Slightly Stoopid; what you see is what you get

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Slightly Stoopid; what you see is what you get

First starting out performing backyard gigs with friends, to soon be taken under the wing by Bradley Nowell and the rest of the Sublime crew, Slightly Stoopid haven’t lost their charm as the skateboarding, ocean-loving group from Ocean Beach in San Diego.

“What you see is what you get with us,” Miles Doughty says. “What we’re wearing during the day is what you’ll see us walk out on stage with. The only thing that switches, is the light switch that turns on. If you’re tired or whatever place you are in your mind, it’s like a switch flips and here we go, the ride starts now. You get to the top of the hill on the rollercoaster and all of a sudden ‘woooow’ – you fly down that hill and it’s all going nuts when you play a show.”

Fresh from the rollercoaster of performing at Costa Rica’s Jungle Jam festival, in which they also took time out to plant trees for the festival’s initiative, the reggae/punk-rock/infamous-genre-bending band will be swapping the tropics of Latin America for Australia’s Byron Bay when they head to Bluesfest in April. And as it turns out the tropical locations are a great source of inspiration for the coastal natives.

“Oh yeah, how can you not?” he says of gaining inspiration from his environment. “I think just in general the whole country down [in Costa Rica] is beautiful and you really just enjoy life. You get to take a minute to absorb the life that’s going on around you, because as a musician you’re travelling so much, you’re in a different city every day. When you get to a place like Costa Rica, using an expression, you’ve got to stop and smell the roses and look around. It’s just incredible.”

The last time Slightly Stoopid paid a visit to Byron Bay, also for Bluesfest, saw them touring around the region, led by an American friend who had relocated to the idyllic town. An adventure down the coast saw them stop by the local secrets and by no surprise it gave Miles a greater appreciation of the location, as he says the “vibes are great”.

And while performing in front of the 100-thousand plus crowd of Bluesfest is something they have done before, it’s a long way from the everything-goes attitude of performing the low-key backyard gigs when they were starting out.

“Back then you have a complete carefree attitude as a kid; you’re like set me up anywhere and I’ll play. I don’t care. Just get out there and have a great time,” he says.

“Obviously the shows now we do are amphitheatres in the summer and there’s anywhere between 3-15,000 people and you do festivals that are upwards of 30,000 people. The adrenaline that you get playing those bigger shows is completely different than what you would have had in those backyard shows. The intimacy is cool with the smaller venues but it’s really chaotic and it’s the ultimate high when you’re on those big stages. Even if you were nervous, you just get so much adrenaline that it rides you through.”

A change, aside from the size of the audiences the band are performing to, is also the sound they’re producing. Starting out as a punk rock band with the “F the world attitude”, the eight-piece have expanded their sound, covering everything from reggae, to jazz and even pop on stage.

“I think just as musicians and as people you evolve and you mature,” he says before adding, “we like to play everything”.

Testament to the band’s ability to play just about everything, is drummer Ryan Moran acquiring the skills to play the Indigenous Australian instrument, the didgeridoo.

“He does pretty good,” Miles laughs. “Because you’ve got to have that crazy circular breathing thing when you’re doing the stuff with your nose and mouth – it’s pretty crazy. He’s just that kind of guy. He loves percussions and drums and piano and he loves that sound for some reason and was like, ‘I’m going to learn how to play this’. And one summer he brought it on the road with him and started to actually learn how to play it and he’s been playing it ever since. It’s pretty incredible actually, I tried to play it and I couldn’t get that damn thing to make any noise.”

As for whether or not the instrument will make an appearance on stage, Miles laughs it off, though adding that Ryan would most likely be up for a jam – which is something the band has based their new sound off.

Written by Amanda Sherring

When & Where: Bluesfest, Byron Bay – April 13-17; The Prince Bandroom, Melbourne – April 14.