Amy Millan on how her home country inspires her band’s songs and lyrics

Seeing Stars:?from left, Evan Cranley, Amy Millan,Torquil Campbell, Chris Seligman and Patrick McGee

“I left the North, I traveled South,” sang Morrissey in The Smith’s “Is It Really So Strange?” It’s no news that Montreal indie pop band Stars are huge Smiths fans. Their loungey cover of the Mancunian band’s “This Charming Man” was a big clue. But the title of their just-released sixth album, “The North,” isn’t necessarily Smiths inspired.

“To me it’s such a beautiful Stars title,” says singer Amy Millan. “We could only be a band here in the north, in Canada. I think our music is the sound of the north. We have so much room here, we have vast amounts of land and I think it allows for those sweeping melodies that we’re able to create. And we always start our albums in the wintertime. There’s something very northern about the way we sound, there’s always very cold imagery in our lyrics. It makes sense to me that we would make a record called ‘The North.’”

Millan thinks that the north-south sensibility divide is a global one.

“You can always sense, no matter what country it is, there’s a difference in mentality between the people who live in the north and the people who live in the south.  Even the word south brings up so much different imagery, definitely softness. You have to have more hope in your heart to survive the long northern winters. You have to have a great ability to drink and have a laugh,” she says and indeed laughs, “and make it through to the spring.”

‘A perfectly coifed coif’

Millan says she’s looking forward to playing Manchester UK on this tour, but despite their many gigs in the city of the Smiths, they have yet to encounter Morrissey face to face. What would she ask him if she did?  “Ahhh, well,” she muses, “I would probably want to know how he gets his hair so perfect. It’s a perfectly coifed coif at all times, it’s quite impressive.”

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