Arrow De Wilde & Henri Cash – Starcrawler ‘We’re Gonna Start a Cult!’

2022 is always going to be remembered as the year that things started to get back to normal post-COVID-19, the year live music made a comeback and the year that some brilliant albums were released. She Said by LA’s own Starcrawler is one of those great records, and you can check out our review HERE. I was lucky enough to grab a chat with not only vocalist Arrow De Wilde but also guitarist Henri Cash to chat about the record, nightmares, SpongeBob and heaps more.

After a quick discussion about me being from the future (because of the time difference between LA and Australia), I first asked if they were excited for the release of She Said. Arrow and Henri shared the sentiment of excitement, with Henri adding “Excited, nervous, all the feelings!” She Said is Starcrawler’s third record, but their label debut after their recent signing with Big Machine Records and I asked if they were more nervous for this record to come out than their previous releases:

“Yeah, for sure, yeah” responds Arrow with a smile and a hint of nervous laughter, before Henri jumps in, “It’s weird because we’ve held onto this one for so long, like it’s been done for a bit, we got the longest to work on it. We feel really proud of it, and it’s really scary at the same time.”

Arrow also jumped back in here and added, “It’s also a new era of the band, so it’s like there’s kind of pressure. I feel pressure along with it.” Curious at Arrow’s choice of words I asked what she meant by a “New Era” of the band:

We’ve always had the same colour scheme, and the live show now is a little different, we added a new member and like a fifth member, and it’s just a new era in my performance, you know? I’m trying to do my (David) Bowie thing, like, different characters. I mean it’s really just evolvement I guess, but it feels like, kind of a new thing for me.” 

Would you say that Bowie is one of your biggest influences then? “Yeah, definitely more performance-wise. I mean, I’m a huge Bowie fan, of the music but I don’t know if our music really sounds like Bowie, you know? But he’s a huge inspiration for me. He’s an amazing performer and his style, it was all him which I think is really cool. He was in charge of his own persona which I think is cool.”

Starcrawler’s Arrow De Wilde channelling her best Bowie! Photo: @gregallen_gapd

I put the question to Arrow first before asking Henri about his influences. “I mean a lot of people!” He answers with a smile, with a giggle thrown in by Arrow before he continued, “The Cramps were a big one for me growing up, I loved Lux Interior. I got leather pants when I was in the third grade and I wore them to school and everybody was like what the fuck is wrong with this kid and I threw them away. Then I love Jack White because he’s our only guitar rock idol of the 2000s kinda which is cool. We got to play with him recently too. I mean, Nick Cave is also one of the best performers ever in our day and era. It was amazing getting to watch him recently. There’s just so many!

Influences covered the conversation turned to the writing process of the record and whether it’s a lyrics then music kind of process, or if it’s music then lyrics. Arrow jumped in first with, “Pretty different! I guess with me I don’t write the music, so I do lyrics first usually but for them, I feel like it changes, it’s always different.”

Then Henri answered, “It’s usually music first on our side.” Henri and Arrow shared a laugh with each other before I asked the question I’m sure many musicians dread – do you have a favourite song on She Said? Henri at first answered with “Oh no!” before continuing with “I feel like it changes every day depending on what kind of mood I’m in. I mean, we just put so much of our personal lives into each one of the songs that it feels hard choosing a single one. Like, different moods.” Having listened to the record prior to our chat, I told Henri and Arrow that my favourite song on the record is the final track ‘Better Place‘, with Henri saying “Oh right on!” and Arrow saying “Oh thanks! That one, I don’t know, I like it a lot too. It’s hard to pick one but also because to me, they’re all so different, they all sound like they belong on the same record and the same world, I have such different feelings associated with each of them so it’s hard to say. I like ‘Runawaya lot too.” 

