text by Junnosuke Amai
photo by Dan Monick

Interview with STARCRAWLER

STARCRAWLER_NeoL3_Photography : Dan Monick | Edit : Ryoko Kuwahara

– First of all, could you tell us about your musical background? What kind of artists or records did you use to get excited or inspired by?

Henry: Arrow, you go first.

Arrow: No, you go first (laughs)

H: Oh, okay. We both come from musical families. My parents were musicians so I grew up around a lot of different kind of music. Starting with like AC/DC, The Ramones, Elvis and Beatles. And I sort of liked those stuff , became obsessed with music and started playing music. And I’ve always been like a music geek. In school, I was playing in school bands and orchestras. I was a typical band geek.

– What was the music you discover for the first time yourself?

H:I really like Neil Young right now for some reasons. It’s on the top of my list right now but I’ve always been into Jack white and Flat duo Jets. They’re really good. I like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash as well. Yes. And Dick Dale.

– Who was the artist you got actually into and obsessed with?

H: Yeah, I mean my first musical love was Elvis when I was in the first grade. I got like every book which Elvis was on. I used to draw pictures of him.

– Why?

H: I don’t know anymore (laughs).

– What about you Arrow?

A: I also grew up in very music oriented family. I think my first kind of musical obsession was the Beatles. I used to listen to them a lot when I was little. The I found more other music later on obviously.

– Do you remember why you were obsessed with the Beatles?

A: I don’t really have the answer for that (laughs). My dad was just playing their music and I only wanted to hear the Beatles. Yeah, I don’t know.

– Who was the first artist who you discovered yourself when you grew up and got obsessed with? 

A: Probably Ozzy Osbourne (laughs). 

H: Haha. 

A: I love Ozzy (laughs). 

– What was special about him? 

A: I found him kinda during a period of junior high, and when I was just like annoyed by everything, you know (laughs). But when I found him, I was just like, “Damn!” I don’t know. It just hit me. Again, Luke the Beatles thing. I don’t really have a great reason for why. It just happened. He inspired me in many ways. 

– I heard that you were inspired by him in terms of performance as well. 

A: Well..

H: Ozzy Osbourne was a big thing with Arrow. He’s like Arrow’s idol. I’m sure it goes into her performance. 

A: I don’t wanna like be him. I don’t copy what he does. But he’s just an inspiration. One of many. 

– How do you describe you guys performance? 

A: Loud? (Laughs) 

H: Very loud. I think it’s like bunch of surprises. Like a magic show. Haha. No. 

– So no fire? (laughs)

H: No fire (laughs). 

A: At least not yet (laughs). 

H: it’s just like rock ‘n’ roll
shows with lots of energy like they used to be back in the 70’s. it’s not like people just standing looking at pedals or something. 

– Arrow, we also heard that you were learning how Cherie Currie moves by watching The Runaways. And you also built up the style of performance you have now getting inspired by Iggy Pop and KISS.

A: Yeah. Those are the bands I was inspired by. Their staging are just not boring, you know. 

– Starcrawler started since you two met in high school, right?

A: I just went up to him randomly. I didn’t know him at all. He looked cool so I just went up and said “dude, do you play guitar?” and he was like “yeah”. That was kind of it (laughs). 

H: Yeah. 

A: Pretty much. 

STARCRAWLER_NeoL2_Photography : Dan Monick | Edit : Ryoko Kuwahara

– What was the biggest reason you two chose each other as bandmates? What did you guys think great about each other?

H: What did I think when I met her? She was weird. She came up to me and she freaked me out. Cause, you just don’t go up to somebody like that. 

A: Haha. 

H: You know, she’s very tall and she definitely stands out. I’ve been eye balling her long time cause she just looks like “you wanna know who that is”, you know (laughs). 

– What about you, Arrow?

A: Hmm.. I don’t know. I just needed someone who can play the guitar. So.. 

H: She used me (laughs). 

A: Yeah, I used him. Haha, no. He was kind of annoying. 

H: I’m kind of annoying. I’m very bouncy. I talk a lot and jump around. I eat so much sugar. And I’m a very picky eater. 

– Hope you don’t struggle when you ever some to Japan. The food is totally different here.

H: Sushi is good. 

– What is special about Starcrawler?

H: You go. 

