Interview: Ringo Deathstarr Discuss New Album, Smashing Pumpkins and World Tour

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Special thanks to Daniel Coborn

I can’t lie, I’m a bit stubborn and it’s hard for me to get into new music. I’m a bit fixed in my taste but when I discover new music I like, I like to enjoy a close relationship with it and try to get as close to the music as I can. A band I’ve been coming back to again and again lately has been Ringo Deathstarr,a spacey genre bending power trio of G.G. Alex, Daniel Coborn and Elliott Frazier. They’re kooky – it’s hard to believe they’re from Austin, Texas when it sounds like they’re from planet Cerubon 41-2 from the Bunoti galaxy. Slow and explosive but quick with dreamy harmonies, they continue with the legacy of bands like My Bloody Valentine but at the same time do not blatantly rip them off, which I see as being more commonplace nowadays from many “shoegaze revival” movements. With a new name like Ringo Deathstarr, expect the Good Vibes Express headed to a station near you. I had the pleasure of interviewing the guys and talking to them the last couple weeks. Originally it was to be in person at Fun Fun Fun Fest, but it didn’t work out because of transit issues. Below, enjoy our brief interview with Ringo Deathstarr as they just are recovering from touring:

How was your Fun Fun Fun Fest experience?
Seems like a long time ago now, but it was a great festival, as usual–we had to play first in the early morning sun but there was a good turnout and i think we went over well.

Your newest album, Pure Mood, is really neat. I’ve been listening it and really struck me as different from much of the “shoegaze revival” stuff I’ve been hearing this last year or so (excuse the labeling). Is there a particular influence, set of gear or happenstance that distinguishes your album for your past works, instrumentally?
It’s just a bit harder, maybe a bit grungier. We spent a lot more time on the recording and most of the songs were written beforehand so that helped in creating a flow, or something.

I’m bad with discerning lyrics – any particular themes or messages you were exploring on this album?We all wrote lyrics–no particular themes other than the usual–life, love, existential anxiety.

Could you expand on the term “existential anxiety?”
Death, the after life, the infinitely large universe and my relation to it.

We’ve noticed your relationship with the Smashing Pumpkins, especially with guitarist Jeff Schroeder. Was the band an influence growing up?
Of course, and touring with them in 2011 helped out in lots of ways.

Schroeder featured on a track from Pure Mood, “Guilt“. What is the Schroeder collaboration process like?
Send Jeff the tracks, let him do his thing, edit it in… Easy!

How did your initial tour dates with the Pumpkins go?
It was a dream come true, but I wish we could do it again, cause we are a lot better as players now.

How is your European tour going?
The euro tour was insane. We drove all over the continent in a rented station wagon playing in venues of all sizes. We drank lots of free beer, and kicked several asses.

In light of recent political and world events, namely the attacks in Paris, did this stop you from touring around Europe at all?
No way.  We played in Paris the week after the attacks with Protomartyr. It was a really beautiful thing to be a part of.

Any nice sights or sounds you’ve experienced out in Europe?
We saw a really cool cruise ship performance on an overnight ferry from Stavanger, Norway to Copenhagen, Denmark that redefined our belief systems about what it means to be cool.

What’s on the horizon?
US tour in February and back to Europe in March. Then new tunes.

I’d love to hear a holiday release from you guys. The shoegaze and alt-rock influences plus Christmas music, sounds like a tasty mix. What do you all do for the holidays?
Sounds like it could be fun. We all do normal family stuff, though.  You know, church, egg nog, watching scrooged.

Are any of you all involved in other musical and/or artistic projects? I know me personally and maybe some of our readers would like to check that stuff out.
None of us actively play in other bands but Elliott does some studio work, producing bands and the like. Check out the band from Austin, blxpltn! He produced their last record [Black Cop Down] and their upcoming one it kicks ass.

You guys will be headed to Japan very soon – excited? Do you guys have a following out there? [Note, this question was asked before the Japanese leg was completed]
Japan is our best place to play. The people there treat us like Nirvana.  We are friends with super famous Japanese rock star Sugizo.  Our record label rules.  It’s hard to explain how much it rules over there.  I pretty much live my life waiting for the next time we can go over.

How much rock and roll do your souls collectively contain?

666%.

Good answer.

Ringo Deathstarr is slated to come back to the United States in February before returning to Europe in March. The new tour dates will be announced soon. For more updates, follow their Facebook or Twitter and expect more news of them in the following months. Look for their new album Pure Mood on iTunes and other online streaming services and marketplaces, as well as record stores.