Abby Jones | Staff Writer
If you’ve ever found yourself in the midst of an impromptu dance party at any of Denton’s ubiquitous small music venues, it’s likely you were at a STARPARTY show.
“STARPARTY is an intergalactic disco drama,” the band’s frontman Jake Steinberg said.
Most of STARPARTY’s members have been playing music virtually their entire lives. Steinberg, who had been doing covers of electronic-pop duo Daft Punk on his own, was approached by a member of another band who was interested in doing the same thing. When that band member passed away unexpectedly, the remaining group still wanted to carry out that idea: a Daft Punk cover band with some individuality of their own.
“I became to surrogate leader for this idea,” Steinberg said. “And we just received an incredible embrace from the community.”
Five years later, the STARPARTY brand is somewhat modeled after “Interstella 5555,” a sci-fi cartoon realization of Daft Punk’s 2001 album “Discovery.” According to Steinberg and bassist Paulo Castillo, the movie tells a story of an intergalactic dance band kidnapped to perform on Earth. STARPARTY aims to embody this storyline in their live performances—like you’re watching a band from outer space.
However, STARPARTY also has a handful of originals. These 10 to 11 songs follow a storyline similar to “Interstella 5555,” with the members of STARPARTY as the main characters.
“Our violinist is like the heroine, and the band members help her against this space queen archetype,” Steinberg said. “It’s all very Disney-oriented.”
Steinberg and drummer Matt Woods are the only original members of STARPARTY out of their current seven member lineup.
“My favorite part is the shows,” Woods said. “Actually playing live and feeling the energy from the crowd. In the past five years we’ve played in just about every venue in Denton.”
“Current and dead,” Castillo added.
Steinberg said that the success of Daft Punk’s single “Get Lucky” helped the band tremendously, and garnered more interest in their label of a “Daft Punk cover band.”
STARPARTY focuses heavily on their live performances rather than studio recordings. With avant-garde costumes and creative uses of light and projections, their shows are designed to be memorable and good, clean fun.
“That’s one of the redeeming qualities of pop music for us,” Steinberg said. “You can include a lot of different types of people in one type of music.”
Steinberg added that the atmosphere at shows is incredible, and they thank the Denton community for being so supportive.
“There are some times in your personal life where you’re going through some crap, and you play one show, and you forget how amazing Denton treats you,” Castillo said. “They come to a show and dance their butts off.”
“It’s always been a dance party,” keyboardist Daniel Forrester said. “There’s not many dance bands in Denton.”
While they do have a three-song demo recording of their oldest originals, STARPARTY has not yet recorded any of their Daft Punk covers.
They believe the visuals and the audience’s aura are part of what makes the experience so special, which is difficult to recreate on a recording or CD.
“We’re very much interested in [recording more], and we have a lot of people right now who are interested in us,” Steinberg said. “It’s just a time management issue.”
Outside of Denton, STARPARTY has also played in Dallas and Austin. As much as they’d love to grow outside of the Denton community, it’s not a goal they force themselves to meet.
“STARPARTY was formed upon somewhat of a casual basis, so we also don’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves to reach or attain certain career marks,” Steinberg said. “It was never something that we said ‘we’re gonna need your signature in blood to take this as far as we can go.’ It’s really just something we enjoy doing together.”
The members of STARPARTY have excellent friendships between each other outside of the band, despite other endeavors.
“I’m in five groups right now,” Castillo said. “STARPARTY has by far been the most friendly. I want to hang out with them more out of just being a musician.”
“I was welcomed so warmly,” vocalist Ava Thompson said.
As the newest member of STARPARTY, she joined the band about three or four months ago.
“I’ve never been in a band before, and I’ve never had this kind of experience,” Thompson said. “It’s been really positive for me beyond just the scope of making music. It’s been good for me as a person.”
While they might be a cover band at their core, STARPARTY has no problem playing other people’s music.
Steinberg says they adore utilizing the opportunity to put their own spin on music that was never intended for a band to perform live.
“The stigma of a cover band is something we’ve kind of had to endure, but it’s also something we revel in and embrace,” Steinberg said. “To me, Daft Punk writes some of the best pop music that’s ever been written. It’s very intricate and I’m passionate about it.”
Featured Image: STARPARTY is a cover band based in Denton that is brought together by the similar love for Daft Punk. Kelsey Shoemaker