Stars (Canadian band)

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Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan performing with Stars in 2005
Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan performing with Stars in 2005
Background information
GenresIndie pop, indie rock, chamber pop, new wave
Years active2000–present
LabelsATO, Soft Revolution, Arts & Crafts, Le Grand Magistery, Paper Bag
MembersTorquil Campbell
Amy Millan
Evan Cranley
Chris Seligman
Patrick McGee
Chris McCarron

Stars is a Canadian indie pop/rock band based in Montreal, Quebec.[1] Since forming in 2000, they have released nine albums and a number of EPs. Their music has been nominated for two Juno Awards and two Polaris Music Prizes.


All members of Stars grew up in Toronto, Ontario. Torquil Campbell and Christopher Seligman recorded the first Stars album Nightsongs in New York in 1999. When they began to do live shows, they called in Evan Cranley, a childhood friend, to play bass. Cranley then recruited Amy Millan to be part of the band.

After a short stint in New York, the four musicians moved to Montreal and began to work on the second full-length album, Heart. In Montreal, they met Patrick Mcgee, who became their drummer. Heart was released on the new label Arts&Crafts, which also hosted their friends Broken Social Scene. While on their first North American tour together, Stars and Broken Social Scene shared and swapped members on a nightly basis. Heart appeared on the !earshot National Top 50 chart in March 2003,[2] and won critical acclaim.[3]

Stars rented a house in the Eastern Townships in the middle of winter. For a month and a half, the five of them lived together and wrote Set Yourself on Fire. It was recorded at Studio Plateau in Montreal and was produced by the band and Tom McFall. The record received good reviews, and, along with the band's live performances, established them on the national indie rock scene in Canada.

Stars have cited a wide variety of musical influences ranging from Berlioz to Outkast, citing among others Paddy McAloon, New Order, The Smiths, Brian Wilson, and Momus. They covered The Smiths' "This Charming Man" on 2001's Nightsongs and The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" in 2005. Other indie artists have been guest collaborators on many of their tracks, especially for an early period including the release of their first LP.

Anticipating that their album In Our Bedroom After the War would leak at some point between the final mixing and the official release, Stars was one of the first bands to make their album available in digital form the day after it was completed on July 10, 2007.[4] The CD release included a bonus DVD, a film called "Are we here now". It is a collection of interviews with the band and the band's close friends as well as live performances around the globe; it was directed by Anthony Seck.

Meanwhile, Campbell was also an active member of the band Memphis.[5] Millan has released two solo albums, Honey from the Tombs in 2006 and Masters of the Burial in 2009.

On September 1, 2008, the band released the EP Sad Robots through their online store and also sold it during live shows.

Their single "Celebration Guns" is the title song for the television series ZOS: Zone of Separation and was provided for free as part of a collaboration with Moms Against Climate Change.

Stars have covered The Smiths' "Asleep" for American Laundromat Records' charity CD "Sing Me To Sleep - Indie Lullabies". The CD was released worldwide in May 2010.

In June 2010 the band released their fifth studio album, The Five Ghosts. In Canada, the album was released via Soft Revolution, the band's own new label. It has been distributed worldwide via Vagrant Records.[6]

The band's sixth studio album, The North, was released on September 4, 2012, via ATO Records. It was promoted by offering a free download of the first single "The Theory of Relativity" in exchange for signing up for the band's official e-mail list.[7][8]

Stars performed at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as well as the Field Trip Arts & Crafts Music Festival, celebrating the tenth anniversary of their label Arts & Crafts Productions.[9]

The band released their seventh album, No One Is Lost, in October 2014. Chris McCarron, formerly of Land of Talk, officially joined the band as the lead guitarist; he had previously contributed to The North and toured with the band.[10]

Stars were on the line-up for the WAYHOME festival in the summer of 2016, north of Toronto.[11]

On January 1, 2017, the band was part of CBC's The Strombo Show's Hip 30. Various Canadian bands covered songs from The Tragically Hip to commemorate the Hip's 30th anniversary.[12]

Stars released their eighth album, There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light, produced by Peter Katis, on October 13, 2017, on Last Gang Records worldwide.[13]

Musical style and influence[edit]

Stars' music has been described as "beautiful, eloquent indie pop",[14] characterized by lush instrumentation, nimble production and mixing, narrative lyrics, and soft but nuanced vocals. The band's style has evolved from an electronic-pop sound as heard on Nightsongs (released on Le Grand Magistery record label) to more rock-based instrumentation on their following three full-length albums, reflecting the permanent additions of singer-guitarist Amy Millan and bassist Evan Cranley on Heart (released on Paper Bag Records), and eventually drummer Pat McGee on Set Yourself on Fire.

