Blog postInterview

A Conversation With Starbenders

Interview with Jasmine Marceau.

We sat with guitarist Kriss Tokaji and bassist Aaron Lecesne in a quiet, secluded room before their final show of their UK tour at Boston Music Room in London.

“I think there’s one statement that is all encompassing with this band and what comes out is that there are no rules.” Aaron Lecesne

You’ve been playing all over the UK this past couple of weeks, how’s the UK crowd been for you?

Kriss: As expected. We came here earlier in the year so it was a treat for us to experience the UK crowd. Especially, for the band that we are, I think people are just more passionate about what we do over here, and we’ve had some of the coolest crowds we’ve ever had on this tour, so it’s been really amazing. People know all the words to our songs, and singing it back to us, a lot of that which we’re not quite used to back home, so it’s just been amazing.

Aaron: There’s an enthusiasm here, that’s both within the show and just towards music in general that we don’t see too often in the States, but it is a little more reminiscent of like when we go to Japan. When the crowd enthusiasm is just a little more present and in the moment, and like you say they’re singing everything back to us, engaged with the show, and by extension so are we.

So, you released your most recent album Take Back The Night three weeks ago now!

Aaron: It hasn’t been that long!

Kriss: Everything’s been moving so fast for us, so it’s kinda weird to think that that happened. Oh yeah, we put an album out!

How’s the reaction been to the album? Are you playing a lot of the songs on your set this tour?

Kriss: Yeah, a lot of it. I feel like, with Take Back The Night, it captures our live energy a little better than on record. We all felt that these would be really fun songs to play, when we were done recording the album we were like ‘oh man, this is going to go off live’. As it turned out, we were right! So, it’s been really fun seeing people knowing the words to an album that, like you say, only came out three weeks ago, and people are requesting these songs from that album. I think having this short amount of time of the album being out in the world, I’m excited to see where it goes three months from now, or even next year, which is a couple of months from now.

If you were to give someone your album who had never heard of you before, how would you describe it to them?

Aaron: I would say, put it on and hang on for dear life.

Kriss: Yeah, I think it’s emotional, there’s a lot of aggression in there. The place we were at as a band during the time of making the record, it just came out in full form, its definitely a strong and accurate reflection of how we were feeling at the time. I think there’s a lot of passion and emotion in it, and it’s got a little more teeth, as Kimi likes to say, that’s her accurate description of it. I just think it’s louder, full of life.

Aaron: When we’re asked to describe our music, I think there’s one statement that is all encompassing with this band and what comes out is that there are no rules, and it’s as true on this record as it was on the last, what came out is what came out. As Kriss was saying, there was aggression, there was uncertainty, that’s what we were feeling so that’s what we put on the tape. I think we’ve been fortunate to have the freedom to not have those rules and place those restrictions on ourselves. It’s given Kimi a lot of freedom to write what she wants to say, and we’ve been really fortunate as a band to have that.

Within the writing process, what tends to come first?

Kriss: Kimi does a full demo usually. She’s obviously an amazing lyricist and she’s has some really great guitar riffs, structures, and we put our fingerprints on it as well, and embellish it. It was cool because we were just going with the flow, with how we were feeling at the time, we had put out a few singles a year before finishing the rest of the record, like ‘Seven White Horses’, and we were already kinda like ‘this is something a little different’. It’s definitely a different record to Love Potions, we were just following suit with that.

Let’s talk music videos!

Aaron: We’ve done a few, Seven White Horses, Blood Moon…

What goes into the vision for your music videos?

Aaron: I think we can separate our videos into eras. We were talking about this the other day because we were asked what we were doing during 2020, and the answer was we just did a tonne of music videos. We wrote those ourselves, and much like we have the the creativity lyrically, songily, we have that visually too conceptually with our music videos. So if you look at that era, it’s quirkier, and it’s got that uncertainty to it. More recently, we’ve collaborated with directors and writers to get across that vision we want.

Well they look great!
You’ve got another tour booked after this one, with just one week break inbetween! Do you stop?

Aaron: It’s been like 13 months.

Kriss: Yeah, we’ve been consistently going. We started touring really heavily, we’ve always been a really heavy touring band anyway, but we had more breaks and not usually our choice. We’re a band that want to be on the road all the time. So we’ve been touring since last September, starting with the tour we did with Palaye Royale in the United States, then we went back to Japan.

Aaron: We spent Thanksgiving in Japan.

How was that?

Kriss: It was really cool, we had our own Thanksgiving thing!

It’s just been tour after tour, we did two months in Europe and here in the UK with Palaye Royale at the beginning of the year. All while inbetween finishing the record aswell, so it was a lot of things going on. Being off the road like every other band during the pandemic, we’re just trying to get back out there and stay busy.

Aaron: We get home right before Thanksgiving, so this year we get to spend Thanksgiving at home.

Kriss: Yeah that’ll be nice. Then we’re back on tour right at the beginning of next year.

Aaron: We literally start on New Years Eve.

Kriss: Yeah we’ve got a New Years Eve show in Cincinnati with a band called Foxy Shazam, so that’ll be cool!

Last question for you, who’s your ultimate artist you’d love to tour or collaborate with?

Kriss: Any band?

Aaron: Living or dead?

Kriss: We always say Prince would be the ultimate collab as far as touring or doing a song.

Aaron: I feel like we have to have KISS on there too.

Kriss: As far as living bands, Maneskin, they’re a huge rock band now and I feel like we have a lot of similar DNA. That would be really cool. If we had to choose just one living band!

Catch Starbenders on tour in the US. Listen to their most recent album ‘Take Back The Night’ now.

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