Starbenders, ‘Take Back The Night’ | Track By Track

Starbenders guide us track by track through their latest album ‘Take Back The Night’, out now via Sumerian Records.

Image credit: Vegas Giovanni

“‘Take Back The Night’ was born in the wake of the band’s most challenging obstacles to date. From life threatening necrotizing bacterial pneumonia to addiction to two years of the world in limbo, it felt like the punches kept coming and coming. We made a conscious decision that we were going to practice radical acceptance and stick together no matter what. The frustration and worries we choked down on the daily were transmuted into the compositions and sounds of the new record. All the triumph over serious obstacles made the rocket fuel that propelled our most cohesive and aggressive record ever.”


“We wrote ‘The Game’ to inspire those who are feeling low on luck and overlooked by a world that’s often unforgiving… a battle cry for the downtrodden underdogs. We cooked up a sound to summon the feeling of self-generated power guided by Gods, angels, and ghosts. You can torch all obstacles and silence the doubters once and for all with a little bit of faith. It’s all in the way you play ‘The Game’.”


“I almost viewed the story of the song playing out like a simulation, a video game. The goal of the game? Get some and don’t get burned. I tend to feel a lot of longing to be one of those seemingly light footed people that dance around all of the heaviness of meaning and consequence. As with most romanticization, I realize that the grass isn’t greener but it’s fun to play with in my mind. The poet has gone rogue.”


“New York City still holds so much power and legend despite the changing times. I was night crawling on my own, not really going into places but looking into them. I heard someone say they turned to dust on Bleecker Street, so the lyrics and vibe bloomed around that sentiment. I get really aroused every time we’re in the city. It makes my body talk.”


“When I initially wrote this song, I was thinking about the struggle I’ve had with spirituality. Sometimes I feel like a poser when I try to tap into faith. I get that small voice, “you really don’t believe”, “you know it’s not going to be any different”… and on and on. I brought my mentor and dear friend, James Hall, in to co write. He was able to bring more light to that feeling of hopelessness that we all feel. What’s important is coming together to be “less not okay” and riding out the storm. I also feel that the answering of prayers can be very subtle, we just have to keep our minds open to the possibility of things changing and working themselves out. We tapped into this further in the music video. We had the honor of working with Gilbert Trejo. He immediately picked up on the sentiment of the song and wanted to show us floating through Hollywood, going through it. We eventually find one another and carry on along the walk of fame. Definitely deep rock n’ roll poetry.”


“I wrote this as a fairy tale. Once we take a drink, we find ourselves in a land of dreams, nightmares and fuzzy guitars. I hope you can feel the cold, mossy forest floor beneath your feet while listening.”


“I was really getting into Kurt Vile on the last few tours and inspired by his vibe along with the  circular, hypnotic guitar figures he’s so wonderful at creating. The road has a way of  putting you in the zone and realizations come to visit. The words of ‘Seven White Horses’ rushed in during one of these road inspired epiphanies. The song’s about rebirth, where  you have to leave things behind, killing off your weaker self to rise. A reincarnation, if you  will. The ‘Seven White Horses’ are your destiny, your power and the black masses are the  unknown. Riding into the mystery is how you find higher self. All these doors open around  us but many people do not have the consciousness to see them yet. Do you see the  potential and magic in everything?”


“‘The End Is Near’ – a haunting anthem echoing fate’s inexorable pull. A testament to liberation even in the shadow of impending doom.. This is my tale of redemption, combined with bandmates dancing on addiction’s precipice, crafts a symphony of both chaos & passion.”


“It’s been feeling like everything is crumbling around us as we seem to be hurtling toward an apocalyptic destiny. At some point, you come to the understanding that things have been this way since recorded history. Now we’ve been down for so long that it’s beginning to look like up. Instead of succumbing to frustration. ‘Blood Moon’ is the thorniest release of Starbenders to date. The verses channel the ‘Raw Power’ era of The Stooges and the chorus drops into an industrial swing that leaves even the greatest cynic wanting more. This is the sound of a band fighting for its very existence.”


“We recorded this song during a very difficult time in our lives. The sands were shifting beneath our feet as we stood in the studio. The sentiment of the song is as the chorus says; “I’ve got love it you need it, drugs to keep it even. I can’t take the pain.” It’s impossible to fix people, it doesn’t mean that we didn’t love them enough or didn’t do enough. Pain is a dignity that we alone have to transmute. The result is a metallic clash between feathers and switchblades.”


“We had so much fun with this one, both musically and lyrically. I love creating a world around a single character and developing a story with them. Marianne is such a timeless name that symbolizes freedom and grace. Our Marianne has slowly been whittled away by the fear and uncertainty of life. I’ve come to find that one of our most essential resources is joy and we must try to protect it at all costs. I’m not only reaching out to this person to which it may apply, but also to the Marianne within my own soul that’s been in hiding. I love all of the tones and textures that we cultivated musically.”


“This track is a cover of an Alice Cooper song co-written by the amazing Desmond Child. It’s such a high level composition, so we decided to take a crack at it. Poison captures the dangerous allure of temptation and the destructive power of indulging in it. It struck a chord with audiences in 1989 and we want to serve it up for the newer generations of rock n rollers.”


“‘Midnight’ has a classic punk rock ethos. The spirit of knowing you’re an oddball and accepting all the risk that comes with it. The verse is so locomotive, I love the assembly line feel of the rhythm section, to me it’s  one of the most exciting moments on the record. I’ve read folklore about ‘Midnight’ being a demon that rules the night. I viewed her as a God that one could channel for protection. If you’re being bullied and kicked around, ask ‘Midnight’ for protection.”


“This song is the love letter of the record. My friend Tommy Kafafian developed the brilliant piano part in the verses. The sentiment starts out with understanding that I have to be patient for people to be ready. In a way it’s an exploration of the accountability that we must have to one another. I bloom the sentiment outward in the choruses in our accountability to the listener. I never want to take anyone for granted and I pray for the protection of this bond.”

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