Having risen from the ashes of a previous band, Bristol’s Sinestar have developed their own unique blend of uplifting synth-driven rock. With the release of a new album – A Million Like Us – and the addition of a new, fifth member in the form of Peter Steer, we decided to catch up with the band and find our more about what makes them tick.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What’s the story behind Sinestar and how would you describe your sound?
The core of Sinestar were brought together in around 2009 when a local studio owner wanted to form an electronic/industrial sounding band. Prior to the start of that project many of the band were rehearsing as members of other bands at the studio. Each of the band members thought that the idea was interesting. Jagged were formed as a result and stayed together long enough to write and release our first and only album Autumn Fall.
Ultimately the pressures of having to constrain the writing and creativity to sit within the industrial style/template eventually took its toll. Sinestar formed in 2011 with a mission to create sparkling, punchy, melodic, danceable electronic music with a bite. After writing and releasing 3 albums we feel that we have now realised our ambition.
The song-writing and production of each album has matured to a point where the band are now very very happy with the overall result. Our song writing crosses many boundaries and many genres, which is a reflection of each of the band member’s pedigree and influences.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
As a band, our motivation is quite simple. We want to entertain, connect, and add something to the lives of those who hear our music. The band don’t expect to change the world, but we do expect to at least touch the lives, hearts and imagination of those who give our music a chance.
Our music is both celebration and a protest, and it reflects light and shade. Our music represents who the band are as people. Sometimes poetic, sometimes ugly, sometimes angry, regularly pure, but mostly fun. It is music to dance and to cry to.
You recently introduced a fifth member to your setup – Peter Steer of Tenek fame. Has that brought a change to your sound or working methods?
Pete joined Sinestar when the band thought that we were nearing the final stages of the song-writing process. Pete’s input resulted in the band reflecting on many aspects of what we were doing and how we were doing it. He gave the band an energy boost, and the lift necessary for Sinestar to get a perfect new album delivered on time.
Peter brought an outside ear to the bands’ production and song writing, adding ideas for specific sounds used in the recording process. Pete knows what it takes to turn a good album into a fantastic album. He has added new guitar, additional keyboards and backing vocals into the mix. The new dynamics work brilliantly in the new live setting because it frees Iain up from behind the guitar, and Pete’s backing works in perfect harmony with Iain in the live setting.
In 2016 you took part in a programme on Channel 4. What was that experience like for you?
The experience was unforgettable. We entered a competition on line which asked for part time bands to come forward to enter a competition to find the UK’s best part time band. Camera crews were following Sinestar around as we made it through to the final rounds of the competition. We really enjoyed the experience working with Grammy Award Winning Producer Jazzie B (of Soul II Soul fame) and sharing TV air time with Ultravox front man Midge Ure.
Sinestar received fabulous comments and feedback. At one point, after playing one of our songs I am the rain we were talking to Jazzie B about the fact that “we don’t take ourselves too seriously”, his response was fantastic, “SHUT UP, WITH SONGS LIKE THAT?? SHUT UP”. High praise indeed from such a well-respected guy.
You’re popular in Germany, regularly hitting the top of fan polls and end of year charts on the alternative scene there. Do you find many differences between your German and UK fanbases?
Our experience whenever we have played in Germany is that the fans of electronic music are very quick to support what we do and very quickly buy into our live performances. When we have toured in the past supporting the likes of Mesh, we have always been incredibly pleased with how responsive the German music fans are to our music.
In the UK it is a little different. We do have a very loyal and growing following who are enjoying Sinestar’s journey, but we find that it is more difficult to get people to the shows in the first place. People in the UK tend to not be quite so open minded when it comes to all forms of music. We do find however that when they give the music a chance, they are immediate converts to the music that Sinestar produce.
In the UK we are very happy to have an electronic music “Family” who will fight and promote the band to all who show any interest. The UK shows are starting to have a more and more European feeling with fans travelling from across the European continent.
What’s up next for Sinestar? Any upcoming gigs, new releases on the horizon, other projects?
There is the new album and new single released around the same time. After this we have the official album launch in Bristol on 10th February. After this we have shows scheduled at London Electroworkz on in London on 10th March, then Germany (Karlsruhe) where we will be playing at the Synthetic Orange Festival on April 14th2018. Beyond this we will be releasing digital singles throughout the year and looking to pick up other festival slots across Europe throughout the year.