Portland band Daystar is known to wear their influences on their sleeves. And while their styles might seem familiar in the veins of Wings, Badfinger, and Cheap Trick, it doesn’t diminish their genuine warmth and fullness in their 12 track album The Complete Recordings (https://daystarpdx.bandcamp.com/), which harkens back to friendly harmonies, rousing guitar, and classic melodies that both pull on our heart strings and bring a sense of comfort.
The Complete Recordings releases on October 25th, with the record release (check that crimson vinyl) going down at Bunk Bar on Saturday, October 19th, conveniently close to the Death Of Print Celebration for our very own mag, ELEVEN PDX.
Eleven caught up with Daystar’s lead singer Derek Phillips about their new album and what might be next for their band, playing classic rock in indie city, and being a Beatles fanatic.
ELEVEN PDX: How did you get started as Daystar?
Derek Phillips: Joel hassled me for a long time to start another band. I had toured for a while with a band when I lived in Chicago called Riviera and loved it, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to get another project going. But anyone who knows Joel knows how persuasive he can be so we started talking about the sounds we like but don’t often hear from bands. Stuff like Big Star or Badfinger. We knew WE would love to hear a and like that so there are probably others who would too. Nick and Kelly fell right into it and the sound evolved from there.
11: What does the name Daystar refer to?
Derek: Like all bands, we went round and round with and names (ask Joel about Pony Rub). We wanted something that sounded cosmic, but not kooky. Also something that could be a little nod to our influences without being too obvious or obnoxious. Daystar had a nice vibe to it.
11: Have you always played in Portland?
Derek: We mostly play in Portland because it’s simply the best place for music. We’re so lucky here to e surrounded by art and culture and music and just a really creative culture. There are a lot of great players in Portland and so it’s just a treat to e a part of that. Moving here from Chicago I would often be asked about the difference the music scenes in each city and the truth is that Chicago is obviously bigger, but Portland is so supportive and creative.
11: Your songs are made up of classic/blues/rock- maybe a touch of country and Americana- in a city of Indie/metal/experimental artists. (not that Portland doesn’t have a lot of folksy acts, but the times they are a changin.)
Derek: We’ve had a really positive reaction at our shows, not least of which from venue staff! People tell us all the time how glad they are to hear melodic rock and roll with a it of attitude. It’s easy to be a beard-stroker or something and we just try to e fun and entertaining while really focusing on the craft of songwriting. I think that’s something that’s sometimes missing and I’m glad to e a bit old fashioned in bringing it back.
11: What are some of your influences and inspirations for The Complete Recordings? I’m definitely reminded of some older rock, and wow, The Beatles. “Right At Home” reminds me especially of “Get Back” by the Beatles. Obviously some McCartney love.
Derek: I have been obsessed with The Beatles my whole life–literally. My dad saw them live in Washington DC in 1964 and played their records in my house as I was growing up. When we were forming the sound of Daystar, they were certainly an influence, but even more so we wanted the big stadium sound of McCartney and Wings. The combo of his melodies with a giant rock sound is really appealing and so Wings Over America is basically the live sound we’re going for.
11: The artwork for this album is really eerie and beautiful, reminiscent of 2017’s eclipse. What’s the idea behind it?
Derek: Funny you should say that. The idea started with a photo our friend Chad Lanning took of that eclipse. We loved it so much we bought it from him but weren’t sure what to do with it. Another friend, Patrick Craig from Turn Agency, came in to design our alum artwork and took the photo and created a new concept we all immediately fell in love with. As a bonus, the original photo is a postcard we included as an insert in the vinyl package.
11: You guys have released videos for “Buttons and Brass” and “Warped Reality.” Whats next after your release at Bunk Bar? New videos? Tour?
Derek: More videos are already in the works and we have our Midnight Caller Sound Magazine as a podcast. We like to create so we have a bunch of channels where we can stretch our ideas. We’ll also continue to book shows in support of the record and who knows how far and wide that will take us? Maybe a Daystar Over America tour is in order?
We’ll be waiting…