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Interview: Richie Ray of The Stars Revolt

The Stars Revolt have achieved prominence on a national level through their melancholy-tinged, yet wholly palatable brand of rock. Hailing from Kentucky, the Louisville quartet first accumulated certain live buzz, which was accentuated by the release of their debut single, “Goodnight, Goodnight” last summer. Their core is driven by Richie Ray, a veteran of the scene, who previously made his bones in the acclaimed emo sextet Shindig, back in the mid to late 2000s. Now, the cementing of the Stars by way of guitarist Skyler Jones, bassist Will Hunt, and drummer Brett Sharp thus begins this new chapter.

I caught up with Richie to discuss his new band, their latest single “Be Careful What You Wish For,” as well as the workings of their self-titled debut EP, which will see release May 18.

ME: Growing up, your influences ranged from the Juliana Theory to Kiss. What was it about these artists that gave you the push in pursuing your career?

Richie: I would say it was more about the music, rather than the artist. It’s really just how the songs resonate with you. A lot of times, it pertains to how you’re feeling during a certain period, or how you’re simply young and impressionable. To me, it’s all about how that music makes you feel.

ME: When The Stars Revolt initially formed, did you work out which influences to implement from previous projects, or was this a relatively clean slate?

Richie: We came in with a completely clean slate. Once we started writing, we came up with “Goodnight, Goodnight” first and immediately knew that was the feel we were going for as a band. We were lucky in the fact that we knew what we wanted to do early on. That really helped us focus and set goals.

ME: At what point did the chemistry between you guys really solidify as a unit?

Richie: I would say after our first show. We were never planning on being a serious band; it was just supposed to be this one-time thing. But when we got offstage, everyone was pretty much thinking the same thing, and then we decided to do it for real.

ME: Your live show dynamic involves leaving it all onstage. Would you say the dynamic differs in a studio setting, or are you able to apply those nuances?

Richie: We apply it more in a studio setting. We are very fortunate in the fact that I own and operate and recording studio, so we weren’t really on any time constraints. We spent about five months on the record and put everything into it.

ME: With your self-titled EP coming out soon, tell me about its genesis. What did you end up learning about each other not only as musicians, but as friends, during the process?

Richie: The biggest thing we learned is how each other works and where we fit into the writing and production process. That in order to be productive, we have to function as a team and serve the songs, not ourselves. Basically, we put what’s best for the songs before everything else, and I hope that really comes across on the EP. I think our bond as friends grew infinitely during the process as well, as we all kind of got a new respect for each other.

ME: How were production duties handled, in order to bring out the best of your performance on the EP?

Richie: Takes and more takes, honestly. I engineered and produced the record, so we just took our time and made sure we were happy with everything. Being super particular and having the chance to experiment with ideas really helped bring it to life.

ME: What kind of energies do you feel each member contributes from a sonic standpoint?

Richie: Brett really sets the tone with his drumming, I believe. Will, the bassist, brings the energy. Skyler is super creative on guitar and kind of makes us sound how we sound. I just kind of pull everyone together.

ME: You recently put out a video for the lead single, “Be Careful What You Wish For.” What direction did you originally intend for it to have in bringing out the song’s theme?

Richie: We knew immediately that we wanted the single room shots. The original concept had actors and a storyline that all took place in the room. It culminated with dishes being thrown against the wall, with stuff breaking everywhere. About 4 days before the shoot, Skyler came up with idea of the paint and the “bleeding walls.”

ME: Overall, do you feel the EP is a solid representation of the band’s identity thus far?

Richie: Absolutely. We recorded nine songs for this album. As the process went on, we ended up cutting four of them because we felt they weren’t representative of our sound. We felt the five songs were chose really summed up who are as a band, which is why we decided to self-title the EP.

ME: Lastly, anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Richie: Be sure to pick up the EP on May 18th. Learn the words, sing along. Tell your friends. Come hang out at a show when we come through area. In the meantime, go to local shows and support those bands. Without local bands there would be no national acts.

The Stars Revolt Socials:

Facebook|Official Website|Twitter|Instagram

About Jake Kussmaul

I come from a family who is passionate about all things music. I learned to sing at an early age, and by 13, had my very own Fender Strat guitar. I tried my hardest at learning all that I could. Because I was born with cerebral palsy, I had to teach myself an adaptive playing style. I learned to write and record my own music, despite these difficulties. In college, I started making great use of my writing abilities by reviewing music, as well as copy editing. I guess it's best to stick with what you know, while welcoming a fair challenge at the same time.

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