DAMIAN, CHARLEY and TREY
from LOST STARS
The Facebook ‘About’ section simply states – ‘We’re just lost boys dreaming in dark’ – but there is a growing sense that description doesn’t do Nashville-based alt-pop rock quintet Lost Stars any justice. At first glance, Damian Malnar, Charley Holden, Trey Warner, Thomas Altman and Tyler Pedersen look and sound a bit like Train or Lawson, but Lost Stars are making a name for themselves in the crowded alt-pop rock scene.
The band has only been existence for mere months however, but if the current single Lost Boys or the EP Dreaming in the Dark is anything to go by – Lost Stars are about to explode! AMNplify recently had a chat with 3/5 of the band in Malnar (vocals/piano), Holden (guitar) and Warner (guitar) whilst they are on the touring circuit – check it out below!
How and when did the band form?
Malnar: Lost Stars formed in February of 2016. At the time, I was pursuing a solo artist career, but something just didn’t feel right about it. I was brought up in music through the tradition of playing in bands rather than going it alone. As the project developed, the urges from my friends that were playing out with me combined with my longing for being part of a group was just the push I needed to officially form Lost Stars.
Holden: Lost Stars began as Damian’s’ solo project. He and I have been friends since high school and had worked on many music projects before I moved to Nashville. It was natural for him to ask me to be a part of this one. My roommate, Trey, hung out with Damian and once I met up with Damian in Nashville, Trey played guitar as well. Trey was also another natural fit for the project. Trey and I lived on the same floor as Thomas and Brad (our old drummer) and they started playing with us too. The five of us felt that there was more to the project than simply an artist with a backing band and thus Lost Stars was formed.
Warner: Great question (see above).
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Malnar: In high school, I was encouraged to pursue music by my friends and family. I had no intention of chasing music as a career path. Originally, I made plans to study business and mathematics at a top notch university. Math, English and Science had always come easy to me and I figured it was the practical thing to pursue. However, the people I cared most about saw how much joy music brought to my life. They told me that I had gifts and talents that needed to be shared with the world. It was their faith in me that gave me the courage to go to music school and become a songwriter/composer.
Holden: I did not realise that I needed to become a musician until the later years of high school. I had played music since grade school and high school (even a band with Damian), but I had not thought of pursuing music as a career until a visit to Damian at Belmont. I realised that I simply couldn’t live a business school at a big state college life. That lifestyle is perfect for a lot of people, but not me. I can’t sit still for more than five minutes.
Warner: I started taking guitar lessons in high school and I always had a passion for it, but I never considered the possibility of pursuing a career in music until my senior year of high school. I was always inspired by rock music and guitarists like Derek Trucks and Eric Johnson, but I never would have pursued a career in music if my family hadn’t encouraged it.
Who are your main musical influences?
Malnar: If you can believe it, I had a longer list initially and cut it down a lot. Here are some of my influences in no particular order…Chris Martin, Ryan Tedder, Ed Sheeran, Sara Bareilles, Matthew Bellamy, Bruno Mars, Rob Thomas, Dave Grohl, Brendon Urie, Brandon Flowers, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Freddie Mercury, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Billy Joel, Alan Menken, Max Martin, Zedd, Pharrell Williams, Neil Avron, Alex da Kid, Calvin Harris, Rick Rubin and Benny Blanco.
Holden: My first musical idol was Elvis Presley. My dad raised me on his music and a lot of old blues and rock and roll, like Johnny Lee Hooker, BB King, The Rolling Stones and The Doors. Once I picked up the guitar, Eric Clapton and AC/DC was about all that I listened to for a while.
Warner: Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers, Kansas, Eric Johnson, Eric Gales, Derek Trucks, Warren Zevon, Jason Isbell, Guthrie Trapp and Led Zeppelin.
What is the inspiration behind Lost Boys?
Malnar: Lost Boys is a coming of age story. The message was inspired by the struggles of growing up that my brother and I faced. Unlike other songs that I’ve written, Lost Boys does not tell one continuous narrative. Each verse encompasses a different facet of growing up in a world that kind of feels stacked against you at times: finding your passion and having the courage to chase it, learning to love yourself and not compromise that to fit in with others and discovering the joys and agonies of love. The truth is…nobody has it all figured out. We’re all a little lost in life. Lost Boys is here to tell anyone that it’s okay to be afraid of where your life is and where it is going and no matter what challenges and hardships lay ahead, we can all make it through this crazy life together.
