Ground Control to Major Tom, here is Good Morning Keith speaking. Please make sure to take your protein pills and put your helmet on cause you're about to meet Brion Starr, an auteur/singer/songwriter from NYC.
In 2020, Brion got the opportunity to record the first full length LP at the iconic Chateau d'Herouville near Paris since its closure in 1985. Starr explores a year which none of us will soon forget. Having said on the album "I feel like this is us at our most blunt, I certainly haven't felt very poetic this last year. I've chosen to eschew beauty for the raw reality of what is happening around us." 2020 (his last album) is a genre hopping, time traveling whirlwind with heavy depth and impeccable range set very firmly in the surreal and manic time we live in. The music and the lyrics found within equal the surreal with the subtlely psychedelic, the manic with a frantic sensitivity.
We had the opportunity to ask Brion a few questions:
Hey Brion, could you tell us how you came to music?
I’ve always loved music since I was a little one, my mom got me into a lot cool music like Bowie and The Stones, stuff she liked and was listening to around the house
Could you give us your 5 most important records? And maybe 5 that recently caught your attention?
Low - Bowie
The Velvet Underground and Nico
Street Hassle - Lou Reed
Journey In Satchidananda - Alice Coltrane
No New York
Recent records I love.. I really dig our friends Bodega, we played in France with them a while back and it was a blast. My friends in NYC have a band called PIG, I love jumping around at their shows. I’ve been working with Cherry Glazerr lately, I’ve always loved Clem’s music so that has been a total pleasure. My on and off collaborator Robbie Wood goes by the name Cardinal Fang, he is a genius. Kelly Lee Owens collaboration with John Cale is beautiful, she is my longest friends in London and I am so happy for her. We both love John’s work.
We can definitely smell New York just by listening to your music. How the city inspire your writing?
I tend to write about what is around me, most of my life has been spent in NYC.. though we do travel a lot, I think NYC will always shine through in what we do, the things that happen here and the stories I tell from them cannot happen anywhere else in the world.
What's your relation with clothes?
I’ve always loved dressing to express myself, I change a lot, I love being someone new at every opportunity. I had an irrational fear of change as a child, it’s so nice to have processed that and grown past it. Now I like to play with all forms of style and identity.
Do you have any icon when it comes to gettin dress?
Icons of dress.. hmm.. Bowie, Lou, Sophia Lamar, David Hockney, my friend Alison Isabel. The No Wave scene, the Glam scene, the 90s Drag scene.
How do you approach your outfits for the stage?
Stage outfits come from the characters I am writing about in my songs.. I imagine how they would dress and go from there.. sometimes I just wear my normal clothes too.. which are already sort of stage outfits. I don’t make a distinction between the stage and my daily life.
We’ve heard that you recently recorded at the mythical Chateau d’Hérouville. Could tell us how it’s been?
The Chateau was an absolutely incredible experience, we lived there for a month and recorded a song or two every day. We had only two days off, one for the press and one to go into Paris and see John Cale. It was such a pleasure to be able to wake up and experiment with sounds until they felt just right then hit record. It’s the way I’ve always wanted to make a record.
What’s coming next for Brion Starr?
I’ve just done a record with Tony Visconti which will be coming out later this year, a few singles will come out before that. We will go into the studio in London toward the end of the year to do another album with Tony. I’ve been writing songs for a few people, I’m excited to produce some songs for others. Going to make a lot of videos. Hopefully we can tour or at least play a show by the end of the year.
As a parting question, what would you like listeners to take away from your work?
I don’t like to think of something specific that people should take away from my work. I hope each person finds a unique connection to some part of it. I try to make my musical themes diverse intentionally to connect with the threads of life others may be trying to comprehend which I have dealt with in my life. This world can be so harsh, to love life as much as possible is perhaps my message, if I have one at all.
Support your local independent record store and artists!