R13 sat down with Andrew ‘Animal Andy’ Spence from Starseed to chat about the drama’s of touring, the tiring process of making a music video, moving from South Africa to London and why it is all very, very worth it.

R13:Firstly, hello!

R13:You're on tour at the moment, how's it going?
AS: It's been a pretty hectic start, we started off in Leicester. We rocked up to play a little bikers bar, which was a bit of a different show! But it was pretty cool and not a bad gig.
Rockers at Glasgow was just awesome, they must have packed that place out. Everyone really responded well to the stuff and they wouldn't let us off after our 45 minute set, so we played an extra 15 minutes after.

R13:Have you amassed any horror tour stories yet?
AS:Every time we tour it's been the most diabolical weather. It's like mother nature's just actually watching for the band. We’ve had 75 mile an hour winds and good fun like that. Scotland was the same thing, we hired a van, the van was completely wrecked, we hired it from a company that really shouldn't be hiring vans, but it was our last option. This thing leaked, it didn't have a dashboard light, the cigarette lighter part didn't even have a charger, so our sat nav ran out. Which is not cool when you're trying to tour the UK!! It was… interesting.

R13:Are you looking forward to being home and playing The 100 Club in London tonight then?
AS:Oh yeah. It's a bit crappy on my part but every time I said we're playing the 100 Club everyone's like "WHOA you're playing the 100 club" and I'm thinking should I know the 100 Club, why don't I know the 100 Club. So I researched, it's got such a renowned history!
We're really looking forward to playing here and just the excitement of other people is making me really excited.

R13:For those that don't know you yet - sum up Starseed in one sentence.
AS:Hard melodic passion, the lyrics are particularly emotional and positive and we just like to rock behind it.

R13:Starseed originated in South Africa, how's the rock scene there compared to the UK?
AS: It's a very different scene, it's a lot smaller. The majority of people who would listen to our style of music would probably be members of the white population which is very small crowd, and then about 80% of them are in to dance music or house music or very poppy stuff. So then you've got 20% of that tiny little market. It's very hard to make it in there, and when you do there's not much further you can go. There's only a certain amount of rock clubs per main town and there's not a lot of main towns.

R13:So you made the move to London
AS: You have a sense of the world here. The States are easy to dash across to and you've got Europe right there. Germany's got a big rock scene, actually a lot of Europe does like Belgium and Holland. It's a big market to tap.

R13:And it’s the right move?
AS:Even just being a slightly successful drop in the ocean over here is more than being a big band in SA. That's just personally the way I feel.

R13: You've just released a video for your next single 'Shine'. What's the response to that been like?
AS: Pretty good considering our very tiny budget!
We liked it and ever since we showed it off to people, people are really impressed. Scuzz TV have accepted it!

R13: What was it like making it?
AS: It’s our first proper music video we've done. On set with a whole bunch of crew and make up people. It was a cool experience, but I think the novelty wears off when you're about 10 takes into the same song, trying to pull it off with the same tenacity and energy. It's a grueling experience to say the least.

R13:Lots of repetition then? AS:You play over and over and over again and you have to give it your all as though it's the first time and you're playing it in a massive stadium, particularly if that's the energy you want to pull off. 40 takes down the line, I tell you what, you’ve lost about 10 kgs and you're not liking that song anymore!
But then suddenly he [the producer] pops around and goes what do you think of this - and it's all paid off. It was so worth it.

R13:You worked with a well established team to produce the video, what did you think of them?
AS:The guys we found were a really good bunch of guys. Ben Thornley up in Manchester, he's got a company called Sitcom Soldiers. They've done some cool videos for bands like Therapy? and Fightstar, bands like that. We'll definitely be working with those guys again.

R13:You had your album launch party a few months back for 'Peace Machine'. What was the writing process like for that?
AS:It's actually been our longest one.
We’d been planning to do an album for quite some time, ever since Pete [Wicker, guitars] joined the band and we became a five piece. At the beginning of this year we decided, right, let's get in there. From the 2nd of January we went to Pete's house - he lives out in Essex and has a little recording setup. We very carefully wrote this album together.
We wrote about 18 tracks and slowly whittled it down to 15. We took them to the studio and during that recording dropped it down to 12. It was a longer process than our first album, but a more dedicated.

R13:How did it compare to writing/recording your first album?
AS:We did an album back in 2004. We wrote that with myself, my brother Russell[Spence, vocalist] and Gerald [Gill, guitar] who'd just joined the band. We had session bassists and Gerald played the bass on some tracks. Listening to it now you can hear the disjointedness of it all. This current line up of Starseed is the longest we've been a set unit. Five piece, everyone together, writing for an album. You can hear the difference.

R13: You have an enormous presence live, what's been your most memorable gig so far?
AS: Indigo2 [album launch], it was by far one of the biggest shows we've played, not only was the venue just sterling and fantastic, the promoters were awesome and we had a tight set as a unit. Everything fell in to place that night, we had a good turnout a good bunch of fans came, we made a whole load of new fans that night. Everyone just really got in to it.
In saying that, we just played Rockers in Glasgow, the response from that show was just immense. Actually on the way back down we were going "was Indig02 better, was Rockers better". I guess from the scale of it all Indig02 was probably it, but to be honest the atmosphere and intimacy of Rockers really stands out so it's close.

R13:Your fan base is growing constantly, area they a fun bunch?
AS: Our fans are still a bit timid at the minute Although we're getting one or two decent responses from some interesting members of the fan base.
We've got to sign a lot more albums at our last few shows which has been a good sign, and we're selling a lot more albums. They're slowing taking to us, we're an American style rock band coming in to London and trying to make it and I think they're starting to like us
R13: - so fans, get talking and show Starseed your love!

R13:2009’s been a big year for you, any particular stand outs?
AS: The progression of the band this year has been immense for us. While we were recording the album we had one of our biggest opportunities. A band called Run Through the Desert came out [Chris Cornell's touring band]. They'd got our music and asked us to come support them for their show.
Then we finished the album and the response to the album's been so immense. We got an article in Kerrang! which is huge for us, ever since I was a 13 year old boy I've been reading Kerrang! so it's quite a surreal thing for me and the guys. And just in the last few weeks' we've been played on a number of stations, and reviews are coming, we've articles in magazines and of course Scuzz, we're going to be on Scuzz tv! To me, this year, as far as the bands gone, has been the most successful year so far.

R13:What’s 2009 taught you as a band?
AS: One thing we've learnt in the last few months is how you don't need a traditional record label. Everything we've done has been self financed; we've done exactly what a record company would have done for you. We've got all the pieces that a record company would setup for you.
We would like a distribution deal.. and sponsorships or loans!
R13:So for those reading this.... Starseed would like you to sponsor them!!
AS: We've got the team in place - sponsor us!

R13:What's on the cards for next year?
AS:Bigger and better things we hope. We've got a UK tour coming up in February. Hopefully some European shows and we're really pushing for the festivals.

R13:For those that are just being introduced to Starseed, what message would you like to send to them?
AS: I guess it's been pretty down and negative times for the last god knows how long, our CD is a very positive message. We're trying to kick start a bit of a positive vibe going on into the next few years.
Come and feel the Starseed love at our shows and we'll entertain you.
You want to be entertained, get some hard rock, a positive message come and see us, no more doom and gloom!

And with that Andy went off to prepare for their 13/13 headlining set.
Starseed’s album ‘Peace Machine’ is available now on iTunes and in stores November 30. Catch Starseed on tour around the UK in February/March 2010.