The Glowing Stars

The Glowing Stars

 Oakland, California, USA
BandRockEDM

The Glowing Stars — guitarist/vocalist Lizzie Cuevas and drummer/Game Boy synth programmer Matt Payne — combines the clicky waveforms and perfect arpeggios of 8-bit processors with the fury of live drums and distorted guitars.

Biography

"There are a lot of chiptune artists with a lot of talent," says multi-instrumentalist Matt Payne, "but not really a lot of bands, per se." The answer: The Glowing Stars, a musical duet with guitarist/vocalist Lizzie Cuevas that combines the clicky waveforms and perfect arpeggios of 8-bit processors with the fury of live drums and distorted guitars. It's a little bit Weezer, a little bit Wario – in other words, utterly unique.

Matt and Lizzie realized they wanted to form a band together…when they were in a band together. When Lizzie left Bay Area punk outfit Sputterdoll to focus on academics in 2005, Matt replaced her on guitar; when she returned two years later, Matt shifted to keys and trombone. The common musical ground was evident early on. "From the start, we talked about wanting to combine our love of retro video games with rock music," says Matt, but outside of a few Sputterdoll NES medleys, "it didn't happen for years."

When The Glowing Stars inevitably did happen in late 2010, it was greeted by overwhelming support, thanks to their first downloadable tracks and an epic live debut at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, where the audience experienced the band's musical 2x multiplier first-hand. "We're big advocates of combining chip sounds with other sounds," says Matt. "I've made a lot of discoveries of great combinations and I know there's more to be made. There's also a fun element of challenge in trying to sonically blend the Game Boy with the guitar and drum tones — and when it fits together, it's just magic."

While The Glowing Stars are quick to acknowledge that they are building on the legacy of Mega Man and Metroid, it's the band's other influences – from Frank Zappa and Kraftwerk to Freddie Mercury and Radiohead – that set them apart from "pure" chip acts. The lyrics reveal wistful emotions and romantic uncertainty that recall vintage Rivers Cuomo; songs like "Got It Bad" and "I Know Now" are more boy-meets-girl than Game-Boymeets-end-boss. "When I write, I think mainly about the music and not quite so much about nerd appeal," admits Lizzie. "I love rock, and I love chip, so I might as well combine my two loves together to make
something I'm personally proud of."

Instrumentally, the band uses real Game Boy handheld systems, custom programmed via Little Sound DJ, and plays them live on stage along with the traditional instruments. "I feel like anyone can use synths or keyboards to emulate the sounds from Game Boy, but it's not quite as rewarding as programming it yourself in LSDJ," explains Lizzie, who admits that Matt takes the lead on that aspect for now while she tackles the bulk of the songwriting. The resulting mix is real-time manipulation of multiple machines and traditional rock weaponry – no small feat for a duet. "We try to let the Game Boy and the live instruments do what they're best at," says Matt, who customizes the handheld hardware himself. "It all comes down to the live energy. And there is still so much yet to be created on all of this hardware that we may never run out of new sounds."

The Glowing Stars are currently finishing up their first EP, with a regional tour this summer, and a full album next year. For more information, visit http://theglowingstars.com or contact theglowingstarsband@gmail.com.

Lyrics

Got It Bad

Written By: The Glowing Stars

This consumption,
this unordinary junction
has left me feeling not quite like myself

And I swear I'm not a stalker
and I don't need a doctor
to analyze what's going through my head

Is it me?
Is it you?
I'm finding myself doing things that I'd never think to do

'Cause I've got it bad for you
and I don't even know you
I've got it bad for you
and I don't even know you
but I'd like to get to someday

So who's to blame
'cause I really am ashamed
I'm used to being chased and not being the chaser

I can only fantasize so much
by looking at those eyes
yet I don't know of anything past that

Would you let me?
You know I'd let you
I'd love to know more than just the way you move

'Cause I've got it bad for you
and I don't even know you
I've got it bad for you
and I don't even know you
but I'd like to get to someday

I've got it bad for you
and I don't even know you
I've got it bad for you
and I don't even know you
but I'd like to get to someday

Bounce Bounce

Written By: The Glowing Stars

It's over, or at least I tell myself that
I don't care and I don't wonder where you may be at
My good friends worry 'bout me but I tell them I'm fine
You say that you've got a girl and I say I don't mind

Then I see your face and it changes everything
I try to be strong, then you prove me wrong once again

I'm in denial 'cause I don't like knowing I'm wrong
Then out of nowhere you're in all my songs
Everything reminding me of you goes out my sight
Forget you, I say, and go on about my life

Then I see your face and it changes everything
I try to be strong, then you prove me wrong once again

Epilogue

Written By: The Glowing Stars

If you were anyone else
I wouldn't care so much
I wouldn't care so much
When I'm here by myself
I know I'm better off
But I can't stop

When you're gone for months at end, it's okay
I know you're clueless
so I find someone else
And when that someone else
is full of himself
I miss you again

I Know Now

Written By: The Glowing Stars

They say third time's a charm
But in our case it'd do more harm
'cause you said no to me a second time around

And I know, I know, I know...

You won't change your mind and
I won't want no for a third time
Well, you are really sweet
but I'm not the one you need

And I know, I know, I know now

That friends mean friends
I'm so sorry that it ended
before it has even started
I can't help that I'm in love with you

You don't have to be nice
Your actions make me think twice
Is he being polite, or am I the one he likes?

I don't know, don't know, don't know
I don't know, don't know, don't know

Discography

February 2011 - [DEMO]

March 2011 - Chip In: Japan!
This is a compilation released by True Chip Till Death to benefit Japan. It features over 90 different chiptunes tracks, including The Glowing Stars' track “Group Study”

July 2011 - Anything Past That
http://theglowingstars.bandcamp.com

Set List

Got It Bad
Group Study
Bounce Bounce
Epilogue
I Know Now