I caught up with major up and coming rock band Stars In Stereo on their current tour with Flyleaf and Drowning Pool. Band members: Bec Hollcraft, Jordan McGraw, Justin Siegel, Frogs McCormick, and Drew Langan discussed a number of interesting topics including the band’s skyrocketing growth, their upcoming debut album, and a future tour with Bullet For My Valentine.
HHM: So how has the tour with Flyleaf and Drowning pool been going for you guys so far?
McGraw: It’s awesome! It’s a lot of fun – one of our favorite tours we’ve done so far. It’s just easy in all the best ways: the crowds are good and the other bands are awesome.
HHM: Do you think you guys are winning over a lot of new fans from the crowd?
Hollcraft: Yeah, Definitely!
McGraw: Yeah, this is the first we’ve been able to actually let people hear the album, and so far it’s been going great.
HHM: You guys were at 10,000 Facebook fans in 2012, entering 2013 you’ve quadrupled to 40,000 – your fan base is literally blowing up in front of your eyes – can you guys tell me a little about this? Explain this black magic! [Laughs]
Langan: Correction, that’s brown magic [laughs]
McGraw: Yeah, I use to keep track in my phone but I stopped because it got too tedious – I started at my birthday and we were at like 2,500 and now we’re at almost 40,000.
Siegel: Yeah the way that we’re building this is: we have an indie label, but it’s ours – so we’re supporting ourselves with a team and as we build to the album release that team is growing; they’re helping us focus our attention on how to build the band, get fans, and use these tours & tools to our advantage to grow.
Hollcraft: Actually we just sold our souls to the devil so I don’t know what these guys are Taking about.
HHM: [Laughs] Yeah, I believe that – I’m going to have to set you guys up with an advice blog for new bands.
Hollcraft: [Laughs] Yeah, Meet Satan: step 1!
Siegel: We just became a lot more active on social media, and when we did that; it just spread!
Hollcraft: Yeah it’s really important for us to connect with our fans – on the internet we keep in touch, respond to their comments and it’s awesome having that connection because when we meet fans at shows they’ll be like “Oh, we were talking to you on Facebook and we’re finally meeting you!”
HHM: I caught your video for “The Broken” the vibe was spot on and it has great visual contrast – can you tell me about your experience shooting the video and its concept?
McGraw: The visuals have always been one of our favorite parts of writing our music so a lot of times we’ll even think of the concept before the song. We always treated “The Broken” as the baseline of our story for the album so we wanted to set something up that was representative of the mood and the story without giving too much away. One interesting thing – It was all shot in one parking so we moved stuff around and really changed it up a lot.
HHM: So big news, “Every Last Thing” your first “official” single from your upcoming album debuted on AOL’s Noise creep yesterday. Can you tell me a about the track and how you guys decided on it as the first single?
Hollcraft: Well, it’s the first song we ever wrote together as a band and it just never lost its magic for us. It means a lot to us – it’s about love & loss: something that we all really relate to.
McCormick: Yeah, the song survived from the beginning; like Bec said, it was the first song, and it survived the earliest demos, recording the album – it’s always been a standout track.
HHM: I understand you guys are planning a video for the track? Can you spill any details about it?
McGraw: No you’re gonna have to wait and see [laughs]. We’ve kind of had this general story line in our head for all the videos on this album, and this concept is the one that we’ve been excited to do for the longest. We get to do some pretty cool “stuff” to ourselves for the video.
HHM: I know you guys are selling copies on this tour – but for the rest of the world your self-titled album drops April 9th correct?
McGraw: Yeah, and you can pre-order it now if you go to our website.
HHM: What can fans expect from the release musically? Is the album leaning more towards the faster melodic sounds of “Violence” and “The Broken” or more like “Every Last Thing?” Good mix maybe?
Hollcraft: I think it’s a pretty good mixture – it’s definitely a high energy album but there’s definitely a few slower songs, some more mid-tempo stuff…
Siegel: Yeah, I don’t think we could have struck a better balance of all 3 levels.
HHM: You brought up your label, so you guys are doing this all independent – you’re a “DIY” band and you own your own label?
McGraw: Yeah we’re doing it by ourselves but we’re by no means taking credit for the stuff that the people around us are helping with.
HHM: Can you tell me about your experience running your band in this way, and how it has worked out for you so far?
McGraw: Every choice has been ours so far which is pretty cool – no one is forcing decisions down our throat; I’ve never been on a band on a label, but with having friends on bands in that position and seeing the options when we were making that decision, I’m definitely glad that we get to call the shots – It’s a good feeling to be definitely confident & happy in the choices you’re making.
Hollcraft: Yeah, I think you have to adapt; there’s no platform anymore for “this is how you do it” it’s just not that way anymore – you have to get creative.
Siegel: You see over the last two years that independent artists have been breaking those records; like Macklemore and The Lumineers.
HHM: Have you guys been shopped by any labels?
McGraw: Really, we sat down together and talked about whether that was a direction we wanted to go or whether we wanted to just go full speed ahead on our own – we decided that this is how we wanted to do it and we don’t even really consider [signing] an option; so we don’t even pay attention if somebody wants to get on board.
HHM: That makes my next question very interesting – What would it take to get you guys to sign? Tell me what a label needs to offer you as a band for you to ink a deal.
Siegel: I don’t think that there’s anything a label could offer us that we’re not already doing for ourselves; the big checks aren’t big anymore and with the promo & the things the label use to offer: they don’t really have the power anymore – you know, the internet has opened it up and now with all these firings & the labels collapsing: everyone’s gone and just formed their own independent shops outside of the labels. It’s like one stop shopping for every department, and it’s as good, if not better than a label.
HHM: So next you guys head out with Bullet For My Valentine and Halestorm? I mean, holy shit [Laughs] how excited are you?
McCormick: [laughs] Yeah, we’re stoked.
McGraw: Yeah it’s definitely the largest tour we’ve ever done.
Langan: It’s exciting to go back to some of the venues we’ve already played: like at The Rave in Milwaukee we went snooping around & checked out the big ballroom upstairs and now we’re gonna go back and actually play that room.
HHM: Tell me how you guys ended up connecting for that tour? How did you set it up?
McGraw: Satan again, yeah.
Langan: Brown magic [laughs].
Hollcraft: We just have an awesome team around us.
Siegel: It’s nice to see some upward momentum – we’ve been touring our asses off for the last year, we’ve seen a lot of growth in every aspect, and touring is one of them. It’s nice that we continue to reach next levels and milestones – that tour is definitely going to be one of them for us.
HHM: Releasing an album, two major tours, after that – what is in the future for Stars In Stereo?
Hollcraft: We really want to stay on the road as much as possible and just get the album out there as much as we can.
McGraw: For me at least, playing shows; we had a month & a half off between the last tour & this one, and I was just pulling my hair out because it’s just so much fun to put our music in front of people and actually see the reaction.
Langan: Yeah, we’re starting to see significant growth in the people that are coming back just to see us so it’s really important to maintain that base foundation of fans that will be there with us throughout our career.
Interview by Matt Crane – HHM
Visit the band’s official website for more information.