Eclectic Swedish indiepop band Stars In Coma will be giving their new album 'Midnight Puzzle' an official UK release on April 24th and ahead of that you can pick up free track 'Dismantle Your Heart'. Formed in 2005 as the project of songwriter André Brorsson, Stars In Coma have released several EPs and gained plaudits on both sides of the Atlantic, touring several countries and performing at Indietracks in 2010. We spoke to Andre about writing, performing and drunkenly chatting to old men in foreign bars...
SXP: André, you're essentially the leader of Stars In Coma, does this ever cause arguments about the direction you want your music to take?
André: No, not really, since I create all the music and choose the musical direction. The argument tends to happen when we recreate the music live, since we have to translate the studio material into something that will work on the stage. I'm not very good at communicating what I want, so everyone just kind of plays what they want, which usually works anyway. However, some band members like some songs better than others, of course. It's easy to see when they really enjoy playing something, and it's quite a nice feeling.
SXP: Your sound is quite eclectic, are there any other current bands you'd put in the same bracket as you?
André: There are some contemporary bands that I like, including Ariel Pink, Feist, St. Vincent and of Montreal. But I don't see myself directly influenced by those artists; it's more of a spiritual connection. In my early days, I was more into copying the style of other artists, but I'm doing that less now I think. Sometimes I'm inspired by parts of other songs though, like a groove from an old Isley Brothers song or an intro from a John Cale song. Stuff like that.
SXP: The band's been together for about seven years. What would you say is your greatest achievement or proudest moment in that time?
André: Probably that I got the band together in the first place! This was never intended to be a "real" band; I always imagined it to be a pure studio project in the first place. I've always been quite shy and kept my music to myself. Most artists that I admire, like Ariel Pink or Kevin Barnes, seem to have a shy side, which is quite sympathetic. Anyway, almost by accident, I found some people that wanted to play with me, and I'm grateful for that. Our two tours of Italy and playing Indietracks were of course proud moments. We have also done some really amazing shows in the UK.
SXP: Where do you see Stars in Coma being in another seven years and have you set out any goals for that time period?
André: I don't know, it's hard to predict the future, and I've never been that goal-oriented anyway. What I know is that I will always keep making music, even if I don't have a band. The live thing is great, but it’s also associated with some problems, like getting the band together for a show (since everyone is so busy with other stuff). We'll see how long we can keep up this momentum. But by 2019, we will have hopefully toured the US at least once, headlined Coachella, and played the Wembley Stadium. Or at least the pub next to Wembley. *laughs* Or maybe we've all grown beards and are playing ZZ Top covers. ZZ Top in Coma.
SXP: 'Paint My Picture On A Thick Shell' is supposed to be a tribute to a great artist who died suddenly. Who was the artist and how did the creative process behind this track go?
André: The guitarist of Swedish indie pop band Broder Daniel committed suicide some years ago, and I basically used this tragic event as inspiration to "Paint my Picture..." I don't wanna talk about the lyrics that much though. However, I was kind of proud of the music, since I think the groovy and dreamy feel of the song was something I hadn't done before.
SXP: I've heard 'And So' is one of your favourite songs to play live. Why is that?
André: I love the anthem-like feeling of it, and we usually end our shows with it. Nicole (keyboard, flute and backing vocals) does some really nice ghostly, opera-like vocals at the end of the song, and it always gives me goosebumps. Live it usually turns into an arena-pop song, while the studio version is more electronic and weird.
SXP: What's the craziest thing that's happened to you on tour? Any TVs thrown out of windows or similar rock 'n' roll antics?
André: I have to disappoint you, we're quite nice people. But I'm usually the one staying up the longest, drinking the most wine. The others are a little bit better-behaved, and half of the band usually wants to go to bed directly after the shows. But when we're playing abroad, there's always some old drunk guy that wants to talk rock 'n' roll, Bob Dylan, or some other rock legend with me after the show. I don't know why, but it's kind of fun. Especially if they don't speak English.
SXP: And how about the worst experience Stars In Coma have had on tour?
André: Once we played a gig in a small town called Kristianstad in Sweden. It was like in the middle of November and at an outdoor stage at ten o clock in the evening! The audience consisted of perhaps ten high school kids, and the "crowd area" was all covered in mud. We were supposed to play like 9 songs, but we ended up playing three of them, since it was freezing and the sound guy wanted to turn of the electricity, cos we were delayed. I was a little depressed before the gig, and the show only worsened my mood. Actually, we promised to never mention this ever again, but I guess I broke that promise now. *laughs*
SXP: If you could pick anyone – past or present – that'd you'd like to collaborate with, who would you go for?
André: It would have been really cool to write and produce a weird, electronic pop album for Dusty Springfield. And it would be fantastic to collaborate with Air France, but sadly, they just recently broke up. I have a somewhat spontaneous collaboration with my girlfriend (and keyboard player of Stars in Coma), where she sings my songs. But we're working really slowly. To be honest, I'm not very good at collaborating with others, since I'm too much of a dictator when it comes to the creative process. It's a real mystery to me how some bands are able to equally contribute to the creative side, I don't get it. So I will probably keep making music on my own until the day I die.
SXP: Finally, let's play 'Ultimate Festival Line-Up'. Stars In Coma are headlining – pick five bands you'd want on the same bill (as this is fantasy then any bands/artists current or past are allowed!)