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Starship Gazelle Shares Inspiring Story Of “Mad Maps” In Interview

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Starship Gazelle
Shar Rangreza aka Starship Gazelle‘s latest single “Mad Maps” takes listeners on a poignant journey, exploring the complexities of young love and the challenges of distance, as revealed in this exclusive interview. Scroll down to read the inspiring story of this track!

1 — What was the source of inspiration behind your new single “Mad Maps”?

“Mad Maps” was inspired by a short-lived trip away from home to attend a college in Seattle (I returned after a year of education at the institution there). My girlfriend around that time was moving to a college 5 hours away from mine (by car). I had a feeling that our budding romance would not survive the distance and being away from the community of our high school would take away from our relationship. We did end up keeping in touch with each other, but the song was about leaving her behind and leaving the town I grew up in. The lyrics contain the sentiment, “Love me now or let me go / ‘Cause I’m heading north.”

2 — Can you describe the creative process behind its music video?

The music video was created with the director for the project, Lucas Dudley, in mind as well as a few images that are important to me including a picture I took of the aforementioned girlfriend’s hand touching a tree. There is also the symbol of time throughout the song and in the first line of the song (if you listen to the lyrics closely or read them)— there’s time passing and exploration of the idea of getting older. The video ends with a watch on the boy lover.

There’s also the cool shot of me at the end of the video burning a dry autumn leaf with a lighter. I think this was to signify letting go of the trees you’ve planted in your life with the changing of seasons and moving past your past if that seems to be the right move. Letting go in this regard is metaphorical and cathartic.

The pouring of wine into the glass about a third into the video is symbolic of the purifying nature of wine and the freeing effect it can have on your spirit. I thought this was a cool shot and ties into some of the themes found lyrically in the song.

The director of the music video had a grand vision in mind which we discussed together and I implemented some of my ideas with his help. We had an idea to journey through a forest, so we went to Muir Woods near San Francisco and tried to capture the feeling of being lost and searching for yourself. This internal journey is the journey of “Mad Maps.”

3 — What was the most challenging part of composing this track?

While the chord progression came easily, piecing together some of the lyrics took a while as it was hard to convey something so personal to me in song—leaving home.

4 — How do you want your listeners to feel when listening to “Mad Maps”?

I want listeners to feel nostalgic and the emotion of heartbreak. While my heart wasn’t literally broken, I think there’s something like heartbreak occurring when you leave a piece of your heart behind in the town you love. Leaving home behind, your parents, the places and town you love, as well as some of the people you grew up with at your high school can be tough. I want to the listeners to experience something heavy and take a journey with the singer through a conflicted time punctuated by an exuberant, uplifting chorus.


5 — What message do you want to convey through your lyrics?

My lyrics are supposed to convey a message of a journey inwards towards finding yourself given newfound independence.

Some of the lyrics speak of an internal struggle I had during my senior year of high school with mental health: “Tell me boy who’s the hero this time? / When sane lost a war to his own damn spine.”

There’s a message of overcoming loneliness, growing older (and all the burdens and expectations that come with it), and parting with a loved one. The lyrics are all over the place, but I think it’s also important to pay attention to the soothing urban and sylvan imagery of a forest and city lights. Sometimes we find solace in the simplest of things.

6 — What has been your most memorable experience while creating this tune?

While creating this tune, I think using a fun chord progression that moved around a lot with basic chords was really great. The chord progression was actually inspired by “New Slang” by The Shins. When I recorded the song at the Tiny Telephone Recording Studio in 2017, adding the Hammond Organ and Tambourine parts to the song was really fun.

7 — How does “Mad Maps” differ from your previous releases in terms of sound?

“Mad Maps” is a more somber song while some of my other songs are light-hearted love songs, which tell a story of an experience. I think “Mad Maps” is more all-encompassing without a very specific subject matter.


8 — If you could choose a different title for this song, what would it be and why?

I think “Tell Me Boy” would be a cool different title for this song. I think that verse of the song entails questioning oneself and sharing a contemplative moment alone. I think there’s a hint of sarcasm to this line in the song, and growing up watching a lot of Bollywood, I was used to thinking of myself as a “hero.” But sometimes in life, you don’t always get what you want, so I think that’s what this alternate title would be about—struggling a bit growing up, despite expecting everything to be hunky dory.

9 — What other projects do you have in the pipeline for the future?

I’m demoing a lot of songs right now within the realm of rock and folk. I even have experimented a bit with an EDM sound. I try not to limit myself creatively and make music whenever I can. Some of the unreleased songs have more interesting syncopation than you’re used to hearing on a Starship Gazelle track since I’m growing as a drummer day by day. I also am experimenting with a higher fidelity sound out of my backyard recording studio, with some different micing techniques and me fiddling around with my guitar amp.

10 — Lastly, how did you come up with such a unique name as Starship Gazelle?

I was actually naming a joint project between me and my friend Geoff in 2014 and was brainstorming a name and came up with Star Gazers which eventually turned into the name Starship Gazelle. The project is now a solo singer-songwriter project, though I frequently have friends help me with tracking things like a violin and a bass guitar.

I think much later I realized the similarity the band name shared to a fun pop-punk band like Cobra Starship and Tame Impala—both bands I grew up listening to and still admire and respect. I think my artist’s name invokes a UFO landing on Earth with some fun aliens inside of it making music for the world. It also vaguely reminds me of shows like Star Trek or the Star Wars movies.


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By Erick Ycaza

Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.