After nearly a decade, the industrial/rock monster that is Starlit returns with a new album to show the world how to persa-fuckin-vere! Simara Delilah Rose and Max Cassidy now invite ReGen’s readers into their vicious and luscious world of Machine Guns and Oral Sex.
An InterView with Simara Delilah Rose and Max Cassidy of Starlit
By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Sex and violence just seem to go together, for better or worse, in virtually any artistic medium; music is no exception, and given the often harsh and occasionally subtly beautiful parameters of industrial/rock and metal, it is perhaps especially so. For Los Angeles’ Starlit, the juxtaposition is but one of the many defining characteristics of the band’s sound and image; driven by the sultry and melodic vocals of Simara Delilah Rose and the blazing guitar virtuosity of Max Cassidy, the band’s 2005 album She Was a Spicy She-Wolf was an alluring blend of burlesque eroticism and incendiary aggression, given added weight by Rose’s sexually charged visual presentation. Having spent the last decade experiencing the highs and lows of life in the modern world, Starlit has returned with a new album, appropriately titled Machine Guns and Oral Sex, showing the band’s dedication to its craft and the fruits of persa-fuckin-verence. Rose and Cassidy invite ReGen’s readers into their vicious and luscious world, giving voice to their collective experiences over the last 10 years to culminate in Machine Guns and Oral Sex, along with some insights into the band’s veganism, and just who they should be opening for.
The new Starlit album, Machine Guns and Oral Sex comes almost a full decade since the release of your last album, She Was a Spicy She-Wolf. First of all, what can you tell us about the time between albums – why so long?
Secondly, unless one is an integral part of a passion, unless they are sweating, bleeding, dying, and being resurrected within that specific passion, they have no idea how much it actually takes to make anything happen… which is why I know to give genuine congratulations when anyone accomplishes anything creatively. I could go into the many hells we experienced to get this album made and all the subhumans who tried to prevent it from happening, but I would rather offer up the ambrosia that is the finished album and invite you to pleasure your ears, inspire your soul, and empower your battle.
What can you tell us about your experiences in the intervening years and how they affected your outlook on the band and the music; in what ways are the new songs representative of your lives in the last 10 years?
Rose: Max and I have both met the devil several times; we have been starved, we have been cut down, and burned at the stake. We have felt sickened by the daily cracked out masquerade of society and we been buried alive at least a million times over the past 10 years. We have also witnessed beauty being decapitated and truth drowned. We have awoken to the most treacherous battles and often almost lost all hope. But we always came back to who we really are and what life is really about. No matter how often the masses who are asses tried to wipe that and who we love and what we live for from our minds, we always came to and remembered that Max and I have one song that has been within us since we were born that has one word and that word is PERSA-FUCKIN-VERE!
Tell us about the songwriting dynamic between the two of you and how your partnership has progressed since the last album; in what ways was the writing/recording process different for Machine Guns and Oral Sex compared to She Was a Spicy She-Wolf?
No one produced these songs but us. I had a vision, like a director – I knew I wanted these songs to be cinematic and monumental. I wanted demons purged and fucking angels invoked. I wanted to crumble all kingdoms of shit and rebuild a universe of beauty! We decided early on we would have no filler; every single song, each note, each lyric had to be fucking amazing and nothing else would do. We both knew we wanted metal and tribal drums with hints of military. I got my backup vocal ideas from the great harmonies of the ’60s. For my main vocals, I was very into the 1940s. Max’s guitar goes far beyond where guitars go; he is like an orchestra mixed with metal, a graveyard where the dead don’t walk… they fucking dance. We love these songs. They intoxicate us and prepare us for battle. They are seductive songs of war.
Max, Simara has stated that she gave you room for your guitar to shine – tell us first about your background and how you first picked up the guitar. Regarding the songwriting and Starlit’s music, because guitars are always very prominent, what are the difficulties in producing guitars as they relate to the rest of the instrumentation?
