Calling All Astronauts are a London-based, politically charged three-piece, with their ability to mix electro, rock, post-punk and even dubstep into their sound, establishing them a firm place in the alternative underground.
Comprising David B on vocals, programming, and Keys, JJ on Guitars, and Paul “BuzzSaw” McCrudden on Bass, their new single ‘Empire’ is out on 27 November. We caught up with David.
EP: What’s the Calling All Astronauts story? It’s an interesting name, how did that come about?
CAA: We had a band and no name. At that time NASA were recruiting astronauts, and the headline in a daily newspaper was “Calling All Astronauts”. I had been reading several conspiracy theories suggesting that the moon landing had been faked as the “Space Race” was very integral in the cold war, and it just struck me as a good name.
EP: Describe your music for anyone who’s not familiar with you.
CAA: We are a three piece based around programmed drums and keyboards, real guitars and bass, we draw on lots of musical influences, ranging from the 80’s alternative scene to modern day drum and bass, everyone seems to hear something different in us, Empire has been described as sounding like Jimmy Eat World duetting with Johnny Cash, we like to reference it as Electro-Goth-Punk as we feel we are a modern day mash up of all these genres.
EP: We really like ‘Empire’. Could you please talk us through it? What’s it all about, tell us about the video.
CAA: Unusually for us, ‘Empire’ is actually about love, most of our songs are socio-political, but Empire was inspired by the pains of falling in love for the first time. A girl falls in love and plans to run away with her true love, and is left staring at the wall waiting for her phone to ring and her lover goes AWOL, she thinks she’ll never fall in love again, but time is a great healer.
EP: You’re quite frank in your tweets. There’s a school of thought which says that artists should maintain a public and private face. What are your thoughts on that? Do you show the real you on social media?
CAA: That’s the punk ethic that runs through my veins, if I think something is crap or overhyped, I’m not afraid to say it, too many people keep quiet for fear of not fitting it with their peers, we have a lot of young followers on Twitter from many fandoms, and I hope that I can give them confidence to speak out and not be fooled by the Emperor’s New Clothes style brainwashing that is rife in the media currently. If you don’t like something, put your hand up!
EP: What’s your take on the current state of the music industry?
CAA: It has gone back to the mid 70’s before the advent of punk, the charts and the radio are packed to the gills with manufactured pop that offers very little creatively, but makes money by the bucket load for the few, the time is rife for a new subculture led musical revolution, let’s hope Electro-Goth-Punk is that subculture hahahaha.
EP: Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into the music industry?
CAA: Simple, don’t believe the hype, if you are entering the music industry to become a millionaire, go and work in an investment bank, you have very little chance of ever making any money out of music. Despite what you read about DIY acts making it because of the internet, it’s really not the case. Yes it’s easier now than ever before to release a record, but because of that, there is no quality control, so every blog, magazine, radio station, is inundated with DIY artists filling their inboxes with garbage. The one major tip I can share is, your demo, NEVER send a cover version, NEVER send a song that hasn’t been recorded to the highest level, forget t-shirts and buying a van, spend your money on recording, don’t have a one minute intro or the A&R man will never hear your vocals, you’ve got 5 and 30 seconds to impress, use that time wisely. Also NEVER use expletives in a demo or the “N” word.
EP: You have a record label. Any artists we should be looking out for right now? Why?
CAA: We have a great EP coming out in December by a Manchester based dance collective called The Beat Corporation, their ‘Slaving For The System’ EP is picking up a lot of support at radio and it has a great video. We have also just signed a multi-instrumentalist called Franco & The Dreadnought, we met him in LA in April, then again at MIDEM, he has been co-writing with Roxy Seeman who has written for The Jacksons, Sisters Of Mercy and Earth Wind & Fire, as a precursor to his EP we have a free download available right now ‘Like Yeah No I Don’t Know‘, I have a feeling Franco is destined for great things. If you like massive blues voices, check out Aussie Mike Elrington, he plays 250 shows a year and is getting a lot of radio play in the U.S. right now.
EP: If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently, and why?
CAA: I have few regrets, maybe I’m the reincarnation of Edith Piaf! When we started we had a drummer, if we had gone straight to programming the drums we would have recorded our third album by now, rather than being about to release our second, other than that, I’m perfectly happy with life in CAA world, we have total artistic control and are proud of what we write.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
CAA: I’ve thought quite a bit about this, and it’s quite boring really but nobody has ever asked if we’d like a Major label deal, and the honest answer is no, of course I’d love to have the marketing money that major label artists have, but as we do everything ourselves, we gain great satisfaction from knowing that whenever a DJ plays us, or a magazine writes about us it’s because they actually like what we are doing, and not because we have a heavyweight machine trading off on our behalf.