ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Starsailor sails away from silence
By Christopher Hodge
SILENT BUT VIOLENT. The lads of Starsailor keep the noises pounding on
their sophomore record Silence is Easy.
It’s 11:45 a.m. but Ben Byrne of Starsailor is ready to go, eager to
talk about music, success and the band’s new album Silence is Easy.
This is a surprisingly uncommon characteristic in a musician. Most hate early
mornings and would rather party all night and sleep all day. Not Byrne, however — perhaps
he’s not a common musician.
Byrne is focused on this particular morning. Having just arrived in Toronto
after the band played a show the previous night in Detroit, he’s remarkably
cheerful. And he has good reason to be. This is a man who had a dream, and
through hard work and determination, realized it.
Life wasn’t always so. Paradise, Byrne says, was a destination reached
only after spending many years travelling difficult roads. He recalls his days
as a regular guy, once managing a liquor store.
“We’ve embraced what has happened,” he says. “At an
early age, we all knew we wanted to be in a band and make records. Now, we’ve
been given the opportunity to make records. And we love touring. We’re
living the dream!”
After the success of the band’s first album, it seemed the dream was
finally concrete. Confirmation of their newly heightened status in the music
scene came when Starsailor was invited to play with the Rolling Stones in front
of a large audience. Byrne remembers this particular occasion fondly.
“We were playing in front of a crowd of 60,000 with the Stones. Afterwards
we went to the post-show party. I remember seeing Mick [Jagger] there, and
him walking right by me. I was going to talk to him, but I didn’t have
the bollocks to say hello. I also met Brian May from Queen, who I’d been
a fan of since I was like eight.”
What’s impressive is his humbleness. He knows he’s got a sweet
deal — whereas most people are just trying to make ends meet, Byrne is
actually living the dream.
Well, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration. He’s not quite a household
name yet, but in lieu of the success of the band’s first album Love is
Here, he does seem poised to accomplish great things.
There’s only one problem, though: obtaining success is one thing, but
as for maintaining it — well, that’s not so easy. Many bands have
come and gone, many of whom have also shown promise. What makes Starsailor
Byrne admits that while the task is daunting, he feels proud of what the band
has accomplished with their album Silence is Easy.
“We had been writing songs on the road, trying to get everything down,” Byrne
says. “When we got back to Manchester, we started writing tunes again.
It was difficult, but we didn’t want to recreate the first album. We
used more strings, and the album is more energetic, upbeat. I think it’s
a lot more confident than the first album. After eight months spent recording,
we got exactly what we wanted.”
Byrne sounds sincere when he says this. This is a musician who knows where
he’s been and where he’s going. And given how little time he wastes
during any given morning, he’s got all the time in the world to do it.