This week’s installment of the Artist Playlist comes from Anastasia “Stars” Walker, the striking frontwoman of British rock hopefuls Bang Bang Romeo.
The anthemic sounds of Bang Bang Romeo have caused a stir in 2018, with wide support from countless influencers, plenty of hype, and a noteworthy spot opening the famous main stage at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival.
A three-piece formed in 2010 in South Yorkshire, their sound is dominated by Stars’ belting, powerhouse vocals, lending their music a unique and relentless quality unlike any other band around today.
Bang Bang Romeo are set to follow their recent Shame On You EP with a debut album, titled A Heartbreaker’s Guide to the Galaxy, next June, and will support P!nk on her European arena tour, taking their sound to stadiums in Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, London and mainland Europe.
The Artist Playlist is our way of giving musicians, usually the curated, the opportunity to curate a playlist of their own, harnessing their passion for music to receive great recommendations, learn about the music they love, and get closer to their own influences and tastes.
We ask a new musician to take part every week, giving them free reign to select ten tracks and tell us all about them, as well as one favourite from their own past output.
Anastacia’s selections reflect her taste for major, iconic artists both past and present, with most of her picks capable of playing the biggest arenas, and release dates as far back as the 1960s and as recent as the past few weeks.
Brought up on classics like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, as well as ’90s Britpop from Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene, she describes Radiohead’s OK Computer as the album that “changed everything” for her own music tastes.
She told us: “OK Computer really was the beginning to what would become my taste in music. It was the first album that had me designing film sets and blockbuster movie scenarios in my mind when listening to it. The pictures it made me paint in my mind were insane.
“I’m a sucker for dark songs and pieces of music. Give me the 28 Weeks Later soundtrack over a happy song any day of the week. I think if it’s haunting, beautiful, chilling, cinematic and unexpected, it’s for me.”
Radiohead aside, her music taste – and picks for the playlist – stray very little from the music she was introduced to during her childhood, maintaining her formative taste for heavy hitters and huge arena rock artists.
But she also appreciates hip-hop, at least when it’s done right (“I dislike rappers who rap about the same shit other rappers rap about, like bitches, money, and more bitches”) and – as she pointed out when asked if she had anything to add – ABBA.
Read on for Stars’ picks, or head straight for the music and check out all of the tracks she selected on the Spotify playlist here.
Anastasia says: “Track number six on OK Computer, my favourite album, and the album that introduced me to what would inevitably become my ‘taste’. It’s chilling, it’s dark, it’s beautiful, it’s cinematic, it’s one of the reasons I’m in a band.”
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
Anastasia says: “The Beatles. Most likely a very big part of everyone’s household playlist growing up, and in my house it was no different. My dad passed his obsession with The Beatles on to me at a very young age.
“I was around six when we went to Lanzarote for a family holiday. I took my little portable silver CD player with me everywhere at the time, and that would be no exception. Every night, I had the 1962-66 and 1967-70 compilation albums on over and over again. I remember creeping out of bed at stupid o’clock to change the CDs around.”
Anastasia says: “Yellow, the song I sang to get the girl. I was sat in a park with my future girlfriend one night, and I sang her Coldplay’s Yellow whilst her boyfriend was in a car round the corner. Smooth as fuck, worked like a charm and fundamentally became our song.
“There was also Come What May from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, but that’s enough cheese for one night, folks…”
Anastasia says: “Freddie Mercury, the greatest frontman of all-time and one of my heroes. The voice, the stage presence, the story, it’s untouchable isn’t it? I get asked in majority of interviews who I look up to most as a vocalist and when I say Freddie, most people are surprised that it’s not a woman that I look up to most.
“Don’t get me wrong, the likes of Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and Lisa Hannigan inspire me massively, but Freddie drives me more so. Bohemian Rhapsody as the example? Genius, that’s why.”
Mulder and Scully
Anastasia says: “We’re back to that old portable CD player again. My dad introduced me to Catatonia on it. I’d been subject to great female solo artists: Shirley Bassey, Björk, and Dido to name a few. But then dad had showed me Catatonia, my first taste of a woman fronting an indie rock band.
“It made me think: ‘Fuck, so this happens? This is a thing? Women can be current in indie rock music and don’t have to look like Britney Spears to be successful? Yeah, I wanna be in a band.'”
Taken from: International Velvet, February 1998
Follow Catatonia: Spotify
Anastasia says: “The Man Who is one of a few albums me and my dad gauged on whilst he and my mum were getting divorced. Music has always been a get out clause or a safe haven when something bad is going on in my life, it’s like therapy.
“We must have played this album 500 times in the summer of 2003 when I was a kid. Me and my dad have slowly been ticking the bands who saved our lives in the darker moments off our bucket list. We saw Manics together, Ocean Colour Scene, then finally, this summer at Isle Of Wight Festival, Travis. Tears of happiness! Coldplay, you’re next.”
Twenty One Pilots
Anastasia says: “I’ve got a fuck ton of obvious passions. Music, art, film, books and – err – exercise! Yeah, I shit you not.
“Training three to seven times a week has been a part for my life now for just over ten months, and I’m really enjoying it. My fitness levels have risen dramatically and my health is changing and shaping me into the person I want to be when on the road, ready for anything. This tune recently has been pushing me to that next level of ‘burn’, if you like. Love it.”
Anastasia says: “These guys are a big inspiration to Bang Bang Romeo. That dark, twisted, almost fairytale ound is something we lock onto when in the studio. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Muse.”
Anastasia says: “The afterparty for Isle of Wight Festival’s 50th anniversary. Earlier that day we’d just played our biggest set to date, opening the main stage to a record number of people, around 20,000. We loved every second of it.
“Later that day, Rita Ora gave us her red wine and Pringles and a good chunk of her time, and later still would see us having drinks with Kasabian, Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch amongst others in the hotel behind main stage. Kasabian had just headlined, and the vibe was insane. We’ll never forget it.”
The Dark Knight Trilogy Medley (Live)
Anastasia says: “Here’s someone we’d do unspeakable things to work with. We tend to write and produce songs in a soundtrack mindset. We’re all huge movie fans, and it really shows in what we do. Hans Zimmer is a name that gets thrown around the studio on a regular basis.
“The Live in Prague album accompanied us during our first time in New York and Los Angeles. It was on repeat, in fact. Goosebump moments, eat your heart out.”
Bang Bang Romeo
Shame On You
Anastasia says: “Shame On You is our latest single, and the one that’s sort of taken us to the next level, if you like.
We wrote and produced this song in Los Angeles with a great team called HEAVY. We walked in after nearly getting knocked out by falling palm trees because of the wind, then they told us Nick Valensi from The Strokes had been in just hours before, so we smelt the sofas in which he sat, and then wrote this tune.”
Bang Bang Romeo’s debut album A Heartbreaker’s Guide to the Galaxy is scheduled for release on 14 June 2019. They’re also supporting P!nk on her European tour next year.