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Mazzy Star's 17-Year Silence: 'Music Is Its Own Language'

'We never stopped writing or recording. We just stopped performing and releasing things'

August 20, 2013 3:20 PM ET
Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star
Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

When Mazzy Star last released an album, 1996's Among My Swan, Bill Clinton was still president. Seventeen years later, the duo of David Roback and Hope Sandoval are set to return with the forthcoming Seasons of Your Day.

Roback tells Rolling Stone the impetus for finally releasing new music was simple: an upcoming tour that will kick off in November. "We just decided to release a collection of songs," he says. "We're going to be doing more concerts in the future, so we thought it would be exciting to perform some of our unreleased newer songs."

Mazzy Star was widely believed to be on hiatus for some time, but Roback and Sandoval say they have continued to make music all these years. "We're always recording music, writing songs," Sandoval says.

"We never stopped writing or recording. We just stopped performing and releasing things," Roback adds.

The prospect of a wealth of hidden Mazzy Star tracks will make the duo's many diehard fans salivate. While Roback isn't sure what will happen with all the material, there is hope people will hear the songs. "Some of them may appear in our live concerts, some of them we may release later," he says.

Listen to Mazzy Star's 'Common Burn'

However, the music they've been making all these years is primarily for themselves. "When I'm working on music with Hope, the person that's foremost in my thoughts is Hope," says Roback. "We tend to get quite caught up in just the making of music for ourselves."

Roback does admit he's curious to see how the band will be greeted after such a long absence. "We've met a lot of interesting people who like our music, and it's always been kind of interesting to us to take our music out of our private world and share it with other people," he says. "It's an interesting thing, if not necessarily always our priority."

He's looking forward to bringing the new music from Seasons of Your Day to the stage. "This new album has a lot of different combinations of instruments, acoustic and electric in different combinations we haven't used so much before. It's kind of a subtle thing we're more aware of, but it's interesting for us to perform this music live now," he says. "There's a lot of subtlety in the music, and to actually put that across live, when it happens, it's really exciting."

For Sandoval, the thought of reintroducing some of their back catalog is just as gratifying. "I personally am excited about playing a lot of the old songs," she says. "I do think they'll fit in with the new music, because it's the same people that are playing the music."

Mazzy Star are known for doing very few interviews, but we found them very entertaining and gracious in their own way. Discussing film, whether it's Antonioni's seminal Blow Up or the more recent An Education, the duo open up. "We have a sort of Chauncey Gardner approach to music," jokes Roback, referring to the famed Peter Sellers character in Being There.

"It's hard to translate musical ideas into words," he says. "I think the music is its own language."

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