James - Vocals / Acoustic Guitar
Barry - Keyboards
Ben - Drums
Since signing to EMI, the Wigan based Starsailor have had the world in their hands. The Cover stories and National TV have all been offered - they got turned down. Steve Lamacq begged for demos - he got turned down. With punters walking out of gigs exclaiming "Best New Band this year" and "They piss all over Coldplay" they only had one option and that was to chat exclusively with Designer Magazine.
Next month they head out on tour with JJ72, Amen and Alfie, but before then in their first ever interview the 4 piece chat to Designers very own Alex McCann. Read on about their route to fame, it being all about the songs and the dodgy period when they sounded like the Bluetones.
Q: You're from Wigan and play heart felt ballads. How do you feel about the Verve comparisons?
James: Barry is the only one who's actually from Wigan. We all met in college in Lea so we all come from the north - myself from Chorley and the other 2 are from Warrington. Wigan's about the only comparison with The Verve.
The music sounds somewhere between Tim Buckley and Iron Maiden with a touch of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. I could say that it's folk, but its got more power than that with the full ensemble of organs and drums behind it.
Stell: When Barry joined in February this year it totally changed the sound of the band. We were the same as a lot of what was going on at the minute, sounding like the Bluetones and just really indie.
James: We just branched off from our previous guitarist and decided that we needed to bring it down a bit, make it more about the songs than the sound. I think the more sparse the instrumentation is, the more chance the songs can shine through
Q: The name sounds like a dodgy 70's disco band. Has it always been about the songs rather than an image?
James: I think there was a conscious thing not to have a great name. I don't even think there is any such a thing as a classic name, the biggest band in Britain are called Blur so that just says it all for me.
Q: What are the main themes running through the songs?
James: Its just about being bored but at the same time being non cynical, trying to find the good in things and not sit there moaning. I guess that sets us apart from the bands around at the moment because if you read through lyrics sheets nowadays everyone is just so cynical.
Stell: Music's just really varied at the moment. The tour were doing next year will be the first time people get to hear us and on one side you could put us and Alfie together and then on the other side there's JJ72 and Amen.
Q: With signing to EMI, playing on the tour which spurned Coldplay last year and the general hype. How do you feel about the expectations people have of you?
James: We've just got to keep the quality control ticking over and not taking any notice of people saying "something's best", you can always be better. Just listening to our peers such as Alfie, Turin Brakes and even bands like Amen - whatever gets to you can inspire you to write something better and it doesn't necessarily have to be in the same genre.
I want it to go as slowly as possible, things that happen too quickly always seem to fade out. I don't know what Travis or Coldplay are going to do next, but you always knew that Jeff Buckley kept the quality control ticking over.
Barry: We didn't believe it at first, I was playing in a crematorium a few months ago. These are my mates I'd known for seven years and I was helping them out while they had no guitarist. Its all just happened with us getting signed by EMI and were just going along with it.
We've played gigs with Doves in Ireland and every time we walk off stage there has always been a massive reaction. But then you can play your own gigs in pubs like we did in Galway. It just keeps your feet on the ground.
Q: Tell us about the first single from you guys?
James: It's called the "Fever" Ep. The lead track being "Fever" with the other songs being "Love Is Here" and "Coming Down". As far as I know were using the original demos which we recorded as that was what got all the interest. I think those 3 tracks sum up what were about as a band, but we've got a couple of different sounding tracks in the pipeline.
The songs we write tend to be the slow burning ballads but we always end the set with "Good Souls" which is really upbeat, as is "Poor Misguided Fools". We should be recording the album in March / April for a September release and we have a good idea of who we want for the producer. Were not going to have a full orchestra or anything on the album maybe just a touch of subtle strings and we'll definitely add some electric guitar into the mix.
Q: So summing it up. Why should everyone take notice of Starsailor?
James: I'd say, because if you listen to it and you like it, you'll continue to like it as were going to keep on the same track. It can only get better.
"Fever" Ep is out in February on EMI : Chrysalis