Jumbling reality with fantasy, Stardust Creatures’ “Spaced Out” is a psychedelic synthpop adventure through Manhattan basking in its own unique energy.
The more you grow, the more complicated life becomes. There are taxes to file and bills to pay; doctors appointments to schedule, and bosses to appease. All the while, you have to eat, sleep, do your laundry, wash the dishes, take out the trash, keep a clean room, stay in touch with family and try to see friends, and build new relationships along the way. Life is utter madness – pure chaos, when you stop and think of every little thing we do, just to survive.
This balancing act comes easier to some than to others, but once we hit a certain age, everyone is expected to cope – whether or not you’re prepared or capable of handling it. Jumbling reality with fantasy, Stardust Creatures’ “Spaced Out” is a psychedelic synthpop adventure through Manhattan basking in its own special, unique energy.
Day in, day out, day in
It never really stops
once it begins
Sometimes it makes you wonder
How to keep from slipping under
These streets that pulse with life
We scramble to and fro beneath the lights
But life becomes so tedious
When everyone’s so serious
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Spaced Out,” the lead single off Stardust Creatures’ self-titled debut EP (independently released 2017). The brainchild of Colin Coogan, Kristen Mita, Adam Marks, Colin O’Rourke and George Sarpola, Stardust Creatures was born out of weekly jam sessions in New York City, and they maintain that jammy vibe to this day. Priding themselves on making music that is “dynamic and eclectic,” Stardust Creatures embrace the surreal, weaving sci-fi and dreamy elements throughout their works to create a new way to look at the world.
In that way, “Spaced Out” is truly quintessential Stardust Creatures.
“I’m a distracted, fidgety person,” Colin Coogan tells Atwood Magazine. “I zone in and out, I have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time, and I lose things pretty often. As people like me grow older, we quickly discover the need to work out survival strategies- you can’t make excuses forever. You get better as you work at it, but sometimes it feels like you’re just treading water, and you end up learning a lot of lessons the hard way. There’s always a tension between the desire to be unapologetically yourself and the need to make compromises to get by. I still haven’t fully figured it out. Writing music is part of how I process things, so a lot of those frustrations ended up inspiring this song.”
“Spaced Out” invites us to embrace the haze – to lean back and dwell in a happy place; to make our surroundings our own, however that has to happen. Coogan explains, “The concept for the video flowed naturally out of the lyrics – I’m not sure it would have gotten made otherwise, the inspiration was just very clear. I wanted to contrast the mundane world- a grey space with tall imposing structures, straight lines, etc- with a sort of alternative space or dream space, which is maybe darker and more chaotic, but also more liberated and joyful. The whole thing is obviously a little campy and self-deprecating, but that’s part of the fun.” Director Raymond Chu and Stardust Creatures bring us on a unique journey through Manhattan; Colin Coogan trudges through Central Park, dressed in a Star Man costume that very much sticks out, to say the least. He’s definitely spaced out – though that might not be saying enough.
“This video was made with a lot of love and a tiny, tiny budget. We’re an independent, self-funded project, so even though we were as thrifty as possible it still wasn’t easy on the wallet. I wouldn’t do a single thing differently though,” Coogan reflects. “The team that came together to make this video was really amazing. I met Raymond Chu – who directed, filmed and edited it – through a mutual friend. We started brainstorming some ideas and ended up talking for hours- we were completely on the same page. It was his idea to build the space suit, after I showed him a picture of my Halloween costume from the 3rd grade. The dinosaur/animal masks were based on designs from a company called Wintercroft, and myself, Ray, and Kristen Mita spent a long time making them. We ended up pulling a couple all-nighters with MST3K playing in the background, which probably influenced the aesthetic. We also played around with strange painting techniques such as marbling, trying to film swirling colorful patterns like the Joshua Light Show. You can catch some of those little experiments throughout the video if you look for them.”
This world was not designed
With spaced out kids like you and me in mind
Glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
I’m so spaced out
I am painting pictures in my mind
I am twisting zigging zagging lines
Don’t mind me I’m like this all the time
He continues: “The NYC shoot was an adventure. It was Ray, myself, and our bassist/keyboardist Colin O’rourke (confusingly, we have two Colins in the band.) We didn’t have much of a plan, we just knew we wanted to hit a couple key landmarks and try to get some spontaneous reactions from passerby. The only thing that was staged was me handing a homeless man the pretzel- that’s actually Colin, as I wanted to make sure to sneak him into the footage. All the other things- the living statue, the free hugs guys, the many glorious instances of side eye- happened by chance. It was quite a hassle- the suit was insanely hot inside, we couldn’t keep the helmet from fogging up, and by the end everything was completely falling apart and we had to strategize to keep bits of duct tape out of the shot. It was pretty embarrassing, but then again that was the point and that’s where the humor comes from.”
“For the space party scene, a family friend Louise Weadock was nice enough to let us invade her spacious basement for an evening. The whole band came to help set everything up, including both Colins, Kristen, keyboardist Adam Marks and drummer George Sarpola. A lot of really close friends came through in their most ridiculous intergalactic outfits, and were super patient even as we ran hours and hours behind schedule (because of course we did.) I was particularly thrilled when Cory Travallo agreed to play the part of the alien god- he did his own costume and makeup, and I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited to the part. Sasha Korolkoff came to help us with the lighting, which really made the scene. It was an amazing time and I think the fun we had comes through in the finished video.”
With all that said, it might be time to give this creative thriller your attention. “Spaced Out” may come from a heavier headspace, but the end result feels much like a celebration of individuality. Stardust Creatures deliver something weird and wonderful all at the same time – a memorable visual for a song that speaks to so many members of this “ADD generation.” Stream “Spaced Out” now, exclusively on Atwood Magazine! Those in the New York area can catch Stardust Creatures at The Footlight in Ridgewood, NY on May 11th!
The work, the pay, the rent
The hours of wasted life,
the time well spent
The ADD generation
All hopped up on medication
And everything must change
Tomorrow is today,
and life is strange
Glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
Watch: “Spaced Out” – Stardust Creatures
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? © Kristen Mita director: Raymond Chu