STELLA LUCE: Haunting Melodies, Musical Alchemy

By: Rebecca LaPole

Stella Luce has “a lot of success with Halloween shows,” according to lead vocalist and violist, Alana Rolfe. “We try to make them all different and unique.” They’ve had several of themed shows including last February’s steampunkthemed Black Hearts Ball, a monster-themed Halloween party, a Moulin Rouge-themed event, a Great Gatsby-themed wedding, and a Day of the Dead concert, opening for DeVotchKa. Newest member, guitarist and synth player, Tim Massa, reiterated, “We’re at our strongest on Halloween.”

They considered debuting some of their new material at a solo Halloween show. However, their friends Post Paradise, along with Slow Caves, planned an all covers show and invited Stella Luce onto the bill. “It feels good to do something different, and it’s great for the holidays. Everyone sings along which builds energy,” Brett Schreiber, bass and synth player said. Slow Caves will perform all Arctic Monkeys songs, Post Paradise is playing all Radiohead, and Stella Luce will put their unique spin on the music of The Cure.

Alana Rolfe of Stella Luce via Marc Leverette Photography

Although the Halloween show will be their first time doing an all cover set, playing covers is not a new thing for Stella Luce. “What makes us unique,” said Massa, “is that we don’t select covers necessarily in our genre.” Rolfe and Schreiber recalled, “We have covered one song from every decade, from the 40’s through the 2000’s.” They had a short-lived contest on Facebook for fans to choose a cover song and whichever song won, the band would make a video for it, and give away merch. “They all sounded like us doing that song,” Rolfe explained. “The video for our cover of Ginuwine, “My Pony,” is my absolute favorite.” (It’s pretty fucking hilarious.)

The respect they have for one another is obvious. Schreiber touted, “Alana has perfect pitch and can play anything by ear, and picks things up so fucking fast. However, the language of music theory is lost on Alana, but Tim understands it!” Rolfe exclaimed for Schreiber, “Oh thank God!!” Schreiber continued, “Our first album had an instrument list that was huge that we just played around with in the studio and Tim has been great at reinterpreting some of those old parts into something new and fresh.”

Brett Schreiber via Marc Leverette Photography

The love fest doesn’t stop there. Massa praised Schreiber for his “constructive criticism. Brett can explain specific dissonance because he has a degree in Music Education, so he has the vocabulary.” Rolfe added, “I should know music theory but I’m historically lazy.” Schreiber said, “[Drummer Sean Speer] is a psychic drum genius,” and Massa added, “Sean never does what’s predictable, he drives the song along, and it’s always better than what you heard in your head. We just try not to tell Sean what to do.” Speer acted flattered and said, “They make me sound so damn good.”

Their delightful debate about their upcoming album’s title, slated for a February 2017 release, sounded like a tight-knit musical sibling rivalry, or rather, camaraderie. “Our last album was called Caldera, and represented all of us throwing everything in the pot,” said Massa. It was their first album as a foursome. “The chemistry cannot be overstated with the four of us.” Speer chimed in,“It’s like cooking a pizza with no timer. Or being in a secret club that just the four of us are in.” He mused about their fans being “conspiracy theorists who think, ‘do they really exist?’ And so they have to go to our shows to see if we’re real.” Oh, they’re real alright. Their shows have a mesmerizing edge due to their dark, eerie sound and the duality of each band member shining brightly; individually and collectively.

Tim Massa and Sean Speer via Marc Leverette Photography

Be on the lookout for this band that doesn’t behave the way you would expect, musically or instinctively. “Not knowing what’s next is a good thing. We’re just making music that’s fun and beautiful,” Rolfe explained. “We only care about what each other thinks … I don’t really care if anyone else likes our work,” Massa declared, “I love it.” You can also check Rolfe out in “The Blue Flower” at Bas Bleu until October 16th.

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