way!

 

IMB: Tell us about the people or brands who you have entrusted your work for production and recording. During that process, did things evolve or did they go as originally planned?

Tony (Synths and production) is not only a band member, but also our go to for recording. He owns his own recording studio (The Deep End) in Middle River, MD.  Every single song brought in never leaves that place as it came haha. I try not to get too attached to a song structure during the writing/demo process. We always end up shredding it to pieces when we’re actually recording it.  Gotta leave room for all those synths, right Tony!? 🤣

 

IMB: The COVID-19 thing changed the musical landscape there for a while, but things are getting back to a normality again. But the extra time for many to create during that stay-at-home phase was a silver lining in an otherwise dark time. There for a bit we wonder what it would be like without live music in our faces. But things have turned around and live music options are back in force! Tell us a bit about that time and your plans for live shows in 2022. What’s next for Carbonstone?

Yeah. We were actually “lucky” in that aspect since we hadn’t fully come together again yet. It was definitely painful watching the entire industry and world practically crumble. Musicians as a whole don’t make much money (at all) so I was personally reeling for everyone that was out there struggling. I just can’t imagine a world without live music.  As for us in 2022, we plan to play out as much as we possibly can in support of the new album. However as much as we want to travel, we do remain slightly hesitant. These are uncertain times. (I know we’ve all heard that enough) COVID numbers are going back up in areas all over the world causing a resurgence in lockdowns.  The guys and I will absolutely do what we can, where we can but the safety of everyone is and will always be our priority number one!! We remain hopeful that we will get to Rock more stages than not in 2022 and we look forward to meeting ALL of YOU, our musical family!! Fingers crossed for the new year!!


Carbonstone Website and Socials

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