The Space Show interview with Sam Stranges (Lipstereo)

The Space Show is a one-hour radio program by Andrew Rennie and other members of the Space Association of Australia for 88.3 Southern FM. The show has been on the air for an incredible 31 years. Below is a transcription of Rennie interviewing Sam Stranges from Lipstereo in relation to the Little Spaceships single.

To tell us a little bit about the song (Little Spaceships), we’ve got Sam Stranges. Welcome to the Space Show Sam.

Thanks for having me.


We just played a little part and will hear the full song later, what is the song?

Little Spaceships is a song about moving on from people in your past, and more likely, them moving away from you. Feeling left behind in that way.


Ok, it's not specifically about rockets going to space then?

No, it's a bit allegorical I guess.


Allegorical, well the best songs are. So tell us a little bit about the song and why you wrote it.

Why I wrote it? Perhaps when I was coming out of high school, I saw people being more successful than I was. Feeling a bit jealous and wondering how to work through those emotions, I thought about the idea of spaceships up in the sky, flying away, as a really good image, so I decided to write a song about it.

And you’re part of a group called Lipstereo.

Yes, Lipstereo is myself, my guitarist Andrew, my bassist Tage, and my drummer Jesse. We’re an indie rock band.


What's your role in the band?

I sing, and I play guitar.

And, you wrote the song yourself?

We all helped, together at the end, but I wrote all the words for the song and the melody for it.


Your cover art for this song has a history photograph, please tell us about it.

It’s a picture of a Bumper V-2 rocket, taken back in 1950 as it was going into space. There are people at the front, watching intently. It was taken by NASA and is in the public domain, under certain circumstances, so we were lucky enough to be able to use the image.


So the rocket was called Bumper 8 I believe, and it was launched in 1950 on July 24th, and was actually a B2 and a WAC Corporal, WAC meaning without attitude control. Although it’s a historic photograph, being the first launch from Cape Canaveral, it's actually the Corporal, which is the thin pencil rocket on top of the V2, that actually failed to ignite, and so the mission was a failure.

Well, it was a success in my eyes because it had a really good photo attached to it.


Exactly! But the Bumper 7, which looked just the same, was launched a few days later on July 29, 1950, and it actually reached the speed of 5232 kilometres per hour, a record for the time. There’s one thing that really strikes me about it, what about the people?

Yes, the people at the front are watching intently. It’s hard to tell whether they’re press or engineers. In much the same way as the song is about watching people going away, flying away, perhaps I’m like one of those people on the ground, watching them.


It’s very appropriate. What's alarming is how close they are standing to that V2 when it lifted off, given how unreliable the V2s were.

I guess it’s 1950.


They wouldn’t do that these days. In the Soviet Union, people used to stand very close to the Soyuz rocket when it launched.

Was that just to get a better look?


I think the Soviet Union, had different safety standards to what later prevailed here in the West. You’re going to release an EP I believe?

Yes, it is called ‘Modern Mythology’ and it will be out on the 11 of November, next month.


Do you plan any future space songs?

I think I will have to now, after this interview.


Well, we’re always looking for things with allegorical references, or real references, to space, here on the Space Show. I hope it goes well for you. People should look out for that photo of the first-ever launch from Cape Canaveral of a V2 Bumper rocket. Let’s hear the song now, and thank you for joining us on the space show.

WATCH the video for Little Spaceships