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Monday
Feb112013

021 Star Eyes

 

We were fortunate enough to have a chance to talk with Star Eyes recently.  Star Eyes is a big part of the legendary Trouble and Bass family.  She's performed all over the world, released numerous EPs with Trouble and Bass, and even lends her vocals to tracks of her own and other talented producers.  The latest releases are the 'Lost Girls' EP on Trouble and Bass, and the collaboration with Jubilee including the tracks 'Locked' and 'Merkwood Estates'.  

We chat about how she got into music and djing, what's next from her, and Trouble and Bass, and more! Read on! 

-Was there a point in your life where you realized that music was the only thing for you?
I don't think I ever thought of it like music was the only thing for me, but it's something I have to have. I consider it a necessity, like food, water, shelter. It's such a powerful mood-enhancing thing – I sometimes don't think I would even be alive today without it. That said, I can remember complaining to my mom when I was 11 or 12 that I didn't have a talent -- I couldn't play an instrument, I didn't play sports. Shortly thereafter (when I was 13), I discovered electronic music and raves and it literally felt like that was what I was meant to do. 
 
-Was it linked to the sort of music you make and play now?
Prior to hearing "electronic music" for the first time, I already liked a lot of music that was made mostly with computers: Latin freestyle, rap, New Wave. I mean, Depeche Mode was my favorite band. All those things I heard growing up influence what I make for sure, but probably the music I was first turned on to – The Prodigy and early XL Recordings, Altern-8, Moby and breakbeat hardcore, jungle and tweaky early '90s house records – is the most explicit influence on my sound. 
 
-What's your first memory of a song reaching out of the speakers and grabbing your attention?
We danced to a sped up version of Freestyle "It's Automatic" in fourth grade drill team and I remember really wanting to know what that song was. In fact, I always liked that competition cheerleading music as a kid which is basically just crazy high-speed happy hardcore or something. I also loved Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus." Pretty nerdy, huh?
 
-We have to ask, who coined the term 'haunted house' as your genre? How did that come about?
I made it up! I was putting out an EP and had gotten really sick of having to use six different genres to describe what kind of music I DJ and make. "Bass music" sounds so generic, but I really do traffic in a range of styles. At the end of the day, everything began as house music, and since my vibe is really all about spooky synths, dark cartoon touches and deep rattling bass I thought it kind of summed it up. Make up your own tagline or someone will make one for you... and you might not like it!

-You're part of the legendary Trouble and Bass family, there have been some changes over the last year.  Can you give us the inside scoop?  We were a bit nervous when that tombstone logo first appeared online...
It's the cycle of life that things have to die to be reborn. After six years as a label, over 70 releases, hundreds of parties and everything else, we needed to take stock of where we were at, where we wanted to go and the real meaning of Trouble & Bass. We started when no one was saying the term "bass music" and dubstep was a niche genre that most people hadn't heard of. It was hard to even find a club where we could play our stuff and then in six years the landscape changed so many times and now everyone has managers and it's hard to release vinyl and people are talking about an "EDM explosion" at massive festivals. So we had to re-evaluate, die, come back to life and be stronger, darker and wilder than ever.
 

-What do you have planned next with Trouble and Bass?
We have so many wicked releases coming up I'm really excited for the next six months. Besides our new artists like Strange VIP, Tony Quattro, Damn Kids and Lucent, we've got a special collaboration between Plastician, Shox and Drop the Lime that's going to blow your head off plus big parties at SXSW (vs. Mad Classy) and in Miami (vs. Bromance) and in NYC (can't tell yet) and no sleep not ever. 
 

-What music are you really enjoying that doesn't make your dj sets?
I really love the bands Trust and The Soft Moon and Thee Oh Sees, plus Zola Jesus and E-40. Always E-40.
 

-What dj's and producers inspire you to keep at it and keep innovating?
One of the best parts of this life is coming in contact with so many rad and inspiring people. I admire people that really have a vision for what they're doing and can stick to it. Off the top of my head right now, I count Bok Bok, Wheez-ie, Drop the Lime, Mala, Trevino, Salva, Dubbel Dutch, Dre Skull, but that is just my little corner of bass music of whatever -- the list goes on and on and includes visual artists and fashion designers as well as techno DJs.

-How does that list compare to when you started out?
The qualities are the same but, you know, the people change. Some artists you admire stick to it; others go off on a tangent and you lose interest or they get way too into the limelight and lose all edge. The one thing I'm not into is just full on cheesy pop music. I just can't. Some of the drum & bass people I used to admire turned out not so cool in the end, but that doesn't diminish the power of their best tracks. And I will always love Liam Howlett from The Prodigy... I haven't loved all Prodigy songs but I think he is a badman producer. 
 
