Stress Cows

by Evan Phillips

Evan Phillips spoke with Battle Of The Bands finalists Stress Cows about everything - from their pre-show routine to a zombie apocalypse.

Image Credit: Campus Bands

So, how does it feel being in the final of Battle of the Bands this year?
Marcus: Pretty great, the standard is really good this year.
Ben: Yeah, it’s exciting to be on the level of guys we know are really sick so, it’s nice to be on the same stage as them!
Jake: It’s a pleasure!

When did you first get together and how did your name come about?
Marcus: We got together at the beginning of second year. Me and Ben had played guitar together a few times but never really got a band going until second year, that was when we met Elliot and Jake.
Jake: Yeah it was at a Campus Bands ‘mingler’ thing and those two (Ben and Marcus) sort of flirted at me, drew me in.
Ben: The name came about because my second-year house had a stress ball that was shaped like a cow and she was called Marmalade so we thought, this is a good name… It’s not that serious, it’s kind of funny – we started bringing her onstage with us as Marmalade and the Stress Cows but we lost her and became Stress Cows in homage.
Jake: Rest in peace…

Your sound is an interesting mix of quite a lot of different influences, which artists inspired you to start playing together?
Marcus: The first song I wrote was Angst Song and that was mainly based on Spoon stuff.
Ben: I’d say my biggest influence is probably Sufjan Stevens, melody wise.
Jake: I like Arctic Monkeys really, keeping it simple.
Elliot: Yeah same here, bit of Libertines as well.
Jake: Razorlight too – underappreciated.

You guys have been known to break out a Kanye cover at your gigs from time to time, can we expect a Yeezy track in the final?
Marcus: I don’t know, we sort of debated it…
Ben: Yeah, we were wondering whether it was just ‘done’ for Battle of the Bands but, we are kind of famed for that cover a bit.
Marcus: It is good fun!
Jake: Kills my f*****g arm though!

Which song sums up your relationship as a band?
Ben: That’s a tough one…
Marcus: Sex on Fire?
Jake: Yeah definitely! That one night of passion….
Marcus: We’re not supposed to talk about that Jake!

Which band member would last the longest in a zombie apocalypse?
Elliot: I’d die straight away! Not even from a zombie, I’d just trip over something!
Ben: Jake I feel like you’d somehow be late for it, you’d arrive halfway through, stumble out of bed.
Jake: I’d just sleep through it!
Ben: Marcus and I have been mauled to death already and you’re wandering around…
Elliot: Faceplant into a drum kit or something!

Any pre-show rituals before you guys go on stage?
Ben: Well you guys (Jake and Marcus) just get drunk before the show!
Marcus: Oh yeah, right beforehand!
Ben: I stick to water because I’m worried about my voice, and I always warm up to Pinegrove.
Marcus: I always have one pint. No more, otherwise I won’t be able to play-
Jake: Also sugar, a lot of sugar…
Marcus: – last time I didn’t finish my pint and when I got off I was like “oh I didn’t really play that well…” So, it’s a lucky pint!

Who else has impressed you so far in the competition?
Marcus: Psychopomp are my favourites, love them; I’m a big Psychopomp fan, I keep going on about them at practice!
Ben: I really like The Allergens, their lyrics especially.
Jake: And my mate’s the guitarist with Chiara and the Vu too.
Ben: Plus Palm Beach, they’ve got a really great style.

What plans for the rest of this year after Battle of the Bands?
Jake: We’ve got an EP coming out that we’ve recorded and are mixing next week.
Marcus: Should be out by the end of term!
Ben: Also, I feel like we’ll probably be doing another EP as well; we’ve got songs we’re hopefully going to write before the final.
Marcus: And more Firehouse gigs as well.

What would it mean for you to win Battle of the Bands?
Marcus: Hundred and twenty quid each…
Jake: It’s a lot of money…
Ben: It’s all about the pride of winning rather than the money, Marcus! But no, I think it would be good to have some kind of validation. Obviously, there are people who like us because we’re in the final, but it would just be a nice validation finally to be able to go, “Yeah, we probably are kind of alright!”.
Marcus: When you’re onstage it never sounds as good as when you watch the other bands as well.
Jake: As one of the oldest bands too, it’d be a nice way to end it… go out with a bang!