The Stops are a seriously good band. They formed in March of this year, but their music already sounds major-record-deal good. The Stops describe their sound as a mix between electro-rock and indie dance pop. Whatever the combination, it works. It’s the type of music you can feel good about liking—interesting and edgy enough to make you feel cultured and cool, dancey and fun enough to shamelessly rock out to.
The Stops don’t travel light, as can be evidenced by their four synthesizers, two guitars, bass and drum set. Then there’s the large Lite Brite they set up at shows that spells out “The Stops.”
“Basically, we have a lot of cables,” says Johnny Vandenberg, 24, who sings, plays guitar and mans one of the synthesizers. Vandenberg is joined by Zack Teran, 19, on bass; Aaron Reynolds, 24, on drums; Yudai Iwashita, 24, on guitar, synthesizers and vocals; and Arielle McCann, 25, on synthesizers and vocals. All that equipment might be a problem if every member of the band wasn’t a gifted musician. Luckily, that’s not an issue for this group. Each of them has been at their instrument for several years, save McCann. She used her past experience playing bass and piano to learn the vintage synthesizer she bought on eBay in an astonishingly fast few months. The quirky sounds she supplies combined with her sweet voice bring a nice feminine aspect to the otherwise all-male band.
Most members of The Stops have played in other bands, and it wasn’t until spring of this year that Teran met Vandenberg and Iwashita during choir class at the University of Nevada, Reno. McCann and Vandenberg have known each other a bit longer—they’re brother and sister. With Reynolds on board, The Stops was formed. For their first official band practice, they played laser tag to break the ice. The band likes to bring that same spirit of fun to their shows, which have been several times a month since their first one in June.
“We like to dress up in themes for our shows,” says Vandenberg. “We’ll wear suits and ties or Bruce Springsteen bandanas or put glow sticks all over our gear and clothes. We will be in full costume for our Halloween show.”
As much as they like to have a good time, The Stops are also serious about their music.
“Everyone’s very mature and basically just musicians with a good ear,” continues Vandenberg. “We’re all learning how to turn down.”
This non-egotistical approach serves to create a smooth and highly entertaining live show. From the disco house music of “Say Again 120” to the mellow jazziness of “Heaven Knows,” the eclectically large scope of music The Stops play offers something for everyone.
“We don’t try to emulate anyone in specific,” says Teran. “All music is an influence. We want our songs to be challenging but still nice to listen to.”
“A lot of people dance at our shows, and we want that,” adds Vandenberg, “We want to make music that’s fun to dance to but isn’t boring to listen to in your room.”
Boring is not an adjective that could possibly relate to The Stops. The band wants to tour in Japan, where Iwashita is from, and it plans on releasing an EP in December. Then they’ll start shopping it around to record labels.