Starcrawler emerged in 2015 when high schoolers Arrow de Wilde & Henri Cash met. They immediately clicked and started making music. Now their band tours globally. While building their own following, they’ve opened for icons like Jack White & the Foo Fighters. Iggy Pop is also a fan. Starcrawler is on fire, to say the least. She Said, Starcrawler’s third album was released in September. I had the opportunity to chat with the band about their journey. Read on to learn more their vibe, inspirations & music.
Arrow de Wilde & Henri Cash of STARCRAWLER
Interviewed by Laila Alamiri
Laila Alamiri: For readers that aren’t familiar with your music, tell us about Starcrawler.
Henri Cash: We’re just a rock band from Los Angeles. I don’t know…that’s a hard question. I think we’re a very visual band. We’re something you have to see and hear for yourself.
Laila Alamiri: Your latest album, She Said, was released in September. What does this album mean to you guys?
Arrow de Wilde: This album is pretty important to us as a band, especially because of the timing of when we started writing it. It was during covid, during the shutdown. We weren’t sure if we would be able to tour or even make music again. When we started working on the album, it felt like we had a purpose again. It’s special.
Henri Cash: I also feel like with every record, it’s a really cool time capsule, what life sounded like at that point in time, in that room, in that place. We were 15 and 16 when we recorded our first record. It sounds super youthful. I feel like this record sounds like a more mature & established version of what we started doing all those years ago.
Laila Alamiri: I can definitely hear an evolution. Your first single was a fun song called “Ants.” That is a fun track but your new album goes a bit deeper. The writing is next level. Do you consider yourselves poets?
Henri Cash: Hmmm….that would be cool. I think the real thing is that we connect, or that people connect with the songs on a deeper level. They hear the words or melody and feel like they can identify with it, or go through similar feelings, or that it can help in some way. I think that’s really the goal of putting our music out in the world. It’s to connect with other people. If that happens, that would be really cool, more than anything else.
Laila Alamiri: I’m curious what it’s like touring together. I’m sure you have some fun stories.
Arrow de Wilde: We’ve been touring since I was 17 and Henri was 16. It’s what we know – we’ve been at it for so long. When we couldn’t tour for a couple years, it was super weird.
Henri Cash: It was almost unnatural. It’s strange that being on the road seems more like home than being at home. We’ve been out for so long. The longest we were home was like 2 weeks. Being at home during lockdown…it was crazy. We didn’t have scheduled things to do or shows to play.
We’ve had a lot of fun out on the road. Traveling in shitty vans and planes. It’s been fun. There’s so many stories that I can’t even think about.
There is this one time when we had this terrible flight…a couple of days of complications. We played this thing at the Kentucky Derby, then flew to New York, had to get an uber to the other airport in New York, and fly to Norway. In Norway, our plane got grounded because someone had a heart attack. Crazy couple of days. When we finally made it to Norway, we were playing at a festival and were in the catering area after our set.Arrow and I ended up standing next to Patti Smith.
Arrow de Wilde: She was there getting food and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself, but I had to say something. I ended up saying something cheesy like “You make me feel like it’s ok to be a freak.” Then I realized that I might have sounded bad, like I was calling her a freak. But she was super nice.
Henri Cash: She came back to our table and held our hands. She said to remember what Jimi Hendrix said, to let your freak flag fly. I told her I was a big fan of her late husband who was in MC5. She introduced us to her son with him. He played guitar for her at the time. They played an extraordinary set that day.
Arrow de Wilde: We also met Robert Plant later that day….the same day!
Henri Cash: Yeah, we were driving and saw Robert Plant. We hopped out of the car and he was super nice. It was a great end to a terrible trip.
Arrow de Wilde: We were driving. It was raining and we passed Robert Plant and made eye contact. He was laughing because we were freaking out. So we had to stop the van. He was so nice. I wish we would have gotten a photo.
Laila Alamiri: I guess you didn’t get a photo with Patti Smith either?
Henri Cash: With both of them, they were so sweet. They asked us about ourselves and our music. It was a deeper conversation. Maybe the photo would have diminished the moment.
Laila Alamiri: You guys have been busy since getting together in 2015. Tell us about how life has changed for you in the last few years.
Henri Cash: Shoot!
Arrow de Wilde: (Laughing): A lot.
Henri Cash: We no longer have to go to school, which is super cool. We hated that shit. We’re a family out here. Everyone that’s part of our band & crew, we’re a tight group. I’m thankful to have that. It feels so great to finally be back in a room with people. Everyone is appreciative to be back together and taking care of each other.
Laila Alamiri: What does a creative session look like? How do you guys collaborate, write & create?
Henri Cash: It’s different all the time. We usually get together at one of our houses.
Arrow de Wilde: It usually starts with a guitar part or something that Henri has in his pocket. We just get together and decide what we wanna write about.
Henri Cash: Sometimes Ken that plays bass, he’ll be playing and singing on piano. It’s different every time. I feel like if we had a routine it wouldn’t work. It would be boring. Others have asked if we chose to write fast songs or slow songs. We don’t have that option. Our music just comes out based on the mood and situations we are in.
Laila Alamiri: I know you live in LA now…did you grow up here?
Arrow de Wilde: Yeah, we all did. Except our drummer is from Boone, NC.
