Is Brooklyn, N.Y., the unofficial indie-rock capital of America? It sure appears that way, with scores of musicians relocating there and/or bands coming together in the hipster borough on a regular basis.
One of the more recent groups to emerge from Brooklyn is the female/male foursome Starlight Girls (the name coming from the 1980s animated TV series Jem). Guitarist Shaw Walters and drummer/singer Karys Rheaattended the same grade school and high school in California’s Marin County and became friends years later when they reconnected in New York. About a year ago, they teamed up with singer/songwriter/keyboardistChristina B., who had been working on a solo project, to form Starlight Girls, then added a bassist from Seattle known as Tyson a few months ago to round out the current lineup of the garage-rock band.
Starlight Girls literally started off 2012 with the Jan. 1 digital release of their self-titled five-song debut EP, which includes the song “Gossip” (click hereto see the fun, groovy video). A vinyl version of the self-produced EP is planned for Feb. 1. Also in store for this year is a Starlight Girls single produced by Jamie Stewart of the band Xiu Xiu, plus a full-length album that Christina B. says will be “full of surprises.”
Here’s what the band had to say while on its current winter tour:
Medleyville.us: As you rang in 2016, were you thinking “Happy new year!” or “Happy EP release day”? And by any chance did you express both of these sentiments to the audience at your Dec. 31 gig in St. Louis?
Shaw Walters: “I was thinking, ‘Holy crap, these kids know how to get down!’ ”
Christina B.: “We were all ‘Happy new year!’ and ‘Woo!’ ”
How supportive of each other are Brooklyn-based bands? And do newer groups have to pay any dues, so to speak, before they’re fully embraced by the longtime musicians and clubs?
Christina B.: “Yeah, there’s a real hazing problem among Brooklyn bands (laughs).”
Walters: “It’s really hard to speak for Brooklyn; there’s soooo much music and so many parallel music scenes and a lot of crossover and overlap. You tend to make a lot of friends who are in bands if you’re playing out a lot, and those relationships happen really naturally. Being nice and humble to every person you meet, not being a flake and making good music will, in that order, get you everything.”
Describe your band’s sound in five words.
Karys Rhea: ” ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s.”
What are the best and worst things about touring in the winter months? And has anything especially memorable or unusual happened — onstage or offstage — over the last few weeks?
Walters: “This is our first winter tour venture; the weather this year has been ridiculously nice to us. It [was] downright hot in Texas [when we were there]. I think it rained for an hour back in Illinois. Last year there were tornadoes and snowstorms in Brooklyn. When we left [for this tour], right after Christmas, you could walk around in a sweatshirt.”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior