Andrew Starr
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Andrew Starr

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Art Rock

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"Ceiling premier"

Cam Frank goes by the moniker of Andrew Starr and the Hobo Scene, a project that’s shaped by making music in “a haze at random points” of their life for the past two years. Now on their fifth record, it will come in two parts, Dead Lighters Go To Heaven being the first and Brief Recollections From The Closet being released later down the line.

Written during the start of summer, “Ceiling” recalls a strange dream which involved a makeout session with their best friend Ben, who is part of their live band. Featuring their friend Matty Hagger (who also goes by Pansy) on vocals, the sleepy song is wrapped in space dreams and harmonious drone. Intimate yet gauche with lumpy lo-fi, between the dueling vocals and the twinkly xylophone, a pillowy tenderness is conjured up to make the track a catchy lullaby. - cereal and sounds


"Lonely Bones"

Dr. Robotnik and purple Chewbacca walking inside a megaphone. - very small album review


"Interview with Andrew Starr"

Andrew Starr and the Hobo Scene dropped an album titled dead lighters go to heaven this year, and it is sure to take you on a journey through all of the emotions you’ve been trying to suppress but need to feel. The entire album feels like one long daydream: disjointed and noisey like a bustling city street, but gentle and harmonious like the feeling of being wrapped in your lovers arms. Andy Starr displays that they are a multi-talented artist playing most of the instruments featured on the album, and also doing most of the vocals. This album also briefly features Ben Abid, Pansy and Uncle Elder. If you’re down to listen to something a little less smooth on the ears, but a lot more deep in the heart: cop this album on Bandcamp.

https://andrewstarrandthehoboscene.bandcamp.com/album/dead-lighters-go-to-heaven

Mackenzie: What would you consider to be the most influential album of 2016?

Andy Starr: David Bowie’s Black Star was amazing. It’s so cryptic to me because they knew they were dying and acknowledged it multiple times and then died 3 days after releasing it. I hope I release my best album 3 days before my death. Deakins Sleep Cycle was also up there in my top 3. I’d say Tim Hecker’s Love Streams influenced me most on this album in particular though. I tried to incorporate a lot of ambient airiness and they do that so well.

M: When creating dead lighters go to heaven what song was the toughest to create and why?

A.S.: Most of the songs came pretty naturally. I recorded them all pretty much after 1am so I was a lot less inhibited. The hardest thing was choosing what song to cut out. It was going to be 26 tracks originally and I cut it to 17. pumpkn man was pretty hard because I recorded when I was heavily inebriated and I did such a terrible job that it was hard to recover some of the recordings from my 8 track, so I have like 3 versions of that song.

M: If people only took away one message from this album, what would you want it to be?

A.S.: It takes a while to come to terms with who you are. A lot of the songs on this album are about identity and personal events I went through to figure out who I am and what exactly I’m doing here. I think people could find lots of different messages from this though. It spans a wide variety of topics.

M: Tell me a secret.

A.S.: I do a lot of maintenance work at my job and I’ve changed out one family photo in everyone’s cubicle with a stock photo of a family and I think I’m going to continue until someone calls me out. My job is mind-numbingly boring and little shit like that helps me make it one more day I guess. - nothing original


"all dead lighters go to heaven"

Dead Lighters Go to Heaven feels eerily familiar. It’ll throw you back into sitting cross-legged on the floor, sweat dripping down your back, touching foreheads with someone you think you love because you’re on Ecstasy and everything feels possible and the room is spinning in fast, euphoric circles. But then, somewhere along the line a song plays and you remember that walk home the next morning depleted of endorphins, hyperventilating, tears in your eyes.

Andrew Starr, recently released a solo album Dead Lighters Go To Heaven. Starr, also known as Cam Frank, worked on the video Sojii released on Jettison. Here’s an interview with the artist about their influences, process, and the Grand Rapids music scene. Listen to the full album here.

Mad Penny: What are your musical influences?

Andrew Starr: I get a lot of musical influence from the Talking Heads. Grew up on them and grew to really appreciate the genius behind their production and musicality in the last five years. Mount Eerie by The Microphones has also been a big influence on me in the past few years. Production-wise mostly, but Phil Elverum is a hero to me.

MP: What did the album emerge from? Was there any particular emotion or state of being that shaped it?

AS: The album emerged from a lot of confusion in my life. Lots of change and new experiences i.e. moving, ending relationships, new relationships, combating lifelong mental illness really shaped the tracks and me as a person.

MP: What kind of experience do you want people who listen to your music to have?

AS: I want people to listen to my music and hear it as some sort of musical diary. I want them to feel like they’re flipping through an old photo album or digging through pages of an old journal.

MP: What is your musical process?

CF: Most of the time I formulate some idea of a song in my head while working or doing some mindless task. From there I’ll plop out a basic structure on a piano or guitar and then I take it right to recording. I’ll change the whole concept or feel of a song once I start recording tracks. A lot of the actual base of the song is created there. The studio is my creative place.

MP: How did you record this album?

AS: I recorded part of this when I lived at my parents in a closet upstairs. I made a lil’ studio and just stayed up to ungodly hours recording stuff. When I moved into my current house I set up a studio in our basement which allowed me to record louder instruments (electric guitar, drums, screaming vocals) and that helped shape the other half of the album. I recorded a lot of the instruments on tape and then would bounce them into my computer and edit them there. I overdubbed most of the vocal and synthesizer tracks on computer.

MP: What are the sound clips in some of the songs used from? What is the significance?

AS: A lot of sound clips were just things I had recorded on my phone. I try and record little things that I find interesting and use them at some point. I also sampled some old radio shows from the 50’s and a lot of AM preachers. There’s a channel on like 12:10 AM radio that has Catholic Mass being broadcast at every hour of the day and a lot of those preachers say some profound shit. I grew up in an extremely religious household and while I don’t fully believe in it now, I think that a lot of stuff priests and preachers say carry a lot of emotional weight. I also sampled American Beauty on the song Kevin because I love Kevin Spacey and that song is about him.
MP: When did you get interested in playing and making videos?

AS: I’ve been playing music for a lot of my life but it wasn’t until the 9th grade when I got really invested in creating my own and collaborating with others. I’ve been making videos since 5th grade, there’s probably some embarrassing ones from middle school somewhere on Youtube. I was always drawn to the camera and writing little stories. I got a lot more into it in high school while taking some studio classes and I’ve been trying to motivate myself more recently to create visual arts.

MP: Why did you include the nail biting, twitching, itching in the video?

AS: Glad you picked up on that. Everyone has a tick of some sort and I wanted people to step back and realize their individual tick in times of uneasiness. I asked all my friends what they do when they’re nervous and most of them had something along the lines of biting their nails or scratching themselves or smoking or biting their lips or something. The song Glass Jar Baby is about analyzing yourself in a way.

MP: How is the Grand Rapids music scene?

Eh it’s okay. Kind of in a lull right now as some of the bigger DIY venues closed. There’s a lot of Emo bands here, but that’s kind of a Midwest thing. I feel like at this point everyone is just bouncing the same 6 bands around and not really paying too much attention to newer bands that are forming. - jettison mag


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