What are the themes explored on the Dreaming in the Dark EP?
Malnar: Dreaming in the Dark is a reflection on dreams and emotions. The title of the EP comes from a line in Lost Boys and it is a metaphor for how I see my life. A lot of times I feel as though I am in the dark not truly knowing where I am going, but I have these big, loud dreams and emotions connected to my hopes, my passions and everyone I share ties with. It is through these dreams that I hope to break through this “darkness” and find my light. Each song in the EP explores different experiences and emotions we face throughout life, whether that is joy, longing, fear, anger, sorrow, despair, etc. It’s okay to be passionate, confused and vulnerable and I want anyone who listens to this record to be filled with the courage to face these things head on.
Warner: Damian’s breakups. Haha.
What inspires your song writing?
Malnar: All of my writing for Lost Stars is based on true stories and real feelings. Everything is a message that I want to share. It’s my way of opening myself up to people. To be completely honest, I have a lot of difficulty opening up on my own and I think song writing has helped me access myself, my feelings and learn to be more comfortable with myself.
Holden: When I write, I like to pull main ideas and themes from my life and the world around me, even if the fine details don’t necessarily apply to me. Just because something hasn’t happened to me, a message can still speak to someone in a very specific way.
What makes Lost Stars different to similar sounding bands?
Malnar: I think that we have a much more diverse sound than a lot of the bands/artists we want to be “compared” to. There is so much amazing music out there and to be limited to one specific sound puts limits on our creativity. When we produce our music we love exploring different soundscapes and genres. It helps us grow as creatives. We fuse new and old pop traditions by blending electronic production, complex instrumentation, catchy pop melodies, heartfelt poetic lyrics and a little improvisation. We really pride ourselves on musicianship in Lost Stars. A lot of pop music today is void of this and we really want to make it important again. Above all, we strive to be honest and authentic in everything we create. That’s what really makes this band special to me.
Holden: We’re music students, lol.
What has been your most memorable career highlight to date?
Malnar: I think that this year’s Spring Tour has been particularly memorable for me. I love travelling across the states and to other countries and I get pretty pumped for road trips. I’m more than willing to drive the entire time. The tour hasn’t even ended and I’ve driven over 5000 miles. I think travelling is so exciting for me because I’m fascinated by other cultures – their history, customs, architecture, music and FOOD! However, nothing is quite as special as meeting the people that attend our shows. Throughout this tour I’ve met a lot of incredible individuals. I really enjoy hearing their stories and how one of our songs has positively affected their lives. There’s nothing more validating than knowing that you’re making an impact, even if it’s only in one person’s life.
Holden: One time my mom was over at her friend’s house for a dinner party and there was a song playing that she liked and was like, “where have I heard this? I like it a lot!” It was Lost Boys. My mom’s friend managed to put it on her playlist and had no idea that I was in the band.
Warner: It’s a toss-up between our EP release show and playing in Charleston, SC because it was a lot of fun and we got to meet some really cool fans.
What is something you would like to achieve career-wise that you haven’t done yet?
Malnar: I hope that one day I will be able to start some foundations and charitable organisations through Lost Stars that help children around the world have access to better education, medicine and safer living conditions. I’m especially passionate about helping fund arts programs. I strongly believe that learning to creatively express yourself is essential to finding fulfilment of self.
Holden: I want to be a reason for someone to play music.
Warner: Play guitar on a top 100 song. Or be Elon Musk’s personal guitarist.
If you could play any venue in the world, where would it be and why?
Malnar: There are many amazing venues I hope to perform at some day, but one that I am particularly excited by is the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. It’s an absolutely breathtaking outdoor venue made of carved Aztec sandstone. It would be an honour to perform there. We definitely want to come to Australia someday too and play the Sydney Opera House!
Holden: Woodstock would’ve been really cool, because, you know…. Woodstock. I think it’d also be really cool to have played in one of those HUGE outdoor festivals big rock used to play (AC/DC Monsters of Rock or at Donington).
Warner: Red Rocks in Colorado because it’s such a unique venue.
AMNPLIFY – DB[/fusion_text]
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- Maggie Sapet