Friday, October 26, 2007

Interview: Ringo Death Starr

I have raved about Ringo Deathstarr on this site many times, so it seemed about time to publish an interview with them. They comprise: Elliott Frazier on guitar and voice, dustin gaudet on drums, alex gehring - bass/voice and renan mcfarland on guitar. Here Elliott tells 17 Seconds about how it all came together, how come they've not yet played outside of Texas and whether we'll ever get to see them in Scotland...

How did you guys come together?
Ringo deathstarr began 2.5 years ago, founded by me, elliott. after many shows and many line-up changes, we finally ended up with the current formation, which feels like what this band should have been all along. some of the original members moved away, others were too busy with other bands, others had other problems, but i never gave up, since i wrote all the songs. Stephen Hablinski was the longest running ember, he was the other guitar player, and he wrote all the melodic parts on the e.p. he was just too busy to commit the time we, after the e.p. was recorded, we parted ways. i knew dustin from our home town of beaumont texas, and i sort of knew alex from this store she worked at, FACTORY PEOPLE...and renan is one of her good friends.....

You list your influences as being super-reverb. Are you honestly going to say that there's no Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine influence there?!
well, thats up to the listener! it is true, though...but also, there are other bands like starflyer 59 and morellas forest that were big influences, before i heard JAMC or beaumont, nobody that i knew liked any of that kind of music...when i was 18, my older friend julie had JAMC's "darklands" and had all the smiths and morrissey stuff, and thats also when i got into the Dandy Warhols....but beaumont was a town without good record shops, and wal-mart and best buy were the only places to get music. it was like a black hole.

Who do you see as your contemporaries?
manhattan love suicides, ume, shields, anything after....we all seem to be doing something similar

You're currently about to play with the Dandy Warhols. How did that come about?
They heard about us from The Black Angels, and asked us to play...

Have you played outside of Texas yet?!
nope, we dont really have a way to get around, we are in the middle of texas, so far from any state border...we dont have a van, so we have to take 2 cars. we are too poor to rent a van just to go on a gig....if clubs actually paid real money then we could do it, but paying $40 for an 8 hour round trip aint gonan cut it, dude...but we are looking at our options to get to NYC and back...

Your EP 'Ringo Deathstarr' has come out on a British label, Spoilt Victorian Child. How did you get involved with SVC?
Simon, who runs that label, contacted me, and said he wanted to release it..he gave me a pretty good offer, so here we are...he has worked hard, and it is paying off i think..

How do you write your songs?
just by accident most of the time. usually i have an idea for a song, but it takes a long time to come together. luckily, with the current line-up, everyone else has good ideas. with all the line-up changes, i was the only songwriter, and stephen would add his guitar at the last minute before we recorded it. now, alex comes up with vocal parts, bass parts, renan plays some spaced out bliss, and dustin has drum ideas. we are working on songs for our next e.p. now...but we are taking our time.

Describe your live show for the benefit of anyone who's never seen you.
we try not to just stand there and gaze at our shoes. we like to have a good time. we like to be LOUD, and crazy sometimes. dustin sells p.a. and lighting equipment, so he got this foot switch for strobe lights and stuff, which alex controls.

What plans have got you got for the rest of 2007 and 2008? Can we expect more releases soon?
WORLD DOMINATION. we will have another release as soon as we get it together...i have already designed the artwork for it.

List your favourite 10 albums.

elliott--starflyer 59 - silver
ride - smile
zz top - eliminator
dustin --broken social scene - self titled
chromeo-fancy footwork
flaming lips - soft bulletin
brian jonestown massacre - their satanic majesty's
second request
Alex - pixies - doolitle
-blonde redhead - melody of certain damaged lemons
-kings of convenience - right on an empty street

plus a bonus one ---broadcast - ha ha sound

What is your favourite piece of art?
elliott - goustave courbet's "L'Origine du monde"
dustin-everything by basquiat
marin - red sun
alex - the art of Banksy

Do any of you still have day jobs?
yes, i teach music lessons to kids, dustin works at a music store in the p.a. system/lighting department, alex works at a local boutique, and renan is a full time student.

Do you think the word 'indie' still means anything in 2007?
yeah, but not as a description of a SOUND. i think the DIY ethic and all that is easier now more than ever, with all the technology...i think independent artists will continue to gain all the power over A&R people.

What would be your dream gig for Ringo Deathstarr to play?
one where people are there to see us.

Finally, when are you coming to Scotland?
when some magical entinty supplies us with 4 plane tickets. i have been to glasgow before, when i played drums in IV Thieves...played at barflys, twas great fun. we will try really hard to get over there....

We'll hold them to it. Anyone want to help organise a whip round?

Ringo Death Starr's debut EP is now available through their MySpace site here.

Two samples for you: from the EP

Ringo Death Starr -'Swirly.' mp3

And an early version of the track 'Some Kind Of Sad' which caused 17 Seconds to get extremely excited a few months ago:

Ringo Death Starr -'Some Kind Of Sad (early version).' mp3


Colin said...

great band with a wonderful sound.

and, ed, i like them even more having read this well thought out interview.

can we get a kitty going for flights to the UK?

seriously, i'd love to see them play...

Ed said...

I'd love to see them play here too.

Of course, in the interests of the environment and not to be partisan they should play both Edinburgh and Scotland.

I'm staggered that they've not actually played outside of Texas. There you go, I guess...

Anyone else up for getting RDS to play here in Scotland?


Micky67 said...

Never heard of this band, but i like the mp3. There's a definite Shields influence in the vocal style and I'd say the guitars are vaguely reminiscent of JAMC, but id like to hear some of their other tunes

Ed said...

There's five tunes on their EP (£2) and stuff on their MySpace.

Do you fancy joining the whip-round?!


Micky67 said...

im sure i could dontae some cash!

Ed said...

I'll hold ya to it!

Anyone else up for it/ Humble teacher, don't get paid that much...any of my readers got a trust fund they don't know what to do with?!