Interview: The Ceiling Stares Talks Us Through His New Single 'Mouthbreather' & Upcoming Album
US experimental indie-electronic solo artist The Ceiling Stares makes a sound which is not quite like anything you have ever heard. His new single 'Mouthbreather' blends elements of varying genres: Kraftwerk-esque synth lines, vocals that could have come straight out of a Talk Heads track, a bass line that's dripping with funk and soul influence, all kept within a bubble of his own strikingly unique sound. This originality really intrigued us at FLEX so we had to find out more... We caught up with The Ceiling Stares to talk about the new single, the upcoming album and to find out more about where this amazing sound comes from:
Tell us more about what Mouthbreather is about... To be called a mouth breather is an insult. Isn't that odd that there's an insult based on the method in which some swap oxygen for carbon dioxide? The most basic, involuntary and essential function to staying alive can be manipulated into an insult. It illustrates the extent in which people go to debase others. With that as a framework, I just created a mouth breathing character who happens to run into celebrities. I did run into Crispin Glover, two different times, once at the Fairfax Erewhon and once at the Echo Park Lassens. We must be comically linked by high end grocery stores. What you take out of that narrative is up to you.
There are some brilliant sounds on Mouthbreather, what gear did you use when recording the track? Any vintage synths or drum machines? Glad you like the sounds! Most of what you hear are a Prophet-6 and a Subphatty. Not vintage but definitely wonderful instruments. I augmented those sounds with some virtual Juno-60. The drum is a Logic loop, 80s pop or something generic like that. It reminds me of a second wave NYC hip hop sample, maybe Gang Starr, EPMD or something along those lines.
What can we expect from the upcoming album ‘Natural Flavours’? Expect more songs that get you nodding your head and tapping your feet. It really boils down to this moment in time, where we're wondering if we are on a slow roll to catastrophe, be it climate change, authoritarianism, white supremacy, economic collapse... whatever. If it's going to happen, I want to make sure we have an appropriate soundtrack.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far? Most of my career has been lowlights, and I'm really proud of that. I don't think I would know what to do with a highlight. I don't even know if I could identify a highlight. Maybe my lowlights are my highlights? Regardless, like I said... very proud.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why? Brian Eno. The dude has floated through genres, stamping each with genius. His collabs are all amazing, with the Byrne collab Everything That Happens Will Happen Today being one of my favs. He also seems to be a practitioner as opposed to an "artiste", more blue collar creator than white collar magician as well as a person that appreciates his position in life- the stories of him surrounded by women back stage post Roxy gigs, while brooding Ferry sat solo in the corner, reflected a man that knew how to be a rock star.
As well as the album, what else have you got planned for the next year? I'll continue to release scrappy synth pop albums, possibly 2 next year and hit the road to support them. I'm also collaborating with a great friend, Gunpowder Curls, on a duet laden album heavily influenced by those sensational Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra albums...60's country pop. Finally, I'm re-scoring Back to the Future. Stay tuned.
Listen to the new single 'Mouthbreather' below: