Otherworldly, elemental, primal. In a word, epic. When it comes to the sound generated by The Stargazer Lilies, it’s rather difficult for us to avoid hyperbole. John Ceparano and Kim Field left the impressively eerie disco shoegaze of Soundpool behind, and concentrated on this epic soundscape that spares filigree and sucks you into a exploding star of melody and bliss. And as good as Soundpool was (quite), this is an intensity upgrade, an almost spiritual experience.
We’ve shared the trailer with you for the forthcoming LP, “We Are the Dreamers”, released September 10th on Graveface Records. We sat down with John and Kim and bugged them about… well, everything under the sun.
DKFM: That was a lot of hyperbole we just dropped, all of it well-earned. Anything we said factually you’d like to correct?
TSL: John: Everything you said fact-wise was factually sound and all hyperbole seemed to be well hyperbolized. Thanks for the kind words!
DKFM: The first three songs you released, Fukitol, Sunday Is Monday at Midnight and Ahhh are pretty much unlike anything else, ever, including Soundpool. What’s at the core of this sound? Where does it come from?
TSL: John: I think that guitars (both bass and six string) and guitar effects are at the core of our sound. Unlike Soundpool which had more synths so there were more melodies and counter melodies. I think we wanted to strip the sound down from what we had with Soundpool and have fewer elements, musically so that every sound used, could be made bigger and more powerful.
Kim: Overall the sound of The Stargazer Lilies is much more emotional and raw than Soundpool came across. We’ve gone through some heavy things personally over the last few years and perhaps that naturally drove the sound.
DKFM: Dropping a single, even those as well-crafted as yours, is one thing. Releasing an album presents a whole boatload of new problems. What was the biggest challenge in getting this done?
TSL: John: The biggest challenge was trying to bump it up a notch sonically from Soundpool, while stripping everything down musically. Narrowing down the material we had come up with into a naturally flowing album that felt the way we wanted it to, was tricky. TOBACCO from Black Moth Super Rainbow curated the album and was instrumental in the process of editing the material into a concise album.
Kim: I think hand in hand with the challenge of bumping it up etc. was the amount of patience we’ve had to have. Sometimes excruciating patience. It took a really long time to write, record etc. It took a really long time to find the right label to release it. We feel really lucky that Graveface Records got involved.
DKFM: Your fans are quite devoted. What do you think makes folks so protective of you?
TSL: Kim: Wow! That’s really flattering. If that’s how anyone feels… We really are lucky. I’m very devoted to the artists I love… So maybe if this is the case it’s just good karma.
John: I think it’s obvious that we are d.i.y. all the way. Having written and recorded all the music ourselves and self-produced all our own videos means that we’ve really put ourselves out there in a vulnerable sort of way. I think if people are in fact devoted to us and protective of us it would be because of this vulnerability and the sincere nature of what we’re doing.
DKFM: Are you perfectionists? It sounds like you don’t release a track until it’s EXACTLY what you wanted it to sound like.
TSL: Kim: Yes. But sometimes you have to let go, too. If you rework stuff too much it ends up losing integrity and feeling.
John: I think that we strive to make everything as perfect as we are capable. But we also realize that sometimes it’s the imperfections which give a track or a video real charm. It is true that if a track doesn’t feel right we will tweak, possibly for months, to get it to sound as close as possible to what we were going for. This is certainly the case with the title track We Are The Dreamers which at one point was almost shelved out of frustration. Other tracks fell in to place rather quickly and easily.
DKFM: Tour to coincide with the release? What are your plans?
TSL: John: We’re working on it… We love playing live and we’d like to try to tour as much as possible. We’ll definitely be gigging this fall but we’re still not sure of the specifics yet.
DKFM: What brought you to Graveface Records? Or, what brought them to you?
TSL: John: Years ago I sent a Soundpool CD “Dichotomies and Dreamland” to TOBACCO of BMSR before it was released. I never do this sort of thing but when I heard “Dandelion Gum” for the first time, it really blew me away. Maybe a year and a half or, two years later, TOBACCO contacted us to see if Soundpool wanted to open for BMSR on the N/E leg of their tour later that year. This is where we met Ryan Graveface who plays in BMSR. Fast forward a couple of years after this and we had since become good friends with Tobacco and the Seven Fields of Aphelion and we were invited to their wedding. Ryan was there and we gave both him and Tobacco a TSL demo that weekend. Ryan subsequently invited us to perform at the Graveface Fest in Savannah a few months later. We played the festival and our performance must have impressed him because he expressed a great deal of interest in releasing our album before we were even off the stage. We feel very fortunate.
DKFM: One hundred hackblogs will lazily compare you to My Bloody Valentine, maybe Slowdive, and leave it at that. Who would YOU like to be compared to?
TSL: Kim: Since those are two of my all time favorite bands, I of course like those comparisons even though I think we sound a lot different from them. It’s hard to say who you are like. We weren’t really specifically going for any one thing. We are huge music fans and listen to a lot of different types of music. So our influences are wide.
John: I would honestly rather not have The Stargazer Lilies be compared to any other band or artist. I’d rather the music just be judged on its own merits. I understand that people like to compare bands to each other. And I think it’s fair to say that if you like the bands you mentioned you may like what we’re doing. But, at the end of the day, I think we have very much our own sound.
DKFM: What was the moment you realized that you were doing something important with The Stargazer Lilies?
TSL: Kim: Well, at least we’re important to us and The Stargazer Lilies are giving us something to live for. For me… It was when we wrote the first song Endless Days. Lyrically and melodically it fell from the sky and felt magical. Endless Days was the beginning of TSL. That song has helped me through some tough times. I can practice it and it makes me feel a little bit better when I’m feeling really bad, or just help me release a lot of what’s inside. So if any of our songs do that for someone else than I guess we can say we’re doing something important.
John: I think the music an artist creates is always important to themselves. But can I actually claim we are an important band? I really don’t think so. We’re hardly known at all so how important can we actually be? I have to be honest here… we create music because we love music. If the music we create, excites and inspires people, then that’s awesome. If it excites and inspires to the degree where lives are actually changed for the better… then that’s what’s important to me. When that happens… I can say we are an important band, at least to those people. Short of that, we’re just another band.
Sneak a listen to the title track, We Are the Dreamers, here.