Stephen Egerton might be best known from his work with the almighty Descendents and All but he has just released his first solo album which is more than worthy of your time and money as well. It's called "Seven Degrees Of Stephen Egerton" and it's out now on Paper + Plastick. Please read on to see what the good man had to tell us about it.
PRT: Congratulations with the release of “The Seven Degrees Of Stephen Egerton”… I enjoyed it a lot. But what’s up with the album title? I mean, I’ve heard of the six degrees of separation but what are the seven degrees of Stephen Egerton?
Stephen: Thanks! I'd always heard the phrase as 7 degrees of separation, and I did some checking, and it appears that the actual number is 6.6, so any one person is connected to any other person by a maximum of 6.6 people. As far as how the title relates to the record, it's that I have so many friends in different bands that I'm probably 7 steps away from any band member in the world. The guys who contributed are some of the ones only 1 degree away!
PRT: When and how did you come up with the idea to record a solo album exactly?
Stephen: I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2003, and haven't really been in a position to commit the time necessary to have a regular band, but I'm still compelled to make music, so I just started doing it by myself. Unfortunately, singing and lyric writing are weak suits for me, so my wife suggested I enlist the aid of friends to help me complete the songs.
PRT: While writing and recording all of the music yourself, you only co-wrote the lyrics to a couple of the songs. Was it a tough decision to outsource that part of the album?
Stephen: Not really. If I'd have had to do all the lyrics myself, it would have taken years to finish. I'm gaining confidence with lyrics and I expect to do more in the future, but for now, this collaborative process is a lot of fun.
PRT: All of the songs are sung by different vocalists. Is there a specific reason you went with that approach rather than putting together a full band?
Stephen: I thought it would make for a more interesting record this way. The way I'm used to making music is with a LOT of practice with bandmates, which isn't practical for me at this point, and I welcomed the challenge of doing the other instruments. I like playing drums and bass as much as guitar, so I thought it would be fun.
PRT: You’ve got quite an impressive cast of friends helping you out. I was wondering though… if you could pick any vocalist to write a song for, who would it be and why?
Stephen: I was lucky on this record to get a chance to make music with some of my favorite vocalists and songwriters and there are definitely others I'd love to make contact and see if they were interested in doing a tune with me. John Lydon, Chris Cornell, Fiona Apple, Elvis Costello, Josh Caterer, Dave Grohl and tons of others. I've got a few songs I could really hear with Dave Grohl's voice, which is just a powerhouse.
PRT: The only song you wrote start to finish is “She’s Got Everything”. Was it an obvious choice to get Milo to sing that one?
Stephen: Milo's voice is perfectly suited to the lyrics for She's Got Everything. I felt like it was very much the kind of thing the Descendents do well, and that it would be easy for him to learn in the limited time he has to commit to music.
PRT: Of the sixteen songs on the album, is there one that means more to you than others?
Stephen: Probably She's Got Everything because lyrics have been such a struggle for me, and I was so happy to have written the whole thing.. and because it's about my wife!
PRT: You recorded, mixed and mastered all of the songs yourself. Do you think it is more difficult that way rather than having a producer tell you that a song is finished? I mean, I guess you can always keep on tinkering and going back on things if you want to. How do you know a song is finished?
Stephen: Deadlines are my friend! I set some goals that way to keep me from going crazy with the whole thing. I entered the whole thing with a very good idea of what I wanted, and pushed to get as close as I could. I could have nitpicked the mixing forever, and I know in the future I'll hear things I'll wish I'd have done differently, but overall I got pretty close to what I wanted from it.
PRT: Is this a one-time thing or are you already thinking about a sequel?
Stephen: I'm planning to do some more in this format. I can't say what yet, but there will be more very soon!