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Posts Tagged ‘steering by stars’

If you’ve been following this blog a while, it’s likely that you have noticed I’m a bit of a fan of the post rock genre, and I get pretty excited when I discover any Australian bands that can fit into this category. Around this time last year, a lovely four piece from Adelaide was brought to my attention and their album quickly became one of the highest played in my library. Now Steering by Stars are back with a new single, ‘Collision’ from their upcoming second album that will hopefully be released early next year. Compared to previous tracks, vocals are more predominant here but musically they’re still very atmospheric. I’m very happy to be hearing more from these guys and already can’t wait for the album to come out.

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It’s easy to rave on about how there aren’t enough ‘post rock’ bands in this world (however you may choose to define that genre…). Or that it is a genre that takes a bit of guts to take on because it really isn’t commercially viable. And it’s easy to say that Steering by Stars are Australia’s answer to Explosions in the Sky. It’s really so easy to break down this record into something simple and compare it to things others have done before, or to focus on the genre rather than the actual music. Cables is a really unique Australian record from Adelaide quartet Steering by Stars. It’s gorgeously engaging and captures the emotion of each track beautiful taking the listener from bittersweet feelings one moment to an uplifting and soaring crescendos of emotions the next.

The album was recorded over three days, giving is a natural and raw sound, almost like a live performance. This works perfectly for Steering by Stars who has managed to take a pretty standard post rock sound and make it their own. ‘Gloom’ features classical piano and ‘Ether’ almost borders on indie rock. Vocals are rare on the album, and when they are there they are sparse and barely discernable. The album is extremely cohesive and works beautifully as a whole. Cables is a mixture of slower, ambient pieces and more frantic up-beat tracks such as ‘These Knives’ and ‘Spirits’. This provides dips and peaks to the album, constantly moving it forward.

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Adelaide lads Steering by Stars are moments away from releasing their debut album Cables. This post rock group has been making some waves in their local scene and over the blogosphere for the past couple of months now and bass player Adrian Reveruzzi was kind a enough to answer a few questions from yours truly.

 

1. How did the name Steering by Stars come about?

If I remember rightly the name was stolen from an educational poster about the navigation methods of American Indians. Obviously it was the imagery of the words which we found appealing and not the specific context in which we found them. At the time we were starting to develop our sound and the atmospheric and grandiose imagery seemed a good fit.

2. Can you tell us about how the band came together?

Like so many bands it began as a forum to thrash out all of the ideas which didn’t seem to fit in the mould of the other bands we were in at the time. I have to credit Lachlan with organising the first rehearsal to jam on some fairly raw ideas. Many of them being scary solo piano pieces which I had no idea how to write a base line to.  Increasingly though, I think we realised that this band was becoming a rewarding creative outlet, as well as resulting in some pretty interesting music. It took almost a year for the interesting music we were creating to be arranged in a way that would loosely resemble a live rock band performance. From then on we haven’t really looked back.

3. The recording process for Cables was pretty quick – only three days, I read! Was there any reason behind this?

One reason which can’t really be ignored is the fact that as a fledgling band there never is a lot of funds to put towards recording. You have to accept that if you want to go the studio route, hopefully to achieve a good quality of recording, you’re going to have to be thrifty with time. This had an influence on how we approached it but it was definitely not the only reason for such a short recording time frame. From the outset we were fairly confident that our live sound would produce a full and dynamically interesting recording, so we went into the studio with the intention to record our music as we would play it live. Four of us, in a room, playing our instruments. This not only allowed us to lay down almost all of the tracks within such a short period of time but also meant that we were able to capture a lot of the rawness and energy present in the songs when performed live, which we think is an important aspect of our sound.

4. Was it difficult to try and capture the band’s ‘live’ sound on record?

As I said previously, we really went into the studio with the intention to produce what was in the main a live recording. I think playing through the songs together as a band and in the same room really helped us to generate the same energy that you would in the rehearsal room or on stage.  It might seem funny to say that, considering that alot of the album is quite ambient and low key but as a band we rely a fair bit on nods, smiles and other gestures to know where the song is heading next. In this way the band dynamic is just as important in the more ephemeral music. To answer your question;  it wasn’t too difficult to recreate the live band dynamic. What proved tricky was setting up in the studio, the loops and textures, including the effects on Lachlan’s vocals, which form such an important part of our live sound. I think that the end result was worth it though.

5. What made you guys decide to release Cables on vinyl as opposed to CD?

I think a vinyl, as an object, is a beautiful thing. That is not the only reason why we wanted to release it this way though. The album was written as a bit of a journey with the songs relating to each other as well as sometimes fading into each other.  We would love people to listen to it from start to finish and I believe that the vinyl medium encourages this. We have included a digital download with the record sale so people are able to have the music in a digital format as well. We aren’t trying to be retrospective or anti technology at all; we just appreciate the vinyl format both visual and musically.

6. You site some of your influences as Explosions in the Sky, A Place to Bury Strangers, and Vangelis…anyone else we should know about?

Deerhunter has been a big influence along the way. There use of aggressive rhythms and clever use of sparse layering inspired us to look beyond postrock’s sometimes overly gloomy and elaborate shoegaze.

7. Who have been some of your favourite bands to play with?

Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! Have been great friends of ours for a long time and we have shared in some memorable gigs along the way. We also recently played with Parades, who I thought set a new benchmark for us in terms of a live performance.

8. After the album launches, will there be any other shows around other parts of the country (in Brisbane for example! hint…hint…)?

We are currently going to test the water in terms of interstate touring with a show in Sydney in July which will be our first out of Adelaide. We are in the process of organizing a tour which will see us heading up to Brisbane in the not too distant future to play a show, but as yet nothing is confirmed.

 
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Who are they? Steering by Stars

Where are they from? Adelaide

What do they play? post rock, ambient

You’ll like them if you like: Explosions in the Sky

Steering by Stars are a lot more than just ambient soundscapes. I’m sure everyone will find their own mostly instrumental post rock band to compare these guys to, but like every other post rock band out there Steering by Stars have their own little bits and pieces that set them apart and make them special. Every now and then they’ll use vocals, and sometimes there will be extended almost classical style piano playing. Gorgeous.

Free MP3s:

Steering by Stars – Closer

Steering by Stars – Ether

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