Behind the Beat: Spacey Dream

The difficult truth about band names is that sometimes, no matter how mysterious or thought-provoking a group’s moniker may appear, it’s also quite possible that the story behind the name is pretty simple. Take for example, the tale behind the name of Amherst band While Stella Sleeps.

“Honestly, it’s been a joke for some time now,” says member Danny Schrader (lead guitar, vocals). “Nobody really knows who Stella is, and all the time people ask me how I came up with it. There’s a fairly unexciting story about how I came up with it, but the basic gist is that Stella means star, and our whole sound is based around this spacey, out there, almost psychedelic kind of theme.”

Forming initially as an instrumental band made up of friends at Amherst High School, While Stella Sleeps took its current shape after Schrader returned to the area after a year at Ithaca College and began putting lyrics to instrumental material he’d written along with fellow bandmate Luke Deroy (lead vocals, bass).

Now featuring Schrader and Deroy, along with friends Grayson Fleishner (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Aaron Noble (drums), this lineup has been Stella’s most solid yet and has been together for over a year, playing regular gigs at The Elevens in Northampton, the Black Moon Music Lounge in Belchertown and other venues throughout the Valley.

And what can a crowd expect at one of While Stella Sleeps’ shows? According to Schrader, “Audiences can expect a high energy, dreamy intergalactic experience.” But, much like the band itself, While Stella Sleeps’ sound has undergone an evolution of sorts since its early days.

Schrader says, “I wrote a lot of the material before we were all together as a band, but when things really started to click, the process was usually me bringing what I had to the band. [Then] Luke would start and primarily write vocals, and Aaron and the rest of the guys would tweak their parts to really fit and feel what I brought to the table.”

Indeed, tracks like “Move Mountains” and “Amica” really seem to display this group-oriented approach to songwriting. Each number begins like a coming storm—calm, assured, and filled with potential. Then suddenly, chords shift, drums crash and a listener is left dazed by the combination of voices and music.

Recorded material appears to be on the way. “After we release our debut EP this next month, we’ll start planning a full-length,” says Schrader. “We’re also going to start shooting for our first music video, ‘Death by Stella,’ real soon.”•

For more information on While Stella Sleeps please visit

Author: Michael CImaomo

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