- How did you get your initial start in music?
Estrella first begun in 2003! Growing up in our home town of Thurso we (the Gunn brothers) were keen musicians and decided to form a band. Paul was the only one of us working at the time (as a postman), he bought all our kit and we converted our mum’s very small attic into an area we could rehearse. Along with another local lad on drums we started doing gigs in Thurso then venturing further afield within the Highlands of Scotland and then to Aberdeen.
It was playing in a Battle of the Bands (which we went on to win) our now management spotted us, we relocated to Aberdeen to make it easier for us to tour throughout the UK and to work on our first EP, then just as we began the recording of our debut album Come Out To Play our drummer left but after six months Leo McPherson joined the band. Leo had played with various bands in the past and we’d actually met him when we had played at the same gig previously. Losing our drummer probably set us back a year but it was so good to find someone that had the same drive and passion for his music – then finally in May 2012 we released our debut!
- What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
Our ultimate aim if we are lucky enough is to make a decent living as full time musicians touring and making music. At the moment, we all bring different skills to the band out-with our music which someday might also lead us into writing, producing, engineering, design or even management. We’ve met a lot of industry contacts over the past couple of years who make a fairly decent living in the music industry but the interesting things is that they don’t just have one skills set they do a few different things to make their music career work for them!
Right now, we’re young, with no real commitments, so we are quite happy to tour in our white transport van (which we’ve kitted out with beds), shower in service stations and track down a Wetherspoons (we know the menu back-to-front and there’s free wi-fi) to get our music out there and increase the chances of us reaching that ultimate aim!
- How long have you been writing your own music?
Paul, our frontman, is the main writer in the band and he’s been writing since we first began in Thurso but over the years we all do a bit of writing now! I suppose working with John T Sinclair (ex-keyboard player for Uriah Heep, The Cult and the Ozzy Osbourne band) who produced our debut album Come Out To Play was the biggest encouragement for us in the writing process. One of us would come up with the “bones” of a song be it words, melody or riff then as a band he encouraged us to sit as a team to construct the songs so that we were all happy with the final product. This just seems to work for us now!
- Who are your top three influences and why?
Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Van Halen – our music is definitely inspired by these stadium rock bands with the big riffs and anthemic choruses. We’ve taken that sound we love and just given it a more modern edge. But it’s their larger than life show too, we try to ensure that same sense of energy is present in our own show, we enjoy what we do and think that comes across to audiences.
However, can let this go without a special mention to John T Sinclair, it was his own wealth of experience and encouragement when we worked with him on our debut that probably has had the most impact on us as musicians. As a band, we probably couldn’t have found a better mentor and now we’ve taken everything we learned during that process into our second album.
- Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
“Whatever It Is” is from our debut album but we’ve released it now because it has become a real firm favourite at gigs. On tour it was the second last song in our set, we’d get the crowd singing and it was the chance for Paul to have a beer with them too – you’ll have to come along to a gig to see why!
Seriously though it’s an anthemic track, written at John T Sinclair’s studio quite literally on the banks of Loch Ness. An amazing place to write and a bit cliché we know but you do actually get the chance to take a step back and reflect a bit on life and what we are doing here. You asked us earlier what our ultimate aim was in the industry – well this song hits the nail on the head for us – it’s about whatever we can achieve, not only in the music industry but in life in general, we want to get the best out of it and achieve as much as we can out of it. You only get one chance and in the words of this track we want it all!
- Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?
We are based in Aberdeen and have a great music scene in general – bearing in mind it’s the home of Emlie Sandie and Annie Lennox – but it’s not really got a big rock orientated music scene. Although we have played many times in the The Moorings Bar, The Tunnels and The Lemon Tree which are probably our favourite venues.
However, we also class Glasgow as our “local” music scene too though as we’ve got such a good following in the central belt as rock is more prevalent there. We’ve played a lot of the rock venues in Glasgow (Cathouse, Classic Grand, Ivory Blacks, The Garage) and we’ve loved playing them all but we’d still like to play the world renowned King Tut’s though.
Three years ago a new festival dedicated to rock and metal started, Wildfire Festival (was Les-Fest) www.les-fest.co.uk started up just outside of Glasgow in Lesmahagow and we played it in its first two years. It might not be too long before we are playing there again.
- Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
In Aberdeen it’s probably go to be Guttergodz, we’ve played at local gigs together, there are really good guys, with a great attitude and sound.
In Glasgow, there are a couple of bands – the first is The Toi, again we played gigs together, they work really hard and have a good sound as well. They have also recorded with the producer of our second album Nick Brine (Bruce Springsteen, The Darkness, Thunder and Oasis). The second band is an all-girl rock band, The Amorettes, who are making quite a name for themselves within the UK rock community.
- Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.
You can find us on the following sites on-line:
You can hear our music:
But also please look out for our second album to be released in May 2015. We’ve just recorded the first five tracks at the infamous Rockfield Studios in Wales with producer Nick Brine (Bruce Springsteen, The Darkness, Thunder and Oasis). Singles from this album will be released in November 2014 and March 2015.
We are also doing a European Tour at the beginning of November with ex Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. The European Tour Dates are as follows:
- 04.11.14 – Grimsby – Yardbirds
- 05.11.14 – Wakefield – Warehouse 23
- 06.11.14 – London – The Underworld
- 08.11.14 – Northern Ireland, Ballymena – Diamond Rock Club
- 09.11.14 – Edinburgh – Bannermans
- 12.11.14 – Spain, Madrid – We Rock
- 13.11.14 – Spain, Zaragoza – La Casa Del Loco
- 14.11.14 – Spain, Ourense – Sala Berlin
- 15.11.14 – Spain, Villa Franca – Polideportivo Municipal
Slainte Mhath , Estrella