To anyone who regularly reads our little publication, it’s obvious that we’re quite sonically smitten with Tobacco, Ryan Graveface, Graveface Records, and pretty much the entire Black Moth Super Rainbow extended family (Haley Bonar, The Casket Girls, Dott, Whirr). However, perhaps none more than The Stargazer Lilies (Okay, I have to be completely honest, they’re tied with The Casket Girls…) The Stargargazer Lilies are John Cep and Kim Field, previously of NYC-based, disco-leaning shoegazers, Soundpool. I first met the two last August when they were preparing for the release of The Stargazer Lilies’ debut LP, We Are the Dreamers, which hit shelves last October. We Are the Dreamers saw John and Kim letting go of anything too danceable for something more moody and ethereal and psychedelic. The band have played the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection twice in the past year, first alongside Dead Leaf Echo, before their album dropped and, most recently, as part of Graveface Records’ Graveface Roadshow, which saw them sharing the stage of Johnny Brenda’s with The Casket Girls and Dreamend for the best bill the city’s seen all year. I recently got another chance to chat with The Stargazer Lilies, who are preparing to hit the road for a week of dates with Tobacco, and will return to the 215 with a July 17th stop at Underground Arts.
Although it wasn’t my intention, the majority of our conversation is spent talking about John and Kim’s relationship with Tobacco/Thom Fec and BMSR. Tobacco has taken The Stargazer Lilies out on the road numerous times already, in addition to curating their debut album. I’m curious about their relationship with Thom because of his, let’s-just-call-it-“quirky” public persona, which often finds him donning masks or lurking ambiguously in shadows and speaking/singing through voice modulators (in addition to the “quirkiness” of the music itself), yet when I got a chance to interview him a few years back, he seemed shockingly down-to-Earth. John and Kim confirm this sentiment, slightly to my disappointment (I was kind of hoping they’d correct me and explain that he’s truly insane.) John laughs when I ask the question and tell me, “He’s a really cool guy. You think you’re gonna meet some weird, acid freak guy, but he’s really great,” while Kim adds, “He’s been so great to us and a really gracious person. He’s just the kindest, most wonderful person, in addition to [fellow-bandmate and partner] Moe/The Seven Fields of Aphelion, who did all of our artwork.”
John tells me of he and Kim’s initial meeting with BMSR, which is something he never expected to come to fruition: “I was such a fan of theirs’ and so impressed that I sent Thom our CD, and never expected to hear anything back, and he got back to me like a year and a half later and asked us to play with them and I couldn’t believe it. And, from that point, we met Black Moth Super Rainbow and started hanging out with them and really got along from the very start.” Kim explains that the connection between them and BMSR was pretty immediate: “There was the initial bonding, but then it was like, ‘These guys are from PA, too,’ so we had that in common. I mean, we lived in New York for a long time, but we live in the Poconos now. But they’re super down-to-Earth and really cool people.” But John adds that, although they’ve gotten really close to them as individuals, they still have an immense admiration for their work: “And not only do we like them as people, but I love their music.”
John and Kim actually admit that they feel The Stargazer Lilies wouldn’t be where they are, if it wasn’t for the BMSR crew. Kim explains, “Thom is really responsible for so much of what we’re doing. And the reason we’re even involved with Graveface is not only because Thom really liked us, but because he recommended us to Ryan and then Ryan really liked our music, as well. I don’t think we would be in this position, if both of them weren’t really into what we were doing.” John reflects on their initial interactions with Ryan and how that led to their deal, which comes off as a bit of a postmodern, technology-laden fairy tale: “I remember, Ryan Graveface liked us on Facebook and it was like, ‘Whoa, Ryan Graveface liked us on Facebook?’ And then we went down there [Graveface is based out of Savannah, GA] and played Graveface Fest and then he signed us.”
The Stargazer Lilies have spent quite a bit of time touring with Tobacco already and there’s quite a bit more in the works after these July dates (They tell me a fall tour is also going to happen.), but they also tell me that they’re anxious for some upcoming dates of a different kind alongside Thom. Kim explains, “Playing with Tobacco is so great in so many ways, but we’re also going to be out with his Demon Queen project and I think that’ll be interesting because it brings in this whole Hip-Hop element. We’re interested to see what the audiences are like… There’ll probably be some crossover.” John chuckles and adds, “If it wasn’t for Thom, I don’t think we’d be on that tour.”
With We Are The Dreamers having come out the better part of a year ago and The Starlight Lilies having toured the record quite a bit, I’m curious what are currently their favorite songs from the album, telling them that “Sad Colored Tears,” arguably their most somber track (which easily could’ve made the soundtrack to Twin Peaks) is my personal favorite. John laughs and tells me, “I think you’re actually the first person to say that. We used to play that live, but it’s such a bitch to pull off live with the bow,” before Kim adds, “I actually really like that song live, but it’s kind of slow and depressing, so it’s like, ‘Are we bumming people out?’” She goes on to tell me that one of her favorite songs to play live is “Endless Days,” a fantastically epic and wispy dream pop number. When I ask for indicators of where their future sounds may be headed, John tells me that “We Are the Dreamers” may be the best place to look: “Maybe the title track is more in line with what we’re doing now. I mean, we’ll always be shoegazey, but it’s a little more along the lines of ‘60s psych. I, personally, really like playing ‘We Are the Dreamers’ live.”
And in addition to the touring The Starlight Lilies have in the works, they tell me that they are, indeed, working on new music, headed in this psych rock direction. Kim explains to me that this is what they’re most focused on: “We’re working on a new album and I think that’s at the forefront of our minds and there’s a lot of writing and a lot of pressure.” John explains, “We want it to be better than We Are the Dreamers.” And Kim admits that they are currently almost entirely in the zone of creating new music: “Right now it’s just like, ‘Write more songs, more songs, more songs.’”