It’s said that some of the best collaborations conspire under the most unlikeliest of situations, and in the case of Starline, the duo’s roots couldn’t be any further apart if they tried. Comprised of former band leader of Pale, Calvin Stanley, and former NBA point guard Matt Maloney, these two had never anticipated creating music together, much less the start of Starline. Though friends for years, Stanley was unaware of Maloney’s musical talent, and upon discovery the two joined forces almost immediately. Producing their debut album, CJM, on February 25th, the band is rocking and rolling and show zero signs of slowing down. Listeners will hear Starline’s danceable yet rugged rock style immediately, as every track gleams with chunky and precise riffs that strongly showcases the band’s interest in making the dance floor move. In its entirety, CJM is a bold display of Starline’s natural affinity for preserving and mixing up the classic rock n roll sound, and will draw in any true music lover like wildfire. We had the chance to ask the guys a couple of questions on CJM and the plans they have leading up to their album release, so check out what they had to say below.
CYM: Your debut, CJM, is titled in memory of Maloney’s brother, Christopher. What do you think CJM says to its audience, and how do you feel it relates to the experience of losing a loved one?
Matt: My brother was an incredibly inspirational and loving person. He was one of, if not the first, children to survive childhood leukemia. The treatments he endured (at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania) Pennsylvania) were used as breakthroughs for the techniques used today, where now, survival is expected. His life was a constant inspiration to me and all that got to know him, hence the very easy yet emotional decision to name the album after Chris. He was extremely passionate and enthusiastic that I was exploring and pursuing my musical side, as he had heard many of the songs before his passing.
Both Calvin and I lost our fathers at an earlier age and as you could imagine was a very difficult loss. But through their mentoring we (as I’m sure anyone who has lost a loved one) both strive to make them proud. This collaboration hopefully validates that. The song Orphans was written as an homage per say to our fathers.
CYM: Leading up to your official album release, Starline is hosting a listening party with CD sale proceeds being donated to Sunshine Kids, a non-profit dedicated to children with cancer. How did the idea of teaming up with a charity come about?
Matt: The decision to partner with The Sunshine Kids was a natural fit for a great cause. With the witnessing of my brother’s survival of childhood leukemia, seeing any child having to battle cancer and endure that extreme hardship at such an early age just breaks our hearts. My fiancé Jennifer is the Director of Children Services for SSK.
CYM: The most striking feature of CJM that really pulls you in is the depth of sonic soundscapes on the album – you guys really play around with layers and instruments, giving it an energetic hard rock feel. Is this the type of sound we can expect from Starline in the future?
Calvin: As far as the music is concerned specifically- yes we layered and loaded the hell out of the album! Matt and I had discussed at length how to approach writing our songs as not chained to a typical guitar based structure. The goal was in fact to have an edge-y, rocking sound without blasting guitars all over the place (though it would have been easier). Rhythm was where we built from- a lot of time went into exploring drums and percussions, whether polyphonic or electronic. Even if we wrote the initial tune from a guitar or piano we would tear it down and attack it with a counter rhythmic slant.
Once we had the groove in place we usually would send in the bass guitars and keys. Guitars and vocals would usually follow in the process along with strings and any otherworldly sonic thing we could think up. We had a lot of time in studio and we are both proficient on many instruments so it was a lot of fun to create the Starline sound. I think you will hear more of this approach from us on the next album but we have discussed heading back into a more guitar driven sound on some of the new stuff.
CYM: Last and certainly not least, we’d like to know where we can see Starline performing in 2016! Any dates set or playing it by ear after your release?
As far as touring in 2016 anything is possible! We have decided if you are going to do it- then do it big and do it right- we have the pieces in place so it’s more of supply and demand at this point.