A few months ago, I wrote a preview for Stella Be Strange playing at the Centro Sociale. Today we’ll take a look at who’s behind Stella:
We’re meeting in a cozy café around campus, sitting at a window facing the street, both drinking a ridiculously overpriced caramel macchiato. Stella is wearing the trademark knit hat and a grey cardigan.
I heard there’s a lot going on in your life at the moment. You’re doing gigs, setting up a YouTube channel, and you’re studying, right?
Stella: Nah, that’s not completely true. I only had two gigs, put up four videos on my channel and I’m at uni only two days a week (if it’s going well).
Who are you when you’re not performing as Stella?
Stella: Wow, that’s a difficult question. My name is usually Roland then.
How did you come up with the idea to create Stella?
Stella: I wouldn’t say I created Stella. I imagine I just gave a name to that voice, and an opportunity to express itself creatively.
What kind of voice?
Stella: That’s hard to say. Maybe it’s a feminine voice.
Is Stella female then?
Stella: It would be easy to say that Roland uses Stella to express his feminine side, because it’s not easy to do that in society, and so it has to be transferred to the stage. But that’s not how it is. Stella does have a female name, but Stella doesn’t actually have a gender, at least not a stable one, just like Roland.
Are you trying to express that in your music as well, the undefinable, the ever changing?
Stella: Especially with music, I try not to have intentions, not to produce anything specific. It’s more like I’m trying to distance myself from Roland. I start writing and playing something, and I sing, and I record it, and I do that for Roland. And then I listen to what Stella sings for me, and I don’t understand it, but it still feels right. But sometimes others write with me as well.
Stella: Nah, that’s going too far now. It’s better if I don’t say everything.
Okay. Would you say you’re influenced by other musicians? Any role models?
Stella: On the way here I listened to Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. I like folk songs. At the moment I’m also into I Draw Slow and Smoke Fairies. And of course Rae Spoon, with whom I gave my first concert in Hamburg.
And now you’re going on stage again on the 21st at Cascada’s Bar for *tba presents.
Any plans after that? Are you going to give any more concerts? When can we buy your album?
Stella: Yes, but I don’t know when. It’ll take some time to work on the album.
Because you have to be at uni twice a week?
Stella: No, because it takes a lot of time. *laughs*
I for one can’t wait! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, and we’ll see each other again at *tba presents.
See Stella Be Strange in action at *tba presents
When? Thursday, May 21st, 2015, 7:30 PM
Where? Cascadas Bar, Ferdinandstraße 12
How much? 5€
Charlotte was listening to Mad Hatter by Masters in France while translating this.