DS Exclusive Interview: Stza Crack (Star Fucking Hipsters, Leftover Crack) on recording, line-up changes, Occupy Wall Street

Star Fucking Hipsters just released their third album, “From the Dumpster to the Grave,” earlier this month, debuting several of the songs live in New York the same day the record dropped. Shortly after, we sent some questions over to frontman Scott Sturgeon, a.k.a. Stza Crack, who we last talked to back in April.

We got some info from Sturgeon on  recording the new album, the line-up changes the band went through this year — drummer Mikey Erg replacing P-Nut and co-vocalist Kelsey taking over for Nico — and the band’s future. We also got his thoughts on the Occupy protests that are happening all over the country.

Check out the interview here. “From the Dumpster to the Grave” is out now on Fat Wreck Chords.

DS: What was the recording process like for Vol. 3 compared to the first two records?

Sturgeon: All three records were recorded under completely different circumstances. But, to make a long story short, recording Vol. III was the worst experience I have ever had documenting music. There were some really amazing and fun times where everything went great and to be fair, 90% of the music was recorded by the 4th day… Then a bunch of headaches ensued and the finished recording is not what it should be… But, they are, in my opinion, really great songs and that transcends could of, would of, should of’s. Really, if I hadn’t heard them each hundreds of times before, I would still love them all to death. I still love playing them.

DS: How have line-up changes affected the dynamic of the band for recording/touring?

Sturgeon: They continue to innovate our songs and styles, but wreak havoc on an organizational level. I think the road blocks faced in recording this record have scattered the band a bit until we tour again.

DS: What influences your decisions to experiment with different sounds (like incorporating Spanish and rap and covering They Might Be Giants)?

Sturgeon: We always like to experiment with different styles of music. If something starts to shape up into a genre that we like or feel that we have some kind of a grasp on and we feel like we can pull it off without difficulty, then we’ll go for it. “Otra Vez!” became a kind of Latino-party song with roots in eastern European music in as much as the majority of Mexican and Central American pop music is also influenced deeply by U.S. and European colonial-imperialism via the corrupt structures of what we now know as “banana republics.” That is a huge reason why accordions are so prevalent in Latino culture. Polka seemed to make a huge dent in that part of the world especially. We’ve tried hip-hop before in SFH and other bands and there probably wouldn’t be any on this record if Boots Riley didn’t volunteer his time & talent because of our similar political ideas.

T.M.B.G. were covered because a couple of us have been big fans since we were in our single digits. “Ana Ng” was chosen because, really, we could of and did discuss which song of theirs could be covered and we had a list of dozens, but “Ana” was the first that we tried and it sounded great off the bat, so we didn’t waste time exploring the more obscure choices that we had in mind.

DS: What are your thoughts on the Occupy protests? Has anyone in the band been involved? Any plans to perform there?

Sturgeon: I’m glad that there are these protests in NYC and across the country. I personally agree with the message that corporate crime should be punished and that the monetary gap between the super-rich and everybody else should be gapped somehow. I have been to Zucotti park several times, but found that I really had nothing to offer by being there and as I find myself in any situation where there are huge masses of people that feel the need to belong or be a part of something big, I feel a sort a vague alienation, as if the politics that I have always held dear are being diluted by drum circles and people in Guy Fawkes masks’. I am not an outwardly social person, although I try to find the courage when I must.

The huge popularity of a movement without a very clear agenda worries me and my instinct is dissent, not that I would ever sympathize with the police or the monetary interests that they protect and serve, but, I feel that militant struggle is the most realistic course to inspire revolution in these times, in this country, though I can’t say that any type of power shift would benefit the “99%” and the carnage would be upsetting and useless to say the least.

All in all, I do find the occupation to be a positive source for the start of a more serious discussion about the future of poor people blindly supporting an upper class that obviously has nobody’s interests in mind but their own.

DS: What role should musicians (especially punk bands) play in a movement like this? What’s the potential impact of it on artists?

Sturgeon: I think the best thing that can happen in terms of music & punk bands in particular is that, hopefully, the lyric writers will learn that there is a point & there is progress to be made through singing songs with political lyrics. Really, if you go down to the Wall street occupation, you’ll find dozens of worthy causes to write a song about to get some more awareness about important issues out there; Immigrant struggles, unions, police brutality vs. the injustice of Troy Davis’ death, ecological catastrophe aversion & dozens of other equally important movements & ideas. I’ve seen first hand what is almost a convention of different political ideas, almost an ongoing anarcho-leftist book-fare of sorts. I mean, for people that don’t concern themselves with important political matters that affect us all, it’s a really good place to get some sort of speed-dating type of education.

DS: During the record release in Brooklyn, you mentioned onstage that it might be SFH’s last show ever. Is this true?

Sturgeon: No, we’re planning on touring in 2012, it’s just going to take some work to get the show on the road, although, it was the end of an era for sure.

DS: What else are the members up to?

Sturgeon: In the meantime, everybody is really busy with a couple of hipsters in college, a couple caught up in work or family matters & Mikey, who has several bands that he plays with besides his solo stuff & us. I’m the only person that doesn’t seem to have much to do for the rest of the year. I’ll be playing some LOC shows around new years and we’ll be starting work on a long awaited record soon. SFH still has a split 7” almost finished for Inimical records with Jesus Fucking Christ and that should be out this year.

DS: What’s going on with the new Leftover Crack album that’s supposedly in the works?

Sturgeon: My aim for the next Leftover Crack record is to put out an album that rivals our best work without sounding too repetitive. The main struggle is in finding worthy political topics for the songs without delving back into territory that we’ve already covered extensively without a new perspective or something more to offer. I think of a song like “Gay Rude Boys Unite” and if there is really anything more that I can say about homophobia that wasn’t covered in that song? I’ve tried to write a sequel, the lyrics were not good and so I wrote about death. Death and cops, always something to write about there for some reason…


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