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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Stars and Sons – Interview

Catching up with some funsters from the south coast, whose hook-filled indie pop is invading the airwaves

Written by Ian Steadman

stars and sons brighton mike interview

Hailing from Brighton (there’s a veritable smorgasbord of great bands coming out of there at the moment, thumb aren’t there?), order Stars and Sons are an indie pop band who specialise in fun-filled tunes packed with extra layers, of instruments and noises. A bit like a very nice cake, in a way – a musical cake. I chatted to lead singer Mike about his band and their dancing triangles.

Hi Mike – you are Mike, right? How did Stars and Sons begin?

Yep, I’m Mike. I basically started the project off in a dark bedroom, recording stuff on dodgy software, and then realised it needed to go somewhere other than my bedroom so I got in Stuart, Sandy, Paul, and later on Luke, because apparently playing live is quite important. And it’s nice to have the company!

Who does what then in the band?

I play piano, Luke and Sandy play guitar, Stuart’s on drums and Paul plays bass. We’ll hopefully expand a bit when time and money come our way. The thing with our songs is that they’re quite densely recorded and it’s hard to recreate that live – there’s glockenspiels and strings flying around. The energy makes up for it, really, of all us playing together live, that kind of makes up for any lost details at the moment.

Listening to your songs they do seem packed with quite a lot of things for indie pop – would you call yourselves indie pop, or something along those lines?

I’m happy with that. I called it pop for a while but a lot of people met that with disapproving looks, but I don’t care really.

That happens sometimes – quite snobby, isn’t it?

Yeah, I mean, I just want to make catchy music, though sometimes I don’t make catchy music – there’s a lot of balance there. I like pop, that’s all.

You’ve just finished recording your debut album – how did that go?

It went really well! It was really stressful because I’ve come from a position where I had endless hours of being able to record things and mix things and program things and suddenly we have two weeks in a studio, and you record things and you don’t really have much time for judgement as to whether it’s fine or not. That sort of pushes parts of you to be more spontaneous. It was a great experience, but still, stressful.

You were working with Dave Eringa. Did it help to work with an experience producer?

It did, it did. He’s into big-sounding things, massive drums, big guitars, that sort of thing, and he really rocked up the recordings a bit. They were a little bit sterile before, just being recorded in my room.

He’s worked with people like Ash

Yeah, and Manic Street Preachers, and even Tom Jones. He told about this time he was recording with Tom, setting up the microphones and things, and asked him what kind of microphone he wanted. “The biggest one you got!” he said. So they just started recording and Tom Jones was clipping and peaking on the signal but he couldn’t really turn it down… I think it turned out fine in the end.

The single you’ve just put out is ‘If It’s Good For Me’ – the video looks like it was a lot of fun to make.

Hah, yeah, it’s one of those things we tried to spend a lot of time over. Matt is very much into his video production, and he spent a long time thinking about props and shots and trying to make it interesting. It’s fun doing that kind of thing, a change from just doing the music.

What’s your next single going to be?

‘Future Proof’ should be the next one, we’ve just been making the video for that…

Ah, what’s that one like?

Well… there’s some dancing. Some dancing triangles.

Dancing triangles?

Yeah. Um. Well, it’s pretty weird, because it’s shot in this MTV sort of style, whereas before we’ve tried to keep things in quite a DIY style. We’ve got a new director, Jess Stead, doing this video. It’s going to look slick, but it’s going to weird too.

When’s the album actually out?

Not entirely sure yet – it’ll be online first, before the physical release. About a month after ‘If It’s Good For Me’ is out, I think. Just get it out there, and hopefully then it’ll slow build.

You’re on the XFM playlist now, I noticed, which is pretty good.

I’m chuffed with that, yeah. The single isn’t something that I’d consider conventionally radio-friendly, a verse-chorus song. I guess it is in its own way, but the other songs there are more conventional, maybe, but I think it’s a nice introduction. Getting radio play is definitely nice.

Any festivals lined up so far?

We’re playing a small festival in Leicester, but nothing else booked just yet though we’ll be hopefully setting those up soon. And we’re playing London this Saturday [the 3rd], that’s our next big show.

Ta, Mike, and good luck.

Cheers!

(You can catch Stars and Sons this Saturday at Carnivale this Saturday – check listings for more details)

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