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As fired up as ever ; They've been together for more than 20 years but singer Kelly Jones tells Darryl Webber that Stereophonics are as hungry and...

August 14, 2013


As fired up as ever ; They've been together for more than 20 years but singer Kelly Jones tells Darryl Webber that Stereophonics are as hungry and fired up as ever ahead of their appearance on the main stage of the V Festival on Sunday

Over the 17 years of the V Festival, many bands have come and gone - and not too many have stayed the course.

Looking over the line-ups for the first few years, you'll see plenty of names that have fallen by the wayside alongside enduringly popular acts like The Prodigy, Paul Weller, Blur and Manic Street Preachers. Stereophonics are another band that have not only survived over the years but flourished. Long after the days of Britpop, trip hop and all the other trends that have come and gone, the Welsh rockers are not just still going but having a renaissance more than 20 years after they first got together in the small village of Cwmaman in the Cynon Valley.

They've had plenty of ups and downs over the years, but they've always been a popular act at the V Festival, performing there in 1997, 1998 and regularly since then.

Frontman and guitarist Kelly Jones reveals to go! that the band did actually go to the first ever V Festival in 1996, even though they weren't performing.

V has always been good for us, says Kelly. It's where we first began really. We were at the first one and it's also where we first found out about our chart position (for debut album Word Gets Around in 2007). You can always see how a band is doing by where they're at V Festival, I think.

Why does he think Stereophonics have always gone down so well at V? It's about the bands that work best in a field, isn't it? Kelly says.

It's no frills, so it's whatever works best in that environment.

You can expect another blistering set from the band this Sunday on the Virgin Media stage where they'll be on in the slot before Kings of Leon. That they've made it so high up on the bill reflects the band's resurgence this month.

We're going great guns at the moment, Kelly admits. We've done nine albums now and the last one has done really well.

Indeed, Graffiti On The Train was a top three hit and widely regarded as a return to top from for the band, selling more than 200,000 copies in the UK so far and a mainstay in the top 20 this year.

The fortunes of bands always go in cycles but Kelly thinks taking some time out and setting up their own record label, Ignition, really helped.

We took a break from touring and just made the record ourselves. We didn't do any TV or radio, but you can market something to death.

It was a big risk for us doing it on our own label but we're proud of the record. We think we wrote a really good album and people seem to really like it. A lot of the success has been a word of mouth thing.

There's certainly a real buzz about the band this year and it just goes to show that there's no secret to having a successful album - you just need to write a good batch of songs. Kelly is certainly enthusiastic as ever about being in Stereophonics.

I love it as much as ever, as when we were 15-year-olds playing in the front room, he says.

You have to try to make it different and keep it fresh. We've been lucky, our labels have always let us do what we want and with our own label, we have that freedom too. It's a nice position to be in. The hard work has paid off.

Stereophonics have been playing festivals in the Europe and Australia over the summer, so it's been pretty full-on up to this weekend's V Festival, but Kelly says returning to Hylands Park is a bit of an occasion for the band.

It's always special for us playing festivals back home and especially V Festival. It's a great chance for us to celebrate the success we've had this year. And with their extensive back catalogue, there's plenty of material to pick from for their set.

We've got eight albums to choose from as well as the new stuff. That's been going down really well, if not better than the older stuff, people have really taken to it.

So expect to hear all the old Stereophonics favourites as well as songs from Graffiti On The Train when the band take to the stage. And expect Kelly and co to be giving it their all too.

As a band we're as hungry as when we started, he says. We've been through a lot and we want it more than ever. We still travel together, we still hang out together. We're in a good place.

Stereophonics play the Virgin Media Stage at Hylands Park, Chelmsford on Sunday, August 18. Graffiti On The Train is out now.

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