February 11, 2014 Interview – Bec Hollcraft of Stars In Stereo
In recent years, a new wave of bands have taken hard rock by storm with a fresh hybrid of sounds. Los Angeles, CA based Stars In Stereo are standing out from the pack with their own mix of styles. In 2013 the band released their debut self-titled album, Stars In Stereo, touring relentlessly most of the year, and finding themselves amongst some of the top rock bills around. Receiving warm receptions from audiences countrywide it seems as if all the hard work was paying off for this highly motivated bunch. For lead singer Bec Hollcraft, the drive and determination to reach her dreams as a artist continues into the new year and beyond with more touring, working on a new album, and further developing her voice. Recently we sat down with Bec Hollcraft for a personal retrospective of the last few years of Stars In Stereo, maturing as a musician, love for music, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – The story of Stars In Stereo is very interesting. You began in 2011 and hit the road in 2012 on tours with Hoobastank, Blue October, and The Used among others. Then 2013 really was a huge year for the band with the release of your self-titled debut and extensive touring. Tell me, how would you describe 2013?
Bec Hollcraft – It was very busy. We were on the road pretty much the entire year. That was really my first time touring that much. It was so awesome and crazy. We got to tour with so many great bands that inspired us. Just being able to watch those bands every night made us a better band. We definitely learned a lot and we want to do it again this year (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – Now, you toured with everyone from Flyleaf and Drowning Pool, to P.O.D, Bullet For My Valentine, and Halestorm in 2013. How do you find the diverse mix of hard rock and metal crowds responded to Stars In Stereo?
Bec Hollcraft – It is interesting, I feel like it depends on the cities. It has been very positive overall. We have been very fortunate to play with great bands that have amazing fans which are super supportive. We have been having a great time and it is good for us.
CrypticRock.com – You definitely got yourself in front of diverse audiences, which is great.
Bec Hollcraft – At the end of the day all the bands we toured with are rock, of course there are different kinds of rock. I think that all the fans recognize that, and it is all about the performance.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, you are no stranger to music as you have been involved since you were a young child. You had a solo project going in which you released an album in 2008 entitled Alive. Besides Stars In Stereo being more hard rock, how does your earlier experience differ than from working with Stars In Stereo?
Bec Hollcraft – I think it is very different being a solo artist than being in a band. In a band there are obviously more people, it is not just my vision, it is a shared vision. I actually like that a lot more. It is really fun to be able to share your experience with other people; it just makes everything more exciting. I loved doing the solo stuff, I learned a lot from it. I was also working in a foreign country mostly, and that was an amazing experience, but definitely strange. I am definitely happier being in the US and being raw with the music. I think I am being myself more than ever before.
CrypticRock.com – Your solo material is excellent. It is very powerful and emotional alternative rock. Your voice, while always being unique and strong, has seemed to have grown over the years. Do you think that comes with experience or have you altered your approach at all?
Bec Hollcraft – Well, thank you first of all. Definitely, touring makes your voice stronger. It is that way with any instrument, the more you practice and perform, the better you are going to get. The music I am doing in Stars In Stereo is definitely harder rock than what I did before, and I am pushing myself. I have definitely been influenced by the bands we are playing with too, that has taught me a lot. I think if you are not pushing yourself then why bother doing it at all. For me I want to get better and better. I never felt like there was a limit to my voice and musicianship at all. I have always known you can always get better and do different things. I think just knowing that in general helps.
CrypticRock.com – Of course as an artist you always want to get better. There does seem to be a lot more female fronted hard rock and metal bands in the past few years. This is an extremely positive thing as diversity is great. How do you feel about the influx of female influence in hard rock and metal?
Bec Hollcraft – It is amazing. A great band as Halestorm definitely influences me a lot. When you see other girls doing what you are doing it is cool, you can learn a lot from it, and it is inspiring. I think it is all about sticking together with that too and feeling empowered, it is awesome.
CrypticRock.com – Yes it is great. Hard rock and metal have always been very male dominated and it is great to see more diversity now. Now, your debut self-titled album was released in April of 2013. It is really a great mix of heavier and alternative rock, and even some electronic style tracks. What was the writing and recording process like for the record?
