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Headline: Our band is named after a racehorse

Stand first: You might have never heard of them but they have been in a band
for 15 years. Hannah Jepson interviews Army of Stars and finds out about their
decade and a half in music.
Bi-line: Written and photographed by Hannah Jepson

Army of Stars are a chilled, laid back, talented band from Stockport and were a
pleasure to interview. They were chatty, up for a laugh and even performed a
little for me which was enjoyable and gave me a real taste of their style. They
are unique and unlike any band I have heard of before which made the whole
thing a lot more interesting and fun.
The band was named after a racehorse that was around years ago, believe it or
not. The members had thought of other names, one even suggested Satans
Ponies but they stuck with Army of stars and even won 50 betting on the horse.
The group is made up of four members: Sam Stars who is a singer and a
guitarist, Dave Grantham who is also a guitarist, Dave Cooper who is on bass and
Danny Rigg who plays the drums.
The lads have been together as the four of them for five years but Sam and Dave
have been in a band together for fifteen years. Sam says that he always wanted
to be a singer and that was the main reason he wanted to form a band, Dave
Cooper has been playing the guitar since the age of 17, he taught himself and he
particularly enjoyed nineties and indie music.
It was agreed they didnt play or perform one particular genre of music, rather
they said it was a bit of a mixed bag. Their music can range from grungy to sort
of pop music to rock. Dave Cooper talked about his influences from famous
guitarists and how they inspired him to really progress in his playing. He gave
examples of bands such as The Beatles and U2, being people that encouraged
his love for music and playing guitar.
Sam describes the place they mainly rehearse as a freezing cold mill where
they have their own studio. They aim to get together as much as possible, often
twice nightly to practise. They are very keen to record new materials and get it
out there and from what I heard from them, they sound very good.
The first gig they performed at was Bakers Vaults in Stockport and from there
went from playing for fifty people to around five thousand people. Sadly, the
place no longer exists as somewhere that holds gigs but instead is now a
gourmet restaurant.
Positive responses are almost always received from audiences and because the
gigs are often local, Sam says he has been stopped a few times by passers-by
and people in pubs who have recognised him for his music. Fans are enthusiastic
for upcoming gigs, questioning what the dates are for them, some even
remember the songs. Thankfully there has been no negative responses to the
bands music which Dave comments keeps the band going.
Each member of the band says that they have individual artists that they would
compare themselves too. However, they say the band they are probably closest
to is Foo Fighters because you have the rough and the smooth in the music and
also a lot of the nineties and American/western bands. Two other artists they
mentioned their music was similar too were Biffy Clyro and Frank Sidebottom,
suggesting that their style of music would be placed between the two of them.
They went on to mention the importance of vocals, how the vocalist's voice
plays a huge part in the overall sound of the music. The singer is the one telling
the story, its his job to get the story across the audience and therefore self-
confidence is key Dave says.

The fact that people are listening to the music they have written and composed
is one of the factors that make performing enjoyable to Army of Stars. The
process of rehearsing in a studio to putting it out there live on a stage is
described by Sam as Awesome and he says there is no better feeling, if I could
bottle it and sell it I would be a millionaire.

Dave Cooper says he loves the dynamics of the group working together, saying
that his guitar playing vocalises what Sam is singing and it works well and its
exciting. Dave Grantham says he gets pretty nervous when he performs and
prefers rehearsing whereas the others say that they get a buzz from the nerves,
that the anxiety turns to adrenaline when they are up on stage and they love it.

In the future, the band hopes to do what they do full time, to get up and come to
the studio and just work at doing what they love. Sam says Ive been working
hard for twenty years and Im not gonna stop. They admit to that they are gone
of the days of a massive record deal but this wont get in the way of their passion
for music. Dave adds I want to be a professional drummer but Im crap which
made us all laugh.

To finish they said there were no better three words to sum their band up in other
than Army of Stars and we agree. These old timers are stars and surely its only
a matter of time before people start to appreciate them more!