Starsmith is one hot new talent on the scene and I've been completely enveloped in his remixes and original tracks since stumbling upon them awhile ago. His track "Love In Two" is an electropop stomper and his remixes for Katy Perry and Frankmusik really get my headphones popping. In April he's opening up for Frankmusik at Dingwalls and you can bet team EQ will be in the audience cheering him on. We haven't been this excited for a gig since Robynplayed Cargo a few years ago. EQ caught up with Starsmith on Pancake Day for a wee chat which you can read below.
Note to artists – if you're looking for a remixer with his finger on the pulse, Starsmith is your man…
Well hello Fin – how are you today?
Hello! I’m good thanks. I just had a chicken and vegetable cup a soup and now I’m knee deep in a remix. Cup a soup keeps me going into the early hours of the night/morning. For some people its Red Bull or Lucozade, but for me its cup a soup. I might even have a pancake later…?!
(Note for non-UK readers, at time of interview it was "Pancake Day" in the UK…)
So tell us a little bit about yourself – who are you, where are you from and where are you going?
Well I’m a 20 year old music producer/remixer/artist who works under the alias ‘Starsmith’. Everyone else just knows me as Fin. I’m from your (fairly) average middle class family brought up in South London and I'm the only one in the family who's decided to pursue a career in music. Every other musician I’ve met is following in the footsteps of their mum or dad or 3rd cousin. At the moment I’m finishing the final
year of my music degree at Uni, waiting for the day when I can work as Starsmith 24/7, and not just squeeze it into the time I have when I’m not writing essays. Not particularly sure where I’m going – I know where I want to go and I’m working hard to get there, but it doesn’t mean I will.
You've been remixing a lot of artists lately – especially some of my fave ones like Katy Perry, Frankmusik and Private. Which ones are your favorite remixes?
I did a remix for a guy called Archeo Price on his track ‘Mr General’ and as soon as I got the vocal part sent through, I gave it a listen and immediately had loads of ideas. I’d say that was the best vocal part I’ve worked with, it just had so much energy. The whole remix sounded great because of it. Also the remix I did for The Mission District on ‘So Over You’ ended up being quite a poppy commercial mix that I’m actually really happy with. When it got featured on Perez Hilton I almost shat myself. The mix I mentioned that I was knee deep in earlier, is for Bombay Bicycle Club, and I’m dancing in my chair as its playing. I think that’s a good thing..?
How fucking cool is your jam "Love In Two"…Do you think it's potentially single-worthy? We do – it's a very cool song. How did this song come about?
It could be a single, I guess..?! I’d need to do A LOT of work on it before I was ever happy with it to be released. It was the first track I ever wrote, back in September 2008, before I became Starsmith, and I woke up that morning with the main riff in my head and I think I sung it into my phone before I forgot it. Then I was round at my best mate’s studio later that day and we ended up recording it. My mate Seye (pronounced Cher) wrote the lyrics and we worked out a melody after I finished the arrangement, and I think we had it finished in about 8 hours. Ridiculous. I wish I could work like that now. But as I said before, I need to go back and rework it loads before I’m happy to unleash it on the world.
It's no secret that your mates with Frankmusik. How did you guys meet? He's even done a song with you – tell us about that one.
When I first started writing more tracks in October, I emailed Vince over Myspace and asked to send him some of the rough demos so that he could give me some tips and ideas. He’d come back with awesome ideas, things he’d done in his own tracks, effects used etc, and It was so helpful. Turns out that he also lives about 20 minutes from me in south London, so I suggested we meet for a beer or two. I guess in a way he’s been a bit of a mentor to me, and seeing as I love his tracks anyway, working with him in his studio has been so unbelievably helpful. He was at one of my gigs about a month ago and he heard one of my new tracks and decided he wanted to sing on it. So I sent it over, he wrote and recorded the vocals, sent it back and I did a mix. Bit like the postal service really.
Are you looking forward to your gig with him on 1st April at Dingwalls? What can we expect from a Frankmusik/Starsmith show? I must say that I'm really looking forward to it.
Believe me, I’m truly excited about the gig. Him asking me to support is a massive honour, and as it’s his debut single release and overall a pretty huge night for him, the task of opening up the show and doing it well is a pretty scary one, but I’m hoping it will go without a hitch! You can expect a brilliant night full of tracks that will have you dancing uncontrollably when you're there, and singing uncontrollably on your way home!
So what's the current state of play with you? Are you putting together an album or an EP for all your new budding fans?
At the moment I’ve got a lot of production and remix work going on and I haven’t had a chance to do much writing for a few weeks. But once I’m on the easter break from uni and I’ve got a lot more time in my hands at the end of march, I’m gonna be writing a lot more tracks, possibly for some kind of release. There were ideas floating about not too long ago about a 4/5 track EP, but obviously there's a lot of consideration that needs to go into these things. But yeah, I’d love to have some kind of release soon! I’m producing some tracks for the brilliant Ellie Goulding, and we’re writing some of our own tracks under the name ‘Goldsmith’. I’m also producing some tracks for Lemond, who seriously, has some awesome tunes up his sleeve. You just wait and see!
So you obviously love electro-pop. Is electro-pop here to stay or is it just a flash in the pan music fad.
Well, electro-pop deserves to be huge this year. A lot of people are saying that last year was the year of pop, but judging by some of the things I've heard that are waiting to come out, it really seems like this year could be the one. Something that annoys me a little bit though is all the rock driven bands that have started using synths in their setup, labeling themselves as ‘electro’. If I put a violin in my live band, does that make me a classical act? All the 808 kit samples and auto tuned vocals that are featuring in so many shit-hop tracks doesn’t really help the situation either. Maybe electro pop is just the next Rock ‘n’ Roll..
Which electro-pop artists are currently stuck on repeat with you at the moment and why?
* Looks in ‘Recently Played’ folder *. The Midnight Juggernauts album ‘Dystopia’ from last year is being played quite a lot. EMPIRE OF THE SUN. Ahhhh I love that album. Calvin Harris’ new track. I reckon he’s gonna make euphoric pop cool again. I’m also waiting on Phoenix’s new album ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’, which isn’t really electro-pop but just bloody good pop.
So are you like totally pissed that Zavvi shut down or are you more of an HMV kinda guy? I bet you're actually a more of a Rough Trade Records sorta dude. When it comes to CD shopping, where would you take us for the day?
I’d invite you all round to mah crib, then we’d go on the iTunes store for hours and get some really obscure Swedish pop music (which actually happens to be some of the best pop music the world makes). But seriously, iTunes store is the way forward. So convenient. I’ve spent so much money on there! But if I had to choose between Zavvi/HMV/rough trade, I reckon it would be HMV, because my brother used to work there, and I always got sweeeeeet discounts.
Have you had enough of Lady Gaga yet?
I think one of her tracks came on the other day by accident whilst on random, and I was sick a little bit. To be honest I’ve never really listened to her – my girlfriend put the album on my computer the other week and I've avoided it. She (or whoever writes her tracks) makes good tracks. I don’t deny that, its just not my cup of tea. However, Frankmusik’s remix of ‘Eh Eh’ is genius. Listen to it.
So we never really get to see your face in a lot of your photos…why is that? Do you have something to hide?
Ok. Ok. It’s because I have a third nipple on my cheek…Only joking. Or am I? No, its because its quite nice keeping the illusion up that you don’t really know who I am, although with a bit of searching, you could probably find out quite easily.
Well that's it Fin – thanks for hanging with us here at EQ. Any closing words for our EQ readers?
Only that I hope you all have an awesome week/month/year, and I hope to see you all very soon! Spot on, Bevan.