THE ASSIST are an Indie/Alternative/Britpop quartet from Walsall, formed in 2013, and comprised of Mikey Stanton (vocals), Jak Baker (bass), Ryan Stanton (guitar), and Ben Faulkner (drums).
The music is energetic and unpredictable, with angular, edgy guitar riffs, funky bass lines and punchy drums; littered with infectious melodies, unexpected tempo changes, and anthemic, sing-along choruses. The songs are honest, filled with bravado, and inspired by everyday scenarios. It’s music that speaks for itself; that anyone can identify with.
Guitarist Ryan Stanton said, “We’re more defined by a sound which shows our strengths as players, and all the songs are built in line with that sound. The guitar takes a rhythmic role, while the bass lines are very forceful and insistent; it carries a lot of energy. We use a lot of tempo changes in the songs, it keeps things interesting and unpredictable, and audiences have really responded to that.”
The band has made a significant impact on the live scene, performing in major cities all over the UK, from Blackpool to London, including headline shows in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Manchester, as well as support slots with Steve Craddock (Ocean Colour Scene), Reverend and The Makers, Bruce Foxton (The Jam), Dexters and Slade.
They’re no strangers to the festival circuit either, performing the main stage at the Strawberry Fields Festival, with such luminaries as The Twang, Goldie Lookin’ Chain, and Ocean Colour Scene; and at the Forever Sun Festival with the Happy Mondays and the Buzzcocks. Their quality as players and their ability to generate excitement in an audience has earned them a reputation as a formable live act.
Bassist Jak Baker said, “We’ve really honed our live show. It’s fast and energetic, and it really gets the crowd going. That’s where we’re at our best. We’ve been lucky enough to play alongside some great bands, both old and new, and we feel we’ve proven ourselves as a live act.”
They have also performed at the top of Blackpool Tower for HMV’s VIP Christmas party in 2013 and 2014; Blackpool Rocks 2014, alongside The 1975, Swim Deep, and Disclosure; Villa Park for Aston Villa's Official Kit Launch; and at the opening of Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green shop in Birmingham.
Drummer Ben Faulkner said, “The songs come from a very honest and sincere place. We write about what we know, what we experience every day. That’s probably one of the reasons our music has had such an impact.”
Radio coverage has also brought the band wider attention, with prominent airplay on indie and alternative stations, such as XFM, Amazing Radio, and Smash Radio, and 6 songs aired on BBC ‘Introducing…’ WM. In addition to this, their live acoustic session for BBC ‘Introducing...’ WM was highlighted as one of the best of 2014.
They’ve turned a few heads in the press and media, too, who haven’t been shy with their praises, with noteworthy features and reviews in Counteract Magazine, Brum Notes, Impact Birmingham, Deadly Music and Independent Music News, among others. XFM called them "Birmingham's Next Big Thing".
Vocalist Mikey Stanton said, “We’ve had a modest amount of press and media interest, and it’s all been very positive. It’s good to know that our music has found an audience and has been so well-received. The reviews have all been complimentary. It’s very flattering.”
The band has achieved notable success in a relatively a short time. Their self-titled single, ‘The Assist’ – described by Deadly Music as “slowly building indie pop with a serious swagger” – was produced by Richard Wood and recorded at the Old Smithy in Worcester (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest). On its release in October 2013, the single broke into made it into the iTunes Alternative chart, peaking at #116.
Their debut EP, ‘Speak It Aloud’, produced and recorded at Dovecote Studios in Great Wyrley, was released in March 2014. Within a week, the EP also dented the 200 iTunes Alternative chart, this time reaching #129. The EP garnered a host of reviews, all too eager to sing their praises, with Deadly Music suggesting it was a sign of “great things to come”, and Mesmerize Music adding “songs full of youthful charisma and energetic tales of young life”. Reviewers were also keen to single out EP title track “Speak It Aloud” and “Control” as notable highlights.
They have also recorded at Monochrome Productions under the helm of producer Tom Gittins (The Lines, Tyler Mae, Lauren Wright).