Following their High Gain EP, Brooklyn trio of interest Dead Stars sets their sights on upcoming album Slumber, this summer from Old Flame. Keeping the ever-enduring eras of angst inspired alternative rock alive, Jeff Moore, is joined by his percussionist Jaye Moore and bass buddy John Watterberg to turn the gain up even higher from their previous Uninhabitable Mansions release from last year. Premiering “Crawl” off the new forthcoming album, Dead Stars crumple up the confusion, guilt, suffering, and ambivalence of dialogical relations stuck in the classic, 'should I stay or should I go' limbo.
From Jeff's lead-in guitar that swan dives into the verse-to-chorus beat reinforcement from Jaye and John; Dead Stars keep everything on their marks. “Crawl” exhibits exemplary situations of bonds that become strained and overgrown for both reasonable purpose and use, as escape plans are made and debated. Keeping the honest angle expressing a host of genuine feelings, Jeff's delivery and lyrics take the colloquial and conversational approach where the listener gets to be a fly on the wall for one of those heavy heart-to-heart-sit-down talks. “But I can crawl away if you want, yes I can go away if you want, yeah, ain't nothing gonna change if you want.” Dead Stars resurrect all those flannel draped dreams, with catchy chord schemes, and some of the realest, most straight up depictions of a strained relationship at difficult crossroads. The options are laid out before you, as the audience ponders whether it is best to stay and try to work things out, or go away/crawl away unscathed to the following Brooklyn-born tune.
Dead Stars talked to us about their upcoming album, Slumber, to answering the big questions on their new single, “Crawl”.
“Crawl” hits in all the ways that all good grunge-power-slacker-pop should, what were the situations that inspired these “I can crawl away” escapist sentiments?
There are a lot of situations that contributed to the lyrics, but the song really kind of asks the question, 'Can people really change?' Or are you just who you are and that’s it? It’s an internal dialogue. All of those times when you’re thinking about the things you probably shouldn’t do, but getting caught in the endless cycle of repeating your mistakes. Knowing life won’t change until you change yourself.
How do you describe the jump from High Gain to Slumber?
With High Gain, or an EP in general, you only have three to five songs that you’re putting out there, so most of the time it’s almost like a collection of singles. With Slumber we really wanted to make a cohesive record that showed a lot of different sides of the band. There are 12 songs and it definitely has a flow to it. A beginning, middle and end. My favorite records aren’t necessarily fast, heavy or mellow the whole time. That’s what makes them exciting. We don’t want to be the kind of band that writes the same song over and over again. This is an album in every sense of the word.
What has developed about the way the three of you write songs and record?
We made sure we were very prepared this time before we went into the studio. We knew exactly what we were doing when we went in. All the basic tracks were recorded live, sometimes in one or two takes. We worked really hard on the arrangements, and by that I mean worked hard to keep things simple while still making it interesting. We didn’t want anything to come between the listener and the basic essence of the song. Minimalism is a huge part of our writing process these days and I’m really into that.
What is the key importance of the power trio in music, do you all feel?
I’m not really a fan of the term “power trio” because I think it implies the band has to be heavy or loud the entire time. But I do think it’s important in music only because it’s a great gateway to being a band. As a kid who plays guitar or drums or whatever, you can just grab two friends, start making a bunch of noise and all of a sudden you’re in a band. That in itself keeps people creating music. You don’t have to get 15 people together to make something cool. I also like the rawness of it and knowing exactly what you’re hearing in the context of the song.
Thoughts on the state of NYC rock and roll?
It’s probably better than it’s been in a long time. There are so many great bands and people doing things to help create a real community, whether it’s putting on shows, writing about the bands or starting a record label. It’s pretty important, especially in an era of tabloid-style journalism or where sometimes gimmick equals popularity, for people to keep building something honest from the ground up. There has to be a musical balance between the absurd and the genuine.
Dead Stars' album Slumber will be available in June from Old Flame Records.