Bec Hollcraft – It was really interesting because we definitely knew what we wanted to do. I met the guys in the band, and the next week we pretty much started writing and recording (laughs). I think if you have people which have the same vision for your art it just makes the process go a lot quicker than usual. It was also interesting because we just met and were writing together so you have to be vulnerable right away with people you just met. That was definitely an interesting experience. It was fun and I decided with every song to try and bring dark subjects into a positive light. We tried to make the theme of each song more anthem-like than just plain rock music.
CrypticRock.com – It definitely shows in the record. It is interesting that you got together and started writing so quickly. With that said, I imagine the next record will be a little different after spending more time with one another?
Bec Hollcraft – Oh yes, definitely. We have been living together for pretty much a year straight in a small area. We are just really a tight unit and family. Everything we write now is even quicker than ever before because we just know what we want. We have really developed over the year. It is really exciting now; we have been in the studio now since the beginning of the year. It has been a blast writing together, we have a home studio so we can really relax and take our time with the songs. It has definitely been an enjoyable experience so far.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like it will be something to look forward to. Making it in the music industry is not an easy task at all. I think sometimes we do not realize the hard work and dedication it takes to make you visible for people to see. It is not enough to be talented; you have to know how to separate yourself from the mass of other bands out there. What have you found to be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome?
Bec Hollcraft – I think just winning over an audience who has no idea who you are. That for us has been the challenge, but we love that challenge. Every time you get on that stage that is our goal, to win over the audience. I think the point of everything is to just enjoy yourself and do what you love. If you are not doing that, that is going to be a challenge within itself. When you love something so much everything just becomes easier because you know you have to do it. We have not had too many terrible obstacles, but of course getting yourself out there is difficult. You can either go on a TV show or post videos on YouTube playing cover songs, or you can go out there and play shows over and over and hope that the word spreads. It takes a lot of time of course.
CrypticRock.com – Yes and I think now a day getting out there and touring is the best option for a band. I would like to know what some of your musical influences are.
Bec Hollcraft – I have a lot, definitely a lot of acts from the 1980’s and 1990’s. I love Heart, Garbage, even Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Matthew of Muse have influenced me a lot. I have been listening to a lot more progressive music lately, which has been influencing me. It is kind of all over the place (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – It is great that you have a wide range of tastes there.
Bec Hollcraft – Definitely, I just love so many different kinds of music. That definitely influences the writing as a band and our performance. All of us like different kinds of music, but at the same time we also have the same kind of tastes as well. We just bring the different elements into the song writing process.
CrypticRock.com – That is what it is all about, different tastes coming together and making something unique all their own. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Bec Hollcraft – I am definitely. I like to watch them more than other films probably. I really love Guillermo del Toro. I think he is an incredible artist, the visuals he uses in his films. How he always puts everything together, it is always really dark and fucked up, but at the end somehow there is a happy ending. It is not quite happy, but it is within a horror movie (laughs). I have been watching American Horror Story; it is to me the best TV show ever because it incorporates the horror aspect within television. I love how every season is different. I have been watching The Walking Dead. I don’t really like zombie movies, but I definitely like lots of blood and gore. It has been fun to watch that.
CrypticRock.com – Those are some great shows. That is interesting that you appreciate the blood and gore. Do you like a lot of slashers from the 1980’s?
Bec Hollcraft – Oh totally. I also love the psychological thrillers, but there has not been a ton lately that I thought were really good. I really liked Mothman Prophecies (2002), which I thought was terrifying. There are also movies that I watched when I was younger that were terrifying, but now they are ridiculous to me (laughs). It definitely takes a lot for me to be impressed when it comes to psychological thrillers.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, there are definitely movies when you were younger that scared you that now you don’t find scary. I think it is also about the time and place you are in. In my opinion, a lot of the newer films are so clear and high quality that it takes away the scary feeling. What do you think about that?
Bec Hollcraft – I see what you mean, probably because I have been desensitized now. I have seen the incredible work that they can do with making things look so real now. To me that is scarier because you don’t look at it and say oh that is fake. It just looks real; I think that is way more terrifying personally (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – You are right. There are a lot of films which they do amazing real effects, but there are a lot of films which use the CGI effect so much. The Walking Dead is great but there are many times they will use CGI blood which just seems lazy and ruins a scene.
Bec Hollcraft – Oh yea. Zombies in general make me laugh. No matter if it looks real it is just so ridiculous that I am just like obviously that is fake anyway (laughs). I see what you mean when they did not have those options they would have to be more creative and creepy, so I definitely can see how they could be scarier too.