Collapsing Stars
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Collapsing Stars

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Americana Blues


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"NPR Music's Top 100 Artists to Watch at SXSW"

Collapsing Stars' languid folk songs are punctuated by forceful stabs of bluesy guitar — and, in the case of "The Storm," a few appropriate nature sounds. The effect can be whispery and beautiful, but the band's music maintains a welcome undercurrent of reflection, doubt and even dread. - NPR Music

"Collapsing Stars' Justin Wayne Nelson on how he overcame 'artistic paralysis' to create '2012'"

Justin Wayne Nelson discovered the allure of performing onstage at age two when his father roped him into singing a song with his country-western band. “Apparently, I refused to give up the microphone,” Nelson says. “I didn’t really choose to go into music. It chose me.”

That experience in the spotlight segued into piano lessons around age six and playing guitar in his teens. Nelson debuted with a Nirvana cover band in high school, followed by a string of other musical projects during his 20s. In 2013, he swapped a dead-end job for a part-time, remote web marketing director position. The singer-songwriter and guitarist sold his Honda Civic, bought a minivan, and recruited drummer Mike Langhoff to tour with him as Local Rhythm. They recorded a live EP at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles and performed for an audience of 120,000 at Redbull Crashed Ice in St. Paul last year.

The band reconfigured itself as the bluesy-Americana trio Collapsing Stars, and Nelson, Langhoff, and bassist Adam Heaney will celebrate their first full-length release, 2012, on Saturday.

City Pages: Why 2012 for the album title?

Justin Wayne Nelson: I wrote the first verse of the title track on December 20, 2012. It was the evening before what some people were calling "the Mayan Apocalypse." It kind of piqued my curiosity so I wrote a song about it. I wrote the first half on December 20 and I woke up the next morning and I was still breathing. There was no fire and brimstone, no horsemen, everything was fine. There was no cataclysmic event that brought the world to an end, but I started thinking about the countless existential threats – whether it’s climate change, resource scarcity, overpopulation – that could have a similar effect over a longer time scale. These themes inspired the material for the rest of the song, along with several others forming the body of work that we call 2012.

CP: You’ve said you didn’t just have writer’s block while working on this album, you had “artist paralysis.” What does that look like for you?

JWN: For most of my creative life, music has just been fun and something that comes fairly easily to me. At some point, that stopped being the case. I can always write guitar riffs and compose music, but for whatever reason, the lyrical content that I was coming up with for this record I didn’t think was very good. I didn’t know how to explain it. A year went by without making any progress on the lyric-writing. It got to the point where I thought, “I need some help.”

My friend Jillian Rae runs this music school called Music Lab and Jeremy Messersmith teaches out of that school. She ended up putting us in contact. I ended up meeting with Jeremy. He gave me word exercises and showed me his creative process. It helped a lot. I was able to break out of my artistic funk. What’s cool about that was a lot of the information he was relaying was stuff that he had learned from Dan Wilson. Without that intervention, I’m not sure if I would have gotten this album done.

CP: Do you think that kind of generosity is representative of the Twin Cities music scene? Or was this an exception?

JWN: I’ll go back to my friend Jillian Rae. She is extremely generous with her time. She says she will meet with anybody. There are definitely people in the Minnesota music scene that will do that. If you ask politely or approach them at a show, I think they would be more likely than not to hear you out and give you any advice they can. I want to pay it forward and help people. I would also be happy to be generous with my time and coach or have a beer with somebody and just let them pick my brain about tour booking or PR.

CP: What are your bandmates like, personality-wise?

JWN: Mike is definitely the social butterfly. The night that we leave for tour, I never sleep because I’m so excited. Our first show, we’ll play late, get done around midnight and hang out for a while, but I’m just beat that first night. Usually Mike will be the ambassador for the band. He will hang out if we meet people, he’ll go back to house parties. That’s really how you build these friendships and these networks in these different cities.

We have a bass player who is a childhood friend of mine I’ve been playing in bands with since we were 16 years old. He’s also very social and business-like. He’s good at shaking hands and meeting owners of venues.

CP: After your release show, you’re taking off on a West Coast tour. What are you looking forward to and/or dreading about going on tour?

JWN: I love touring. It’s the best road trip combined with doing something that you love. I get to travel around the country and meet cool people and try new food and we hike a bunch. On top of it, we get to go play music for people. I love it; I know some bands don’t. It can be a grind for people that are playing every night and sleeping on floors. We have some areas out West where we can stay for a week so we have time to explore. It hasn’t always been great. We were avalanched on in Colorado a couple of years ago while driving through the mountains. We got a gun pulled on us in Tucson during our last tour over some minor road rage incident. Overwhelmingly, we’ve had great experiences and met great people.

