After a soul crushing false start and 5 year hiatus, Toni and the Stonehearts have finally arrived. Five years ago, the record was written, the release date was set and everything was coming up roses for the budding young artist. Devastatingly, Toni Bird’s co-writer and mentor suddenly passed away before the record was able to see the light of day. The emotional blow took Bird away from music on a soul searching journey. It took an invite to hit the road with blues/rock band ‘Nat Col & the Kings’ and a chance encounter with fierce front woman Dallas Frasca to bring Bird back to music hitting the ground running with single No Turning Back. Toni Bird answered a quick Q&A for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.

Given the challenges you have faced do you feel satisfied that this record will see the light of day?
It’s always nice to complete a project and send it off into the ether, so to speak. Like many creatives I’m great at starting something and not so great at finishing, so it’s definitely satisfying to let it go.

Did you doubt yourself that you would ever be able to see this through?
Sure. They say it’s “a long way to the top of you wanna rock n roll” but nobody talks about the hard work that goes into just climbing to base camp. It’s fair to say more than a little blood, sweat and beers were spilt in the beginnings of the project.

What was the catalyst that got you going again?
I had a random phone call from Nathan Cavaleri asking me to go out on the road as backing vocalist for his band Nat Col & the Kings and fell back in love with music and being out on the road performing original music, those boys play straight from the heart and reminded that if music is in your veins there’s nothing you can do about it.

How was that chance meeting with Dallas Frasca?
I’ve loved her music for a long time and finally got to see her perform at Manning Bar in Sydney. We were having a chat after the show and she was just really encouraging and supportive at a time where I was having a couple of doubts about releasing it definitely helped spur me on to the finish line.

Do you feel the pressure is off your shoulders now and you can keep on keeping on?
I think you’re always learning it’s less about pressure and more about growing with each new experience.

Is there a hidden meaning with the song No Turning Back?
No hidden meaning, it’s just a good boogie track about taking a leap and living in whatever moment life has on offer.

How would you describe the song sonically?
Pure full throttle rock, lots of fuzz, grooves and riffs.

Biggest musical influence?
So hard to name just one as I believe you get molded by so many. For this project Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Did you find the recording process tough going given what you have been dealing with?
It took a few years to get back writing and in the studio so it was just nice to be through it and back doing what I love.

Is there more new music planned?
There’s an EP in the works due later this year.

What’s next in the journey for Toni & The Stonehearts?
Looking forward to rocking out the tunes live. We are headed out on an Easy Coast tour starting with a support for The Radiators in Sydney followed by Newcastle and Melbourne.

Interview by Rob Lyon

Catch Toni & The Stonehearts on the following dates…

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