Alternative rock band The Unlimited Stars has just released their debut album, Secret Gold, a refreshing change in the stages where they have been performing. As they are getting ready for their upcoming adventures all around the globe we took the time to talk about their music, life and experiences and of course some fun among the more serious thoughts.
So be brave and read on, and while you are at it, listen to their “White Horse”, it’s a good one!
Music Authentic: Welcome to Music Authentic! Let’s begin with our site-traditional question: How did you sleep last night? After all the world looks like a powder-keg and more and more people are just exploding…
Bre: Soreness form yesterday’s leg day prevented me from falling asleep at a reasonable hour so I researched generative transformative AI and read an article entitled, “GPTs are GPTs: An Early Look at the Labor Market Impact Potential of Large Language Models” People should absolutely feel anxious and insecure about their future and the future of humanity. The best unsolicited advice I can offer anyone, is that engaging in the real world is the best antidote to this new wave of existential crises.
Wayne: Hi – I slept fairly well… Sleep is something that I’ve actually struggled with throughout my life. Bre has gifted me the ability to achieve stage four sleep for the first time in my life, so I am sleeping better now than I ever have.
Music Authentic: Listening to your “Secret Gold” album -released just recently- I feel there is a certain desire in you both for a quaint past and a better shining future all expressed through your music and performance as a bridge. How do you feel yourself anchored to the days now?
Bre: Agree, the album, like my tramp stamp, is a bridge from my past to my current state of ‘becoming.’ The album introduces listeners to a summary of our biographies which have some striking similarities. Despite both of us being able to see through the matrix, having very strong wills to power, and being gifted in a variety of ways, we’re still plagued by grooves of self-doubt etched by the past. I’m anchored by several things. My job as a scientist, consistent physical fitness and friendships help me to identify what day it is. Making any sort of art gets me too in my head to qualify it as an anchor.
Wayne: I think that you’ve stumbled onto an apt metaphor ‘anchored to the days now.’ Omnipresent technology has weighed us all down. I probably do crave the idea of a quaint past; maybe not quite a Norman Rockwell fantasy retreat. Talking face to face, or the idea of storytelling could be categorized as the ‘quaint past’. Creating art helps me to anchor to the now; a catharsis of sort.
Music Authentic: The tropes you walk around in the songs are quite prevailing yet less likely to be found in the mainstream music and in public conversations. When did you start to realize that it is worthy to put out your fragility and transform yourself stronger by it?
Wayne: Anything of merit has to be sincere, or at least have elements of sincerity – especially art. I don’t think you can be sincere without taking risk. At the end of the day, it’s about how you want to tell your story and what you have to say within the limitations of the medium you’re using.
Bre: When I read Brene Brown’s book: The Power of Vulnerability. Just kidding. Actually, I learned the power of being human by living for 12 years outside of the USA. In the USA, our wealth and God Money lead us to live relatively detached lives from our communities; we’re incentivized to choose this detachment. So I’ve always found this culture extremely isolating and that motivated toward exploring the world to find new ways of living. During my 7 years in Germany, I found there was a willingness of people to be more introspective, admit their own flaws openly, debate ideas, be okay with being wrong, share resources, and also a willingness to play; provided there was a script, in a way that fed their souls. Three years in Brazil, I found that given the instability and unknown of the infrastructure, people were primarily engaged in the ‘right now’ and much more familiar with their own personal desires and concerned about their friends and family for better or for worse. This gave me so much insight into the context in which I grew up as an American, and made me feel much more comfortable about being myself, sharing feelings and experiences that are universal, yet maybe taboo.
Music Authentic: You’ve led an extraordinarily colorful life so far. Are these days come with lesser challenges and more relax or the most is just yet to come?
Bre/Wayne: Indeed. Once you’ve climbed a few mountains, you get a pretty good idea of the lay of a land, and everything in front of you seems smaller. Song writing is intensely challenging artistically but one that we wholeheartedly embrace.
Bre: Previously I’d struggled as a visual artist, writer and musician. I’d trash entire bodies of work, but with Wayne involved in the process, I have been able to work more consistently than ever before and the desire to trash everything is Wayning. It’s also the first time I’ve performed an art without using a persona. I use my actual name and lyrical content are close to my biography. I think that without Wayne, this would be very difficult for me to do consistently. To be honest though, I truly welcome any future mountains – whether they’re existential, financial or physical, they inform the art.
Music Authentic: As artists, we can often find ourselves out of time, seeing things from a different vantage point. Does this make your life easier or harder when it comes to everyday conversations?
Bre: I’ve told myself as an artist it is my job to gather inspiration from everything and that includes the ill-informed and the mundane. Occasionally I will unload continuous rounds of deadpan satire onto a conversation; the victims are unaware. It’s solely for my own amusement. That is also my most abused, and most self-indulgent toxic trait.
Music Authentic: By now it can safely be said: the time of so-called leaders, experts and politicians is over, they led humanity astray – and it is now on artists and ordinary people to take up the mantle. Where do you think to most important changes need to start in society?
Wayne: You can see the ebb and flow of humanity going astray and correcting itself throughout history. For example, just look at the intentions of the French Revolution to ‘equalize’, with the rhetoric of St Just and Robespierre and how that horribly missed the mark. I think of a quote from George Santayanna: “Fanaticism is redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim…”. Ultimately, I think that people need to focus on making themselves better to start important change in society.
