posted on October 01, 2012 08:00
Stars, the self-described “electro-pop” band that clings to a love of vinyl and is based out of Canada, brings its musical stylings to Plush Oct. 5.
Keyboardist Chris Seligman talks to InsideSTL about releasing an early copy of the band’s latest album on vinyl, touring around the world and more.
InsideSTL: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard the band before?
Chris Seligman: I guess it’s very — your classic kind of electro pop. Flash of guitars, boy/girl vocals. Kind of articulate lyrics. I don’t articulate in my own mind how the music sounds most of the time. [But there’s] also an element that it’s of us kind of living together and growing together, so there’s, I guess, a certain organic-ness that’s kind of hard to describe as well.
InsideSTL: With your latest album The North just coming out a few weeks ago, what has the response been like?
CS: I’m kind of scared to check the internet a lot of the time because, obviously, sometimes reviews can be quite harsh and a little more on the negative side… I don’t go scrolling through looking for every review, but I’d say some of the stuff I’ve read has been really nice. People seem to like this record in comparison to maybe our last record. People are maybe a bit more positive about it, which is nice.
So, generally, I think everyone in the band feels pretty good about [the record]. We're feeling more positive, like things are on the rise a bit as opposed to on the down flow, which maybe we’ve been in the past without even knowing it because I don’t think you're too conscious of where your career's going. Things are so competitive… There's so much great art and bad art it’s hard to always feel relevant, but I think you just got to work your butt off and hopefully let that take care of things so the harder you work, hopefully, the kind of music [speaks] for itself and people kind of respect you for putting in the hard work. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.
InsideSTL: Why did you do an early release of The North on vinyl?
CS: We grew up in the '70s. We still have a lot of nostalgia for vinyl. Just the way it looks and the way it sounds. It sounds more whole in a way coming off of vinyl pressing. And generally, I guess, with CDs, they might not be around in 10 years. I think vinyl probably always will because it’s a much better invention. There’s, I think, a lot of people who still listen to music on vinyl… We still want to be a part of that.
InsideSTL: What makes the North stand out from your previous albums?
CS: … I think on this record, our evolution and maturity. I think we’ve found a better balance of ways to record and ways to write that maybe it took us the past records to kind of get to this point. I think there’s maybe a bit more of a fluidity. And we definitely tried to record live off the floor more, which I think gives the music a little more vibrancy and we're more in touch with capturing each other and playing together, which I think [fans] might not be conscious of listening to it, but I think music kind of has a longer standing in a way when you capture those moments. And I think like going back to Tony Hoffer who mixed the record, he mixed "Set Yourself on Fire" and we got away from him for the last two records so going back to him as well was – He, I think, he really understands the aesthetics of the band and he’s such a musical person, a musical mixologist. I think he really helped bring all of our ideas and make the record whole. So, that really, I think, made the record strong in that respect.
InsideSTL: Having toured all over the world, where would you say has the best atmosphere for live shows and why?
CS: That’s a tough question because it’s kind of like picking your favorite child, your favorite kid. When you’re expressing yourself to fans and they’re true fans and they are getting so much out of it and you’re exchanging gratitude in a way for each other, it’s hard to say what sands are better. It’s kind of impossible to say that in a way. In terms of playing shows and meeting fans or playing for fans, it’s just the act of itself is pretty special everywhere. But of course, in terms of actually traveling the world and seeing different parts of the world, I’m more prone to say Mexico City and Asia maybe because it’s more foreign and it’s kind of an exciting culture … I think also fans, say in Asia, who don’t see as much music or don’t get as much, for lack of a better term, independent culture, music for them — It’s a delicacy in a way because they just don't get a lot of it, whereas in New York or L.A. or Toronto there’s so many band coming through there. It's exciting to be around people that don’t get to see as much live music, and it’s interesting to see how, you wouldn’t think people in Singapore and Indonesia would find your music relevant to their lives, but it’s cool through the internet how people get to know your music just from all over the world, and they’re very, really into it. It’s cool for that for sure.
InsideSTL: What do you most enjoy about touring in the U.S.?
CS: … I went to school in Boston so, it’s really cool to just go back. We live in Canada now, I live in Montreal, so it’s really cool to go back and it’s such an intense country culturally and politically. It’s fascinating to travel the highways on a bus and still be tapped into the country
InsideSTL: What’s next for Stars after the current tour wraps up?
CS: I think we’ll probably — it depends on how well the record does. We’ll probably be touring it for at least a year, maybe a year and a half. So we’ll see. That may be hard to say right now because we are kind of playing it by ear… So I’d say there's a pretty big chance we’ll just keep going and make another record, but it's also hard to say that because we’re not 20 years old anymore. At the same time, yeah, it’s a good drug that we’re on. Sometimes … it’s a very addictive… We’re very drawn to each other, so mostly likely there'll be another record.