The NAMM Show 2017 Interviews – Rob Chiarappa of The Stolen
Based out the thriving New Jersey music scene, The Stolen present their own sweeping brand of pop/indie rock, recently unveiling their debut EP entitled I’m So Dead. Featuring the blissfully lush guitar interludes from Rob Chiarappa, The Stolen’s melodic gems will surely enrapture the senses. We caught up with Rob at this year’s edition of The NAMM Show to find out more about this stunning band on the rise, the various equipment used for the wondrously enlightened guitar sounds, stories for the road, and a whole lot more. Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in The Stolen
I’m Rob and I play guitar.
Give me a little background on the band.
We have been together for so many years. We were just kind of neighborhood, childhood friends and we started writing our own stuff back in high school. Funny, before high school we were just neighborhood kids playing covers. When you’re twelve you don’t have anything to write about. By the time we were 15/16 we were playing local venues in the area. Then, by my senior year in high school we started touring. Yeah, it’s been that ever since.
One thing I noticed is that The Stolen has a really unique sound. Who are some of your guitar playing influences?
Growing up, when I first started playing guitar, the reason I really got into it, is my dad plays guitar. He’s a blues guy, but he’s also into a lot of Motown and 60s R&B. I just guess from hearing it all around my house growing up I took those influences and you mix it with a modern rock or pop sound. Even still, a lot of radio rock bands like Coldplay or The Killers, stuff like that I’ve always loved. It’s a fusion of all of that, I would say.
What are you looking forward to the most about NAMM?
I am totally here about to geek out over a lot of guitar pedals. We’re in the middle of writing a new record right now, so just trying to find some tools to be creative with. Find something that’s going to give us a distinct sound. Oh, of course I’m also looking forward to seeing Fender and VOX. Those I’ve been playing for the majority of me being in a band. Mainly I want to check out some boutique pedals, check out a lot of synths and stuff over at Roland. Just kind of all over, but mainly tools to be creative.
What is your weapon of choice?
So right now I have a Fender Mustang 65 and I love it. It is this weird offset body guitar and I have big hands, and the guitar is so little and I just feels like I have this big control of it, I love it. Right now, my head a VOX AC100. VOX has an AC30 Combo Amp. It takes that in its first channel and then the second channel is almost like a Marshall JCM sound. So, I mainly use that first channel there, running through a Marshall cabinet and then as far as my pedal board goes. I have a Fulltone Mosfet II Overdrive, which I almost use as a signal boost – just gets the sound to break up a little bit. Boss Chorus, Boss DD3 Delay. The Holy Grail Reverb, VOX Wah Pedal and then an Ernie Ball Volume that I’ve been using.
What kind of touring have you done?
This EP (I’m So Dead), we put it back out in April and we did the EP release tour. Actually, before the EP release tour we did a couple of special shows for select cities where we played the music before it came out, and then after that we did the EP release tour. We did a summer tour, then a fall tour on it – three US tours and then we were like, alright, now we want to take this time in the winter to just write. We came out here, we’re doing some writing in LA and some writing back home in Jersey. We’re doing a full length now. It’s basically a branch off of that EP. I feel like that EP was this step for us to get into the direction we really wanted to go into as a band. Being the band we always wanted to be. I think this EP is just an evolution of that.
Any strange or scary stories from the road?
Touring is always a positive experience for us. We love it. In our entirety of being in a band we never had one flat tire, ever on our van. We’re like lucky, we always hear of our friends getting flats or vans breaking down. We were like, ah we’re great. This last tour we were going from Nashville all the way up to Minneapolis and we were in Southern Illinois and we get a flat. We call AAA and put our spare on and we were halfway through the tour and we’re like, alright, that happened once. Maybe two weeks into the tour we were headed down to Atlanta from North Carolina and we got another flat. And we already used our spare so – we had to get it towed, at that point we were like – let’s just get all new tires. It does suck because both times they were in rural areas. It wasn’t like you were getting towed to a major city. A thirty mile tow somewhere and then you gotta make sure you’re getting there for load in, soundcheck and any kind of press before hand. Definitely that was something scary, just trying to make it to shows on time having those experiences…
What does that title “I’m So Dead” mean to you?
That whole title actually came from – the song was basically something a girl once said to me after we broke up. It stuck to me and I used that as the title of the song and we used it as the title of the EP. It just stuck as, not necessarily as a relevant theme to the record, because each song has to do with something completely different but I think it was definitely a representative of it.
If you could open up for anyone either now or from the past, who and why?
Ah man, it’s so wild to think of because a lot of my influences are people who are passed away and there’s obviously people now. I mean in a modern sense, I think the whole band could say opening like The Rolling Stones would be sick. Even still a modern today – I think Bruce Springsteen would be pretty tight. Just being a Jersey guy too, I think he’s awesome and a phenomenal songwriter. To play with him would be something awesome.
What do you want someone to remember the most after hearing your music for the very first time?
I’d want to say – just remember the way it initially made them feel. The emotion of it. That’s the thing about music, you can take lyrics, even if they are very vague or very straightforward and they’re going to mean something different to everyone. I can hear a song, we can listen to it right now and it could mean something completely different to you than it does to me. I think that initial emotion is what I want people to remember. How did that song make me feel? Whether like – oh that was an upbeat song or this song makes me want to dance. Oh this reminds me of that time in this summer when I did this. To me, that’s what I would like people to remember after hearing our music, the way that it made them feel.
If people want to get a hold of you and hear your music, how would they go about doing that?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. The Stolen is just the same handle all across. thestolenmusic.com is our site. Spotify, all that good stuff.
And you’re coming out here to LA to write, when is the band going to come out here to play?
Can’t say too much about the touring plans yet, but we will be doing a lot of touring this year and CA definitely will be a place we will be playing. We’re definitely going to be playing out here, as far as touring goes, can’t say too much about it yet. Definitely a place we will be.
The Stolen is: Dom Cuce (Vocals), Rob Chiarappa (Guitar/Vocals), Kevin Smart (Bass), and Mike Chiarappa (Drums).
(Interview and NAMM Candid Photo by Ken Morton)
The Stolen on Facebook