Stalefish Sends KVRX Back in Time at Local Live, Feb. 18 2024

Stalefish Sends KVRX Back in Time at Local Live, Feb. 18 2024

February 18, 2024 in Local Live

by dj lemonhead

Alt-rock six-piece Stalefish joined KVRX in the studio on Sunday, February 18, to showcase their '90s-esque discography. The band has an impressive cohesiveness, considering it only formed in Spring of 2023. At the front of the stage, Jake Magee, Jack Ryon and Dalton Hausman, spent the set alternating the jobs of vocals, guitar and bass while Avery Delost, Jon Pedraza and Jon Cazares held the fort down on sound effects, keys and drums, respectively.

These musicians are no stranger to the Austin scene. While Stalefish only recently formed, it is a product of merging together former bands Golden Days and Artificial Death, which most members were previously part of.

These two bands blended cohesively to create a sound reminiscent of '90s indie rock; their songs are filled with punchy guitar chords, energetic rhythms and a distinct vocal timbre that embellishes their "slacker-rock" sound, as singer Dalton describes it.

Most of the set consisted of songs from the band's debut album Stalefish Does America, which came out last month. It is a no-skip album that translates well into live performance, with the band members constantly moving around as they jammed out to their upbeat songs. You could tell just how much fun they have while performing together. After the show, we caught up with them for a lively conversation about their music, tour and the Austin music scene.

Read our interview with Stalefish below.

Q: Could y'all introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in the band? And for a little icebreaker, what's your favorite appetizer?

Dalton: I'll go first. My name is Dalton. I play guitar and sing and play bass sometimes. My favorite appetizer would have to be spinach artichoke dip with some with some nice little pita chips. That's good stuff.

Jack: That's a good answer.

Avery: Jack messes with it.

Jack: Yeah, that's a better answer than mine. My name is Jack. I play guitar and sing, and I also play bass sometimes. I don't know if this is an appetizer, but I feel like a lot of the time it is. It's kind of a boujee one. I'm going calamari.

Avery: I think that pick is wack. I mean, it's fine. It's not the best though. Anyways, I'm Avery. I do sound effects, auxiliary percussion and backup vocals. I am going to have to choose nachos.

Dalton: That's not really an appetizer.

Avery: It's just a euphoric experience to be like, "Do you guys want to have nachos to start?"

Q: If you were to explain the vibe of your music to someone who has never heard of Stalefish, how would you describe it?

Dalton: I think the term that we landed on was slacker-ish. Slacker rock. I guess being a slacker is a vibe. Although, we work very hard - don't get it twisted.

Avery: Yeah, and we're lowkey in grad school.

Dalton: Slacker rock or '90s indie rock is typically what we tell people. Also, awesome is a vibe.

Avery: Infinite.

Jack: The vibe is infinite.

Q: When did Stalefish first form? How did the band come to be?

Dalton: It first formed in April-ish of 2023. It came out of me, Jake and Jack. We were in these other bands called Golden Days and Artificial Death. Golden Days was my personal thing, and Artificial Death was Jake's thing. We were playing a lot of shows, but we weren't really happy with where things were going. We had been doing it all of college, and we were kind of in the same place that we had been when we started. So we were kind of just like, let's start over. Let's stop acting like we don't care and start acting like we do care a lot. Maybe that's cool. Maybe trying is actually cool. So we took it there. We spent months writing and figuring stuff out. We kind of just conglomerated the two bands together. Everybody in the band was in either Golden Days, Artificial Death or both. Except for Avery.

Avery: Except for me. I'm the new addition, the one that changed it all.

Dalton: We were talking about it right before we started playing. We've been playing in a bunch of bands for quite a few years now. We've paid our dues in terms of playing empty shows and not being very happy with where we were, and now we're doing all these things that we've been wanting to do for years. And Avery just kind of got to skip all of that. Also, Jake just walked in!

Avery: This is Jake Paperwork, JP Pritchard Magee.

Jack: Jake, introduce yourself, say what your instrument is and what your favorite appetizer is.

Jake: My name is Jake Magee. Future PhD. When I get my PhD, I'm gonna start going by Jay Prichard Magee. I play bass and guitar, and I sing. My favorite appetizer is spinach artichoke dip.

Dalton: That's what I said!

Jake: Because it's really good.

Avery: All appetizers are valid.

Dalton: That's what happens when Jake and I have been living together for five years. Drum Jon just texted the group chat and wanted us to say that he likes fried pickles.

Q: Tell us about Stalefish's songwriting process.

