Stars Forever Information Page
So Who Exactly Are The Stars?
Other Music, located at 15 East 4th Street New York, is quite simply one of the best record stores in the world. And I don't say that because as soon as you walk in you are confronted with a section headed La Decadanse which features me, Serge Gainsbourg and just about everybody I've ever worked with. Well, not just for that reason! No, this is curated record shopping at its best. Amongst the hundreds of titles released weekly, the staff select the most weird, original, creative and cutting edge stuff. In an age of corporate suit music marketing, this is a store run by people who know and care. You can find out more from their website, othermusic.com.
Paul Cheevers, aka Tinnitus, is an electronic musician and DJ from the Boston, Mass area. He makes ambient / illbient music, is a huge Eno fan, thinks of himself as a bit of a cyborg, and often tries to extract the maximum of emotion from synthesised voices. You can actually hear his shows as well as read more about him and his record label at this website: earhead.com.
3D Corporation, run by Fumiko Masaki and the ever-affable Mr Oka, are located in Ebisu, West Tokyo. They manage Kahimi Karie, Cornelius, Chocolat and a host of other musical luminaries associated with the Shibuya-Kei scene. I've been working very closely with them for five years. When I visit Tokyo I feel totally at home in their office, the Alfa Spin Building, a svelte concrete and glass house surrounded by bamboos, housing their offices, a groovy conference room decorated with Planet of the Apes posters, and, on the top floor, the studio where Cornelius does his composition and preprogramming. You should see the Moogs they have up there! To die for.
Akiko Masuda is one half of Mars Art Lab, a graphic design partnership she runs with her boyfriend, Hibiki Tokiwa. They're Tokyo design celebs often featured in magazines like Studio Voice, Bar-f-Out and H, and probably best known for their sleeves for Denki Groove mainman Yoshinori Sunahara's solo projects 'Take Off And Landing' (a concept album about an underground airport) and 'Sounds Of The 70s'. They also have a store in Harajuku, Tokyo, called Animal Of Airs which is very interesting, full of the T shirts they design themselves, inflatable transparent vinyl teddy bears and all sorts of ephemeral 70s-styled kitsch. You can order some of their merchandise from their website: Animal Of Airs.
Stefano Zarelli was brought up in Milan but is currently living in my home town, Edinburgh, with his girlfriend Sophie. He's a huge fan of Elvis Costello, Os Mutantes, Beck... When I wrote this song, a dialogue between an angel and a devil keen to claim Stefano's soul, he told me that a group he'd been in years ago in Italy had written a song with an identical theme!
Minty Fresh is an indie label based in Chicago. They are the US home of The Cardigans and Kahimi Karie, and also boast an interesting domestic roster including one of my favourites, The Aluminum Group. Find out more at the Minty Fresh website.
Jeff Koons is one of the most famous American artists of the 20th century. He is currently busy preparing for a major retrospective of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I got in touch with him through his assistant Gary McCraw. Koons has long been a major inspiration to me, and my current style, Analog Baroque, owes not a little to his thoroughly postmodern collision of Bavarian Baroque with consumerist tack. For me, Koons is a great recontextualiser who shows the grotesque mysteries just below the (immaculately rendered) surface of petit bourgeois chintz and mainstream pop culture.
The idea for Stars Forever came from Matt Jacobson, who runs my US label Le Grand Magistery. Milton is his grandfather, an extraordinary old man with a handlebar mustache who spent all his life managing variety theatres in Detroit, Michigan.
Mai Noda is a Japanese girl with a strawberry iMac.
For years Robert has been a fixture at Momus shows wherever they may be, beaming, blond, and always keen to make new friends. He's a huge fan of ex-Creation band 18 Wheeler too, and wants to be their manager. Which he should now have time to do, since he's given up his former life as a salesman of endoscopes, weird medical devices used to look at the insides of patients with the aid of all sorts of mirrors, lights, and lengths of rubber tubing.
Florence is an artist, and the longtime girlfriend of my french musician friend Toog (Gilles Weinzaepflen), who releases his '6633' album on my label Analog Baroque at the same time as Stars Forever. Flo's work ranges from performance (once she danced for several days non-stop at an art fair wearing headphones, watched through a peephole) to drawings of dessicated ectomorphic dandies on large sheets of paper. She lives in Paris.
Adam Green is (in some circles) a well-known cartoonist. His disenchanted drawings have appeared in the pages of "Esquire," "The Chicago Tribune," and several out of print books. Lou Reed called him, "very funny." For further investigation see www.adamgreenonline.com.
Maf is the alter ego of a Leeds Morrissey fan called Matthew. He has three daughters and enjoys drinking and flirting, although he is not, as the song mischievously asserts, a singer, a murderer, or a coprophile. I just put those in out of sheer malice. Jealousy, probably.
Stephanie Pappas used to write me e mail years ago, but I didn't meet her until I toured the US last year. She DJs regularily at a club on New York's upper East side and lives in Hoboken.
Steven Zeeland is a gay writer and researcher who has published several books about the fetish for military and naval men. You can find out more, and also order his thoroughly entertaining books, from his website.
Mika has translated my lyrics on the last couple of Momus records, and by all accounts, made an excellent job of it. (She made a particularily valiant effort with the line 'peel the pamplemouse pink to the pulp' from 'Professor Shaftenberg' and didn't need to be told that no violence against animals was intended.) She is currently working in the field of software design in California.
