Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

Interview with Stellastarr* 04/03/06

Filed under: Features,Interviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 6:40 pm



I took this on my knees.


Experimental Music Lover – So, you’re playing Glasgow tonight. You’ve played Scotland a few times before, like Dundee last night. How do you find Scottish crowds?

Amanda (lovely bassist from the band)- Absolutely great. We love them. It’s our favourite place to play. Yeah, Dundee was great. Just crazy. A very messy punk rock show.


EML – Is that the sort of show you like to do?

A – Yeah. It’s a lot of fun when it’s the crowd that’s hyping you up instead of the other way around it’s great.


EML – You played T in the Park a couple of years ago. Any plans to go again this year?

A – We’d love to. But we’re not sure what’s going on.


EML – Have you got any festivals planned this year?


A – Not at the moment, but we’d love to.


EML – What about your dream gig though?


A – Well, T in the Park was pretty fun. Yeah of the festivals, that’s probably my favourite. Yeah, headlining T in the Park, that would be pretty good.


EML – You were one the first of these 80s revivalist acts like Editors, Bloc Party and Interpol, deriving your influences from the likes of Joy Division, The Pixies and so on. Are you proud to be one of the initial acts of this new scene?


A – I guess. I think it’s good that initially, I felt like it was another surge in rock music. I mean, rock was supposedly dead, and it’s just been great. And to be part of a scene like that bringing bands back to the limelight.


EML – The album’s out on Monday (06/02/06). Are you pleased with it?


A – Yes. Very. I think we worked incredibly hard on it. And every day, there was no stone left unturned on it. Everything was the way we wanted it to be.


EML – Yeah, I heard Shawn’s a bit of perfectionist.


A – Yeah


EML – Was that a problem at all?


A – No, not really. It just takes a little longer to write a song to be ready for recording.


EML – Yeah, I read that he hated happy with Love and Longing for a long while.

A – Well we didn’t hate it. We just changed it. We kept changing the chorus. We didn’t write what’s on the record till we were in the studio. It’s basically all vocals, the chorus. It was just like, okay that’s it, we’re gonna do it. We just couldn’t make up our minds. So in that way it was just like one of those thorns in your side. We just wanted it done.


EML – But you’re pleased with it now though?

A – Yeah.


EML – Do you feel the album’s a progression from your debut?

A – It’s different. It’s a lot more professional, a bit more mature. We went for specifically large sounds rather than just punk rock distortion. There’s lots of reverb. And that’s natural reverb. We recorded in a huge, wooden domed room so it had this awesome reverb. We also had a big elevator shaft for the vocals just to keep with the natural reverbs.


EML – A few songs from the new record sound more epic, almost ballad like, with the piano on Lost in Time certainly adding something more to your sound. Is this the sort of direction you want to go?

A – Yeah, we like doing those sorts of songs. We like doing the whole spectrum basically.


EML – The album’s had some harsh criticism from some sections of the music press. Do you listen to the critics at all?

A – No (laughs). A lot of the time you can’t trust these reviews. I mean, first of all, it’s an art form and you can;t trust critics on art. And also, it’s a very politically based thing, and you don;t want views on artistic expression based on those sorts of differences.


EML – Next up for you is a tour of America with Editors. Are you looking forward to that?

A – We had an American tour last year, but that was just small, but this is a full, big tour. It should be fun. I don’t know Editors very well actually, they’re not released in America yet, but I’ve heard a couple of tracks, and what I do know of them, I like.


EML – I hear that Shawn’s been branching out into scriptwriting. Do you think that will affect the band?

A – I think it does, but in a good way. It’s good to have people who do other things.


EML – So it’s not going to divert attention away from the music?

A – Not at all.


EML – Is something he’s always wanted to do?

A – Yes, He’s very proud of. He’s always been interested in film.


EML – Yeah, you can see that in your videos, like the one for Sweet Troubled Soul which just looks brilliant. Where did the idea come from for it?

A – Basically, we picked a new director because we really liked the look of her old work…


EML – Is that Adria Petty?

A – Yeah, and we basically just sat down and had a brainstorming session with her as to what we wanted. And she wanted to do a stop motion animation video and thought that it sounded awesome. We needed a theme, and we just thought that the song was about a sweet troubled soul, and that’s about, well, it’s kind of hard to explain. Well, we came back to the idea of Van Gogh, and how his love was so strong, and yet weird, to cut your own ear off and think of that as the ultimate gift to give to someone you love. We just thought that was very appropriate for the song. A troubled kind of love.


EML – Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, once said that you’d be the band he’d love to play at his wedding if he ever got married. Is that an invitation you’d accept?

A – (Laughs) I don’t know. Maybe. We’ve been asked to play weddings before. It’s an honour to play at someone’s weddings.


EML – Especially Harry Potter’s…

A – Well yeah. He’s a little young to be getting married though, but maybe in a couple of years.


EML – What’s the first song you ever learned on your guitar?

A – Ok, I actually don’t know any songs other than the songs that I’ve wrote. I never did that, I never tried to figure out other songs. I guess the first song would have been, um, I can’t remember the name of it. Basically, Arthur, Shawn and I were in another band together in college and that was the first time I ever played music. It was a band called Drifter, and we weren’t very good. We were all trying to figure out our instruments. I can’t remember the name of the first song we did then, but our first song for Stellastarr* was called ‘Loaded Weapon’.


EML – You’re quite big now, but where do you see yourself in the future?

A – I don’t know. We work hard, and we take what’s given to us graciously. If we get to the point where we’re very successful and making some money, then we’d love that. Life would be a lot easier. Just to be able to play music and not worry financially would be great.


EML – Do you have a word of advice for any upcoming talent out there.

A – mmm


EML – Just one word.

A – Togetherness


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