Monday, February 10, 2014

Interview # 165 Stars Are Insane

1) Why exactly are stars insane? I’m taking it as meaning the stars in the sky that have burned out oh so long ago as opposed to, you know, the obvious choice of Gary Busey or Lindsay Lohan. o A: I named Stars Are Insane after my favorite Versus album “The Stars Are Insane”, which was a record that was on constant rotation for me in high school back in the mid 90s. o 2) Your first release was in 1999, which is funny because I began writing about music back in ’99, so I was curious to see how you feel about the changes in music from then until now. Not just the styles of music, as Limp Bizkit seems to have lost some steam, but just the way that music became “digital” in the sense that you could email labels or buy CDs online [Old Person Note: I grew up buying punk music from a catalog, which involved either mail-in or phone ordering] and nowadays in music people can download an album literally the second that it comes out. It’s kind of an odd journey, no? o A: It is rather surreal how the landscape of how people find out, share and enjoy music has changed. I too have fond memories of mail ordering records and cassettes from places like K Records, Shrimper, Touch & Go, Alias, etc. and finding out about bands from zines, tape trading and that sort of thing. Sometimes I feel it is great to be able to connect with audiences so instantly but more often than not it seems like it sensory overload. One can write, and record a song within minutes and then share it with the world instantly. While there is something to be said about that it also begs to question if is all just too much to take in. o 3) On the note of longevity, what has it been like putting out music since 1999? It seems like most projects disband after that amount of time, or it seems like you’d at least be recording under a different name. o A:There was a brief period where I thought I was going to change the name because it wasn’t active for a while in between “Nine Untitled Songs” and “A Plan…A Perfect Disaster” but then I opted not to. And I have to say I am glad I didn’t change the name because I like the idea that I have built a large body of work the represents different ideas, and parts of my life not only as an artist but as a person. o 4) With the changes in music (I say digital music has killed physical releases for major labels, thus giving others the chance to release various physical formats) do you feel as if cassettes are really the future? What attracts you to them? o A: Personally I like cassettes for a few reasons the first being purely aesthetic, the fact that they have this real home-made, niche appeal to them. But honestly my favorite aspect of cassettes is that in a way in 2013 that is a statement of sorts against how music is consumed in this day and age. Digital music caters to the instant gratification music listener that will listen to music in shuffle mode, or in snippets as they get bored of the track and move on or just consume music in a more passive manner and personally I can’t identify with any of that. Unless you want to be fast forwarding and rewinding the cassette, you have to listen the work as the artist intended it to be heard. Personally, I find it to be the medium that best serves artists presenting ideas in a cohesive album form as opposed to a more random assortment of “singles” or tracks. o 5) Your seventh full length, “A Plan…A Perfect Disaster” was released back in 2011. Are there any plans for an eighth album? o A: Absolutely. The last couple of years I have mainly just been focusing on doing eps, singles and compilation tracks but I have been working steadily on a eighth album called “Pop Industry”. It is a little different from recent Stars Are Insane releases that are more ambient, shoegaze, or folk in nature in that “Pop Industry” is more of a collection of lo-fi bedroom pop, and bedroom noise pop as well as field recordings and that sort of thing. I started writing these songs after my indie rock band Dude Japan broke up, because even though the band was done I was still coming up with ideas for songs that were a bit on the “poppy” side. So I decided to document them as a Stars Are Insane album. I really took a lot of influence from Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, Eric’s Trip, Kicking Giant, Cat’s Miaow and such for these tunes and I anticipate that the album will finally be available as a cassette in early 2014. o 6) Will there ever be a Stars Are Insane cassette boxed set? I think of it as being like either when cassettes had boxed sets of music or even when books on tape used to actually be on tape. With an eighth album, you could put the odds and ends on two other tapes and make it a ten tape set. I, for one, would definitely want to see something like that. o A: Back in 2006 I did a four cd-r set with a 24 page booklet, stamped covers and slick looking cds called “So I Dreamed of Noise” that reissued all four albums plus a bunch of unreleased stuff and it was a fun project to do so naturally I have thought about doing something similar again but at this juncture there are no plans. I did a third edition of the first cassette “Gracias” last year and I would like to do new editions of some of the other older albums or perhaps albums like, “Nine Untitled Songs” or “The Empty House” which were never offered on cassette but like I said no plans at this time. o 7) Why do they call it pop? And by “it” I mean soda. o A: Good question. I am always fascinated by regional differences, which is something I got to experience first-hand traveling and being on tour. o 8) You have two different splits out right now, are there any bands that you specifically want to do splits with? o A: I am stoked that I got to do splits with both Monogamy and Morgue Toad, as they are good friends of mine whose music I respect a great deal. But as far as bands that I would want to do splits with? I would love to split releases with friends of mine who make great music like Vehicle Blues, Gelatin Kids, Kevin Greenspon, Former Selves, Squanto, Shivering Window, The Only Ghost in Town or The National Park Service. As far as “dream splits” definitely splitting a release with Dump, Lou Barlow or Charlie McAlister would be something that would blow my mind! o 9) What are the grand scheme plans for 2014? o A) I plan on being just as productive in 2014 as I was in 2013. The eighth full length cassette, “Pop Industry” will be out. I have an ep cassette coming out on the Italian label, Almost Halloween Time. In addition to a track appearing on the “Drowned in Drone” compilation on Abysmal Records there will be a few more things I suppose. o
10) Final thoughts, shout outs, etc…?? o A: Thanks for the interview, it is greatly appreciated! Be sure to check out to get free downloads of the entire Stars Are Insane discography and if you’d like to purchase physical copies visit my label

No comments:

Post a Comment