Windsor-based band, The Blue Stones, began touring their third and newest album Pretty Monster today. The Canada-wide crawl stops in Kingston on Nov. 9 where the duo is returning for their second show—only this time they’re headlining.
Both Tarek Jafar and Justin Tessier, the two who make up The Blue Stones, come from musical families. They both attended the University of Windsor where their shared passion for music brought them together and blossomed into more.
“I kept my side of music creation private for a while; I didn’t really feel comfortable doing talent shows or playing in front of anyone […] I didn’t start to perform live until I showed [Tessier] some of the music I was making,” Jafar said in an interview with The Journal.
Jafar is the lead vocalist and songwriter of the band, while Tessier handles typically handles drums and back vocals. On Pretty Monster, however, fans will hear both artists experimenting with a variety of sounds.
“It’s a very refined version of us, very up close and personal when it comes to sound. We are putting out the songs we want to hear in the world,” Jafar said.
Tessier told The Journal the two explored a variety of musical influences from hip hop to R&B to classic rock when working with producer Joe Chicarelli, who has worked with The Strokes, Spoon, and The White Stripes.
“We recorded the album in Kingston at NLP studios […] we had this masterly set of ears sitting in the studio as you’re going through specific musical concepts, [Chicarelli] would sit there and dissect it,” Tessier said.
“He could get meticulous for sure, but the final product is just so great that you trust his process.”
“Good Ideas” and “No Angels” are two tracks on the record that really excite Tessier and Jafar. The former features a hip-hop beat, while the latter is a soulful sing-along track.
Meanwhile, “Stay With Me” merges the sounds of their last two albums, offering loyal fans a rocking song they’ll appreciate.
Jafar spoke to the songwriting process, telling The Journal he not only drew inspiration from people and stories he found around him, but also from hearing a song he loved when he was younger and being suddenly hit with a spark of creativity.
“I can’t necessarily say that there’s one thing that inspires me; [it’s] just having your ears open, your eyes open, and watching the world around you.”
“Drums, keyboards, organs, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electronic sampling, and even on some songs traction on a carpet that was miked up,” are all things fans can expect to hear on the new album, according to Tessier.
Tessier, who has lived in Kingston for eight years and is a Queen’s alumni, has always enjoyed Kingston’s rich music history and culture. He’s beyond excited to be back in the city with Jafar for their headlining show at The Ale House.
“Last time we were at the Ale House was supporting The Beaches in May, and it was an awesome show,” Tessier said. “We’re just really looking forward to headlining the place for the first time.”
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