There are no difficulties in the instrumentation at all. I write all the guitar parts and piece them together with Simara. If she is not feeling one of the parts, then we just work on something until a new one comes out that fits. We always try to write in a middle section that highlights a guitar solo. We did not do much of this on She Was a Spicy She-Wolf; very different way of putting that record together. Machine Guns and Oral Sex was me and Simara sitting together writing as we went with no other influence or distraction.
You and Simara produce your music yourselves, but at any point is there ever a question if you would like to integrate other musicians or performers?
Regardless of how it pertains to Starlit, are there any musicians you would like the opportunity to work with outside of Starlit?
Cassidy: As far is working with other musicians outside of Starlit, there’s no time for this. We need to concentrate on what we are doing and continue to write. Although crossing this question with the previous question, yeah if we could get Lars from Metallica to join, that would be sweet. I think he would be on the same page with us.
Rose: I am working with my favorite musician – Max. I can’t think of another musician I would like to work with, but I think we would be a fucking great opener for Metallica.
In regards to your playing style, there is a very clear juxtaposition between simple yet powerful riffs and wild solos that showcase your technical skills. As a guitarist, is it ever a concern – either during the actual performance, or before or after the recording – that your individual voice is not being heard? In other words, at what point do you feel the skill ends and the soul begins?
Also, since you clearly are able to play other instruments, does it ever come into your mind to let the guitar take the backseat to one of them in the course of a Starlit song?
With regards to the album title and the song ‘Machine Guns and Oral Sex,’ along with ‘Blood on My Hands,’ ‘Death to Romance,’ what are your thoughts on the connections between sex and violence; especially with regards to your music and lyrics?
Rose: I openly admit I am a nymphomaniac, but the beauty and love I sing about in these songs is bigger than sex and has little to do with actual sex. There are so many levels to this. Machine Guns and Oral Sex is life. Machine Guns… is every fucking day; sometimes, each second is a battle. We must fight against all the unnecessary cruelty, the constant destruction of all that matters, and often the monsters within our own minds. Then you have the parts of life that is Oral Sex… that turn you on – sexually is just a part of that. We have all had great sex, but if you are lucky, you know of parts of life that turn you on that go way beyond sex, like a passion you have, moments in nature, creativity, the nobility and joy and wisdom in nonhumans, and the rare moments we connect to another human or get a glimpse of courage and kindness.
I have always been connected to beauty with hints of danger. I mean, isn’t a good deal of beauty dangerous? Isn’t it frightening to really see and know of deep beauty, paralyzing with bliss? Don’t we who love get so much hate for what we love and how we love? Isn’t all life always being killed by those who disrespect and have no idea the gift that life is?
So you see, violence and salvation have always been tied. I don’t like it that way, but it has always been that way. I have a tattoo on my right hip bone written in German that sums it up – ‘There is pleasure in my pain and pain in my pleasure.’ And though I loath hell, I will always go through hell if it means I get even a moment in heaven.
Starlit has always been vegan and devoted to animal rights – over the last 10 years, what sorts of positive events or changes have you seen occur for these causes?
As it’s been a number of years since the release of She Was a Spicy She-Wolf, what innovations in technology and recording techniques did you find most useful in bringing Starlit’s music to life on Machine Guns and Oral Sex? What did you do differently on the new album that you feel was particularly beneficial to this new album?
On that note, what are your thoughts on the way music technology has progressed over the years?
Rose: I would really like the opportunity in future to record on tape as it sounds far richer. With this album, I worked fucking hard. At points, it was agonizing as I loathe voice correction and refuse to use it so if I can not hit a note, I practice until I can. I did all the vocals and backup vocals. If you can do something and have an integral role, then you should do it; not a machine, not another musician.
Anything you’d like to add to close out?
Rose: Don’t be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams. Check out our catering company for the best vegan food in Los Angeles at http://rosesvegancatering.com. May your day be filled with Deco-dence, and a swellagent eve to you.
Starlit Website http://starlittheband.com
Starlit Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Starlit/229559030387800
Starlit ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/starlit