Formed in 2011, Stars In Stereo have shot to fame in the past couple of years by touring in support of popular bands such as The Used and Foxy Shazam; and releasing their much anticipated self-titled album in April of last year. The band have big plans for 2014, and Substream got the chance to find out more from guitarist, Jordan McGraw.
Substream Magazine: You guys are based out of Los Angeles which is famous for having one of the biggest music scenes in the world. How do you think you stick out from the crowd and get yourselves noticed?
Jordan McGraw: The LA music scene is a bit different now I think. There’s always a show and always something going on but I think it’s TOO much. People seem to care less about the excitement of a show and the energy exchange between the people playing and the crowd. People care more about being able to say they were there. In my opinion, just outside of LA is the way to do it. Shows in Anaheim, Pomona, etc… That’s where the fun stuff happens. As far as sticking out, you have to work to stick out anywhere you play. First and foremost, we just make sure that we put 100% of our energy into the show. It’s hard for a crowd to go crazy if you aren’t. We also practice 4-5 times a week when we are off the road just to keep things fresh and familiar. The less you have to think about what you’re playing, the more you can have fun interacting and jumping around.
SM: Your debut album was received incredibly well when it was released last April, and now you’re back in the studio – is there anything you’ll be doing differently this second time round?
JM: Being on the road so much has really helped us develop our sound and how we approach songs when we start writing them. We’ve learned more about our audience and how things translate live. Having said that, we are still true to who we are as a band. The songs so far are a nice mix of the energy we put into our live show and the hooks and melodies we have always tried to keep apparent in the songs people already know. Some songs will be heavier, some will be more emotional, you’ll just have to wait.
SM: Without giving away all your secrets, what can fans expect from the new album?
JM: Like I said, we learned a lot from touring so much. So…expect more of our live show’s energy.
SM: Last year you opened for the likes of Halestorm and Bullet For My Valentine. What’s your strategy in winning over crowds when you’re supporting?
JM: We just try and be ourselves. Crowds are smart…If you’re faking it, they’ll know it from the minute you set foot on a stage. If we are ourselves, give every song 100%, and you still don’t like us, that’s fine. Maybe we aren’t your thing. Fortunately, we’ve gotten some great reactions so far. BUT if I see you texting the whole show, expect to get fucked with.
SM: That meant last year you were pretty focused on playing shows. Is there anything you like to do to unwind when you get home from tour?
JM: We are workaholics, man! We come home and relax for a week or so and then get right back to it. We still get into some trouble at night but it’s always right back to it in the morning, hungover or not.
SM: You also performed on Anberlin’s acoustic tour. How did it differ from other tours you’ve been on?
JM: The acoustic tour was fun because we got to turn our songs on their heads and reinvent them. It was challenging but it was fun. We also got to do things different on stage. I played the piano for the first time in front of the crowd, as did Drew, Frogs got the cello out, and Bec did a song by herself that we had never done before. The best part of that tour was pushing ourselves.
SM: If given the chance to put together a tour lineup of your choice (including yourselves!), who would you like to be on the bill?
JM: Oh man that’s tough! It would probably just be all our friends that we’ve toured with. Bullet, Flyleaf, Halestorm, The Used. It’d be more of a traveling circus I think. I’ll learn to juggle. Arejay from Halestorm would make a good bearded lady.
SM: There’s a particularly strong message behind a lot of your songs, and they’ve easily become anthems for your fans. Is there anything you can say to inspire fans who are struggling?
JM: Be yourself. Always. I know it’s easier said than done but at the end of the day that’s what’s important. Kurt Cobain said it best: “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not.”
SM: You’ve done some amazing things and achieved a lot in the past year. What does the future hold for Stars In Stereo?
Interview by Madison Convey