The evening had grown chilly at the Grackle in Austin, where the Stargazer Lilies spoke to me shortly before their show. The Poconos-based outfit was founded in 2011 by bassist Kim Fields and guitarist John Cep, formerly of New York City band Soundpool. The Lilies’ sound, like Soundpool’s, is pure shoegazer goodness, albeit brighter and more atmospheric. Joined by drummer Tammy Hirata, the Stargazer Lilies are currently on tour. Their second album, “Door to the Sun,” comes out on Graveface in June. Check out their web site: http://www.thestargazerlilies.com.
I have a question about your previous band, Soundpool. Soundpool was more of a dance-pop act. Was there a conscious decision to move away from that particular sound?
Kim Fields: Definitely. I think we definitely, intentionally moved away from it.
John Cep: We definitely wanted to go a little more organic-sounding. So less elements of drum loops and electronica, and more just guitar and bass and drums and vocals.
Kim: We intentionally wanted to do a power trio, so we have bass, drums, guitars.
Could you tell me a little more about the genesis of Stargazer Lilies? How did Tammy join up?
Kim: We originally started out with a female drummer and, just circumstances, she couldn’t do touring, et cetera. So we were going between two male drummers, and we always wanted to get back to what we originally thought it would be, which is a little more feminine. And girl power. So we met Tammy and she was like, really interested in the project and it’s just been great ever since. She’s been with us since August.
I’m curious, I notice you’re now based in the Poconos. You relocated. What brought that about? It’s a great area!
John: Just wanted to get out of New York City. We were stuck in New York City for many, many years. We were just yearning for…to be in the woods, you know, more tranquility.
Are there any local acts that you follow?
Kim: To be honest, we have been so busy. We have been commuting back and forth to New York City all these years, so we haven’t had that much time to explore. But there is little pockets of bands in Scranton and Stroudsburg. We played those two towns a lot. There’s little pockets of indie music.
John: There’s a band from Stroudsburg called King Dead. And there’s a band from Wilks-Barre called Mock Sun.
Kim: Most of it’s psychedelia. There’s a lot of hard rock too, which we dig, because we have very heavy guitars. So there’s a scene there.
Are there any particular artists that would be your role models?
John: All different artists and all different genres. Like Antonio Carlos Jobim as a songwriter, and Hendrix as a guitarist. But also particular albums for me personally. Like, “Dark Side of the Moon” would be very influential. But not just limited to classic stuff. We also try to follow some new bands that we really like as well.
You included a cover version of “Bonnie and Clyde” by Serge Gainsbourg. That was a pretty cool choice. Are you guys fans of French pop?
John: Oh yeah.
Kim: For sure, yeah.
John: Of course.
Kim: I would say we’re a nice blend of the ‘60s and the ’90s for the most part. All of us. Tammy’s really into ’90s shoegaze. So am I. John’s, you know, we both really love the sixties. John’s heavily influenced by psychedelia.