A Conversation with Lead Vocalist Kimi Shelter
Interview by Madison Killian
Atlanta band StarBenders have perfected the act of confusing listeners. Delicately mixing punk rock with bubblegum pop, and somehow holding a horror-movie reminiscence close, I’m not sure how to accurately describe or compare them to any other musician. So I went ahead and asked lead singer Kimi Shelter a few questions.
Sucker: I’m sure you guys get this a lot, but I’m going to be a dick and ask anyways. Where does the name Starbenders come from?
StarBenders: The name came to me in the middle of an intergalactic fugue.
Sucker: Do you take inspiration from other musicians or bands? If so, which ones?
StarBenders: Absolutely. The New York Dolls, Blondie, The Killers, Pixies and The Cramps.. to name a few.
Sucker: Which recent band reunion are you all the most excited for, Guns n Roses? The Misfits? Blink-182?
StarBenders: Guns n’ Roses is pretty fucking sweet. We’ve watched a few of the fan videos people have been posting and Axl Rose sounds more psychotic than ever. No one expected Axl and Slash to ever reunite so it takes the cake.
Sucker: How have each of your musical tastes evolved as you’ve gotten older?
StarBenders: As you get older, you learn to expand your horizons. If a tree is prevented from growing its roots, it dies. There’s no partiality, which is an unfortunate side effect of youth.
Sucker: If Donald Trump were to join your band, which instrument would he play?
StarBenders: Politics, really?! I’d hope he’d play his check book.
Sucker: Which instrument would Bernie play?
StarBenders: The oboe.
Sucker: Favorite Vices?
Sucker: I feel like your sound is pretty unique. Do you ever get compared to other bands?
StarBenders: Sure. We get compare to Jane’s Addiction, The Killers and Blondie most regularly.
Sucker: I get a very old time-y horror vibe from your newer music, particularly the song (and video) for Blood. Are you guys inspired by anything other than music?
StarBenders: Love is the sweetest of fruits and the truest inspiration.
Sucker: Where did you all meet each other?
StarBenders: Katie and I went to camp together. Chris and Aaron are both local cats that I knew from the scene.
Sucker: Were any of you in bands in high school/middle school? What did they sound like?
StarBenders: We all jammed with friends on the regular, and whatever it sounded like was surely loud and boisterous.
Sucker: Are any of you superstitious?
StarBenders: Fuck yes.
Sucker: Why is art important to you?
StarBenders: Art is expression and was man’s first form of communication. It’s everything.
Sucker: What are your goals as a band? Do you have a message you’re trying to convey through your art?
StarBenders: We want to be on the road for as long as possible and be able to look back and be proud. The message is just to be wild and free. This world is cruel and we need one another.
Sucker: Cats or dogs?
StarBenders: We all like both. Chris and I (Kimi) are definitely more cat people. Katie and Aaron LOVE their dogs.
Sucker: How has your band evolved, musically since its inception?
StarBenders: Working with our producer, Nico Constantine, has really allowed us to get weird and try things that are more risky than our previous records. We’re just so happy to see what we’re turning into at the 2 year mark, and even more excited for the years to come.
Sucker: Are any of you involved in other projects or do you have any cool hobbies? (like painting or… lacrosse or… whatever) whether it be music or not?
StarBenders: Yeah, for sure. We’re all pretty athletic and enjoy staying active in our downtime. Bowling, basketball, yoga, raising a glass or two, laser tag.. We keep it fresh on the road.
Sucker: What’s next for Starbenders? Any last words?
StarBenders: Our new record, Heavy Petting, will be out May 31st via Institution Records. Come catch us at a show and make sure to say hello!