Bands & musicians from Los Angeles have a long, documented history of putting their own spin on particular styles. Van Halen did it with heavy metal and N.W.A. did it with hip hop, but what about the current scene that doesn’t only happen on the Sunset Strip? There are some bands on an underground level doing similar things, such as Starcrawler with punk rock.
Their glamorous, psychedelic & gazed out version of the music is fantastic with lead singer Arrow de Wilde, guitarist Henri Cash, bassist Tim Franco, drummer Seth Carolina and Henri’s brother Bill on pedal steel & guitar bringing serious energy and emphasis. Their latest album She Said, which came out on September 16, exemplifies artistic growth while also embracing a distinct cohesiveness.
I had a talk with de Wilde about working with a producer who’s more acclaimed for his work in film, television and video games, writing songs through a window, the benefits of touring in a van versus touring in a bus and hoping people relate to the music in the new album.
Northern Transmissions: For the making of She Said, Starcrawler got to work with Tyler Bates as the producer. He’s known for being a composer for film, television and video game scores, so what was the experience like making the album with someone who specializes in a different aspect of music?
Arrow de Wilde: It was actually really cool and unique. We did the song “Goodtime Girl” with him, which was kind of its own thing, and when we heard the song back it sounded so cinematic and different from other kinds of rock production. We wanted to do the album like this because it was sick so it all kind of fell into place.
NT: From listening to it, it definitely sounds great. For that cinematic vision you just mentioned, did any films come into play when it came to inspiring the album with either how everything sounds or how the songs are presented?
AW: Every song was different and pretty spread out because we started the writing for this album at the very beginning of the pandemic. I hate to bring it up but it’s true, Henri [Cash] would come to my window and we’d write with masks on while recording demos. Slowly when it started getting back to normal the writing process really started then and it ended more recently post-lockdown so it kind of was this long journey. I feel like every song has its own kind of emotion because there was something different happening at that time.
NT: With this being Starcrawler’s third full-length release, what do you see it as in terms of what it represents in the evolution and overall timeline of the band?
AW: We started this band when I was 16 and Henri was 15, so every album has been just a natural progression as we’ve all grown up together. The music has evolved as well, it still sounds like us but where we’re at this moment in time it feels more like a family so I think it represents us growing up together.
NT: In Dave Grohl’s TV series that came out last year called What Drives Us, Henri told him during an interview that you want to upgrade from a van and tour in a bus. What’s the status of that? Have you considered getting an old school bus and renovating it or do you want something fancier? I know a lot of people are renovating school buses these days.
AW: He was talking about a tour bus like when you first tour in a van and you move up from there. They all kind of look the same but we’re not looking for a school bus, we’d like something that’s more of an RV with a lounge and a kitchen. When you go in there’s bunks, there’s another lounge in the back or sometimes there’s a master bedroom. We actually got to tour on one earlier this year, it fucked us up though because you can’t have that every time but we were lucky to be able to do that at least once. We’re not on a level where that’s the norm and every tour is in a bus, but it felt so good and we hope we can do it some more. It’s stupid but it also makes touring so much easier, I do love touring in a van and it’s what I’m used to so it’s not a big deal or anything but it is nice to be able to play the show, get off stage, hang out on the bus, go to sleep and wake up when you’re in the next city. You can actually go experience the town and do things where if you’re in a van you should be safe and stay the night somewhere and not drive overnight unless you have to. That’s the worst because you’re sleeping sitting up or on a bench or something and you don’t get to experience each place as much unless you’re lucky and you have an off day somewhere. For so long you just show up at the venue when you’re tired, you soundcheck and you play and then you’re tired again, maybe you go out or you don’t or you get food somewhere. Other than that, you don’t really get to experience anywhere you’re going so it’s nice to be able to tour in a bus and do that.
NT: It’s also a good goal to have, going for a bus after touring in a van. Hopefully it becomes more of a regular thing in the future. What do you hope people take from She Said after they give it a listen?
AW: I guess I just want people to relate to it in a way and make their own experiences with the songs or associate experiences with the songs. We played with a band recently that are girls close to my age and it was in Liverpool, they told me that her and her friend used to get ready for shows together while putting on their makeup and picking out their outfits. They would listen to a bunch of music, they listened to our songs and that’s all I could want. Sometimes when I write a song, I hope some really cool girl is getting ready for a night out to this song. That’s pretty much everything I want, it doesn’t have to be much but I hope that it affects people in some way. Even if they felt angry or something, it’s cool.
Order She Said by Starcrawler HERE