Closing in on 20 years together, the six piece Canada's Stars mixes orchestral sounds with heavy crafted pop and their latest release There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light sounds as fresh as when the group dropped their debut. The Houston Press chatted with singer Amy Millan ahead of the band's date here on Wednesday.
Stars were able to turn out nine albums in 17 years while staying independent. After launching their own label, they've almost never used any outside resources minus a booking agent and a PR rep, and yet they've managed to get plenty of traction. Asked if there were any advantages to independence versus signing to a major label, Millan said: "There's always a team, but honestly this industry is such a gong show, who the hell knows what works."
The band's first release was recorded in New York City, a place where singer Torquil Campbell has made a name for himself in the theater scene. "We love drama, no doubt. The chemistry between Torquill and myself definitely thrives on our theatrical backgrounds," Millan said.
The Stars' previous record, No One Is Lost is pretty synth heavy, though really closer to dance pop in many ways. "Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Sharon Van Etten) was instrumental in the sound of this record," Millan said. "He was drawn to our darker songs and shaped how the whole album came together. It was a relief to us to give up production duties (to him) and it helps that he's an absolute magician."
The key element in an album from Stars has always been the vocals particularly in the intertwined voices. "We are obsessed with pop hooks. We want the perfect hook to connect with our audience," Millan said.
There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light is well crafted pop from start to finish.
Artwork courtesy of Stars
"The church of live music has never been more important. It's a crazy time and we need to come together to feel the beautiful. We will give you everything we have," said Millan.
You can stream the entire catalog from Stars in all of the usual places or purchase music from their web store. Stars will touch down in Houston on Wednesday June 27 at White Oak Music Hall. A support set from AJ Lambert will be on hand as well for the all ages show. Doors at 7 p.m.; tickets $18.