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Start Back At Start

(Interview with Aimee Echo - Taken From Black Velvet 55 - Feb 2008)

By Suzanne T.

TheSTART are an indie electronica band from Los Angeles, California that originated in 1998. The band formed by singer/songwriter Aimee Echo and guitar player/producer Jamie Miller has opened up for such well known acts as Weezer, AFI, Sugar Ray, Incubus, and Garbage as well as headlining their own shows in their own right. Black Velvet caught up with them before their performance at the Orchard Bar in New York.







Above: Photo By Suzanne T.

Above: Mark Owen Photo By Shari Black Velvet


Despite the fact that TheSTART has been on the scene for some time the original concept of the band has not changed. Aimee begins by telling us, “This band, as far as our idea of what the band would be, is constant, and basically our idea is to do whatever we felt like, whenever we felt like. We didn’t really have any preconceived notions of what the band would be. We just wanted to make the kind of music that we loved. There are variations from album to album, but still with that very strong TheSTART chord down the center.  A little in this direction, a little in that direction, but pretty much we ride that chord all the way through from album to album.”
Many of the songs on the new CD ‘Ciao Baby’ are about the frustration that comes with relationships. In ‘Master Plan’ Aimee writes about her relationship with the music industry. She says, “It’s about my love affair with... I can’t say music… music and I get along famously. We are in love, we are about to elope, everything is beautiful, but the industry and I are at odds. I would say probably 97% of artists are at odds. Especially now selling records is challenging, it is a totally different world. For us it is not about selling records as much as it is about going on tour and playing. It used to be the tour was a commercial for the record and now since everyone can illegally download, your record is a commercial for your show. Hopefully it is a good commercial, because our show is a good time.”
Writing about her relationship with the industry helped her to put all relationships in perspective. She explains, “For anything I write I guess, and even things I write for other people, there is a part of me that has felt that way. In ‘Just A Fantasy’ I felt that way a hundred thousand times, it just happens in this song to be a story written for somebody else. That story I can apply to ten relationships in my life. Relationships are so challenging. All relationships... family relationships, love relationships, business relationships. Just being here alive. is planetary relationships,” she laughs. “Living in the big city is challenging… well, depends on where you are at in your life. Living anywhere is challenging. You’ve got that kid on the farm who is going ‘All I want to do is live in the city’ and that’s challenging for them. There is always a perceived struggle.”

A recent trip to India provided a great deal of insight for Aimee and Jamie. Aimee says, “What is really unique about the Indian people... in the Hindu religion they teach contentment - which is something that is not taught in American society.
“You notice that people are at a certain level in their finances, home life etc. and they have as big of a smile as the richest man. Or maybe a bigger one actually because they aren’t concerned with what they have. There is always that beauty of ‘I don’t have anything to worry about’ instead of ‘I have all this money and all this stuff to think about’. People think that’s so great he has all this money but think about all he has to worry about. You don’t have to worry about anything being taken away from you. You are already at the base level and you can find contentment. I mean, when you close your eyes... what is there? Just you and what is inside.”
The band doesn’t believe in planning out every move they make. They get inspiration and then turn it into songs. They don’t try to force the band into a certain direction. Jamie Miller says, “We had this discussion last night. We do whatever the hell we feel like at the moment. We had a lot more rock on our previous record. We were dragged into that direction. The line-up we had was a lot more rock. We naturally progressed into what the unit liked to do at that point. This time around we progressed into what we really like to do.”

One misconception about TheSTART is that this band has gone through a bunch of lineups - but they haven’t. After they lost their initial lineup with Scott and Jeff, they decided against having a permanent line-up.
Jamie points out, “The lineup was going to be whoever was around, whoever felt like playing. Kind of like a Nine Inch Nails or Queens Of The Stone Age, how they have a rotating cast. Whoever is available, whoever wants to jam… that kind of thing.”
Aimee adds, “The only thing guaranteed in life is change. We right now are getting along absolutely famously. Lance, the bass player has been one of my best friends for 13 years and Chelsea was fan of the band before she joined. She has been a fan of the band since she was 16. We met her when her band was opening for us. She said ‘My band wouldn’t be a band if it wasn’t for your band’. She was so amazing and we were in the market for another drummer when we asked her to audition. She was ecstatic and when she got the gig she mentioned she was in the band of her dreams. We are working as a unit together better than we did with our original lineup.’
For more information on TheSTART go to their website at www.thestart.org or visit their myspace page at www.myspace.com/thestart



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