Austin, Texas-based Star Parks made their debut at this year’s SXSW event where they were joined by Dan Finnegan and Jack Rainey of Paper Trail Records, a Dublin-based record label /management company that kicked off this time last year. While the duo is working with a selection of Irish artists, they have also signed three U.S. artists including Star Parks.
So why would an American artist sign with an Irish label? In the modern era of the Internet taking over the world, this long-distance/ trans-Atlantic relationship is a lot easier than it seems.
We caught up with Star Parks’ Andy Bianculli, a native New Yorker with Irish roots, to see why he chose to sign with a brand new Irish label, what it was like to visit Ireland last year, and how this New Yorker’s Irish ties are furthering the launch of his new album Don’t Dwell.
When you heard that your record was on the Paper Trail radar, were you skeptical about an Irish label?
As soon as I read what Dan and Jack had written about the other U.S. artists on the label I was interested. It was pretty reassuring to know that the people who ran the label could be that insightful and thoughtful about another artist's music. There is kind of a hesitance once you finish a record or any big project to put it out there. It seemed like they loved the music and it would be in safe hands.
You were touring with another band called Feufollet in Europe when Paper Trail became interested in your record, and invited to you visit them in Ireland. Had a trip to Ireland been on the cards?
This is true. It was a pretty short tour through, a few small towns near Nantes where we played at all these 11th century Roman churches. Since I was already over there, I made a plan to go to London and Dublin since I had never been. If I hadn't been in touch with the fellas I don't know what I would have done.
How did you find Ireland and the music scene there?
Most of my time was spent at pubs with the fellas and at their house. It was a very short visit but I loved Dublin. I felt very comfortable there. I am a New Yorker who chooses to live in Texas so I often feel out of place.
I have a certain kind of sense of humor because I'm a godless Yankee but everyone I met in Dublin had such a great wit and were so hospitable. I don't think I've laughed that hard since. I also think it's a strange experience for an American with Irish ancestors to walk around Ireland for the first time.
How was your first encounter with this brand new Irish label. Was it love at first sight?
I loved them immediately and continue to. They are such a balanced pair of young men. They have been so kind to me, helpful, patient and willing to work hard for me when we all know no one is really making any money selling records these days. So one has to believe they really just love music and maybe love my music and believe in me, which very few people ever have. So I am eternally grateful and hope I don't let them down.
Has it been difficult coordinating with a label that is based 5,000 miles away? How do you guys make it work?
It's been a breeze. We stay in touch and have modern conference calls on our little phones. Everything that has happened since the record has been in their hands has been positive.
There was a label in Austin that was going to put the record out before I met Dan and Jack and I actually think the two guys who live 5,000 miles away are more attentive and capable than the label who lives 10 blocks away would have been. So I have absolutely zero complaints.
Does Star Parks have plans to tour the new record in the U.S. or return to Europe?
I plan to go everywhere. I grew up in New York so I don't need an excuse to come back. Hopefully this fall. And I guess I should talk to my big shot label about touring in their homeland.
(Star Parks’ Don’t Dwell offers nine tracks of the best kind of dream pop, spiriting the listener away with gossamer harmonies and celestial arrangements. The record is out on vinyl and digital download. For more information visit StarParks.BandCamp.com and PaperTrailRecords.com)