An Interview with The Stargazer Lilies-Touring south america for the first time.
This interview was first posted on “El Ukelele” in Spanish this is the english original version of it.
-A lot has been said about your shoegaze influence, anyway you define yourself as a flower power trio and your most recent record “Door to the Sun” has a lot of 60’s psychedelia. Do you consider this a specific influence at least on your last record?
John: Yes. I think being called “shoegaze” has more to do with how our music comes across to people than our actual influences. Kim naturally sings breathy and ethereal, I play guitar utilizing lot’s of effects. To people’s ears, those combinations of elements equals Shoegaze. It’s true we love Slowdive and MBV but we don’t sit around listening to those bands all the time. We like to listen to a lot of ambient music like Stars Of The Lid, Windy & Carl etc. Also, classic 60’s/70’s psych/rock like The Velvet Underground, Floyd, Bowie, Cream, Hendrix, Os Mutantes,The United States Of America etc. We like a lot of Kraut rock. We like early 60’s girl groups The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes, and have been influenced by Phil Spector’s wall of sound. We like 60’s French Pop and 60’s Brazilian Bossa-Nova like Jobim, Gilberto. Kim’s voice is similar to that of Astrud Gilberto to my ears so that’s a big influence. I like electronica like Boards Of Canada, Ulrich Schnauss. Also, Stereolab, Air, Broadcast should all be mentioned as big influences. And we also like a lot of new shoegaze, psych, ambient and dream pop artists. But to answer your question… I feel like the 60’s influences on this record weighed more heavily than the 90’s gaze influences. I think our goal was to create something unique by having a strong mix of those two key elements.
-I think that both of Your Records are marked by a deep exploration of guitar sounds, The first time I listened to “Fukitol” I was amazed because I could relate it to the classic Shoegaze Sound but the textures and ideas were totally new. How do you as a band work on your Sound? Do you usually first create sonic structures and then add lyrics or vice versa?
John: We have a very modest home studio, so all the material is worked up “recording artist” style. That is to say, we never jam on an idea as a band, then record the band. Unless it’s a situation like our Part Time Punks sessions but that’s not generally how we come up with new material. All the musical ideas usually emanate from me and then I record all the music parts myself in the studio. Either Kim or I, or both of us together, will work on lyrics and melody. Then Kim sings lead vocals and I mix the track. Sometimes I work up songs jamming alone, full tilt through my guitar rig. “Fukitol” we definitely did this way. I came up with that simple progression harmonized in 5ths with the whammy pedal and I really dug the way that sounded, so I recorded it and that was the basis of that song. I had to write that tune with the guitar through the effects to hear how those chords would sound harmonized in 5ths, and bending strings with the vibrato arm on the guitar to create that effect. Other songs I may work up with just an acoustic guitar. Del Rey Mar for instance, I just wrote on an acoustic guitar. When I recorded that track, the acoustic guitar was the first thing I laid down. Then added all the heavier guitars, bass drums etc. on top. And in the final arrangement of that song, it still starts out with just acoustic guitar and vocals, just the way I wrote it.
You are a couple that also have been making music together for a long time (taking in account your previous project Soundpool). Do you consider that your music is influenced by your relationship?
Yes, and our relationship has influenced our music too. Even though I record and play all the tracks except vocals myself, Kim’s influence is obviously very heavy. One of the main reasons TSL exists instead of us just continuing with Soundpool, is that Kim didn’t particularly dig the disco gaze direction I took that band in. She’s the one who wanted to do more guitar oriented and more rock oriented material. She also wanted to play the bass. In some ways tho, the music is one of the best parts of our relationship. I think we both genuinely like working on music together. And, as a couple, we have traveled all over the country, Canada & the UK together because of our music. In January we are touring South America. It’s odd to me now that we didn’t even start making music together until we’d been together for 4 years!
-What are your expectations for this tour? Moreover, as a live act what should we expect?
We are very excited to tour South America! We hope to meet a lot of cool new people and make some new friends. We’re looking forward to the inspiration that comes from travel and exploring new places. We’re currently working on album #3… so the experiences we have on this tour will definitely influence the way we wrap that up. As for what people should expect… we actually don’t know because we’ve never been in the audience at one of our shows. But here’s what people who’ve been to our shows have said…
“Fucking killer show guys. Wave after beautiful wave. Wish I could see it all again tonight.” “That show melted minds” “You guys were insane.” “Thanks for the great performance last night a the Triple Rock. You have a new fan.” “You guys just melted faces, thx so much!!!” “I heard your band for the first time in MN last night .. Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome show!” “As much as I enjoy Tobacco’s music, your show was my favorite part of the night “They blew me away this time Davy” “My new favorite live band, The Stargazer Lilies.”
-You will be in three countries with amazing underground scenes in Latino America and sharing with amazing bands and record labels (like Buh Records or Casa del Puente Discos). What is your perspective of Latino American music? Do you know or admire any band?
The Latino Shoegaze and Dreampop music scene has been on our radar for a while. We first played with and met Resplandor, from Peru, nearly a decade ago when we both opened for Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins in Brooklyn. Super nice guys. We recently met Altocamet from Argentina when we played with them & Pale Dian in Dallas. They were awesome live and super nice people. We’ve had a lot of support and love from South America for a while. The scene has seemed to be vibrant and present even here in the States for a long time now. The great thing about this scene is that it’s a global family. We’re really excited to have the opportunity to be exposed to more Latino bands and also the audience!
*The Stargazer Lilies will be touring south america in a few days, dates and places as follow:
Viernes 20 de Enero //Lima Peru, Festival Hyperreal .
Sábado 21 de Enero // Santiago, Bar Loreto
Domingo 22// Viña del Mar, Playa Las Salinas
Martes 24 de Enero// Buenos Aires, Niceto Club
Miércoles 25 de Enero// Mar del Plata, Casa Rock