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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Rock Yo Face Case Interview with Stella Ray

Casual Heart opened RockYoFaceCase with a blend of metal and hardcore punk. Casual Heart’s two front men thrashed about energetically as they belted out dark lyrics over fast-paced guitar riffs, punctuating guitar solos with atonal chants and harmonies.

A voice then directed the audience’s attention to a side stage, where a girl would only answer questions about 90s pop culture.

When she got a question wrong, a staff member stood up and dumped a bucket of light-green slime onto her, which hearkened back to Nickelodeon game shows of the 90s in which losing contestants would be “slimed.”

Next up was Not So Broken. The band’s combination of sludgy, low-register guitar riffs and soaring female vocals backed by atmospheric synth pads had an almost hypnotic effect.

Stella Ray unlike Casual heart and Not So Broken, displayed no twitchy energy or in-your-face bravado.  A combination of aggressive slap bass, and occasionally dissonant jazz-style guitar riffs combined styles that caught the crowd off-guard.

Question & Answer with Stella Ray, an experimental rock band

Stella Ray is Michele Dobrayel (Vocals), Chris Stewart (Guitar), Bryan Kohler (Bass) and Evan Holliday (Drums)

Statesman: So, how did you all meet?

Bryan Kohler: I saw this kid, [Evan], play a drum solo and I wanted us to play together. [Years later] we saw Michele at a concert, and we wanted her to be our singer.

Michele Dobrayel: I was freaking out when we lost our first guitar player, but my friend told me, “You gotta check out this guy Chris Stewart; he’s really good.” So we did.

Statesman: What kind of music does your band play? How would you describe it?

Chris Stewart: Anything you want, man! Anything that makes you bob your f*ckin’ head, you know?

Evan Holliday: It’s a nice mix of a lot of things.

Statesman: Why do you like to play the kind of music you play?

MD: We don’t wanna sound like any other artist. We like to some heavy songs, some hard-rock-type songs, some jazz songs.

CS: You’ve gotta have something for all kinds of audiences.

Statesman: What artists influence and inform your style?

CS: Well, we don’t play like them, but Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. They didn’t care what anyone thought. They did what they want.

MD: I take a lot of inspiration from jazz singers.

Statesman: What kind of gigs did you play before Rock Yo Face Case?

MD: We’ve actually only been together for a month. This is kind of our first gig.

CS: I played guitar for Push Play; we played with Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers.

Statesman: Do you feel that you have to compete with other bands?

MD: Yes. Nowadays, all music is starting to sound the same. Too many artists sound alike.

CS: But you don’t need that big hit. You just need a cult following.

Statesman: What drives your songwriting process?

BK: Basically, Chris writes a song, and me and Evan sort build off that.

Statesman: What do you do when you’re not focusing on your band?

MD: We’re almost always together.

CS: I hang out with my fiancee; I longboard.

BK: When I’m not hanging out with Michele, I’m trying to get with one of her sorority sisters. We’ve all got jobs, unfortunately.

Statesman: What do you think is the future of this band?

CS: I’m gonna do whatever I can do. I gotta play it by ear.

EH: Me and Bryan both learned our instruments by ear. I’ve been playing drums for almost three years…

BK: It’s either do this or become bums.

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