A: No, I don’t know (laughs). 

H: We’re all unique individuals. From all different areas of music, like each individual person is from different background. Our drummer Austin is really into more like avant-garde music or noise stuff, and our base player Tim is really into stuff like Randy Newman and the Beach Boys, and the Todd Rundgren. And Arrow’s into stuff like Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. I like Black Sabbath, too. And I was into stuff like Jack White. We’re molding all that music together. So it’s not like we all have like an identical background. We’re taking from each one and creating new sort of things. We mold them together really well. 

– What is the biggest difference between you guys and the other recent bands you think?

H: We’re real. 

A: Oh my god (laughs). 

H: Hahaha. 

A: I don’t know. There’re so many cool bands out there. I don’t know how to answer that question but..

H: We could kill you. 

A: Yeah (laughs) 

H: That’s the difference. 

– What is the most important thing for the band?

H: Having a good time and making good music. 

A: Yup. 

– Were there any role models for Starcrawler?

H: A llot of different bands. I mean, we just wanted to play music and have fun together. 

– We see names like the Cramps, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Alice Cooper, and New York Dolls on press often. Do you want to correct the list or add some bands on it?

H: I love the Cramps. 

A: We like all those bands. But we don’t wanna be them. We take inspirations from all those people and people describe us being like those people but I think that we have something original. 

H: Yeah. 

– Arrow, your parents are musician and photographer. How do you think you were influenced by the fact? Or, you don’t really like people bringing up about your parents all the time or tying to compare you to your parents?

A: My parents introduced me to a lot of music. Most of the music I really enjoy. I probably would be able to.. I don’t even know if I’m doing music now if I didn’t have them as my parents. I mean, I don’t know. Sometimes it’s annoying but I know they’re gonna ask me about my parents so not really. It doesn’t bother me that much. 

– Can you tell us about the song ‘Ants’?

H: The song’s statement is that, you need to get a good exterminator. If you don’t want ants. 

A: Exterminators for all the fake people. 

H: Yeah. Global warming really affected all the tropical creatures. So. 

– What do you write about usually when you write songs? Are they often based on your real experiences? Or you make up some stories?

A: They’re all about something. I don’t think many songs are about nothing.. they all have sort of meaning behind. 

H: We can’t have songs about nothing. That is a goal for every song writer though to make a song about nothing (laughs). We’re all fighting about firing the first person to write about nothing. 

A: Hahaha. 

– What is the song ‘I used to know’ about? What’s the theme of this track?

H: I honestly forgot but I used to know. 

A: Haha. But I think it’s actually about nothing. I don’t know what it’s about. 

H: it’s just like a love song. 

A: It’s a love song. Yeah. It’s like, “I used to be sane but I met you and now I’m going crazy. ”

H: But it’s like a remanent letter. I met you like in a past. It’s the past tense. You don’t have that person anymore. 

– What is the process of songwriting like?

A: It’s different each time. Most of the time it’s like Henry comes up with the riff and he brings it to me and me bring it to the band. And we all collaborate. 

– Who writes lyrics?

H: Mostly me and Arrow. 

A: Mostly me and Henry. I don’t think anyone else has written. 

H: Nobody else has gone to lyrics. But they definitely add their spices to make it what it is. So there are some invisible lyrics. But you just can’t see. 

A: Haha. 

STARCRAWLER_NeoL1_Photography : Dan Monick | Edit : Ryoko Kuwahara

– Where do you get inspirations in terms of lyrics?

H: People we hate.  Experiences and different things happen to us growing up. 

A: That’s some of that. That’s not all about that. 

– What is important when you guys perform?

H: Trying hard not to get hurt. Cause you have to play the show next day. 

– Ouch. Do you get hurt often?

H: Yeah. We have ants in our pants. Haha. 

– Like, do you bleed often?

H: Very. 

A: Yeah. 

H: My hands are all cut up. And Arrow’s legs are destroyed. Haha. Are they getting better? 

A: Yeah. 

H: So we’re healing. 

– Is there anything you guys are conscious about in terms of costumes you wear on stage?

H: I like pink. It’s my favorite color to wear on me. Just looking sharp is good. I don’t wanna go up to the stage in a t-shirt and shorts and tennis shoes. Arrow, what are you wearing? 

