Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit

Canadian rock duo Blue Stones have banded together for a while. Blue Stones, comprised of Tarek Jafar and Justin Tessier, say their friendship outside of the band is what kept the duo going. The duo just re-released the great blues rock album Black Holes and keep moving forward and thriving more.

“We met in high school and became close friends after playing on the football team together. That was a long time ago, and we were close friends for years before we started playing music together. Because of that solid foundation, it’s been easy to maintain a friendship. Our relationship has definitely changed since we are now basically running a business together, but at the end of the day we consider each other friends first,” said the duo.

Ladygunn sat down with the duo and talked about their blues meets rock sound, how their upcoming sound is now changing, and how music inspires them to keep on going.

Your sound encompasses Black Keys meets Black Pistol Fire. Were those your influences going into the band? What is it about the blues-rock sound that is so popular right now? Do you think this genre has hit its peak?

Black Pistol Fire is a great band that we discovered well after we had started writing music. We’ve been listening to The Black Keys for a long time, and it’d be wrong to say they had no influence on us at all, but at the end of the day, we’re not trying to make the same kind of music those guys are making.

I think a big part of the return of the blues-rock sound came about after the economic downturn in 2008. Culture turned away from a shiny, glossy aesthetic and more towards grassroots, vintage appeal and blues-rock bands were a part of that — similar to the folk revival with groups like Mumford & Sons. Part of the life cycle of this kind of music is a turn towards pop appeal, which in this case is antithetical to where it comes from… the genre might be fading from mass appeal but it’ll still retain its strong niche like always.

We don’t necessarily consider ourselves to be part of that genre, and we really don’t like to chase genres because we’re not trying to make a specific kind of music. Our goal since day 1 has been to write the music we like to listen to. If that music happens to fit in a genre, so be it. But that also means the style of the music we make will be fluid over the life of the band.

Black Holes is such a great album that really put you guys on the map. What was the process like going into it and the reason behind re-releasing it with Entertainment One?

Black Holes was actually our third studio effort, but in a lot of ways it feels like square one for us. People who’ve been listening to us since day 1 have said that that record is when we settled into our unique brand of music. Thematically, we went a little darker compared to the music we had written before.

With some more funding after signing with a label, we remixed and remastered the album, so we needed to re-release it.

On the new singles, we see a more alternative rock sound. For your upcoming album, are you straying away from that blues-rock sound found on Black Holes?

We’re definitely exploring a different space than we did on Black Holes. There are at least a couple of songs that could easily live in the pop world. The two singles that are out are, to us, like an evolution of what we were doing on Black Holes, but with a lot more confidence. A lot of Black Holes was about feeling lost and unsure of which path to take from the endless options that are available. This new record is more about settling into a lane and being confident about who you are, but also coming to terms with the darker parts of you that inform those decisions, whether you like it or not.

How does time in the studio compare to time on the road? Which do you enjoy more?

They’re definitely both very different. Studio time is nice because you’re in the same bed every night, eating well and living comfortably but stepping out of your comfort zone and exposing yourself in a way that can leave you very vulnerable. You’re on a one-track mindset: wake up, write and record, sleep, repeat. But it’s very disciplined. We rarely go out and party while we’re on a recording schedule.

Road life is difficult with long drives, long days and trying to eat as well as possible but at the end of the day, it’s hard to not have fun when you’re road tripping with your friends and playing high-energy shows and giving everyone a good time.

You were just nominated for a JUNO for Breakthrough Group Of The Year. How important are awards and recognition to you at this point in the game?

We’ve always tried to recognize milestones along the way. Celebrating small wins is important because it keeps you motivated to stay on track, and consistency is the most important ingredient to success as a band. Things like getting your first sold-out show in a certain city or hitting a specific number of streams on a song. The nomination was one of those big wins that says to us that we’re making progress, keep plodding along.

There’s a ton of new music coming up in Canada. Any other notable acts from Windsor that you are listening to?

Billy Raffoul is making big moves and is an incredibly talented young singer-songwriter. We saw him in a small bar years back and both knew he had something special. Datsunn is a great producer who does amazing things with samplers and sequencers. Huttch is a killer indie rock group on the rise. The Brandy Alexanders do awesome psych-rock stuff. The music scene in Windsor bats well above its average — there’s a ton of great music for the small population it has.



photos / Jake Forsythe, Matthew Lam, Jennifer McCord

words / Robert Frezza

Close Menu