Interview: Stars and Sons

By on Friday, 28th May 2010 at 12:00 pm

So for most bands these days, doing interviews are just one of many obligations they have apart from making great music. Fortunately for us, Stars and Sons lead singer Mike Lord was both patient and polite enough to answer these rather tedious questions from you-know-who.

And for those of who have to yet to give “Good Morning Mother” a listen, well, then you’re just missing out one of the finest debuts yet to surface this year. Here’s an inside look of a Brighton band who really do have something special going on.

First off, why don’t you give a little background on Stars and Sons, like the usual of how and why you formed a band and what made you want to make music in the first place.

I’ve always been quite into recording and writing. When I used to have piano lessons my mum would get really angry with me because I’d always be making stuff up and playing what I wanted to play rather than practising my scales. I found Dance Ejay on a computer once and made some awful sample based tracks before realising I could maybe combine the piano stuff with the samples and get something different that way. The band came out of the frustration of wanting to do something a bit more spontaneous, I can only sit in front of the computer for so long…

Your band is called Stars and Sons. Is this taken from the Broken Social Scene song, or just a coincidence?

Yeah I think they are pretty ace, and they seem to be into some similar principles as us.. ie chucking noise on top of pop music. The collective part of it comes across really nicely, you can almost picture this group of people hanging out and chucking in ideas and suggestions. I’m really obsessed with the Avalanches too. You can just imagine one of the Avalanches guys running into their studio with a new sample shouting ‘we’ve GOT to use this’!! The excitement is contagious.

Now moving onto your latest record itself, “Good Morning Mother.” Two things kept floating to the surface when I heard this amazing album: hyper and varied. There’s a lot of stuff going on from the beginning with the upbeat “Out of View.” How did you manage to get so much noise to cram into this album? Was it planned this way or did some of it just come out of jamming sessions? Whatever the case, there’s a lot of great stuff heard throughout!

Cool! Yeah I think it comes from stages of just adding stuff. My style of production is basically ‘chuck things at it until it sounds good’ so the demos already had lots of stuff going on. Then bringing real human people in adds another layer, as someone might be playing something and then someone else would shout “whats that?! play it again!” so, yeah we ended up with a pretty dense production. I think ‘if its good for me’ uses about 150 tracks simultaneously at some points.

Those stumbling blindly onto the album might classify Stars and Sons as happier version of Air Traffic. Would you agree? How would you describe the album?

I dunno, Air Traffic are pretty happy aren’t they?! I think our album is basically a slightly naiive and childish attempt at a big pop album. I think the fun we had recording it comes across in the finished product. Hopefully people will see it as charming rather than annoying!

Many argue that Chris Martin of Coldplay fame helped make piano-pop sexy again. Is that true in your eyes or have we yet to learn?

I think things all went a bit mid-life-crisis when they got Eno in. I used to really like Coldplay, the first and second albums are great. I don’t think I’d ever say that they made anything ‘sexy’ though!

What was the most rewarding and challenging things about recording this LP? Were there times when you wished a moment would never end, or by the same token, were there days that you thought why do you even bother?

The rewarding part was hearing people play and flesh out the ideas, especially when you start hearing Stu’s drum takes back in the control room. What I found hard was coming to a studio where you basically have 2 weeks to record everything, and having to make quick decisions rather than mulling over things for a few days which tends to be what I do when recording at home.

Finally, what are the plans for the band in the upcoming six months? Any exotic lands you’d like to take your songs to?

Well we’re currently writing new tunes and we have a tour coming up pretty soon. We asked our booking agent to send us to America but we’ve had to settle for Hastings instead. Maybe next year…

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