Stella by Starlight

Stella by Starlight


MTVu Woodie Award-winning Stella by Starlight blend rock, electro, and pop to create infectious dance music. Hailed for their inventive sound, Stella is rapidly spreading across the nation. With impressive and energetic performances, Stella is earning respect from fans and industry pros alike.


Stella by Starlight does a lot of things really well. At least that’s what they want you to think. If nothing, the duo from Durham, North Carolina has managed to produce some of the most original dance music since the castratti craze of the 1160s. They ought to know: Nathan and Sonny formed the band in 2006 while undergraduates at Duke. Now, armed with their massive self-produced dance and pop/rock tracks and their dynamic new EP “My Electric Robot Friend,” Stella by Starlight are poised to take over the world, or at least the part of it that appreciates good music, like that theme song to Home Improvement...

Stella by Starlight formed in 2006 when Sonny decided to look for a band that could write and perform challenging and inventive original material. The band’s conception was much like any other: Nate messaged Sonny on Facebook, urging him to let him in the band because of his P.A. system. The following quote is an excerpt from Nate’s foundational message to Sonny: “As for my P.A., I just got it, so I can do DJ stuff, and get massive synth bass sounds, plus I’m using it as incentive to get into a good band :-)” Sonny was instantly sold on the idea of going in a more electronic direction, so Stella started learning Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z songs instead of traditional covers. “This set the stage for our sound,” Sonny adds, “I don't know where we would be today if we had never learned ‘SexyBack’ or ‘Fergalicious’.”

In addition to putting on what can only be described as a loud, live indie dance party, Stella is obsessed with perfecting the beat. Nate (synths, vocals) leads this charge as Stella's primary songwriter and producer. Each song and its associated production style draw upon elements that have not traditionally been associated with dance/rock genres. “I try to give each track its own voice because songcraft is only half of the story when people listen to a song. The right production is essential, and I would hate to have a good song get lost in a bad mix. I'm like a sonic chameleon in that sense.” Indeed he is. With a background of formal training in both music theory and classical piano, his songs and production style pay tribute to past greats while staying relevant to both pop culture and pop music. “My Electric Robot Friend” sounds like Vanilla Ice free-styling over a Modern English track, and “Can I Take U Home” pays homage to 90s sitcom theme songs while drawing musically upon the electronic house genre. “Think of us as the new ‘Dance Dance Revolution’,” Nate says, “if video games were music. But we don't sound like video game music at all… is that clear?”

Nate’s antics would be fruitless, however, if Sonny (guitar, vocals) did not reign him in. “I am Stella’s spiritual and sonic advisor,” Sonny asserts. “I am the band’s moral center and business leader. I provide strategic direction and assist Nate during times of destructive musical seizures.” Sonny was trained in guitar and theory, studying with a variety of instructors from an early age. His infectiously catchy riffs and progressions reflect his background while conveying a fresh rock vibe. “Dance music is often hesitant to incorporate new sounds, which is what we are trying to do,” Sonny says. “Our use of live guitars and live drumming are essential to achieving a crossover rock/electro style.”

And when it all comes together on stage, Stella’s performances blend rock and dance music together at a dangerously exciting pace. Their live show will make your eyes sting, your ears ache, and your body shake. The fact that Stella's formal musical training and production chops have allowed them to write and record without the support of labels adds to their growing mystique as new saviors of the dance and pop genres. At the very least, that seems to be their goal. Having received an MTVu Woodie Award in 2007 and enjoyed coverage in Newsweek, Billboard, Spin, Rollingstone, Boston Globe,, and on MTV, MTVu, MTV2, and Fuse TV, the boys are taking on their mission full steam ahead.

Their newest release, “My Electric Robot Friend,” drops on November 4, 2008.


Made of Fire (EP) - February 2007
Stella by Starlight (EP) - October 2007
My Electric Robot Friend (EP) - November 2008

Set List

Our set-list can vary from 45 minutes up to an hour and a half. We typically do 1-2 covers for longer sets.