Stars in Coma has been releasing music since 2005: ep's, singles, albums. Linking them all, you'll find André Brorsson - founder and permanent member - and a genuine sense of pop music... and by pop I mean the laid back and effortless walk between songs guitar driven to synth based tunes. A great example for that is Prototype Paradise, a free maxi-ep released last Thursday at the band's bandcamp (link below). A collection of 7 songs that goes from the electropop/dancefloor-ish tracks like 'Swing Inn' and 'Aerial Cube' and 'Prototype Paradise', to acoustic moments like '87' - a the beautiful story about a boy on a cinema - and Strawbs' cover 'Stormy Down', wrapping up with the guitar driven 'Vi Vann Ändå'.
We talked with André about his musical origins, the making of Prototype Paradise, why is available for free, how emotions are more important than money and about the next album - Midnight Puzzle - due to be released next March.
01. From the beginning: what’s your earliest musical memory? When did you decided to create Stars in Coma and how did you got the idea for the name?
I wanted to be a musician every since I was four years old. My father had one of those huge cassette deck when I was very little, and I was very impressed with it. I remember listening to a lot of Gyllene Tider (a huge Swedish pop band in the 80's), and playing along on a white orange toy guitar. Later on I got a wooden microphone, so I actually could "perform" in the house.
I came up with the name Stars in Coma in 2000, but the music I made back then was really crappy. I didn't really put out something coherent until 2005, with the "Gizmo goes to war" EP.
02. If you had to describe your music as a planet or landscape, how do you think it would look like?
I usually imaging some kind of landscape when writing songs, it could be anything really. But if had to describe, it's probably some dark and cold sci-fi landscape with a lot of plate-like barracks mixed with some nature imagery including green fields, bubbling streams and velvet mountains. Something like that. Or Pluto mixed with Mercury.
03. Since 2005 you have released a few things (among albums, singles, ep’s…) under a number of record labels.A few days ago, you've released ‘Prototype Paradise’, available for free download on your bandcamp page. Is this maxi-ep - as you described – a preview - or prototype - of what’s going to be your next full length? Why did you decided to give away for free? And what do you think about the way music is distributed nowadays?
The name "Prototype Paradise" was just a title for one of the songs. I had a bunch of songs lying around that I didn't know what to do with, so I decided one morning that I was going to release it for free, because I like that kind of distribution. I'm not that keen on marketing plans and I really like to put out stuff fast, without thinking to much about it. Everyone is always telling to promote myself better, but I don't really have that side in me. I don't really see any value in my songs. it can have some sort of emotional value for me or for others, but I don't view it as some product that I can charge 9 bucks for. I think the general devaluation of music these days suits me.
"Prototype Paradise" could be seen as some sort of preview. However, my next album is a little bit more polished than this one, but it's in the same vein. The next album is called "Midnight Puzzle" and I've been working on it for quite some time. It's probably out on Italian label Kingem Records in late-March if everything goes as planned. I know fidelity or sound quality doesn't matter to most people as long as it doesn't sound completely lo-fi, but I kind of got a little obsessed making it the way I wanted. I just wanna improve as producer and make better-sounding records. "Midnight Puzzle" is a bit more rhythmic and have more progressive elements, but it's still pop music.
The difficult thing right now is, however, that some people want the psychical product and others just want to download the mp3's or listen to it via some streaming service. So I will probably continue to release both CD's and digital-only records, but ideal thing would be to just release them for free on my web site.
04. Still about ‘Prototype Paradise’: could you talk about the creation and making of it? Did you had something specific in mind in terms of moods, sound textures, imagery while recording it?
I guess the major part of the album is influenced by the more electro-based music from the 80's. But it's all over the place. There's a Swedish song written like 9 years ago that is basically guitar pop. The whole album was recorded in my home studio, as everything else I've done in the past.
One friend described "Prototype Paradise" as a mix between Prince and The Cure, and perhaps that's a suitable description. People always say we remind them of The Cure, but I've never really listened to them that much. Maybe it's because our bass player sometimes put on some Robert Smith-like make-up when we play live.
05. You have a few shows scheduled for April and May in Italy and UK. What one can expect from a live performance of Stars In Coma? When it comes to live performances, how many people are on stage with you?
Seeing Stars in Coma live is usually a different experience compared to the albums. We usually rearrange the songs, but it's not like they are totally different from the studio versions. Usually the band members play whatever they want, I have little control over them, so the songs are bound to sound somewhat different anyway. And then there's of course the conditions of the venue, some clubs don't have monitors or a proper PA system, so it gets more difficult performing. We're kind of used to it now, but some clubs really need to treat their bands better.
But we always put our heart and soul in the live performance, unless the condition is really horrible. We like to make people dance, loosen up and be a part of the performance. I also like to give awkward speeches between songs, if the atmosphere is right. We're currently four people in the band. Håkan on drums, Mattias on bass, my girlfriend Nicole on synth/flute/vocals and me (André) on guitar and vocals. Sometimes we have a guy called Johan coming in a playing some trumpet for us.
06. What does the future hold for the band? What can we expect?
We will definitely try to come to Brazil someday! We had a tour booked like two years ago, but it got canceled, which was really sad. Besides that, we wanna develop as musicians and hopefully learn to play our instruments someday. :)
07. Any music video (not necessarily from the band) that you think everyone should watch?
I really love Ariel Pink and their performance of "Round & Round" at Jimmy Fallon just blew my mind.
08. You covered ‘Stormy Down’ by the Strawbs in ‘Prototype Paradise’. Any other song(s) you’d like to cover?
Yes, a bunch. The Association - Come on in, Astrud Gilberto - Look To The Rainbow and Ryan Paris - Dolce Vita would be nice to cover.
09. Name the perfect place and time to hear your music.
Probably on an after-party where people's too drunk to care about the lo-fi production of our songs.
10. Recommend something you've been listening lately.
I really would recommend Strawbs, which I covered on the album. It's a British folk/prog/pop band that started out in the 60's, and they kind of sound like a mix between Fairport Convention and Genesis. "Poor Jimmy Wilson" and "Benedictus" are beautiful songs.