Most phone interviews begin and end exactly as expected -- but not when Amy Millan, vocalist for the literate indie pop act Stars, is on the other end of the line.
At the conclusion of our Montreal-Fort Lauderdale conversation, which informed this week's print piece about Stars ahead of the band's Sunday performance at Culture Room, things started to get very personal.
As in, Millan really wanted to discuss Florida -- even though County Grind wasn't urging a Canadian who sings about the politics of heartbreak and the heartbreak of politics to do so. Since this interview took place back in August, the Casey Anthony trial and a whole lot of stupid things our neighbors did this past summer came up.
Will Stars' latest studio sessions end up birthing a darkness-filled album dedicated to the Sunshine State? Read and decide for yourself.
County Grind: What's this new album turning out like so far?
Amy Millan: Well, it's a secret at this point. We can't give away our secrets.
I'm trying to convince you to think otherwise about that. I'm not trying to get the whole secret, just a piece of the secret.
Especially in this day and age. I mean this is for Florida, correct?
Yeah, this is for Florida. I mean Florida has yet to rock The Five Ghosts with us.
We haven't been to Florida in a long time.
It's a very hard place to get to for touring acts and anyone who's not flying here. I'm sure everyone's very grateful that you guys are doing a really thorough trip through Florida.
Well, we've had one show we played in Miami. It was one of my favorite all-time shows. This weather, the people, the joy, the youthfulness -- it was fantastic. I'm all about this weather right now, so that's why I can't wait to get down there. Florida reminds me of Stars music a little bit, because it's incredibly beautiful, but there's also this underlying darkness to it. There's a lot of darkness in Florida. Like a movie like Monster could only come out of a place like Florida.
We just can't get enough of this Casey Anthony business, which of course happened in Florida too. My coworkers write every day about machete attacks and people who die after snorting weird packages of powder that they find floating in the ocean.
Oh my God. See, that's amazing. That is Stars music. It's a perfect place for Stars. In fact, we should probably make our next record in Florida.
I like it. I like it.
It's incredibly beautiful. It's right there near the Caribbean. It's got these gorgeous beaches and this beautiful culture of all these different... it's so multicultural, and there's some beautiful food down there. Yet there's this hideousness, and that is Stars music to me. That is exactly how I would describe what our music sounds like. And so, next time somebody says, "What does your music sound like," I'm going to say "Florida." Take that as you will.
It sounds like you already have the concept for this album down. You just figured it out.
You and I are working this out right now. It's fantastic.
It sounds like you guys are going to be much further in the process by October. Do you like to work out the material on the road as it's coming together?
Vocally, lyrically, I think that I'm always working it out. I think that it's actually really helpful being on the road when I'm trying to write stories, because you've come into contact with so many different kinds of people rather than being isolated in your own home, and that's always what I've been drawn to, and to write about, is really other people. I'm not a self-reflective diary writer. Really like to bring in the stories of others. But in terms of getting through the jamming onstage, we don't really do that on the road. But definitely my imagination is sparked when I'm out there meeting all sorts of different people.
We'll try to be on our best behavior for you --
Don't, please, by any means. No best behavior. I'm not interested in best behavior.
Then we'll just be ourselves.
Thank you. That's what being a fan of Stars is all about.
Much more about Stars here.
Stars, with Plains and Astari Nite. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 16, at
Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost
$18. Visit ticketmaster.com.