Their songs have been featured on Queer as Folk, Alias, The O.C., Warehouse 13, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, The Vampire Diaries, Skins, Continuum, Chuck, One Week, indie film Tanner Hall (2009), Studio C, and the 2011 film Like Crazy.[15][16] Their music is also featured in the software-based artwork I Want You to Want Me (2007), by American artist Jonathan Harris.[17]


  • Torquil Campbell – lead vocals, synthesizer, melodica, occasional backing vocals (2000–present)
  • Chris Seligman – keyboards, French horn, backing vocals (2000–present)
  • Evan Cranley – bass, guitars, backing vocals (2000–present)
  • Amy Millan – backing vocals, keyboards, guitars, occasional lead vocals (2000–present)
  • Pat McGee – drums, percussion (2003–present)
  • Chris McCarron – lead guitar (2014–present)



Juno nominations[edit]

Stars have received two Juno nominations throughout their career:[20][21]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2004 Heart Alternative Album of the Year Nominated
2005 Set Yourself on Fire Alternative Album of the Year Nominated

Polaris Music Prizes[edit]

The band has received two Polaris nominations:[22]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2008 In Our Bedroom After the War Polaris Music Prize Nominated
2011 The Five Ghosts Polaris Music Prize Nominated

TV appearances[edit]

  • Live! At the Rehearsal Hall
  • Late Night with Conan O'Brien
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon


  1. ^ "'Your Ex-Lover is Dead' turns 15: exploring the brilliance behind Stars' biggest hit" CBC Music , May 17, 2019
  2. ^ "The National Top 50 For the Week Ending: Tuesday, March 4, 2003". !earshot.
  3. ^ "Stars". AllMusic Biography by Kenyon Hopkin
  4. ^ "Stars Fight Album Leak, Release In Our Bedroom After the War On iTunes Immediately". Exclaim! Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  5. ^ "Arts & Crafts Memphis - Here Comes A City". Arts & Crafts. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Stars Announce New Album: The Five Ghosts". Exclaim! Magazine. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  7. ^ Hogan, Marc (June 21, 2012). "Stars Unveil New LP With Synth-Swoony 'The Theory of Relativity'". Spin. Spin Media, LLC. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  8. ^ "Stars Return With 'The North,' New Song". Prefix Mag. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  9. ^ "Stars Join Feist, Broken Social Scene, Bloc Party & More For A&C Field Trip Festival". Arts & Crafts. Archived from the original on February 28, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  10. ^ "Listen to Stars' The North with exclusive track-by-track commentary from Torquil Campbell". National Post. August 28, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  11. ^ "PAUSE". Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  12. ^ "The Strombo Show presents Hip 30". CBC Music. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  13. ^ "Stars – "Fluorescent Light"". Stereogum. July 27, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  14. ^ "Post: Stars set to play The Vogue in March | Indianapolis, Indiana". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  15. ^ Like Crazy (2011) - IMDb, retrieved June 15, 2020
  16. ^ "Stars (band) - Artist Profile". Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  17. ^ "I Want You to Want Me, Works, Jonathan Harris, People, The MFAH Collections". Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  18. ^ "A Completely Biased Ranking of the 60 Best Canadian Indie Rock Songs of the 00s Part II". Vice, Cam Lindsay April 10, 2017
  19. ^ Ruiz, Matthew Ismael (February 17, 2022). "Stars Announce New Album From Capelton Hill, Share New Songs: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  20. ^ "The Show". Archived from the original on June 3, 2004. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  21. ^ "Lavigne leads Juno honour roll". Toronto Star. February 8, 2005.
  22. ^ "Weakerthans, Edwards, Stars among Polaris finalists". July 7, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2008.

External links[edit]