Every art form has its innovators, experimentalists, its pioneers, and visionaries. Starfawn is a manifestation of all these things. Misha Mross and Amber Schaefer combine the forces of audio engineering genius and tantalizing vocal presence. Misha’s face-melting synth technique compliments Amber’s mind-bending stage skills dreamily.
If you ever thought is would be fun to make music with a computer keyboard, you really should see Starfawn’s live performance. The Delancey’s Downstairs Lounge hosted artists, musicians, partiers, drunken old guys yelling for “more funk,” and celebrities in an intimate setting that offered the perfect atmosphere for Starfawn’s New York City debut. The show begins with suspenseful drumming and awe-inspiring synthetic sound generation. Amber approaches two computer keyboards positioned back-to-back on a rickety table and the audience leans in to get a better look. With her drumstick she lightly taps the keys with the SM58 microphone in her hand. Occasionally she brings the mic to the keyboard producing a more immediate effect.
The experimental percussion soon turns vicious, peppered with the gory spectacle of flying function keys and the bursting, popping sound of plastic bits. The audience breathes a deep sigh satisfaction as Starfawn takes revenge in honor of everyone who has ever suffered the monotonous oppression of being slave to a computer keyboard. The performance is sincerely gratifying.
Some might say that in music you either have to be really good or really original. Starfawn is both. “Kind of like that raisin, bacon, and walnut pizza I had after the show,” says Misha. With a day job engineering laser beams for top-secret space missions, Mr. Mross is not your average audio programmer. His scientific expertise gives him the flexibility in synth programing that few engineers ever achieve and his musical prowess informs his programing, blurring the line between what is art and what is science. Misha also plays the bass and has held down a rhythm section in math-rock and funk groups for over 10 years. On stage Shaefer breaks the rules – among other things – combining dreamy vocals with stage theatrics. The duo performance leans towards the avant-garde. “The show at The Delancey was fun,” Misha says, “we are still figuring out what works in a live context so we are excited to do more shows in the future and really work towards an engaging and interesting live electronic set.”
Starfawn has been years in the making. These collaborators’ synergy reflects a deep friendship. When asked about the name “Starfawn,” Misha says that it comes from an old comic that Amber had showed him. With their album Greenlight EP, and a deal with Moongadget records, there is going to be much more on the way from these rising stars.