Jake: We want to put out another album this year in June, probably, so we're starting to write a bunch of new songs right now. The way it starts is Dalton, Jack and I will usually have a song or a part of a song written, and then the three of us will get together and flesh it out a little bit more. Then we'll bring it to the band and jam it out - at least that's what we're trying to do for this album. We sort of did that with this last album, but it was less writing as a band and more just the three of us writing.

Dalton: There were some songs on the first album that were written for Golden Days and Artificial Death. Specifically "Slow," "Pond" and "Cold and Still" were all written for those bands. "Mrs. Jones" also. On "Slow," I wrote all the parts myself, and that's the last time I've done that because that was a long process of staying in my room and not showering for a few days.

Jake: Nothing was preventing you from showering. There's a shower in your room.

Dalton: It affects my creative process.

Jake: We spent a long time writing the first album, so we were able to all work on it eventually. We didn't really start that way (working as a band) because with six people - originally seven - it's just logistically a nightmare for all of us to get together frequently. We kind of figured that out a little bit: we have a loose commitment to practicing on Wednesday nights.

Dalton: We're changing that. That is yet to happen.

Jake: Might be Thursdays now? TBD. We're really trying to write as a band, and I feel we are a greater sum than our constituent parts.

Avery: Tattoo that. It says, "I think we are a greater sum than our constituent parts -JP Magee, future PhD."

Stalefish 3 by Alyse

Photo by Alyse Stiles.

Q: Do y'all have any pre-show rituals that you do before you perform?

Dalton: This might have started with Golden Days, but the moment before we play, we all fist bump each other. I don't know why that started, but I like it.

Jake: It's a nice moment where we can all come together as one. It feels like a team, like a sports team.

Dalton: It's like a huddle of sorts.

Jake: We're a basketball team. We're a starting five and a six-man, so we are a team of sorts.

Avery: And we love each other.

Jake: Most importantly.

Q: What about post-show?

Dalton: Post-show is talking about whether or not we sucked. Immediate first thing is Jake says, "That was a great set." And then me and Jack start being like, "No, that was actually awful."

Jake: Then we have a 10-minute conversation about it. It always ends in the same place where we're like, "Yeah, that was pretty good."

Avery: And then we chill on the patio.

Q: Do y'all have a favorite place to play in Austin?

Dalton: Everybody name one.

Jack: Best venue in Austin is Empire Garage and Control Room.

Dalton: No, he just works there.

Jack: It is the best venue in Austin, and the door guys are very cool.

Jake: Recently I feel like we've played a lot at Hotel Vegas, and we were able to do our album release there. I enjoy playing there a lot; logistically it works out nice. It's a good area. Parking every now and then is pretty okay. Nice stage. KVRX alum, Lydia, runs sound there. That guy that's in Blank Hellscape, Max, runs sound there. Lots of good people at Hotel Vegas.

Avery: I really haven't played at that many venues multiple times, so I'm also gonna say Hotel Vegas. But I love Corpus Christi, Studio B. We were on tour, and we went to Corpus Christi. I was very charmed by the city and was charmed by the guy at the gas station. He gave us some discounts, and what type of gas station guy even gives discounts? Our guy.

Jack: That venue had an Electric Church vibe. RIP Electric Church.

Dalton: We played the last show ever there.

Jack: I want to say shout out Electric Church, that used to be the best venue.

Q: That was for KVRX, right?

Jake: Yes it was. Thank you again, KVRX. Hooking us up all the time.

Dalton: I think my favorite one, to switch things up, is probably Hole in the Wall. Jake and I, when we were freshmen here at UT and not old enough to go there yet, would walk by it and be like, "Man, I wonder what it's like. It'd be really cool to play there." I remember my friend would tell me that her older sister went there, and she was like, "You guys should try and play at Hole in the Wall! It's so cool!" Now, thankfully, we have a lot of friends who book there, and we've played there a lot of times. It's a great time every time.

Q: You guys recently went on tour, how was that? Was that your first tour?

Jake: Not Jack's first. Jack is the most seasoned veteran of all of us. Jack is a School of Rock alumnus, and he was on the touring group for School of Rock in the Dallas area. He's toured the greater United States with School of Rock. I'm not kidding. This is true. Playing Guns and Roses covers, KISS songs.

Jack: None of those covers happened, but it was "Good Times Bad Times."

Jake: So Jack has toured but for the rest of us, this was the first. It was a Texas tour. We don't have to call it a tour tour.

Dalton: We did say multiple times that we were touring America.

Jake: Technically we were.

Dalton: Yeah, I guess Texas is a large part of America.

