Hardcore band I See Stars was formed in 2005 by Devin Oliver (clean vocals), Andrew Oliver (unclean vocals, keys, programming, percussion), Brent Allen (guitars), and Jeff Valentine (bass). A band ever-inspired to create music just released their fifth album “Treehouse” this past June. The following is our backstage conversation from Vans Warped Tour‘s Nikon at Jones Beach Theater stop.
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Mike O’Keefe: Let’s start off the conversation with a little bit about your hometown and how you got your start in music.
I See Stars: Absolutely! We come from Warren, Michigan. It’s kind of crazy, because Brent, our guitar player, lived right around the block from me and Devin and Jeff lived on the other side [of town] so we all went to the same elementary school. The geography of all it really matters, because it’s so crucial to who you are born around and who’s driving around on bikes in your neighborhood. You start to meet people and start to figure out who has certain aspirations. Warren had a very, very strong local fan base and knew the local scene of people making music and people coming to shows on the regular, even before the Internet, when people were getting flyers by hand. It was a very organic local scene. We came up around bands like Chiodos. We would attend shows wearing their shirts.
MO: Sweet. Did going to those shows inspire your sound?
ISS: Yeah, I think that really inspired our sound.
MO: That’s awesome. So, to tie it into travel what are three destinations that you’d like to play music in? Could be anywhere in the world.
ISS: I really want to play Red Rocks in Denver. I really, really love that location. I would love to play Coachella, because of the beautiful environment. I’ve been to Bonnaroo, but I really want to experience Coachella. The venue is just unreal. You just feel like you’re on Mars. It’s the same with Red Rocks. Red Rocks is just beautiful looking. I want to play in Switzerland too. There’s a venue that’s right in front of the Swiss Alps and it’s like you’re just playing to the mountains.
MO: Love your choices! How does music and travel fit together overall?
ISS: It really goes hand in-hand. When making music, I think it’s kind of important to put yourself in a unique environment, an environment will inspire you. It’ll rub off on whatever mood you’re trying to create. I’ll sometimes go sit on a beach with my laptop and headphones and see what happens. I love doing that kind of stuff, because suddenly it’s not about getting something done, you don’t feel like you’re in an office. With traveling and playing music we can do anything we want to do. We’ve been to canyons; we’ve been on mountain hikes; we’ve done all that. A lot of bands don’t do it. A lot of bands just party so hard that they wake up the next day and just do the gig. We’re just adamant about trying to make our travel worthwhile. I’d really like to start touring with a few more days off after in certain places.