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STAHV – Interview


Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)

PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?

STAHV: STAHV is a reflection of where I’m at in my musical interests and how I want to express them. For most of my life, I’ve been a songwriter in the classic sense, both as a solo artist under the name Ari Shine and as a member of The Royal Oui. STAHV began as an outlet for my more esoteric leanings. The music was primarily long-form and instrumental. In the past year or so, STAHV has become much more succinct and hook-based. It’s almost full circle from where it started, with me returning to traditional song structures, albeit from a totally different place. The new STAHV EP, Simple Mercies, is much darker and more existential compared to my breezier pop past.

 

PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.

STAHV: I grew up in Northern California and spent a few years in Israel as a kid–hence the name STAHV, which is Hebrew for autumn. From the age of fifteen, I’ve been playing in bands in clubs and recording records. In my early twenties, I moved to Los Angeles, where I spent about a decade and a half. That was when I started to take music as a career more seriously and had a few record and publishing deals. I began co-writing a lot in Los Angeles which was a big part of my growth as an artist.

For the last decade, I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, which I find an endlessly inspiring home base. I’m a lifer who could never count how many shows I’ve played, recordings I’ve done, or songs I’ve written. It’s what I’m built for.

 

PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?

STAHV: I am an incredible music junkie. Truly, I can’t get enough. Recently, I’ve been on an English art rock kick and listening to massive amounts of Roxy Music, ‘80s King Crimson, the Strawbs, and Peter Gabriel. I’ve also been devouring the multiple SAULT releases, Weyes Blood, Plaid, Riki, Space Afrika, Suede, and Unto Others. I am also on an unprecedented Crowded House bender.

 

PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?

STAHV: It has always been my hope to make music that moves people, music that is urgent, emotional, and hyper-melodic. That has taken many different forms over the years–from power pop to Americana to darkwave, but the impetus for a visceral response from the listener remains the same. With the sheer number of albums I’ve put out as Ari Shine and STAHV, as half of The Royal Oui, and as a collaborator, I’d love to think that the long tail of music discovery will help people find them. How and when that happens is not entirely up to me, I realize.

 

PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?

STAHV: I’ve had the opportunity to do some really amazing things. I’ve played on the BBC and CBC and opened for many artists I respect from all kinds of genres: John Doe, Rhett Miller, Mike Peters of the Alarm, Peter Case, Chris Shiflett, Great Lake Swimmers, Elliott Brood, Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers, Redd Kross, Silversun Pickups. The list goes on and on. The first time I heard my song “Crank it Out” music on a TV show would rate very high. The show was Veronica Mars, and the feeling blew my mind.

I also recently got to play a guitar solo on the new single by Jim Jones of Thee Hypnotics, “And Your Arms Will Be the Heavens.” As a lifelong fan of his music, this was a big honor for me.

 

PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?

STAHV: I’ve come to accept self-promotion as one of the necessary parts of sharing music. I don’t want to keep the music a secret. As a result, I no longer feel as exposed and crappy when I have to promote a new release. In the case of Simple Mercies, I was so pumped about sharing the songs with the world I could hardly sleep the night before the first song premiered.

 

PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?

STAHV: I book my own shows and have done so for many years now. It’s a challenge, but I’m nothing if not persistent. After not playing for two years, I played nine STAHV shows in 2022 and plan to do many more in 2023. Currently, I have a CD release show booked for February 4th at the Central Saloon in Seattle with Male Tears and The Final Sounds. Check stahv.com for more dates.

 

PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?

STAHV: I ingest music in every possible way, including streaming, vinyl, downloading, terrestrial radio, and YouTube. They all entertain me in different ways. Each generation has its listening methods and apparatuses. The 8-track and gramophone served up tunes and made people happy. Who am I to find fault with the current norms? I will say that the hours spent in record stores seeking and learning made me who I am, and I want every young music fan to have that experience. Spotify, for all its convenience, does not count.

 

PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

STAHV: “Wouldn’t it be Good” by Nik Kershaw. It is utter pop perfection–melancholy, hopeful, and rocking all at once. And zero predictable chord changes.

 

PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?

STAHV: I came up after the golden age of the music industry when things like tour support and artist development existed. Many of my friends were in signed bands in the ‘80s and ‘90s and experienced a very different reality than I did as a constantly-hustling DIYer. I used to be jealous of the bump they all had from the wider reach of labels at an earlier stage of their career. The more industrious ones could parlay that exposure into a lifelong following.

Later, I started appreciating my own ability to move with the times and do what I need to do to get the music out and into as many people’s hands as possible. It’s all stacked against us artists. We need to stick together. Buy each other’s albums and watch each other play live. We’re all in this together.

 

PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?

STAHV: I’m also a writer and have one published book of short stories called Coasting. I’ve been working on a number of flash fiction pieces and essays. Plus, I’ve got lots of ideas for new STAHV music.

 

PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?

STAHV: You can pre-order Simple Mercies and find the rest of my discography at stahv.bandcamp.com. My official site is stahv.com.

STAHV links:
Band/Artist location – Seattle, WA
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Merch – 
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – LinkTree
Check our page for STAHV


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