Jake: We covered a substantial swath of South Central Texas. It was really cool. The first weekend we went down to San Antonio. We were gonna go up to Denton, but because of the one weekend it was icy, that show got postponed to a week from today. The tour is still continuing, I suppose, but we took a month-long break. So we did the first weekend in San Antonio, and we did the album release shortly before that. Then we did the album release on tape at Antones, so we double dipped in Austin. Then we went down to Houston, Corpus Christi and San Marcos. It was great.

Avery of Stalefish by Spencer

Photo by Spencer O'Neal.

Q: Avery said Corpus Christi right was a really cool city. Was there any other city that stuck out to you?

Avery: I don't like any other cities. Everywhere but Corpus Christi is not even on my list. Corpus was real, they had their little scene.

Dalton: Honestly, I had a really, really good time at the venue in San Antonio that we went to. Pink Zeppelin is what it's called.

Avery: It was amazing. It was so fun. We were racing in the parking lot.

Dalton: We were doing foot races in the parking lot. The venue is a record store. It was so cool. We walked in and they had a projector with old H-Street skate videos on, which I thought was awesome. There's a bunch of records and books, and it was a very chill, very small local thing that I think only a few people who live there really knew about. In the way that people knew about Electric Church, people knew about it, but on a smaller scale. It felt very intimate and like we were really in the San Antonio underground scene playing there.

Jake: I enjoyed San Marcos a lot. I never really spend any time there, but it's so close, you know. There's some cool stuff there. [We played at] Jack’s Roadhouse. We were gonna play at The Porch, but I think something happened with their water or something. There was an emergency.

Dalton: The sound guy at the San Marcos place was kind of mean, though. We were trying to set up our keys, and he was mansplaining how MIDI worked to our keys player. He was wrong about it too, which was really funny.

Avery: I will say I did have an incredible amount of fun at the San Marcos show.

Dalton: That was a very fun show.

Avery: I thought it was a cool venue. It was a place where I thought, I wish we had one of these in Austin.

Jack: We got to chainsmoke. We shotgunned in the parking lot.

Avery: We chainsmoked, and we didn't even bring any cigarettes. Because of our charm.

Jack: People kept giving us cigarettes, which is really nice.

Interviewer: Was it on the square in Downtown San Marcos?

Dalton: No, it was in the middle of nowhere.

Avery: I had this amazing moment where there was a field of a ton of deer, and I was like, "I want to go look at them." I was walking up and they were all looking at me - probably like 25 deer. You can see that on our tour documentary. Tour, for me at least, was just way too much fun. There was no moment where I wasn't really beside myself with having fun.

Dalton: We kind of asked ourselves, "How do people do this for months?" Then we realized that they probably do it for months because they don't stay up till four in the morning everyday. They go to sleep at a reasonable hour. They don't drink a 24 case of beers.

Jake: I ran some stats, and I think Jon and I estimated that we crested 112 beers across the five days. We went to Outback Steakhouse in Corpus Christi.

Jack: Shout out Outback Steakhouse.

Jake: We ordered two bloomin' onions - that was on the band. The door money paid for the bloomin' onions, and we only ate one and a quarter. We heated it up in the Airbnb.

Jack: That was awesome!

Avery: The highlight of tour for Jack was microwaving a bloomin' onion.

Q: Would y'all tour again?

Dalton: I want to so badly.

Avery: I'm addicted to it.

Dalton: We're all going to start our real lives pretty soon, so we're trying to figure out how to make it work. Jake's gonna go get his doctorate. I'm finishing my master's degree in May. Everybody's just graduating college. The Jons are older than us. Drum Jon is getting married quite soon. Shout out to them, Bianca and Jon. Love you guys. You guys are like my older brother and sister.

Jake: All that said, we feel like things are going alright, and we want to keep steamrolling ahead. We're gonna hopefully have a lot of cool stuff going on in the next couple of years. We've got a lot of unofficial SXSW stuff ramped up. We're not doing anything official because we had been a band for a month and a half before the South By applications were due. Next year, that's a goal of ours - to do official South By stuff. So we'll be around, even though I will likely be in Pittsburgh for a considerable amount of time. Shout out to the Rust Belt.

Dalton: Also, quick aside - Keys Jon wanted us to say that he's from Minnesota.

Q: Speaking of upcoming shows and other cool bands, who are some bands in Austin that you'd love to share a bill with right now?

Jack: It wouldn't work, but we would love to play with palefade.

Dalton: We played with palefade once for my other band Golden Days, which made no sense, but they were so awesome. I would love to play with Font or Being Dead or fawn. They're all awesome.

