The Stars last came to Austin more than two years ago at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Since then the band has recorded a fifth album, The Five Ghosts, which was released over the summer.
Known for their lush arrangements and storytelling lyrics woven into the sound, Stars doesn’t disappoint with their new album.
As the band makes their way to Austin, bassist and main composer Evan Cranley said he was happy to return to Texas where “the vastness and bigness of everything blows [him] away.”
The Daily Texan had the opportunity to speak with Cranley on Wednesday.
The Daily Texan: I heard the band got caught in a storm yesterday in Colorado. What happened?
Evan Cranley: It was just too snowy to get through and we had to cancel the show. It was
really unfortunate. It was the first time in 10 years we had to cancel a show.
DT: How was composing The Five Ghosts different from composing the previous albums?
Cranley: Every time we go in to write a record, we like to put
ourselves in a situation we haven’t been in before. It’s good to try subject matter you haven’t delved into in the past. The unfamiliar territory adds to the creativity. You go beyond limitations and find stuff you haven’t tapped into before. The band has gone through so much spiritual and personal growth in the past year and a half.
DT: Is there anything in particular that really influenced you in that year in a half?
Cranley: Starting a family and building a home is a huge lead into another world, another life. Committing myself to that has influenced my part on the record.
DT: Wait, I might have missed something. Did you become a father recently?
Cranley: No, but in four months, yes! I’ve always taken music incredibly seriously, but I think preparing for fatherhood has made me recommit to being a musician in a strange way.
DT: Much of the album comes off as ominous and haunting, which I guess makes the album appropriately named. How did the idea of ghosts come about?
Cranley: You get a different answer depending on who you talk to. For me, the idea came from fear of being anonymous. The idea that you’re no longer connected with a person you used to know, but that person still lives. It can be a romantic relationship, a friendship or family. You’re connected to someone for such a long period of time, and then either the person walks away or you walk away. How can you live your life like you never knew them? I actually find the album quite hopeful and uplifting despite the dark content. There’s a sense of loss, but also beginning.
DT: If The Five Ghosts was a movie soundtrack, describe the movie it would go with.
Cranley: It would replace Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack to “Legend,” that fantasy movie with Tom Cruise. I love that movie, and I like the soundtrack as well, but if we could re-do the soundtrack, that’s my choice.
DT: What’s the most interesting quirk about each of your band mates?
Cranley: I’ve been on a bus with them for the last 48 hours and I couldn’t even go there. I can’t. There’s a veil, a sense of mystery. I want to keep that veil up.
DT: Has the band considered doing any new collaborations?
Cranley: There’s actually something in the works that we’re not allowed to talk about. I’m really excited for it. People can expect something to pop up hopefully in the new year.
WHAT: Stars with Geographer
WHERE: La Zona Rosa
WHEN: Thursday; doors open at 8 p.m.
TICKETS: $20 + service charge