Bre: By far the most important change you can make is THINKING FOR YOURSELF. The freedom to ask questions and engage with primary sources is paramount. Everyone seems to underestimate the social control that is happening via ‘smart’ devices. Everyone’s dopamine is being manipulated by notifications, thumbs up, and hearts. What the actual fuck. This is no substitute for real human connection and discourse. The most punk rock thing you can do right now is have a genuine conversation with someone that you don’t know. Somehow the isolation experienced during Covid and the commoditization of people (dating apps) combined with the online voyeurism of others’ fake lives has rendered us mute and deaf to one another in real life. This is weakening humanity’s resolve and making us even more susceptible to corporate and governmental overreach. Sorry, but there’s no such thing as a benevolent power structure. We’d all be far better off if we stopped staring in mirrors and started talking to each other again. People seem to be forgetting how great it feels to just be human – we’re not products that need to be constantly be hyped. This hype shit is absolutely distorted and grotesque. People could find freedom from it if they spent the same amount of energy in conversing with each other as they did in being complicit in upholding the infrastructure.
Music Authentic: We are running short on gifted and sincere, decent, non-corrupted Presidents. How would you start your work if you were elected as the commander-in-chief tomorrow?
Bre/Wayne: Damn. It would be very frustrating to be at the helm of an entirely rotten organization which exists to give us all an illusion of a democracy in exchange for their consolidation of wealth and power. There are some laws that we believe could be abolished that might help us all out. Lobbying for example. We don’t know how anyone can say the USA when the only way to get legislation passed is to buy it. So we’d ban lobbying, and also legalize and regulate prostitution. Human touch is so integrally important to people. We think that would absolutely prevent some of the explosive rage. We’re also concerned with a private company being the main purveyor of global information, so we’d actually enforce anti-trust laws on tech companies. We are sliding into a technocratic totalitarianism that is propagating emotional, lighting rod issues to distract us their unregulated abuse of power. We talk about saving the planet, but really, it’s homo sapiens that will go extinct, the planet will recover. We should be talking about managing finite resources and their infrastructure appropriately, but so far, like other times in history, we’re all too human to make rational policy, so things are going to get very fucked up.
Music Authentic: So, let’s play this along if you are up to it. “The People” demand the answers! 😉 What’s your take on gun violence? What will you do with the indoctrination happening in schools? What is the role of freedom of speech in the 21st century and how can it be fully equalized?
Bre/Wayne: Gun violence is horrific. Hollywood hawks the guts and glory fetish so hard even though it’s allegedly something they detest. Naked bodies are taboo-er than murder. It’s all upside down. We feel that de-personalization via loss of a physical community, family, detachment from resources combined with glorification of violence all contributes.
Bre: I have a long personal history of being viscerally disturbed by indoctrination. I grew up Catholic and remember spitting out the host at mass and being the only one in my class not to be confirmed because I couldn’t believe in transubstantiation; a core Catholic belief in the miracle of the bread and wine turning in to Jesus’ body and blood. Ideally schools would teach you not only facts and skills but also how to critically think and problem solve. But I guess we won’t need those things under technocratic totalitarianism, we’ll just need to conform.
I think people are undermining their own freedom of speech by saying things to garner attention, push product or virtue signal. Would be great if we could bring back boring, nuanced debate that looks at topics from all sides. But this approach doesn’t sell or evangelize; no likes, no hearts, no value. This is infuriating. I’d say the only way to equalize it at this point is to be brave enough to facilitate genuine discourse with those around you.
Music Authentic: I hope your constituents will learn from all this! And now let’s go to other uncharted waters: will you be up for a residency at the first colony on Mars? I mean, you would have a whole planet as an audience any time you perform…
Bre: Hell no. In our lifetime, that will be a one-way trip. I worked with third party developers that facilitated science experiments on the international space station. Having done that, for me, there is no romanticizing the cold harsh reality of the infinite darkness of our universe. So despite our band name, no, I would rather play Red River forever than got to Mars.
Wayne. I’ve spent too much time on Red River, at this point I’d prefer to play for Martians.
Music Authentic: Let’s come back to Earth for a bit. It’s been a trend to see “musicians” popping out from every corner saying how great they are and they are better even The Beatles (well, technically they never say this since they have no idea what that word means) – after they pushed their screens and used some plugins. And this entitlement can be truly frustrating for those musicians who really had an actual learning curve and the secret sauce: life experience. You used to be a punk-rock performer in a different continent, now you are reinventing something Nick Cave has started and you did walk the Earth way beyond the national borders. How do you feel when you see this trend I mentioned?
Bre/Wayne: Good for them that their self-esteem is so great they can declare they are better than The Beatles. We don’t feel threatened or cheated by this. In every industry, even science, there are charlatans. Not everyone is so maxed out on life experience as we are so perhaps this simulacra is indeed more relatable to the masses and it resonates with them. The Unlimited Stars are Wayne and Bre and any other musician that comes into our orbit. We can’t be; we don’t want to be, we’re not trying to be anything else than what we are. We’ve both worked very hard to get to that point, so whatever happens to this project, whether it’s critically acclaimed or not, it’s so not the point. It’s just an expression of two humans.
Music Authentic: Sense of humour: it seems to be cancelled (after all, even a meme leads now imprisonment in the USA). How do you maintain the healthy distancing from the ignorance growing like cancer all around?
Bre/Wayne: We don’t take any posts or social media messages at face value. It’s hype and marketing. Also we know people act differently anonymously versus in real life, one on one. So we just try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Music Authentic: Before we go, what is your special message to your fans and sympathizers?
Bre/Wayne: We really appreciate everyone who helped to make the album, and everyone who listened through it and took something away from it. We hope you’ve enjoyed the wild ride with us thus far. We look forward to exploring and evolving our personal expressions for the foreseeable future.
Music Authentic: Keep us posted, we are looking forward to your new songs!
Bre/Wayne: Thank you, our pleasure.
Listen to and follow The Unlimited Stars on their