As drummer Justin Tessier tells it, his band is only just beginning to find its sound.
Since independently releasing a series of EPs and a debut album — 2015’s Black Holes — the Blue Stones signed with Entertainment One Music and began exploring the pop sensibilities that had always lain dormant in their raucous music.
“It’s always something that we’ve kind of been attuned to, and it’s just now sort of coming out,” Tessier said.
“I think we’re kind of actually settling into more of a sound that we’re comfortable with on this album,” he added.
Tessier described the band’s to-be-titled sophomore record, written by Tessier and Blue Stones primary songwriter and frontman Tarek Jafar, as a sort of collage — a taste of the various influences the band has always played with but never fully committed to.
“The way that we’re kind of approaching the record is almost like a collection,” he said.
“Like a patchwork of songs rather than being like one big piece that’s all written intentionally at the same time with the same theme — it’s almost like a playlist.”
Some of the songs were written years ago, while some were written entirely in studio, hashed out with the band’s producer Paul Meany, lead singer of New Orleans alt-rock group Mutemath.
“They’ve always had this certain kind of like clean sort of tightness to them that I think we kind of wanted to tap into on this one — getting away from the gritty, raw kind of garage rock sound,” Tessier said of Mutemath.
That cleaner sound can be heard clearly on the two singles released by the band, particularly in the rap-influenced cadence and digital accents of “Grim.”
“We were actually really nervous to release that one at first — we didn’t know how people were going to respond to it,” Tessier said.
“There are some pop songs on the album that we haven’t even released yet.”
However, Tessier said the response to their expanding sound has been positive — a reminder of the instinctual musical bond he shares with Jafar.
“Tarek and I have been friends for so long […] we were very close friends for like six or seven years before we even jammed with each other once,” he said.
“And now we’ve been a band for 10 years — so we’ve been very close friends for more than half of our lives.”
Tessier said the band has considered bringing other members into the fold, but that it only complicates the symbiotic relationship that drives the Blue Stones.
Besides, he said they’ve never felt a lack of depth despite their two-person setup — they manage to sound as though they’ve got an entire band behind them.
“After we played, you know, hundreds of shows, no one has ever really said like ‘You guys need this’ — except for bass players, bass players will always tell us we need bass players,” he confessed.
The duo is currently in the midst of a North American tour, taking their newly-evolving music to their fans, invigorated by the new possibilities opening before them.
Even as the music changes, it still seems to work for the Blue Stones — no bass player needed.
The Blue Stones play the Park Theatre March 12.