Glam is alive and well in Atlanta
Ernest Platt for WildSpiritz Music
Starbenders are a band who love Glam and to their credit have over 100 thousand followers on their social media. They describe themselves as “The half way home for misunderstood misfits, fringers and glam punks. Front woman Kimi Shelter and her gang have concocted a perfect alchemic blend of androgynous rock and roll power with ‘stuck in your brain’ pop melodies. Imagine David Bowie playing 7 minutes in heaven with Debbie Harry.”
We caught up with them and fired a few questions to discover what it was all about.
Where did the name Starbenders come from?
“Our singer Kimi came up with the name. She told us it just came to her in the throes of a galactic fugue. She has a depth and extra dimension to her vision that very few people have, so when The Universe speaks to her, you go with it because she's channelling something incredibly special that few of us have access to.”
You have yourselves down as ATL Glam. Can you tell me what the difference is between that and Glam in general?
“I guess the obvious difference is that ATL Glam comes from Atlanta! It carries the character of our hometown, and our home is very, very weird - it produced us, after all, and we're as weird as they come. After being on the road for most of last year, we're about to play our first hometown show in something like eight months, and I'm really looking forward to it. Whenever we play in Atlanta, it's a wall-to-wall, trip-over-yourself rock n' roll show. They're always rowdy affairs. Shit gets broken and glitter is everywhere. I just never see that in any other city or country, and I think that's what distinguishes Atlanta from other places.”
Your look is very striking especially your band photos. Is that something that took time to think about or did it just come naturally?
“When you wake up in the morning, you don't become the person you see in the mirror; it's just who you are. For some people, performance is an act. For us, it's the only time we're truly ourselves. We don't just play this music onstage, we live and breathe it so I would say our look is a natural extension of that. Starbenders is not just a band. It's not just music. This is a movement, and it's who we are.”
When it comes to the band and your music how does Japan differ from the rest of the world?
“I don't know if this applies only to our band, but the striking thing to me about Japan is how much they genuinely love music in general. It really hit me hard. In America, we can be a little cynical about music sometimes. We won't clap unless the person to our left is doing it too. Japan literally doesn't give a fuck. If someone hears something they like, they're not self-conscious at all about throwing themselves into it. There's this passionate and unapologetic love for music that I don't see all that often elsewhere. I mean, we did signings in several Tower Records on our last tour over there when the Japanese version of JULIAN was released, and we don't even have Tower Records in America anymore! To me, that means something, and it's a reflection of their attitude towards art in general over there.”
You have been releasing material every year since you have been together. What can we expect in 2019?
“More material, for one! For another, we've got more international tours booked, one of which we'll be announcing very soon. I just think people can expect Starbenders to continue being Starbenders. We live on the road and we live for the show. Nothing is going to change in that regard.”
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your songs?
“I said earlier that Kimi is tapped in to something special. Her lyrics and melodies are the type that move you on a spiritual level, and I don't think you find that very often in this world. When we get in a room and write, something precious happens. I can't explain it. As a rhythm section, Emily and I will lock in and even though we're a few feet away from each other, it's like we're the same person because we anticipate what the other is going to do before we do it.”
“The same is true for the guitar orchestration between Kimi and Kriss. We share hotel rooms every night. We have inside jokes that make our crew and team think we're a little crazy. We get in the same room with instruments and somehow churn out songs the excite us. Because of that, I would say our greatest inspiration is each other. I know it sounds weird, but the four of us are soulmates and that's the type of thing that only happens once in a generation.”
Any possibility we will see you in the UK this year?
“A very strong one! That's all I can say for now.”
In the space of just a few years you have managed to build a following of over 100k. How do you feel about that?
“Humbled and grateful, to tell you the truth. We started this band on a wing and a prayer. To realize our music resonates with that many people is mind-blowing, honestly. We're speaking from our hearts here. It's a vulnerable position. To know that people understand what we're saying in a way they can identify with means a lot to us.”
Is there any message that you would like to give to all of your fans?
“Keep fighting. Tune out all the things that bring you down and separate you from your neighbour. We don't have a lot of time on this planet and we think it's important that that time is well-spent. It's okay to love yourself. It's okay to be who you are. You mentioned our "look" earlier, and I want to say that we buy everything we wear at thrift stores. Almost everything is true-vintage. Not because we're trying to hearken back to the days of yore, but because this is the time we live in now. You don't need money to make a statement. You don't need affluence to have influence. Embrace that. You're something special, and you don't need play along with the commercial clusterfuck we live in to make your mark on the world.”
What do you see as the future for Starbenders going forward?
“I can't predict the future, but what I do know is that as artists we're not going to slow down. This is what we do. I expect we'll keep doing it.”
Any final words?
“See you soon, UK!”
So, it would appear that at some point we are going to see a tour by Starbenders in the UK in 2019. Keep watching and we will bring you the news about this as soon as it happens.