I don’t know if this ties in, but I’ve been working really hard to get everything in order to make sure we have a good release party and tour. Last Wednesday, I was exhausted and I passed out around 10 p.m. I woke up around 3 a.m. and I looked at my phone, my eyes half-open, and there’s a message from Dan Wilson: “The album sounds great and I love the artwork, too.” Is this a dream? I guess Dan Wilson likes our album. That’s pretty cool. - City Pages

"Collapsing Stars -- “2012”"

Justin Wayne Nelson of Collapsing Stars was stuck in what he calls “artistic paralysis.” After going for over a year without writing any new lyrics, he reached out to local music everyman Jeremy Messersmith. Messersmith’s guidance was enough to uncork Nelson’s creativity, and the resulting record, 2012, was released on August 1.

The title track to that record struggles with 2012’s much-ballyhooed “Mayan Apocalypse” and the anxiety it begat. In the video for the song, Nelson jousts with his impending doom as Biblical lithographs flash across the screen. Ultimately, he's undeterred and even empowered by surviving the prophesied end--and he emerges with a full songbook to share. - City Pages

"Collapsing Stars, “2012”"

Justin Nelson of bluesy Americana band Collapsing Stars was stuck. Suffering from some writer’s block, he decided to take songwriting lessons from Minnesota’s own Jeremy Messersmith; with guidance and a lot of work, he snapped back out. Tomorrow, the band’s first full-length, 2012, comes out at the 331 Club.

The video features public-domain images of Albrecht Dürer wood carvings called “The Apocalypse with Pictures,” which Nelson animated himself. - The Current

"Collapsing Stars to release debut album “2012” at the 331 Club on 8/5"

Minneapolis based trio Collapsing Stars is set to release their first full length record titled 2012, Saturday August 5th at the 331 Club. Three days later, they’ll pile into a van and hit the road for the first leg of their fall west coast tour, or as drummer Mike Langhoff refers to it, an opportunity to “make some Rock & Roll history.” Show starts at 10 PM but since there’s no cover – get there early.

2012 is the culmination of an artistic process that took roughly four years, a process that at times wasn’t always smooth. “For the first time in my life, I was experiencing some sort of creative block while trying to compose lyrics,” said Nelson. “I thought that in time it would pass, but after close to a year without any tangible progress on our record, I knew that I needed help.” Nelson decided to reach out to Minneapolis songwriting luminary Jeremy Messersmith. “Jeremy is extraordinarily accomplished in his own right, but what people might not know is that he’s a Dan Wilson Disciple. So I was the beneficiary of the wisdom and experience of two incredible songwriters. He walked me through his creative process and showed me some word exercises that helped break me out of my artistic paralysis. Without Jeremy this record may have never seen the light of day.”

Nelson wrote the first verse of the title track “2012” on December 20th, 2012. It was the eve of the highly publicized (and grossly misinterpreted) “Mayan Apocalypse,” the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mayan calendar. “It seems like every year, some fanatical group is predicting the end of the world, and I approached this prediction with the same indifference as all the others. But it piqued my curiosity so I decided to write a song about it. The first half of the song is in keeping with the doomsday theme, and I wrote it on the night of the 20th. I woke up the next morning, still breathing. No fire and brimstone. No horsemen. Everything was fine. Here I was, left with half a song to write and I wasn’t exactly sure how to finish it. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that everything isn’t fine. There was no cataclysmic event that brought the world to an end, but I started thinking about the countless existential threats that could have a similar effect over a longer time scale. These themes inspired the material for the rest of the song, along with several others forming the body of work that we call 2012.” - Twin Cities Media


'2012' (2017)
Live From Hotel Cafe 



Hailing from the land of endless winter, Twin Cities based Collapsing Stars have been quietly making a name for themselves throughout the American west. Blending traditional blues, roots, folk, and Americana sounds with a hint of modernity, comparisons range from Iron & Wine and the Lumineers, to the Black Keys and Ben Harper. In the last few years they've earned producer credits on a record for Rhymesayers Entertainment (Atmosphere, Brother Ali, deM atlaS), played a showcase at the renowned Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, and in 2016 performed for over 120K people at Red Bull Crashed Ice. Their debut record titled '2012' has received some noteworthy accolades including praise from Dan Wilson, the Semisonic frontman who has co-written songs for the Dixie Chicks, John Legend, Weezer, and most recently Adele's Someone Like You. In 2018 they were selected as an official SXSW artist out of a pool of over 8K applicants. NPR Music named them a top 100 artist to watch at SX out of 2K showcasing acts. They are currently on tour to promote their first full length album titled '2012.

Band Members