Stars' Chris Seligman: "We're Fascinated By Being Alive"
Canadian indie rockers Stars headline Fitzgerald's tonight, on tour in support of their sixth full-length studio album, The North.
"We're feeling pretty good about things," says Chris Seligman, the band's keyboardist and co-founder. "The energy in the band is good. And from what I can tell, some of the reviews have been good, too."
Six albums in, Stars still manages to bring a fresh sound to The North, while incorporating plenty of elements that their die-hard fans will appreciate. The band, having learned from their previous records, began recording The North hoping to explore some new terrain.
"We really wanted to push ourselves, and I definitely feel that there's an openness to the record," Seligman says. "We kind of wanted to see the musical elements relate to each other by relying on the core energy, capturing that moment in time as opposed to building from one idea to the next, which we've done in the past.
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We really wanted to capture everyone's energy at the same time and, in that way, this record might not be as self-conscious," he continues. "We worked harder in general -- we wrote more songs, and we really pushed each other."
Far from self-conscious, Stars' albums have usually been almost unnervingly honest. The messiness of love and relationships is a common theme in the band's music, but just as much so is the idea of perseverance. Those themes don't only resonate in the band members' personal lives, but in the dynamic of the band itself as well.
Sure, the members have had their tiffs and disagreements -- they've been together nearly 15 years now -- but they've always persevered, powered through and concentrated on putting out a solid finished product. They've endured through more than most bands, and Seligman feels that they're closer because of it.
"Amy [Millan, the band's co-vocalist ] and I were together for a couple years a while ago, and we broke up," Seligman says. "Now she and Evan [Cranley], our bass player, are together, and they have a child together and are essentially married.
"And that was a complex emotional struggle to go through for everyone in the band, but I think that for us to get through that, to face it," he admits. "Getting through it has made us, and it comes out in the music.
"We're a family," he adds. "Amy and I, our relationship is totally different now, but we still love each other. We still rely on each other.
"We're fascinated by being alive," Seligman says of the motifs in his band's music. "It's a pretty profound experience, and the themes [of our music] change, but it always comes back to having love, losing love and grappling with mortality. It's what everyone goes through, and everyone has to face it."
His band members are core friends that he grew up with in Toronto -- Seligman and vocalist Torquil Campbell have been friends since the third grade -- which helps their music come together more organically, as the camaraderie they've constructed over the years has set a strong foundation.
"We were always going to be incredibly close, even if we weren't in a band," he says. "We're able to understand each other without really being conscious of it. So the world play, the music and the arrangements all kind of find a way together to make something full.
"There are a lot of layers," he adds with a laugh. "It's fun to make music, and I think that a lot of people want to know how it works, but sometimes you've just got to say, 'It kind of happened, because it's fun.'
"We're so fortunate and lucky, and we're very thankful for what we have," Seligman says. "To give people music and see them take it in and appreciate it is a pretty cool thing."
With Diamond Rings and California Wives, 8 p.m. tonight at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, www.fitzlivemusic.com.
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