It’s hard not to laugh with Arrow and Henri because they’re so friendly and open, so after we laughed together I asked them how they came to the decision that the album was going to be called She Said and how this song title was chosen. Arrow answered first, saying, “We hadn’t really…we kinda put off the album name for as long as possible, because it’s literally the hardest thing about making a record, at least for me, is the name. I don’t know, it’s so hard and so when we were trying to figure it out, we were looking at all the songs and seeing any of the song names worked, we already had the album cover and everything so it was kinda depended on what name fit with everyone else we already had. We were looking at the song names and the lyrics and everything and made a whole list. She Said for me just felt right also because it was the first song that really set the tone for the album. It wasn’t the first song written but it was the first song that was like ‘let’s make a record, this is a record now’. I mean I’m kind of surprised we didn’t think of that then, that it should be the name. It just felt and sounded right.”

Henri, who was listening intently as Arrow talked then jumped in with his answer, “We kind of started, at the beginning of COVID we didn’t see each other for a couple of months because we were isolating, then when we finally got together and rehearsed, ‘She Said’ was the first song that we wrote on the porch and kept our distance, it felt like kind of a weird Romeo & Juliet moment. That song just sparked the record, once that song happened it was inspiring.”

Arrow adds, “That song got me really excited like, I was just so down before that, then that song, it set the purpose of it all.”

So how many songs did you guys have songs written pre-covid, then you kept writing when you got back together again after isolation? “None before isolation” is the answer that Henri and Arrow gave almost in sync before Arrow continued, “We were just on a break from touring and weren’t even at that time really thinking about a record. So once lockdown happened it was kind of, like there was I’d say a month or two, at least for me, of no creativity. I just had no drive whatsoever, I couldn’t do anything. Then once we got our shit together a little more we all kind of started having ideas and stuff.”

During COVID nobody was sure if we were ever going to get live shows again because of lockdowns and lost revenue, so I asked what the first Starcrawler show was like post-COVID. Henri answered first this time with “Oh amazing! It was in Sacramento” 

Arrow – “No, San Diego”
Henri – “No it was Sacramento the first one of the Dumb Bitches tour”
Arrow – “Ohh you’re right, you’re right!”

The three of us shared another laugh before Henri continued, “It was so crazy because at the beginning we didn’t know it that was ever gonna happen again. Like, people didn’t go to the grocery store, let alone stand in a crowd with a bunch of people and be all sweaty and dance. It’s crazy because when I started playing music as a kid, I watched videos of The Ramones and The Clash on YouTube live in ’77 and you see the room and the energy and you’re like ‘I wanna feel that way, I wanna go to shows’ so it was weird not knowing if that was gonna happen the same again.”

Arrow agreed before she added, “I kept having dreams that should be nightmares but I missed it so much I would have dreams that I was on stage and I realised I’d forgotten my costume and I was in my jeans. For me that’s a nightmare, realising I’ve got my jeans on stage. But then, when I’d wake up I’d be so sad, because oh shit I’m not actually at a venue and lockdown is a thing. I would have dreams every night that I was going out and stuff, then I’d wake up and be so bummed because the dreams felt so real!” 

Turning the conversation back to She Said I asked Henri and Arrow what they hoped people would take away from it after its release. Arrow answered first with, “I mean, there’s nothing, I don’t know, that question’s really hard because I don’t really go into writing or making art thinking what I hope people, I don’t know, I guess we made it for ourselves.”

It’d just be cool if people listen to it and felt something, whether they could relate it to themselves or their own stories, or maybe feel a certain way or be reminded of a certain time… Just, if people could identify with it and if they like it that’d be pretty cool and they listen to it and it got stuck in their head, that’d be nice. We just wanna get into people’s heads.” – Henri Cash says of She Said 

Arrow – “Mind Control!”

Henri – “Hypnotism!” 

Mind Control through music, and hypnotism. You should totally write a song about that for the next record!

I’m gonna start answering that question now with mind control. I want to control people’s minds.” Arrow answers with a laugh. “It won’t be a song, we’re all gonna play a certain frequency and people are just gonna erase their memories.”

Arrow then adds, “We’re gonna start a cult, the apocalypse happens because of us. Plot twist.” I think that’s the best answer I’ve ever had to that question! “It’s like in that episode of SpongeBob where Plankton takes over, he takes over the world and everyone has the helmets and they’re being controlled, like that.”

