Interview Pt2
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STRIPPED

Part 2 of the interview with Daryl Ball conducted by Rick Chisholm July and November 2004.


Stripped - Rehearsals

Q: Why the delay between The Norwegians and forming Stripped?

After the Norwegians split I simply wasn't interested in working within a band again at that time. It was nice having a break not having to rehearse 2 or 3 nights a week and gigging every weekend. Instead I just enjoyed learning to play acoustic guitar which I'd never really had a chance to do before as I'd always concentrated on playing bass. I even started seriously trying to write my own songs which I'd been wanting to do for a while and after a bit of effort found I could actually do it and over time got better at it.

Q: How did Stripped as a band actually come about then?

Well one night Aaron and I had been out having a few drinks and ended up back at my house. We picked up the guitars and started playing and singing old Beatles numbers and Crowded House who we both loved. It sounded good and more importantly we really enjoyed it! I put forward the idea that we should get together and do more of the same the following weekend. In between times I asked my younger brother Ryan to come sit in with us to add that third vocal harmony and an extra guitar. I've always loved working out vocal harmonies and melodies whereas Aaron and Ryan were more accomplished guitarists. Anyway after a few nights playing together we knew we had a good sound and thought it worth continuing with...


Aaron in the Studio

Q: How long was it before you started to play live?

I think we played our first gig after about 3 months. By then we had learned about 20 covers and a few originals ready for playing. It was just the three of us singing and playing acoustic guitars. We started in a pub called The George in Ballymena. It went really well and we continued to play there regularly over the next couple of years as well as lots of other good venues. We were eventually playing 2 or 3 nights per week every weekend.

Q: How did you make the progression from acoustic covers trio to an original recording and live band?

We never completely stopped doing the acoustic thing although we gradually reduced the number of covers gigs we'd do in favour of concentrating on Stripped as an original band. Very early on we'd started introducing original songs into our set which were well received.  The next logical step for us was to record some of our material which we first did as a 3 piece but were disappointed with the results. So then we approached Alwyn who we'd known for a few years and we knew was as a great drummer to see if he'd be interested in doing some demo work with us and he jumped right in and completed our line up. The first few songs we recorded together ended up as the 4 Walls EP.


Alwyn in Studio

Q: How successful were your first recordings?

Well the 4 Walls EP made it to # 9 in the local music charts which we were very proud of. One of the tracks Secrets which I'd co written with my brother Ryan was also getting lots of radio airplay and all 1000 copies of the EP had sold out in just a few weeks! Then the 4 Walls EP led to us being selected by Barry from BURBs to be have the title track featured on the first BURBs compilation CD which was sponsored by Yamaha Music UK. Both these releases got very positive reviews. We'd started gigging now as a four piece to promote both CDs including a great launch party night in Milton Keynes with some of the other BURBs bands all promoted by Yamaha.

Q: Between 1998 and 2001 you had quite a few releases?

Yeah, We released a 2nd four song EP The Girl With Cartoon Eyes which sold out again very fast. We also had tracks released on about another six or more compilations including some foreign ones which really helped raise our profile. It was great not just being heard locally but over time through CD sales, radio and the internet we were getting much wider exposure in the UK and abroad. In 2001 we released 'Out Of My Head' which was a mixture of tracks taken from previous releases plus some new tracks which still continues to sell. I'm also hoping in the future to make available a CD of previously unreleased Stripped material.

Q: Didn't you work with John O'Neill from The Undertones on one of your recordings?

The John O'Neill thing came about after we'd been selected by him to appear on a compilation CD called Energy Fields. We recorded a new track In Space(No-one hears you scream) produced by John and there was also a promotional video shot to accompany it and a mini tour. It was also through John that me got an opportunity to meet The Edge from U2 which was exciting. He was very friendly and encouraging.


Ryan Live and gorgeous! ;-)

Q: Didn't one of your songs win a songwriting award?

That was 'Don't Walk Away' off the Cartoon Eyes EP. The song was entered in an annual songwriting contest in Ireland. We got through to the finals which were held live in Cork. Although we didn't win it was a great experience and I have a nice little crystal trophy marking the occasion.

Q: Do you have a favorite Stripped song?

That's difficult because I like different songs for different reasons. We have also written in so many different styles from pop, rock, folk, blues and even disco!! If I had to name a few I'd choose songs like Thrill Me, Secrets, Cartoon Eyes, Ordinary Day plus there's also a few songs which we never got the chance to record like Hello Girl and Another Man which I think are great songs.


Stripped

What was the best thing about being in Stripped?

Well obviously we all got along really well and had lots of fun. I'm extremely proud of the work I did with Stripped especially the music we created. For a band without major label support we sold a lot of records and achieved a lot in our three and a bit years together. Aaron and I have always worked very well together as songwriters and as a band we were great live! I've never particularly enjoyed playing live because I get dreadful nerves but nevertheless we were a really good live band which comes from experience and working so closely together over a period of time.


Stripped - Dressed to Thrill!?

Q: Do you still keep in touch with your old band members?

A: Well, certainly not as much as I'd like. I occasionally hear from Norman who formed Inner Vision with me. He and my brother Ryan from Stripped have been playing very successfully as a covers band The Hangmen for the last few years. I recently made contact with Marc Carey again from Inner Vision and intend to keep in touch. We've even talked about getting together with a few beers and guitars sometime in the future which would be fun.  I'd love to hear from Jason and Geoff again.

Q: And what about The Norwegians?

Well Paul I haven't heard from since he left the band in '94 other than a brief encounter outside a Belfast pub a few years back while he was visiting home. Richard I used to see occasionally before I went overseas and Gary I've had a little more contact with over the years although again not as regular as I'd like. Gary had continued success after The Norwegians with another band Faith In Rachael. They and Stripped even shared a billing together at one show. That was pretty special. I'd love to work with Gary again sometime.

Q: Finally, what are Stripped doing these days and what does the future hold?

A: Well obviously I'm in regular contact with Ryan seeing as he's my younger brother. As i've mentioned he's still gigging regularly with my old mate Norman from Inner Vision in a covers band called the Hangmen.

It's hard to believe I've known and worked with Aaron for 15 years now!! He's workin as a guitar tutor these days and we keep in regular contact. Stripped are all still the best of friends. He and Alwyn even came over to New Zealand for a visit when I was living there and we got a wonderful chance to play together again. Sadly we missed an opportunity to play together again at Alwyns wedding due to other commitments. 

Since my return to the UK, who knows we might get it together again in some shape or form. After being quite lazy musically this last couple of years I've recently bought a little 4 track studio for doing demos. I've started playing guitar again and even recently started learning the Ukulele which is a great little instrument. Aaron and I have have recorded some demos and all of the band will be meeting at a later date so with regards to the future there'll definitely be something happening, probably a mix of solo stuff and group stuff. My interest has been sparked and I'm keen to start writing, recording and just looking forward to making music again...


Stripped in a previous life!?

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