UTG INTERVIEW: Starwalker detail self-titled debut


Comprised of Jean-Benoit Dunckel (Air/Tommorow’s World) and Icelandic composer Bardi Johannsson (Bang Gang, Lady & Bird), Starwalker‘s name perfectly encapsulates their music—spacious, progressive, and absolutely out of this world. Red hot off the release of their new self-titled debut, the outfit’s head-turning brand of electropop is both pristine and powerful, certain to put longtime fans of the genre over the moon.

We recently chatted with the duo, who gave us all the details on their latest undertaking and then some. Read our conversation after the break, and get better acquainted with Starwalker here.

UTG: How did you guys begin collaborating together?

Bardi: We met through a common friend in Paris and decided to try to work on one song. The song sounded really good, so we wanted to have another go. Then another song, and that continued until we had an album.

JB: We wanted to record one song together and we found out that there was so many things we could do together. I was inspired by the atmosphere that Bardi was creating in the studio and I wanted to experiment more with melodies and nice sounds to space out to.

As a duo, how do you two generally go about writing—is it a joint process, or do you both come to each other with your own separate ideas?

Bardi: In 95% of the cases, the song came to life when we were together in the studio.

JB: Yes, it can start from separate ideas but they make love together and arrive at a point where a baby gets born. We search for a meeting point where the soul of the song appears.

One of you resides in Iceland while the other lives in France, correct? Does this distance make it difficult to write, practice, etc.?

Bardi: The distance had both benefits and complications. We had to schedule our recordings quite in advance; we did a few days in a row and then took a break for a few months, then back to recording. The benefits were that we got time to digest the songs and come fresh to them later. Nothing is difficult if you have good health and good humor.

JB: Distance doesn’t exist in music anymore. Music files travel fast. But we spent a lot of time in the studio together.

In addition to Starwalker, you both have your own individual musical pursuits as well. Do you guys feel like any of your other projects influence the work you do together?

Bardi: I am quite sure that our audience feels our musical DNA. But when you blend different DNAs there is never the same result twice. I think Starwalker is a unique individual project with some reflection of its parents.

JB: Of course all these different projects shape our capacity to create music, but also it’s good to unlearn them each time. I always think about finding a new process of making a song.

You two just released your new self-titled album. How has it been received thus far?

Bardi: The response has been amazing. Great feedback, and most of all we are happy with the results.

JB: It’s been a really good reaction around the world.

How would you describe the new record, and what do you think sets it apart from your past releases?

Bardi: The record has so many nice elements. It is melodic, ambient, and spacey. What sets it apart from other releases we have done is that we have never released an album together before; that is special.

JB: It’s a really soft pop album, almost childlike. It’s the opposite of aggression. There’s a lot of fun in it. There’s a lightness to it.

Do either of you have a favorite track off the album?

Bardi: There are different elements I like in each song. Every song has got something special.

JB: “Demeter” makes me feel a certain, dreamy emotion.

What’s next on the agenda for Starwalker?

Bardi: Let people enjoy this album and make another one.

JB: Spending some time in Iceland to take the energy of Earth and put it into sound.

Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence is a proud Wisconsinite, a dinosaur enthusiast, and a lover of all things weird and whacky.
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