STARBLIND: Heavy fucking metal to the world


Starblind

Of course it makes sense for the independent metal labels to release more than one album at a time. Stormspell is putting out a lot of releases at the moment, and as usual we’re talking about some old stuff being rereleased, but also a few debut albums by up and coming acts. Starblind from Stockholm in Sweden, belongs to the latter category, and the band members all gathered to answer my questions.

Is it correct to say that Starblind was formed in May 2013, a bit more than a year ago? Are you surprised at how fast thing have happened for the band?

– That is indeed correct. We got the line-up together in May 2013 and yes, it has been moving really fast from the beginning. We think its because it all just came together really natural and we spent many hours rehearsing from day one, so we became like a well-oiled machine.

I know that you have been in some quite known and some lesser known bands before. Please give us a little insight into the musical career of each member of Starblind.

– Mike has been playing the drums in Sadauk, Somatic Sense, Gallantry, Steel Attack and Into Desolation. Johan has been the guitarist in Dethronement and Danger, while Daniel has been playing the drums in Menhirer and Nancy’s Dead, as well as guitar in Sadauk and Somatic Sense. Finally, Björn has been playing the guitar in The Backbones and Zak has been playing drums in Manipulation and Equify.

Is it correct, that your singer, Mike Stark had little or no experience at singing before Starblind?

– That is correct. Mike was a drummer earlier and started singing a few months before Starblind was formed, early 2013. The project that finally became Starblind a few months later, was basically Mike, who was supposed to handle the drums, and his friend named Johnny who wanted to start a band. However it was so hard to find a decent singer that Mike decided to give it a go.

It seems you have a combined background from a quite diverse range of bands, why did you decide to get together to play more traditional metal right now?

– It was the right people at the right time at the right place. We were all searching for a band with strong musical roots in eighties traditional heavy metal and when we all found each other, there was nothing else on our minds but to rehearse, write songs and bring some solid heavy fucking metal to the world!

“Starblind” is the title of a song by Iron Maiden from the album “The Final Frontier”. Is the band name derived from this particular track? If not, what tempted you to choose this name for the band?

– Iron what? I am just kidding…We had some different suggestions and it all came down to a vote. Starblind won unanimously. We thought Starblind was a catchy name that captured the essence of our sound and the personalities that bind us together. And yes, the song might have been a tiny inspiration, too…

I’ve never seen any demo recordings mentioned. Is the album the first thing you recorded?

– Yes, “Darkest Horrors” is our first and only recording. When we talked about going into the studio, our first plan was to record a couple of songs for a demo. When we realized that we had enough songs for a full album, we decided to go for a full-length album instead.

The album is coming out through Stormspell. As I know Iordan is a guy following the scene closely, I was wondering whether he found you or you found him. Did you have other parties interested in releasing your music?

– Mike contacted Stormspell as he liked some of the great bands from their roster, and we reached an agreement. We didn’t bother checking with other labels because we felt he was the right guy for us and our music.

StarblindYou started studio work by the end of November. How much time did you spend in the studio? Did everything go smoothly or did you encounter problems? Were you familiar with the studio you used from before? Did you use a producer or did you handle everything on your own?

– We spent some time searching for a studio that we felt was able to produce the sound we wanted for the album. We found it at Audiogrind Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. We spent about ten days in the studio and everything went extremely smoothly, mainly because most of us had studio experience from before and our sound engineer, Linus Nirbrant, was easy to work with and quickly understood what kind of sound we were striving for.

There have been some delays in having the album released, but now it looks like Stormspell is finally ready to unleash it. Has it been a frustrating time as I guess you are aching for the album to come out?

– The album was released on July 5th and is available for purchase through Stormspell’s webshop and their distributors. Of course we wanted the album to be released as soon as possible, but we also knew that everything is done with quality and that takes time. We truly appreciate the energy and the professionalism that Stormspell has shown usfrom the beginning.

If I understand right the pretty unusual album cover has been ready for quite a long time. Is it specially made for the album? Did you give the guy who made it full artistic freedom, or did you instruct him?

– The album cover is made by the talented Yannick Bouchard, and it was made exclusively for our album. Stormspell had a couple of different artists for us to choose from, and when we saw Yannick’s work we knew that he was right for us. We had an early idea of the cover design which we told Yannick about. It was basically a lonely boat with a sea monster lurking from the below. He had artistic freedom to make it and added lots of cool details and gave it nice 1950’s horror movie atmosphere. We are very pleased with the result and it became way better than we ever expected.

“The Great Hunt” and “Crystal Tears” are two songs that stand out on the album, as they are quite different from the rest. Is it demanding balancing the thought of making a coherent album against the need to keep things a bit diverse?

– We haven’t thought about this, as we basically have just written songs that we like. When a new idea for song is presented, we rehearse the basic idea together and then everybody adds their own musical touch and it becomes “Starblinded”.

I think I read somewhere that your vision is to play music like it was done in the eighties. What exactly do you mean by this, as to me the recording itself doesn’t sound like it was made 30 years ago?

– That is correct. We want to write and play music like it was done back in the eighties… Considering that the album was recorded live, the non-triggered drums and the lack of guitar dubs, we feel that we have accomplished this.

I guess the production will be an issue for many of those into old school metal, as some might find it too polished. What were you after regarding the production and the sound of the album?

– We wanted the sound to be a bit old-school and more live-like and not overproduced like the modern “American metal sound”. We actually recorded the songs live in the studio with drums, bass and guitar. We didn’t want to dub the guitars to get the wall of sound, familiar to most modern productions, so we only dubbed the rhythm guitars during the solos. And of course all the drums are analogue and you can actually hear the bass guitar.

In some reviews you have already been accused of sounding very close to Iron Maiden, with some people pointing at riffs or passages that are similar to certain riffs/parts done by Maiden. Where do you draw the line between getting inspired and borrowing stuff, and what do you do to try to avoid making stuff that is too similar to what have already been done?

– Our goal is to write, like said before, music that we like. We are all very inspired by Iron Maiden and that musical influence certainly comes to play in the song writing process. If a certain passage in song sounds a lot like another band’s song, no band member says: “Hey! That sounds to similar to this or that band!!”. It usually sounds like “Hey!… that sounds fuckin’ bitchin!”. We are not afraid to show our musical influences, and we hope people will enjoy our album debut.

When it comes to the NWOBHM, some bands set out to claim that they’re inspired by the most obscure acts, that only released a demo or a single in small quantities. Starblind seem to be more influenced by Iron Maiden, Priest and the likes. In your opinion, where the bands that made it big time, also the best ones?

– No, that’s certainly not the case. If a band wants to make it big time, it sadly isn’t only about good songs and hard work. It’s also about being the right band at the right place at right time. So we feel that there where a lot of good metal acts that didn’t make it big time, like Heavy Load from Sweden, Vigilante from USA, Sortilége from France and Grim Reaper from UK or any other of the thousands of awesome metal bands from all over the world.

Judging from some material floating around the internet, you have performed Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” live. Are other cover songs a part of your set as well?

– We like throwing in a cover in our rehearsal sessions now and then and felt like a good idea to perform a couple of them live on our gigs. Maybe our fans at our gigs gets a kick hearing “Painkiller”, “Battle Hymn” or “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” live, just like we get a kick from playing them? It’s funny that you mentioned “Painkiller”, because that’s the first songs we rehearsed in the beginning of the band. It has a special place in our hearts and kind of just followed us along the way.

https://www.facebook.com/StarBlindtheBand

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