A: I don’t know. I wear different things. I just don’t wanna be boring I guess. I like having costumes or certain outfits I always wear. Cause it’s performance. 

H: We’re just not regular people on the stage. We don’t wanna see just someone on the street. People have some buildup. Like you know, back in the 70’s or something. Or even in the 60’s. People would be dressed up and perform. And now people going up and play shows in their street clothes. And it sort of takes away some of the buildup when you’re excited to see a band. 

A: Yeah. I just feel like they’re just some dudes playing on the stage. It doesn’t feel like you’re watching like.. I don’t know. 

H: If you go see KISS the band, you don’t wanna see them in shorts and tank top. Like, they’re going to the beach or something. 

– What is your favorite color Arrow?

A: I don’t know. That’s kind of a hard question. I like all colors. I think every color can be used in a cool way. 

H: She wears white on stage often. 

A: Yeah I mainly wear white on stage. 

– Is there any reason why?

A: Not really. It’s kind of became, I don’t know, like the thing I guess. It wasn’t on purpose or anything. It stands out, you know. It’s very bright I guess. 

H: How much more white can you get on stage if you’re wearing white? You can hide in the background wearing white (laughs). 

– It’s been not so while as the band started, but did anything change you think?

H: It’s been two years. I think we grew a bit taller. 

A: We got..

H: a bass player.

A: and better, too I think. 

H: We got really tight together. Cause we rehearse a lot. 

A: We’ve also been playing a lot more than we used to do. 

H: I think we got matured and glued to each other. It’s easier to express our feelings as a band. 

– You guys are still teenagers and the youth is one of the reasons of Starcrawler sensation. If your music is representing something about your generation, what would it be?

H: Hope. I don’t know. 

A: I don’t know either. 

H:I said hope but I know we’re not all bad like horrible generation. 

– So you think there’s something negative about your generation? Like spoilt as you guys were born after all the technology has developed like this?

A: Yeah, something like that. 

H: Yeah three-month-old kids are on their iPads. 

– I think that’s a good thing because which means you guys can learn a lot of things through all those informations you get on the internet.

A: Yeah, but sometimes it feels like too much information, you know. 

– Are there any bands from your generation that you respect or feel they’re doing something you would do as musicians.

H: I really like this band called Plague Vendor. I think they’re really good. 

A: There’s another band Luke our age and I really like called Skating Polly. 

H: Oh yeah. They’re really good. 

A: They’re from Oklahoma.

H: But they’re in Seattle. 

– What sort of music they make?

A: It’s rock. 

H: Maybe punk rock. I don’t know. It’s very family like sisters and a brother. It’s three-piece and but used to be two-piece. 

A: They’re cute girls but they’re not like trying to be cute or anything. They just make good music. 

H: Yeah. Good music with rawness and power, and also energy. 

– What do you like besides from making music?

A: I like making art. Drawing and painting and stuff.

H: I’m a professional rugby player. I love rugby. 

A: Haha. 

– Why is Arrow laughing? Are you lying or something Henry (laughs)?

H: She doesn’t like rugby. 

– Interesting. Not many people have the image that musician are into sports.

H: No. But I’ve always liked sports and music at the same level. 

– How about the other members?

H: Tim does construction, that what he works. And Austin is actually really into jujitsu and meditating. 

– We heard that you guys are making an album with Ryan Adams. What kind of album is it going to be?

H: It’s so rock ‘n’ roll album. It’s really loud and recorded all on tapes in his studio in Los Angels. He produced it and his bassist Charlie engineered it. It’s fun. 

– I hope you guys come to Japan with the album.

H: I believe that’s the plan. 

A: I wanna go to the robot restaurant. And I heard that in Japan there’s a whiskey which snakes in it. I want that (laughs). 

H: And ear the snake.

A: I’ll try it. Is it like alive? Haha. 

– I think it’s dead.

H: we’re gonna come to Japan, and we’re gonna be so loud and we’re just gonna blow everybody’s ears out. And we’re gonna make them drunk the whiskey with the snake. It’s gonna be like a cult (laughs) 

– Thank you for your time today. It was fun talking with you two.

H: Thank you! 

A: Bye! 

photography Dan Monick
text Junnosuke Amai
edit Ryoko Kuwahara
Special Thanks Virgil Normal , commune

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