-You've done vocals on a few really cool tracks. Is that a part of your live performance?
Sometimes I sing live, depends on how I'm feeling on the night. I think whatever you can do to make your tracks more you and put your unique stamp on them is cool (especially when you sample yourself). The voice is just another instrument in an arsenal of many. And while I don't consider myself a "singer," there are some tracks I've written with full lyrics and they're so  personal that it doesn't feel right for anyone to sing them but me. So I did and I do.
 

-Tell us about white gloves? Is that who we think it is?
Who do YOU think it is??? "White Gloves" was inspired by my background as a hardcore raver and then combining that with the music and darker and more black aesthetic that I'm into now. In the mid-90s, back when Insomniac was a 400-600 person party (and not the huge massive known as EDC), I used to go there religiously and the fashion of the time was gigantic baggy overalls, Dr. Seuss hats, toys from the 99-cent store, E masks and Mickey gloves. (Being from LA, we all grew up going to Disneyland all the time.) But even though we all looked like crazy cartoons, the music was really dark. I mean, this is the first record I ever bought: Ace the Space "9mm Is A Classic" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyzFacZU_wc). Or we were listening to this, DJ PC "Inssomniak": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ov5Xu3x_Q4 ... I mean that's probably where they got the name from. Anyway, that's what "White Gloves" is about. Put on your Mickeys and hump a speaker. 
-If you could work with any artist on any project.. What do you choose?
Make a crazy EP or LP and then get cartoonists from Superjail (Adult Swim show) or Matt Furie or Disney animators to make a dark fantastical animated movie to go with it.
 
-What is your favourite city to perform in?
My favorite are cities in the UK (mostly outside of London), like Nottingham or Leeds, where people just go off in the clubs. Like you'll be playing some grime or bassline tune and everyone is singing along and wilding and they don't give a what. Apart from that, in 2013, New York! The warehouse scene is going OFF here right now and we've got some of the greatest parties going. 

-What's the most memorable live event of 2012? Was it one of your shows? A band you saw perform?
Trouble & Bass Takeover at Control at Avalon Los Angeles was a great way to kick off the year. Performing with the rest of my Trouble & Bass squad is always the most fun, no matter where we are and this show was rammed to the gills. What do you know there's a video of it right here! (http://troubleandbass.com/blog/video-trouble-bass-take-over-avalon-la). Also our six-year anniversary at SRB in Brooklyn: Salva was so amazing and I pumped the building full of so much fog that it temporarily turned the sound off. So... that was memorable.

-What was your first band/dj name?
I found an old cassette the other day where I was called Phase. Obviously this whole DJing thing wasn't a phase so glad I didn't stick with that one! I was also looking into the names Elektra and Siren (which is funny because I later had female DJ friends named those), but I'm glad I chose Star Eyes. I came to fit me better than I could have expected. 
 

-Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for the Lost Girls EP?
Play around with synths like Count Chocula, try to get sub bass just right, find fun samples to stick in strange places and get excited, spend a lot of time playing with reverb and panning, then going back through everything and simplify, simplify. (My biggest problem is making things more complicated than they need to be.) I knew I wanted to put something out on Halloween so that was inspiration.. and a deadline.
   

-If you could recommend one album to everyone who will read this, what would it be?
Hyetal's Broadcast and Starkey's Orbitz are really great, well put-together electronic albums that I like to listen to from start to finish. 
 
-Can you tell us a bit about Unknown to the Unknown?
Unknown to the Unknown (a.k.a. UTTU) is a mysterious label run by DJ Haus (a.k.a. Hot City). They just throw up cool tunes and make crazy edited retina-searing videos without all the overdone hype that usually comes along with running a dance music label. It's really old-skool rave renegade style and so is the music -- grimey house, garage, acid techno and singlehandedly resuscitating the bassline genre as well. You know, all the stuff I like!
-Any releases on the horizon you can let us know about?
I did vocals on a tune with Curses! that should be out in April, trying to finish up some new Dark Ages stuff and many other plots and schemes that I shall not reveal.

 

  Star Eyes & Jubilee "Merkwood Estates" by Star Eyes

 

Star Eyes - Lost Girls EP by Trouble & Bass

 

 

For more on Star Eyes online check out:

 

  • Star Eyes website
  • MySpace
  • Last.fm
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube
  •