Interview w/ London Based Goth Punkers Calling All Astronauts
Wrapping up your week with an interview with London based goth punkers Calling All Astronauts. You may be familiar with the guys already as they have a developed sound that a bevy of fans from all across the globe are familiar with. It's equal parts mysterious and thought provoking that really makes you dig deep musically into their ethos to find out their mystery and intrigue. The guys were nice enough to take some time out to talk about the band's origins, their musical influences, their creative process, plus the best parts about getting started in the UK music scene. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and roles in the band?
The simple answer is:
David B – Vocals, progamming
Paul – Bass and Keys
J – Guitars
But in reality we all do lots of things within the band, because we produce all our own material we are all very hands on in all areas.
Take us behind the formation of the group and how you all met?
We actually all met years ago, we were in seminal Rap-Metal band US:UK together, we opened for the likes of Faith No More, PWEI etc. We were quite popular on the London live scene at the time, selling out Camden Palace and The Marquee amongst others.
After the band had run its course J formed pop-punkers Caffeine, touring the world with bands like The Offspring, The Dickies, New Found Glory etc,Paul joined goth stalwarts The Marionettes touring and playing festivals round Europe, I (David) went into band management for a while.
To cut a long story short, J and I bumped into each other and decided to start making music together again, we recruited Kristi on bass and Andy on drums, Andy left to go traveling, I learnt to program drums, we recorded our debut album, them Kristi left to have a baby, so we asked Paul to join up with us, knowing exactly what we would be getting into.
Describe your musical influences that really made you want to get into music?
We all love late 70’s early 80’s punk, alternative, post punk, early industrial and goth, a lot of people often reference us to some of the acts from that period, which we always take as a huge compliment.
What were some influential British groups that really helped shape or hone your sound?
We do take a lot of influences fom US acts, if I was to cite UK acts I’d say Joy Division, Sisters Of Mercy, Prodigy, Gang Of Four, New Order,Pendulum, Bauhaus, Chemical Brothers, Killing Joke, Psychedelic Furs, David Bowie, But we really are influenced by some many acts and genres, I’m not sure it’s fair to list so few.
What is the creative process like for you guys, does it remain constant or does it change and evolve each time?
We are very fortunate to have our own small, but very effective recording studio, we actually record as we write, we always start with a drum pattern and see what develops, sometimes, I will get some keys and synth bass, even lyrics, sometimes Paul gets a groove over the drums, sometimes it starts with J working out guitar parts, we don’t really have a formula, we just never do the traditional, sitting there with guitar and voice.
Let's go behind the recording of your most recent release, and what the whole process was like for the each of you?
We all worked together on the recording side, though I did most of the mixing, then the guys would come and make suggestions about not just their parts but the songs as a whole, J always has as many as 10 guitar tracks, as he double tracks everything, so there's lots of guitars to get sounding massive, we generally have deep kick drums, sub bass, synth bass, Paul uses a five string so we have low notes coming from that, he often also will play some lead bass as well, so it’s not the easiest thing to mix, the trick is to get Paul happy wit his bass sound, we tend to copy Paul’s bass track and split it Hi and Low, adding overdrive to the high one so it cuts through, then the rest fall into place using EQ. We are not the fastest band in the studio, the last album “Anti Social Network” took us over 2,000 hours to record, but we were very happy with hour it sounds. I think Paul’s arrival in the band changed the way we sound because he is quite a perfectionist, so we just keep going until he he happy with things.
What are some of your favorite places to play in the UK area?
We like playing in the London area as we all have children so it’s good to be home after a show, saying that though we will play any festival anywhere in the UK if they ask us, we love playing festivals, they are just the most fun.
Any new bands or new songs you've been listening to lately that you've been really digging?
I listen to a lot of new music, a tune I love is “Anti-Everything” by Ded, there’s a band called The White Noise who released a great album called “AM/PM” that are awesome, the latest Gary Numan album Savage (Songs From A Broken World) is awesome, I’ve also been listening to a lot of Grime, Bugzy Malone, Skepta, Lady Leshurr, there’s a Jaguar Skills track featuring loads of other artists called “Reload That” that I seem to listen to every day, I like Grime, because it has a real punk rock ethic,
although certain Grime stars are now appearing as “featured artists” on dreadful pop records, which to me doesn’t do anything for the scene, but hey they are probably making a fortune.
What's next on the agenda for you guys, and could we expect any U.S. shows in the not too distant future?
Our “Influences EP”, a quadruple A-side single dropped on March 30th. We’ve done covers of four tracks that have influenced our love of music, each with it’s own video. It kicks off with a what has been described as a “Pendulumesque” version of Gary Numan’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” this is followed by a stripped back, dark, atmospheric version of T-Rex’s “Metal Guru”, next up is the David Bowie classic “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” and yes it’s more scary and more monstrous than the original J we finish off with a Post Industrial version of Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water”.
You can watch the videos here:
We are not doing any live shows this year, my wife and I just had our first baby, and J and his wife are expecting their second in the summer, we are however currently recording our third album right now, and it’s sounding awesome.
Lastly, what would you like fans to know about you?
We are the sort of people that are happy to have a beer or even a coffee with fans, we see them like family, so don’t be afraid to talk to us, also don’t get too excited, we really are just normal people that just happen to make some music that some other people seem to like.
If anyone wants to buy our new EP:
Google Play: http://smarturl.it/InfluencesGoogle
Also check us out on Social Media:
Homepage: www.callingallastronauts.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/CAA_Official Facebook: www.facebook.com/callingallastronauts Bandcamp: https://callingallastronauts1.bandcamp.com/ Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0xqglBsPF9COYj64LNl85t YouTube: www.youtube.com/callingallastronauts