This month Evensound is thrilled to be able to feature Brooklyn’s own, soon to be indie-rock-legends, Dead Stars. Gearing up for the release of their second full length record Bright Colors they’ve recently released a video for the single “Calm Punk” and have been playing a handful of shows around NYC.
Dead Stars have been a staple Brooklyn band for years and have truly earned their stripes in the indie rock world. Although, AV Club recently made the stretch of a comparison to The Lemonheads, this Evensound writer remembers a house-party performance in Brooklyn where the band literally played in an empty pool to an eager crowd above.
Their set was cut short when the cops showed up for the typical movie-party-scene-cliche noise complaint. However, Dead Stars’ legacy of being the quintessential indie grunge trio was forever cemented. At that moment they were the musical equivalent of Nirvana and Weezer.
In fact, Dead Stars later played a show on the anniversary of the Nirvana album Nevermind. All the bands threw a couple Nirvana covers in their sets and Dead Stars were as close as you’ll ever get to the real thing. The three-piece rock band purity shines through with them in a way that is defined by their effective and powerful live show.
Jeff Moore, Singer-Songwriter-Guitarist took some time to chat with us about their process, the new record, and time travel. Make sure to watch the video for “Calm Punk” and pre-order Bright Colors out March 4th.
How was the process of recording the new record?
It all happened really fast. We finished touring in the Summer of 2014 for our first album Slumber and immediately started writing and working on songs for Bright Colors. That took about 2 months. Then we went into the studio in October of 2014 with Jeff Berner, who we’ve worked with on our last couple of releases and just knocked it all out in a week or so.
All of the basic tracks were done live to 2″ tape and then we overdubbed another guitar track and vocals. Then we mixed and it was done. We tried to keep everything really simple and stripped down. The thing that took the longest was figuring out the best time and way for us to release the album. I’m glad we waited. The timing is right.
What is the Dead Stars songwriting process like?
Usually I come up with a verse and a chorus or an idea and bring it to the rest of the band. We work on it and see what needs to be done to make it better and that’s pretty much it. Some songs just happen and some need a bit more work. If it takes too long we usually scrap it or save it for later. The best songs usually write themselves.
Tell us about Weird Tree Records?
Weird Tree is our own label we created to release our own music. It’s mostly a name but we’ve been using it off and on for awhile when we’ve put something out that’s not on another label. Since we are self releasing Bright Colors we decided we should make it a bit more official. Hopefully it can turn into something more.
How has the Brooklyn music scene evolved over the past decade?
It seems like there are more bands now. It also seems like there are less venues. I don’t really know how the scene has evolved. We’re usually too busy living our lives and doing our own thing musically to pay attention. We’ve always felt a bit on the outskirts of any sort of scene anyway.
How do you feel about the way the music industry has shifted to digital streaming? How does it affect the indie artist?
It will be good once they figure out how to pay the artists decently for the streams. Right now it’s not very lucrative. That’s why I think it’s important to sell physical product still. Vinyl (if you can afford it), cassettes, shirts. Anything that can help you continue to make music. Hopefully there will always be a place for that.
What are Dead Stars plans for 2016?
Well the album comes out March 4th. We have a release show in Brooklyn and then we go on tour down to SXSW. After that we’ll just keep playing shows and see what happens. Write more music. Play more shows. Keep creating.
How was your Audiokite experience?
It was good. I didn’t really look at any of the feedback except for the final result. It seems like people liked the song. I can’t really pay attention to graphs and charts when it comes to my own music. I let the other guys check it out. Letting things like that affect the creative process I feel isn’t good for me. I’m a firm believer in following your own instinct. It’s a great tool and an interesting idea though so I hope people continue to get something out of it.
What advice would you give to young new bands and artists?
Write good songs and play as many shows as possible. Never stand still. Always keep moving forward and stay active.
What has your ear at the moment? What are you listening to?
I haven’t listened to anything too new in awhile. I really like this Scottish band called Paws. I’ve been listening to them a lot.
Any final thoughts?
If your future self traveled back in time to confront you now and tell you what you should be doing. You should figure out what that is and do that. That’s the closest we can get to time travel and changing the past. This is a philosophy I’ve been living by for the past 6 months.