This month I had the most gorgeous opportunity to speak to Anastasia Walker, lead singer of local (and national) legends Bang Bang Romeo, about her newest adventure. Adopting the stage name Stars, Anastasia is stepping into her own spotlight for what we hope is a momentous start to her solo career.
[B]Tell me what’s new with you?
[A]It’s a new chapter, my love, which is very exciting, nerve racking, something that I have wanted to do but I have been so busy.. and then lockdown hit so I am here talking to you now because I am bringing out my debut solo single
[B] That’s such exciting news. So you mentioned off record earlier that it’s been 2 years in the making?
[A] Quite literally. It was an indecisive, should I, shouldn’t I moment. I started writing songs that were not bang-bang romeo but I still really liked them and obviously I spent years writing for the band but then I started writing just.. differently. I think lockdown opened up new avenues for inspiration, people got inspired by different things, inspired by new things they never knew. So I started writing pop songs that I kinda fell in love with, I’m a massive pop fan and it just escalated from there.
[B]So you’re embarking on your solo career! What was the bands reaction to that?
[A]I am very lucky that they were very cool with it. I spoke to the boys to get their blessing, very supportive. Ross too, myself and Ross are the songwriters so it’s been nice to show him the songs and get a writing session together because I still want his input on the Stars solo career and he’s really cool with that. The boys must think I am mad too as it’s a busy year for Bang Bang Romeo, we have lots of massive announcements to come out yet; we really decided to go for it. It’ll either make me or kill but either way I’ll sleep well.
[B]So there will still be a Bang Bang Romeo?
[A] Yeah there will always be a Bang Bang Romeo. It’s just been nice after 10 years in the band to go; “guys, I want to try to bring out some solo stuff” and get their thumbs up. So that’s full on and now Stars is coming out so that’s also full on at the same time. I do think I am mad
[B]I think we are very similar in that, in that if we are not unbelievably busy then we are not happy!
[A]Yeah I was saying earlier that structure is something that keeps me ticking, another thing I learnt in lockdown is that I have anxiety. At first I was like “all these b*tches have anxiety and it’s not a thing” and then I get it and I’m like “This is awful, absolutely awful”. So without a structure or a plan, I’m a wreck. I need to know everything that is happening, so I know exactly everything I am doing for the rest of the day down to the hour
[B]Laughs – I’m exactly the same. So what’s the new single all about?
[A]Demons.. So my brother Gabriel is a recovering alcoholic and substance abuser who is now 4 years 3 months sober. Which is incredible, almost died three times. He’s my younger brother and it’s about his story. There are some things he has said to me that have really blown me away. When we spoke about his drinking he said, essentially, every time I drink I am conjuring up my demons and having a séance. I was like “now that is a lyric”. He has a story and I want to tell it. He’s my baby bother, he’s my best friend and he’s my soul mate. This isn’t even written by me, it’s his words and that’s what it’s based on; I’ve just also piggybacked with some of my own mental health struggles too. He wanted to be sure people knew it wasn’t just about him and it’s about me too. It’s the first song I have written for family, who isn’t my grandma or a girlfriend. So he’s welcome.
[B]Sounds like there is a lot people could take from it, no matter how their life is
[A]Thank you. Yeah it’s not all doom and gloom, the lyrics in there are you know;
I’m better than this/I want to leave a better blueprint for the world I’m leaving/I never meant to make you cry.
These are all diary entries from Gabriel to ourselves. There is an uplifting feel to it, because when it comes to anything like that, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s all about how big that light is. Whether it’s miniscule or glaring in your face, it all depends on your journey and where you are. There is a light and I hope the song kind of sheds some more on it.
It’s produced by Sam Miller (One Direction/Paloma Faith/Christina Agruilara/Razorlight) and Jim Lawnton (Example/Todd Edwards) and one they’ve done with the track to lift it has blow me away, forever grateful!
[B]Yeah, I think as well it’s important to remember that the size of the light can change from time to time. Healing is never linear.
[A]There is always a light, no matter what you are going through.
[B]Exactly. So does that mean there is an album on the way from you?
[A]There is between one to two albums worth of material. I just want to release music, I mean one day possibly, maybe, yes, no. We’ll see what happens, all I want to do is get these songs out that I have thrown my soul into. Hopefully people like it but if they don’t I won’t care, these are my diary entries from that time. Things that we will discuss in the context of history, where we had to stay at home in lockdown.
[B] So, is it a new sound? New influences?
[A]It’s Elton John on steroids… Joking.
[B]Lesbian Elton John
[A][sings] It’s a little big funny
It’s pop, I’m a massive pop fan. Bang Bang Romeo is all about rock and roll. I do love rock and roll. I love Radiohead, Led Zeppelin. But I have a massive soft spot for ABBA.
[B]Oh yeah, I think everyone does.
[A]Me and my dad like to dissect pop songs. We’ll say, that’s genius. Taylor Swift – Blank Space is the perfect pop song, Waterloo, Ed Sheeran. I look up to these people massively. For these people music is not about expression but maths which I really dig. It’s amazing they go “verse and bridge equals chorus” They have found a formula. I find it really interesting, it’s like a puzzle; pop music. It sounds a bit Dua Lipa, sounds a bit like Ed Sheeran, sounds a bit Taylor Swift and it sounds a bit Gnarls Barkley. Drenched in Muse and Gaga.
[A]You know what, it sounds like me and I like that. Even if it sounds depressed [laughing]
[B]If it sounds anxious..
[A]Anxiety in a song, it’s me. Writing these songs, ha’s been soothing for this anxiety. It’s my therapy session.
[B]What’s next for you then?
(Some off the record discussions about female masturbation, nostalgia about shower heads, more uproarious laughter, something tongue in cheek, nudge nudge wink wink)
[A]Festival season with bang bang romeo. Just releasing music, we can’t wait. We have itchy feet. We are off to Kendle, Tramlines, Bingley, a big show to announce, London Pride Main Stage, festivals in Switzerland, Askern.
[B]Haha nice. Best on the list.
[A] Oh yeah, forget the biggest festivals in the UK and Switzerland and London Pride to 1.5 million visitors,we are off to Askern! But we have festival season and for Stars, it’s going to be about releasing music. I am ready for everyone to hear what goes off in my head.
[B]So will there be shows with Stars?
I’d absolutely adore that. I’d love to do a Stars tour, if there is enough time. Maybe the end of the year.
[B]Christmas with Stars?
[A]Haha sounds like a charity show at the roundhouse. Yeah I just want everyone to go follow Stars on Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Spotify and stream the single. Not sure when this is coming out but the single comes out 10th June, the debut single Demons and the presave link comes out the first of June.
Please go stream the eff out of it.
[B]Anything else you want to add or plug?
[A]Just love that we are doing this here at The Library, this was my first gig ever, I was 14. Guitar broke, microphone broke, but it was full of 14 year old nappy nighters, and the band was called The Messy Retros from school. I think we sang Helena by MCR. It’s nice to announce this here.
[B]And with it being a queer space, the crossover there.
[A]Yeah, it’s our library innit, it’s a safe space. It feels only natural to talk about this here. It’s a pleasure. And obviously I love you.
[B]And you, darling!
Stars’ debut solo single DEMONS releases on all streaming services now!
Photography by: @io__visuals