DFW Music News

Dallas’ Newest Pop Band, Starfruit, Strives to Make Music a Baby Would Like

Starfruit are frequently asked to play DIY and art spaces, but they're more interested in shows where the audience will challenge them and vice versa.
Starfruit are frequently asked to play DIY and art spaces, but they're more interested in shows where the audience will challenge them and vice versa. Brooke Whitaker
The lead singer of Dallas’ newest pop band, Starfruit — who asks to be identified only as Bubbles and uses gender-neutral pronouns — says they hear a lot of music by queer artists that’s sad. They hope Starfruit can fill that void and be something bright that gets people dancing.

“Pop music has taken on so many forms that it has no stylistic requirements or guidelines,” Bubbles says. “It’s consistently a goal of mine to make our music accessible. Something a baby would like. However complex the compositions are, they are never trying to alienate people or be esoteric. Even if the song switches between time signatures 10 times, I want it to be memorable and catchy.”

The six-person band played their first show last August and has since paid multiple visits to Texas Theatre’s stage and other bars around town. Bubbles says Starfruit draws inspiration for its sound from artists like Kate Bush, Björk and Deerhoof.

“I like arranging for the instrumentation that we have now, which is drums, human voices, keyboards, guitar, saxophone and bass,” they say. “By definition, sound synthesis can be a combination of individual sounds to create a more complex sound. In that way, Starfruit is a synth-pop band, even though our music isn’t centered around electronic synthesizers.”

The band has a few big dates coming up this spring. Starfruit is set to release their debut three-track vinyl album on April 30 at Good Records. The record release show will feature two other local acts, Rat Rios and Yells at Eels. Their first music video, “Thank You For Staying Up Late With Me,” will be timed to the record’s release.

Starfruit will also play at Taps and Caps in Denton on April 1, and then on May 19 they’ll open for the Motels and the B-52’s at Richardson’s Wildflower Festival. That last gig, in particular, has Bubbles very excited.

“I’m still wrapping my head around that,” they say. “The first B-52’s album is a huge inspiration to me and I really hope they listen to us play.”

While DIY art and performance spaces have been some of the most comfortable spaces for them to play, Bubbles says those settings aren’t necessarily Starfruit’s favorite. The band actually prefers to put themselves in front of crowds outside their expected demographic.

“I love playing at these [DIY and art] places, but I’ve more recently been trying to push Starfruit to audiences who won’t automatically be accepting; people who may even be transphobic or homophobic or whatever,” Bubbles says. “Putting myself in situations like that is scary and it keeps me on my toes.”

One of Starfruit’s favorite gigs was at the Green Elephant, a popular hangout for SMU students.

“It was one of the most rewarding performance experiences I have ever had,” Bubbles says. “Singing a song I wrote about toxic masculinity and the fluidity of gender while I walked around in the audience and hugged and poked a bunch of bros — that’s the kind of thing I really like.”

Starfruit Record Release, with Rat Rios and Yells at Eels, 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday, April 30, Good Records, 1808 Greenville Ave., free, see Facebook.
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Mollie Jamison is a freelance writer covering music and culture for the Dallas Observer. She studied journalism and political science at the University of North Texas. In her free time, you'll find her at contemporary art museums and karaoke joints.