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Sunday November 23rd 2014

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Stars are Bright and Burning

by Hana Frenette

There must be a factory in Canada that just keeps turning out these bands, because they just keep on coming and sticking around to shine.

Toronto-based Stars has been together for 11 years. Before that, all members were a part of Broken Social Scene, another Canadian super-group that spawned at least five other bands.

Torquil Campbell, the band’s lead singer, also has somewhat of an acting bug deep down inside. He’s acted on “Sex and the City” and “Law and Order,” as well as several Canadian TV shows.

The musician said most of his acting has been on the stage. The son of Shakespearean actors, Campbell has starred in a controversial New York play about shopping with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, as well as finding time to dive into the Bard’s work.

“Once you’ve played Henry V, nothing else seems very hard,” Campbell said. “It taught me that language is a weapon, and that you can change the world with it, and make people cry with it. Shakespeare is the greatest artist of any kind in the history of the world. He invented us. Fact.”

Spoken with all the drama and gusto of a true thespian. But lately, Campbell has stayed off the stage and focused on making music.

Stars released a full-length album in June of 2010 called “Five Ghosts.” The album was a lot darker, both lyrically and instrumentally than the previous albums and would mark a turning
point in their sound for future albums.

“My dad died in the middle of making it,” Campbell said. “There was only one story to tell at that point so we told it.”

The band moved away from the electro pop sound it first debuted and went to a more instrument-based sound. They also added a bassist and a drummer.

Their most recent release, “The Bedroom Demos,” was taken from outtakes and songs that weren’t ready for the original release, “In Our Bedroom After the War.”

The recording process for “In Our Bedroom After the War” was slightly more relaxed and involved many bottles of wine and was a little more improvisational. But it isn’t always like that.

“It really does change every time we record — for this new record we are recording in our own studio,” Campbell said. “When it’s someone else’s space, you better come prepared or you’re going to have a huge bill at the end of it.”

Stars are currently working on another full-length album, which they hope to release early in 2012.

Many of the members have their own side-projects and things going on, in addition to working on the latest Stars release.  When asked what might be next for him or the band, Campbell replied with an answer fit for the stage.

“That’s a big question,” he said. “For me personally? I would like to learn to be brave. For the band? We would like to keep making music together until we die.” {in}

STARS at DELUNA FEST
WHEN: 8:00-9:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14
WHERE: Grooveshark Stage