After leaving Wind-Up Records in 2010 concluding a nine year stint with the label, 12 Stones has since moved on and signed with Executive Music Group. Earlier this year, the band released their first full length album in five years, Beneath the Scars, and is currently on the road with 3 Pill Morning and The Letter Black. 12 Stones' Paul McCoy recently sat down with Alternative Addiction to talk about the new album.
With the new EMG contract, the band was finally provided the opportunity to release the full length record that they had to hoped to make available more than two years ago. Essentially, EMG gave 12 Stones the green light to record an album with a limit of fourteen tracks and the band was sold. “I think that anytime you can put a record out it’s a great feeling, especially when you finally release one that you’ve been trying to put out for a while. It’s tough to explain to the fans that yes, that record is done but you can’t have it yet…but when we signed with EMG, we told them look - our last album was an EP and we want to give the fans as much material as we can. We asked them what their limit was, they said fourteen, so that’s kind of how we arrived at that number. We were really just trying to put out as many songs out as we could.”
For the new album, the band again worked with Nashville producer Skidd Mills who has gained notoriety for his extensive work with Saving Abel and even co-wrote their hit, “Addicted.” Similar to the close relationship that Saving Abel’s frontman Jared Weeks has with Mills, McCoy too has formed a strong bond with the producer and a great working relationship as well. “Skidd is a really talented guy and I have so much respect for him as a producer and he’s just a good human being. He works really quickly and we communicate well so it makes it a lot easier when we can go into a room and say here’s what we’re going to accomplish today – we’re going to knock out two lead vocals, some guitar solos, and get right in there and do it…I basically do all my vocals in the control room with Skidd standing right behind him so there’s no delay in what we want to do.”
In addition to Mills, 12 Stones brought in a variety of songwriters to help out on the new disc. Credited on the record are James Michael (Sixx: A.M.), Tyler Connolly (Theory of a Deadman), Jason Rauch (formerly of Red), Marti Frederiksen, and Blair Daly. And it was with the latter that McCoy co-wrote the album’s first single, “Infected.” “We got along really well with him (Daly). We’re from Louisiana and he was born and raised there so we both had the Cajun experience. He’s just a really good dude and we wrote the songs ‘Infected’ and ‘Only Human’ with him. So there’s a lot of work we did with Blair and I had actually never met him before, but he was definitely one of my favorites to write with because we had a lot in common.”
While 12 Stones wrote their first two records completely on their own, McCoy explained he has since enjoyed writing with other musicians and taken full advantage of the experience. “It’s a very organic process. There are so many talented musicians in the world; it’s a shame not to try to learn what you can from every single one of them. If you and I get in a room, and you approach songwriting very differently from me then I’m able to learn something from you and I’m gaining more knowledge. You can’t buy that kind of education…I normally don’t like studio work; I’d much rather be on tour and on a stage playing songs with the band but this was a really good experience. It’s just nice to have that camaraderie as a band, with your producer, and with all the songwriters. Everything was very together this time which was nice.”
12 Stones will be on the road with 3 Pill Morning and The Letter Black for only the month of September; the tour begins on the 11th in Bismarck, ND and wraps up in Flint, MI on the 22nd. Following this stint, 12 Stones will continue on the road with The Letter Black and then Letters From The Fire will be joining the two bands. Fans at the shows may also notice McCoy is now playing rhythm guitar in addition to providing lead vocals, something he has not done in the past for live performances.