Miles is a gay Englishman who asked me to make his song a sort of Lonely Hearts column advertisement after he saw couples shopping at Ikea and yearned for a bit of domesticity himself.
Paolo works in advertising in Milan. His was the only song I rewrote from scratch: the first version took Pasolini's Lutheran Letters as its starting point, and railed in a post-Marxist sort of way, against the development of an apathetic consumerist Italy. But Paolo wrote me saying he was in fact rather comforted by the superficiality of consumerism, so I went back to the drawing board.
Paolo says this started with his dream, when he was a child, of being left in a supermarket to do whatever he wanted, all night long. Living in a country where the political leaders are created by cheap private television shows, Paolo longs to see Miss Ciccone or Amanda Lear as the President of the UN.
Karin is from Kyoto but lives in San Fransisco, where she is surrounded by gay men and has, as a result, cut her hair short and picked up a lot of their mannerisms. In fact she's a bit of a human chameleon: having lived with an Icelandic girl, she now speaks exactly like Bjork! Which is very charming. Here she is with her new kitten, Momus.
Reckless Records is Chicago's best indie record store. They're located on Broadway, and, like it says in the song, Cynthia Plaster Caster lives just next door.
Kokoro Hirai really does love chocolate, her sister and cousin wrote to tell me this while she was in hospital with pneumonia. I haven't heard from her since, so I hope she's okay.
Making a portrait of forty people from an internet mailing list was no easy task, I can tell you. To check out the kind of things they talk about, have a snoop around the indiepop list archives.
One of the list people, Dan Zmud, says: 'Before I was into Indiepop music I was a guitarist in a speed metal band
called the Mongol Flems. Once on magic mushrooms I conducted an imaginary
symphony (in my head) from the ambient sounds of crickets, frogs and rain.
Last year I set up fake e-mail addresses for Kate Winslet and Tori Spelling
in order to gather examples of "obsessed fan mail" to publish in a fanzine
called "Guilty Pleasures." I operate a web site (www.popscene.com) where
you can listen to Indiepop mix tapes via streaming RealAudio. In April of
this year, I organized an Indiepop festival in Austin, Texas called the Pop
Rodeo, featuring 15 bands over 3 nights. I have a distant (very distant!)
cousin in the Ukraine that wants to marry me for citizenship, but I don't
think it's a good idea.'
Better known to the world as Japanese rock star Cornelius. I have written songs with him, and in fact owe my Japanese successes with his erstwhile girlfriend Kahimi Karie to Keigo. Arigato, Sensei! Read more about him in my article on Japanese pop.
Based in Athens, Georgia, Team Clermont is a promotion team of 'southern gentlemen' who are very picky about their clients, selecting only indie-cred bands who will play well on college radio. Check out their website.
Brent is a university lecturer at University of Reno, Nevada, loves David Bowie and Laurie Anderson as well as Borges and Calvino. He's a bit of a prankster, so frankly I don't know what to believe in his CV and what not to!
Lives in Tokyo and works for a computer software company. Here's what she says about her youth:
I was born in a small town of Akita,northen district of Japan. I spent there by 18 years old.It is a snowy district. When I was little,I spent much time outdoors in snow. I made snowman,snow house,and so on. I colored white-snow by watercolors. I collected icicles and sucked it. I played with a sled, mini-ski and so on. As I have no sister or brother,I played by myself. Playing with snow was very exciting for me.
When I was little, I was too bashful and annoy my mother by reluctant to
go to kindergarten or elementary school. My grades at elementary school was good, but I feel uncomfortable at school. It's troublesome for me to go to school every day diligently. I was often absent from school, and I spent at home reading comic books, watching television and so on. It was fun. The elementary school was very close to my house, so I could hear school chime in my bed room when I was absent from school, and then, I had a guilty conscience and at the same time, I feel free very much. Perhaps I don't change from then. It's still troublesome for me to go to a office every day diligently.
Girlie Action are Momus's press promotion company when he goes to New York. They have worked miracles, getting him exposure in everything from New York Time Out to San Fansisco's Surface, not to mention Raygun, Spin and Rolling Stone. A sort of sister company to Nasty Little Man (the ones who gave the Beastie Boys' album 'Hello Nasty' its name), Girlie Action is staffed 90% by women. Vicky, who started the company along with Felice, is great: firm, calm, unruffled, maternal. Their offices, perched high above happening Lafayette Street, are light and airy, with a slightly hippy-ethnic atmosphere. Read more about them in this online article.
Scott McCaughey's supergroup, consisting of members of REM, Pearl Jam, The Dashboard Saviours and others. Scott himself plays on several REM albums and has toured extensively with them.
Noah is 3 years old, lives in San Fransisco, has tousled blond locks, loves sushi and tarantulas... all the things the song says, except that his flying abilities are strictly imaginary. His parents are Michael Brill and Jenny Doll. They spotted me in a Japanese restaurant on Haight Ashbury once and invited me to dinner because I was looking so miserable.
Shawn used this song to propose to his girlfriend Emily. Since she shares an e mail address with Shawn, it was really hard to keep the secret. But a couple of weeks ago Shawn got an advance tape of Stars Forever from Matt Jacobson and played it to Emily in the car. She was stunned. She said yes.
If you're a patron or a parodist (their details will be up here soon, I promise!) and would like to add to the information about you here, please mail text or photos to Momus at firstname.lastname@example.org.