Laila Alamiri: One of my favorite tracks is an earlier one…”I Love LA”.How does living in Los Angeles inspire your music?
Arrow de Wilde: We are definitely inspired by a lot of LA bands. I feel like wherever you grew up and made music in, it’s gonna reflect your vibe.
Laila Alamiri: I can’t imagine it would be as easy to do what you’re doing if you were from North Carolina.
Henri Cash: Definitely not.
Arrow de Wilde: Our families are 2nd or 3rd generation LA people. We grew up knowing the history and stories of our families. That was inspiring.
Laila Alamiri: You’re definitely not shy on stage. I saw a video of you at Austin City Limits where you put your finger in a lady’s mouth. She looked like a mom but seemed to love the gesture. That made me laugh. What inspires your performance style?
Arrow de Wilde: It’s somewhat an alter ego. I’m a pretty chill person, not dancing around all the time. I don’t have a routine or think about what I’m doing on stage. I just go with it and feel the energy out.
Laila Alamiri: Some musicians say they channel higher consciousness and power through performing – do you feel that way?
Arrow de Wilde: Um…maybe. It’s definitely not something I can just tap into unless I’m on stage in front of people. It doesn’t need to be a lot of people. So maybe…I guess.
Henri Cash: I think of it more as energy. When we play for a dull crowd, we can fake it, but it doesn’t feel the same as when the energy is there. It’ a rush, what I imagine someone that plays sports or something feels like. Like listening to the Ramones or the Clash and Mc5…it feels like how those records make me feel.
Laila Alamiri: Henri – In your KLOS interview with Steve Jones, you mentioned the Ramones & Ozzy Osborne as inspirations. What other musicians are you inspired by? I’m sure you meet tons of up-and-coming artists at festivals.
Henri Cash: There’s a really amazing guitarist right now named Madison Cunningham. I’ve been listening to her music. Our friend’s band is called Sad Girl. They have been playing shows with us. Their song called “Goodbye Queen” – I think is one of the best songs of the year. I also like The Paranoyds. They just put out a new record on Third Man that has a cool B-52’s/Devo retro vibe…you don’t hear that a lot.
It’s really cool getting to meet so many bands and hang out. When we were in Australia we hung out with Amyl & the Sniffers. We also got to hang out with the guitar player from Orville Peck.
Laila Alamiri: And what about your music videos? How do you come up with the concept?
Arrow de Wilde: Music videos are super fun! It’s funny because whenever we write a song or I hear one of the recordings back for the first time, I always have images ready for each song. That’s how my brain works. It usually starts with random videos in my head.
Laila Alamiri: What was it like touring with Jack White? And recording at Third Man? How cool was that? Are you inspired by his music?
Henri Cash: I’ve loved Jack White since I was little so that was all amazing. His support of our music means the world. Since we did that live recording there, we’ve opened his shows. He’s been so nice to us.
Laila Alamiri: You started creating music together in high school, in 2015.
Arrow de Wilde: Yeah, we pretty much started talking about a band from that point on. We’ve been collaborating since.
Laila Alamiri: What advice do you have for young musicians that might just be getting started?
Henri Cash: I think just do it. Nowadays young musicians are afraid to not be good enough. On social media there are all these three-year-olds that are insanely good – it’s disturbing. I think it’s important to know that you don’t necessarily have to be good to be in a band or write a good song. There’s no path or rules you have to follow. When we started as a band, I don’t think we were super good. We weren’t good songwriters, I wasn’t a good guitar player. We just wanted to do our thing and tell our story. It will develop the more you do it. If you focus and stop fucking around…If you don’t want it to be a hobby, don’t make it a hobby.
Arrow de Wilde: Yeah, I think also finding friends who really enjoy spending time with that also want to make the same music as you.
Henri Cash: It’s the hardest part.
Arrow de Wilde: The most important part.
Henri Cash: Wear band t-shirts and carry around a tuba case…that’s my advice. That’s how I met Arrow.
Laila Alamiri: Do you play Tuba?
Henri Cash: I do, not actively though. I try to pull it out every once in a while. I did play in school.
Laila Alamiri: Were you in the marching band?
Henri Cash: We went to an art school so there weren’t any sports at all…no marching. Just concert & orchestra.
Laila Alamiri: Ahhh, so you never got to wear those funny band outfits, the tall hats with the feather?
Henri Cash: I think those outfits are sick actually. I’m kinda sad I didn’t get to wear one.
Laila Alamiri: And what about you Arrow, how did you start music?
Arrow de Wilde: I played drums for four years but it wasn’t giving me what I wanted. Then I started singing. I’ve tried to play guitar.
Henri Cash: She does play guitar.
Laila Alamiri: Last question…What do we have to look forward to from you guys?
Arrow de Wilde: Just lots of touring.
Henri Cash: Yeah, we’ll be doing a US and Canada dates in the next month or so. We really want to get back over to Asia & Australia. We just came back from Korea which was amazing. We want to go to Japan. Maybe in the winter. It’s amazing to go to so many beautiful places and experience different cultures.
Starcrawler is currently on tour. Check out their site: www.starcrawlermusic.com for tour dates. You can also follow them on instagram @starcrawler.
Photography: Alexander Thompson
Interview: Laila Alamiri
Location: Baby’s All Right