Acknowledging that we lose is the overarching theme in everything in Stars. To me, that's what punk means. Stars is a punk band because we acknowledge loss. We're not trying to win. We're not trying to project victory. You win alone. I'm not interested in singing for the one winner in the room; I'm interested in singing for all of the losers in the room.
I think people are naturally good, I see it every day. Look at this restaurant. No one's causing anybody any trouble in here. We're all sitting, respecting each other's space, we're keeping our voices down, we're saying "please" and "thank you" - those are acts of generosity that we commit on a second by second basis that we don't give ourselves enough credit for. There's a lot of kindness in this world, we're just such vain creatures; our vanity can be used against us so easily. We're like dogs, hairless dogs.
I consider being a performer work. I come from a theater family; I've been an actor all my life. I started acting when I was a kid, and I've earned a living as an artist all my life. It's my job in the sense that it's everything I am, the only thing I know how to do. I literally do not have qualifications to do anything else on this planet. Seriously, it's scary. [But] I don't consider it a job [because] it's my religion - it's my faith, it's my family, it's everything to me.
That's the great thing about being in a band: it's a gang for people who are too wimpy to fight. You can create a gang and have an identity and fight for something and stand up for something just by making pop songs. They're my gang members and gang members are for life, and if you try and leave, we execute you. That's the way it goes. A simple bang, back of the head, into the river, and we keep moving on.
I think you have to make concessions in life. One of the most frustrating things about getting older is [you realize] the reason you have a plan is so you can see everything that it isn't. The plan never works. Something happens and you adjust to it and you adapt to it and you accept it and you keep going, but that's not the plan.
We haven't really changed, we've just gotten better at executing what we've always been trying to do. We're not really a band that has undergone huge stylistic decisions to change, we're just trying to follow the song. More and more, we let the song lead us - we don't try and put the song into a structure of our taste or our fashion.
Blind hope. Blind hope is all we have. There's a Greek tragedy called Prometheus Bound; Prometheus is the [titan] that gave humans fire. He's chained to a rock and bemoaning his fate and saying, "I gave you everything. By giving you fire, I gave you blind hope. By giving you a little light that kept you warm at night, I let you believe that this was all going to be okay." For me, that's what art has been. Music and books, it's an act of hope to make them, and it's an act of hope to listen to them. That... Read more »
I think if you listen to our records, they come at different points in your life. When people say to me that Stars records have themes, I think what they mean is we write songs - or try to write songs - that are timeless. We try to write songs that catch you at the right time in your life, and that you can hold on to. We write kitchen sink songs. If you're doing the dishes or you're driving to your mom's funeral, or if you're getting over having done MDMA and you feel sad, you can listen to... Read more »