Saturday, March 24, 2012

Interview:God Is An Astronaut

Here it is, the promised and awaited interview I did with the famous Irish quartet called "God Is An Astronaut". As I previously noted in the concert review I wrote, it was scheduled for me to do a live interview with the band, but due to some technical difficulty it had to be postponed and done via e-mail. Either way, I am extremely glad I had the chance to ask the guys some questions, so hope you enjoy the read!

1. First of all, I would like to thank you so much for taking the time for this interview with "Natures With No Plagues". Last night was the first time you were in Serbia as a band, so I am very tempted to ask about your impressions concerning the show.

The show was awesome, it was nice to see all the fans so passionate and giving so much energy back to us, we felt very welcome.

2. This tour is a celebration of your ten year anniversary. What are your thoughts about the tour up until this point?

The tour went very well, the attendances and crowd reactions have been stellar and that is why we chose Eastern Europe to kick off our 10 year Anniversary touring schedule.

3. Turning back and looking at the past, how do you feel about the growth and the evolution of the project? Do you enjoy the band today as much as you did at its birth?

Of course, the ethos still remains the same, to write and release music we love without compromise.
We have been very lucky as we did it genuinely our way, it is an extra bonus that so many people around the world can share in our music.

4. It is a well known fact that your name hails from Clive Barker's "Nightbreed". Were there any other potential names which you were thinking about or was it an instant moment decision? Also, did you find any particular deeper meaning behind this moniker or was it taken just for the coolness factor?

Well there is no religious aspect as some people suggest, we just liked the name and it felt right to make the music we wanted under it. I guess it being both ancient and modern was another factor.

5. The first steps of the band were taken under your own record label, "Revive Records". What sparked this decision?

With the first album there was no interest from record labels etc... so we decided to release it on our own label more or less as a farewell to the music industry. We wanted to release something we genuinely liked and finish on something that we could be proud of. Who knew 10 years later we would be still here and be known all over the world.

6. Thinking about that time, how do you feel about do-it-yourself ethics? Were there any particular merits or flaws which you felt on your own skin due to working under such terms?

I wouldn't change anything, we have direct control over all aspects of the music, artwork etc... Also there is no middle man and we get all of the earnings directly which is the only way to survive these days.

7. Knowledge about your music was, at first, transfered through blog interviews and reviews, so I am interested to ask about your thoughts concerning music and the internet. Do you still browse any particular blogs or websites and do you still appreciate when your name is mentioned? Do you think that things like that still aid the band?

Sure the internet has been the main platform for us, in many ways it has levelled the playing field in regard to the major record companies hold on the industry. We are still an internet band and are of course appreciative of being mentioned on blogs etc... The only downside is that we often don't make money directly from our music, for example in Serbia we have sold no CDs or Mp3s legally or very little, so to take advantage we have to tour, sell our merchandise directly to the fans, I think this is the model of the future.

8. At a certain point, you started collaborating with other record labels for your releases. Was it a tough decision or a natural evolution of the project?

We have licensed our albums to a few record companies at the start mainly for distribution reasons, it was not a collaboration in the true sense.

9. Please explain to the readers the actual music writing process. When you sit down to write an album, do you determine a specific mood of the entire release or do you create seperate songs and then try to fuse them together?

All the songs are written in the studio and built up over periods of weeks and months, this stems from our Dance/electronic background where it was commonplace to produce your own records. All the songs start from a strong melody or chord progression, the melody and mood are paramount in the process.

10. Tell me more about the visual aspect of the band. Do you consider it to be a medium for transfering a more direct message to the audience, due to the lack of vocals? Also, maybe a silly question, but what inspires you the most when you create the videos?

The visuals are there to set the mood in the venue and enhance the overall experience of the show. They are not there for any other reason.

11. Two silly questions coming up. Despite having an extensive number of live shows behind you, do you still have stage fright?

We never really had any stage fright, we have been doing this since the early 90's.

12. If you were just a fan of "God Is An Astronaut", what would be your favorite release?

I guess for me it is "A Moment of Stillness", I just like the ambient nature of the album.

13. I am always intrigued by what my interlocutors listen to in their free time. Do you have any favored releases or bands, both all time and current ones?

Not really, I haven't been listening to anything specifically but we have been listening to a lot of Alice in Chains in the tour van for some reason.

14. There is news circling the internet that you are working on a new album, a release quite different from what you created thus far. Are you willing to share more information about the progress at this point?

Yes so far it will be much more experimental but much more commercial at the same time. There will also be a focus on more vocals, even with some lyrics but not in a lead singer style format.

15. What else does the future hold for this project? Will Serbia ever see you again?

Of course we will be back, most likely 2014 with the new album tour.

16. Once again, thank you very much for this interview and hopefully next time we get to talk in person. Any final message to the readers?

Thank you! to all our Serbian fans and making us feel so welcome, we will be back again!

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