Jake: Some bands we play with now that I think are always really great to play with are...Hover is always great to play with. They've got a single coming out on Tuesday. Hover's awesome. Sleep well is awesome. We got to play some shows with them. And Mid Range Jumper.

Jack: Grocery Bag.

Avery: We love Nova. And you should get ready for NovApocalypse.

Jake: Music capital of America. Of the world.

Dalton: I think that music takes off in geographical pockets. I watched that documentary Meet Me in The Bathroom about all those New York bands - it's such a great documentary - that popped up at the same time. I think that happens typically. I think right now, Austin is kind of having its moment. There's some really, really amazing bands that are all coming out of Austin at the same time right now. Everybody's hitting their stride. Everybody's getting these great opportunities: playing ACL, doing South By, touring. It's really exciting to see and exciting to feel like we're, in some small way, a part of that.

Jake of Stalefish by Spencer

Photo by Spencer O'Neal.

Q: So, some of y'all went to UT? Did all of you go here? How did you meet?

Avery: We're 50/50 UT.

Dalton: Drum Jon did a semester at UT, actually. He was getting his teaching degree, and then he was like, this is way too expensive for a teaching degree. So he became an EMT, which was really awesome of him.

Avery: So like 55/45. I met Jake and Dalton at college. And Jake and Dalton also met at college.

Jake: We met at orientation.

Dalton: Day 1.

Jake: Yeah, UT orientation. I met Jack when he was a sophomore in high school. Dalton has known Drum Jon-

Dalton: Since my senior year of high school. Shout out Eagle Pass, small Texas border town.

Jake: Keys Jon studied music education at UNT. Jack did a stint at UNT and is now finishing it out at the great Texas State University.

Avery: Eat 'em up cats.

Q: Why the name Stalefish?

Dalton: It's a skateboarding trick. We had been trying to come up with a name for months, and then Jake texted me and was like, "Do you know any fringe skateboarding terms?" And I said "Stalefish?" and it just kind of stuck. Oh, I said stinkbug first, which is another grab. Skateboarding is a pretty big part of, in my opinion, the band's image, even subtly, because I just like it a lot. I've been doing it a long time. So I try to incorporate it where it can. I went home for the weekend and hadn't skated in a few months, but the local skate shop had a competition. I was like, I'm gonna see what's up. I got second and won 75 bucks. That's half of my bills for this month. That was huge.

Q: What is coming up next for Stalefish?

Dalton: Aside from shows, we have a tour documentary coming out in a couple of weeks.

Jake: It's going to come out at the beginning of March.

Dalton: Filmed by Parker Howard and Leah Blom. Then we have a music video coming out this month.

Jake: Yeah, it's gonna be the 24th or 25th.

Dalton: Directed by Joe Marks and visuals by Lucas, who did our visuals today. @backyarduniverse

Jake: Great team behind the "Slow" video.

Dalton: Yeah, shout out to everybody who helps us out - to the Stalefish crew - because I think we honestly have the most talented group of media people behind our stuff. I can't think of anybody who I would rather be doing all this stuff with, so shout out to everybody who helps us out. We really like and appreciate you.

Find Stalefish here:

Instagram: @stalefishhhhh

Stalefish's upcoming shows:

February 29 - Empire Control Room & Garage Austin

March 1 - Hole in the Wall Austin

March 5 - Hotel Vegas Austin

March 10 - Volstead (101X Homegrown Live) Austin

March 24 - Empire Control Room & Garage Austin


Photo by Trevor Keig.

Musicians: Dalton Hausman - vocals, guitar, bass; Jack Ryon - vocals, guitar, bass; Avery Luna - sound effects, auxiliary percussion, backup vocals; Jake Magee - vocals, guitar, bass; Jon Pedraza - keys; Jon Cazares - drums


Production Manager: Emma Kositsky; Set Design Director: Cooper Stephenson;

Audio Director: Aiden Sharabba; Audio Intern: Nathan Crews;

Video Directors: Zahra Ahmed, Cassie Quintela; Video Intern: Caleb Staten

Photo Directors: Trevor Keig, Abraham Vidal; Photo Interns: Spencer O'Neal;

TSTV Producer: Michael Norris, Darren Puccala;

Interviewers: Morgan Lenamond, Rayna Sevilla;

Volunteers: Bella Lopez, Louis DeBock, Rob Paine, Rhian Jackson, Alyse Stiles

All Photos thanks to KVRX's Spencer O'Neal,Trevor Keig and Alyse Stiles.

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