Henri adds, “Then music saves the day!”

Before Arrow jumps back in with, “Everyone in pink helmets!” Laughing, Henri amends his answer about naming the record to, “We were watching SpongeBob and then we thought ‘what if we called the record She Said?” The love of SpongeBob is evident between Henri and Arrow, and Arrow continues on, saying “The thing about SpongeBob is there’s an analogy for every life scenario and situation. I swear to God it can be related to a SpongeBob episode!”

SpongeBob discussions momentarily put on hold, I asked what the plan is for the next six or so months. Arrow and Henri both immediately answered, again in sync “Tour!” before Henri elaborated, “We’re gonna be playing a bunch of shows hopefully and at the end of the year we’re going to be coming back to Australia. It would be amazing, we could escape the winter!”

For the ill-informed, Starcrawler were set to play Splendour in the Grass this year, but due to the weather at the time, their set was part of the acts that were cancelled on the Friday outing – but they’re keen as mustard to get back down under it seems.

Arrow – “I just want to go to the beach every day. I mean, I want to play Australia too like, I love y’all, but I REALLY wanna go to the beach! We have beaches here, but it’s not the same.”

Henri – “Australian beaches are so much nicer. I wanna go to the Australia Zoo and hang out with koalas and stuff.”

Arrow took the opportunity here of Henri being distracted thinking about koalas to talk more about the tour, “We’re going to a bunch of places we haven’t been before. We’re going to Korea, and we’re going to the Dominican Republic next year in February and I’m excited.” It’s an essential question to know what Australian city international artists like the most, and I put this to Henri and Arrow. “To visit or to play?” Arrow asks, before Henri falls off his chair and almost takes her with him, then regaining their balance she continues, “It’s hard because…the best shows, I mean, we’ve only played out there twice but Melbourne, the crowd there is so sick.” 

Henri – “They really seem to get us so far.”

Arrow – “I mean everywhere is great there, there hasn’t really been a bad show. But I love, in terms of like, I really like Byron Bay and that whole East Coast. I love Sydney. Just being there it feels like a more tropical Los Angeles so I feel more at home in a weird way where I’m there. Apart from the non-polluted air! But I don’t know I’m pro-Australia all the way.”

During the interview, which took place over Zoom, Henri is wearing an Oxford Arts Factory t-shirt so I put it to him that he must really like Sydney. “I didn’t even plan this! It was an accident.” Being from Melbourne myself it was nice to hear Arrow and Henri speak so fondly of it. “Melbourne’s rad. The last show was amazing and I really like going out, I love Cherry Bar, going out in Australia is great. Frankie’s in Sydney is amazing. It’s, the people there that are fun.” 

Being that there are five members of the band, I asked if that meant coming to decisions was sometimes a hard process. “Luckily we all have the same taste. It only really gets hard sometimes like, really little minute details. When we’re doing an album cover or a poster, me and Henri are like ‘this font should be pink!’ ‘No, this font should’ Like, that’s the shit that we argue about.”

Henri jumped in, “The tiniest, tiniest things.” Arrow smiles before continuing on, “For the most part, we agree on everything. It would suck if we all wanted to be in a different band. I’ve known people that have way too different tastes where it makes it hard to agree on stuff. So luckily we all have the same vibe and taste and stuff.”

Finally, asked Arrow and Henri what five words they would use to summarise She Said. Henri answered first with “This album is really sick. I don’t know it’s like…”

Arrow – ‘Pink, pu$$y poppin’ jams, man!” 

It’s hard to describe, because I was like listen to it and see what you think. The hardest thing is naming things whether it’s naming a song, or a record… Or the band. Or what something is like!”

Find your own five words by giving the band’s new record a spin!

Interview by Kelsey Trevan @Kelsey_139

She Said is out now via Big Machine Records – grab your copy HERE!
and keep your eyes peeled for tour dates later on this year.

Starcrawler – She Said tracklisting:

1. Roadkill
2. She Said
3. Stranded
4. Thursday
5. Broken Angels
6. Jetblack
7. True
8. Midnight
9. Runaway
10. Better Place

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