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  • Writer's pictureBarney Townsend

Starsailor - Interview & Signed Test Pressing Giveaway

Today, Warrington indie-rock heroes Starsailor released their first new studio album in six years, the Rick McNamara-produced Where The Wild Things Grow, described by XS Noise as a record that reaffirms "their place in the musical landscape, proving that while nostalgia may beckon, their creative journey is far from over."


We caught up with singer James Walsh, who kindly answered our questions about the new record, and are proud to have a test pressing of the album, signed by the band, to give away to one lucky winner.


 

Over the past two decades, Starsailor have been compared to everyone from Neil Young and Van Morrison to Wigan compatriots, The VerveJames Walsh cites the latter’s homecoming show in front of 33,000 people at Haigh Hall on 24th May 1998 as a revelatory experience. Whatever your pronouncements on the matter, one thing’s for sure: Where The Wild Things Grow bears up to candid analysis.


The album features additional guitar work from Embrace's Rick McNamara and Travis’s Andy Dunlop, as well as backing vocals by Lucy Joules (Sam Smith). Rick McNamara, who produced the album, is now unofficially ‘the fifth Starsailor’, or, as Walsh puts it, “another creative in the room who really cares about the songs and pushes us to our limits.”


TM: Your first album in six years, Where the Wild Things Grow is out today, with XS Noise declaring that the record is "a sonically cohesive masterpiece, showcasing their evolution as musicians and storytellers". Was evolving the Starsailor sound while retaining the roots of your early work an intentional goal for this record?


James Walsh: Absolutely. I think, primarily, we wanted to serve the songs individually rather than worry too much about the cohesive whole - make them as good as they can possibly be. That’s why it’s an album of extremes (to a point); the heavier songs are no-holds-barred for us and the delicate moments are very delicate.



TM: Epic new single 'Better Times' is out today, with fans already treated to the singles 'Heavyweight' and 'Where The Wild Things Grow', each very different song showcasing a different facet of the record. What's the track on the album that you feel most encapsulates Starsailor in 2024?


JW: For me, it’s ‘After The Rain’. It came together very spontaneously - a moment of magic so it brings back great memories.

I think that to be able to do it that quickly encapsulates the hard work we’ve put in over the years: "It took me 10 years to learn to write this in ten minutes..."


TM: Where The Wild Things Grow is produced by Rick McNamara of Townsend Music favourites Embrace - you've even described Rick as "the fifth Starsailor". When did your relationship with Rick begin and why is he still the man for the job all this time later?


RW: We did a tour with Embrace around 2015 in the US, so that’s the first time we met properly, although our paths would always cross at festivals etc. I remember playing Danny’s (Danny McNamara - Embrace singer) club nights when he was a promotor for a while. Rick's just a really good character and knows when to push us and when to hold back. He’s got an ego too, which is a good thing most of the time! He wants to prove himself as a producer and make something special as much as we do.


TM: Yesterday, Starsailor celebrated the album release with a Hometown Album Launch Party (with Q&A and Band Performance plus album playback) at Chorley FC Social Club. Are you and the band still avid Chorley FC supporters and how does your shared passion for football influence the band's dynamic and music-making?


JW: To be honest, I’m more committed to Liverpool FC (glory hunter I hear you cry!); it was just who everyone supported at school growing up, either Liverpool or Manchester United. I’ve always followed Chorley FC’s fortunes though and was very impressed with the cup run a few seasons back. Going out 1-0 to Premier League Wolves is no disgrace! .


TM: You describe visiting Townsend Records as a teenager. and Where The Wild Things Grow is available on colour vinyl, cassette and CD editions on the Official Starsailor Store. In today’s streaming culture, does having your albums released on tangible formats remain important? And do you still listen to music on physical formats in 2024?


J: It’s great to hold something in your hand with great artwork and liner notes. It’s always intriguing to know who produced a record and who the extra musicians are, which you don’t readily get with streaming.


I think vinyl is growing at a breakneck pace. It’s such a great format. I often stream an album and if it really grabs me I’ll order the vinyl. CD & cassette too.

Where The Wild Things Grow is out now on Signed Lilac Vinyl, Signed CD, Black Heavyweight Vinyl, Cassette and Deluxe Digital Download Formats (Deluxe Digital includes six exclusive live and acoustic bonus tracks).

Enter our exclusive giveaway to win a signed test pressing of Starsailor's Where The Wild Things Are.


The winner will be chosen on Monday April 4 2024.

N.B: If the competition entry module is inaccessible, enter the giveaway directly via the button below.


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