Debut Discovery: STIKS

The new rock/hiphop duo STIKS has been gaining attention with their “MASSIVE” mixtape. It also struck a chord with us at Indie Pop-Ups. Time to get to know them a little bit better! And what better opportunity then the release of their new single “Big City”?! This is the story of how they discovered home recording and started creating an energetic mix of rock and heavy beats.


Apparently there is a lot of youthful musical energy in Chelmsford, Essex! In 2015 Rat Boy appeared on the scene, followed by FREAK in 2016. And now we have STIKS, ready to break through in 2017! All three combine energetic rock with heavy beats and a Do-It-Yourself attitude.

stiks-big-citySTIKS are 19-year old Sam Hooper (vocals, lyrics) and 18-year old Curtis Driver (guitar, production, mixing). The two bonded over a shared love of Gorillaz. “About 3 months later I started to learn to play guitar. We joked that Curtis could be my manager until he started to learn as well!”, Sam tells us. For months Sam was practising indie rock tunes by Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys and The Vaccines.

They formed a band, played London, Manchester, Essex, but split after two years.

stiks-massive-mixtapeWhen they realised that they could just make music from home, the duo spent days messing around with sounds and rhythms, taking inspiration from a variety of artists, ranging from from hip hop to indierock: Tyler The Creator, Kanye West, Kasabian, Fatboy Slim. All of which you can hear traces of on their first release, the “MASSIVE” mixtape. It is a wicked combination of grime, punkrock and hip hop. It received radio play, blog support and, as Sam sums it up: “just general sick reviews”!

“… we realised we could record, mix and just create music from Curtis’ room. So that’s what we’ve been doing for the past year.”

stiks-bigcityAnd now there is the new single “Big City”, which echoes the influences of Gorillaz, and especially Fatboy Slim. The track has a fresh ‘sound system’ and ‘street party’ vibe. You can easily imagine them on a street corner, pulling out their sound system, plugging in their mic and guitar and pumping out this amazing energetic track! The song is a musical statement against the ‘big city’ boys and girls who harm the world in pursuing their financial ambitions, while losing their creativity and playfulness.

The duo are probably unaware, but their rock-with-beats sound has the similar energetic party vibe of early 90s alternative bands like The Farm, EMF and ‘Madchester‘ bands like Happy Mondays. With Rat Boy, FREAK and now STIKS, Chelmsford is becoming the new Manchester!

STIKS have another single planned, called “Small Things”, featuring Brian Nasty, and there is another mixtape coming up in the new year. For more information:
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