Left to Right: J, David and Paul.
It is true that Music is a language that has no barriers and any rhythm that touches our soul completes a piece of music. Le Amusant was thrilled to catch up with a political vocal band based in London,UK by the name of ‘Calling All Astronauts’.
Calling All Astronauts are a London-based, politically vocal three-piece who are making quite a noise in the alternative underground. Consisting of David B on vocals, Paul McCrudden on Bass and J on Guitars they have been making music since 2011. Le Amusant caught up with David for a small chat.
L.A: How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
David: We are just three guys making the music we want to make and having a lot of fun
L.A: How did the journey begin? There must have been certain reactions when you started out? How did you deal with it?
David: We had all previously been in a band together and it just kind of happened, no agendas, no manifesto. Just something that happened.
L.A: What’s the story behind the name “Calling All Astronauts”?
David: I’d love to have some deep and meaningful answer for this, but the truth is, NASA was recruiting astronauts at the time we were trying to choose a name, and there was a newspaper headline that read “Calling All Astronauts” and we liked it.
L.A: There are hurdles that need to be crossed to become an independent artist. What were the hurdles for you and how did you overcome?
David: We never have any budgets, we do all our recordings in my lounge, we do all our promo ourselves, we do our own videos or get people to do them for as little as possible, every day is a struggle for our art.
L.A: You are into DIY music. What is it that makes you stay away from the lucrative mainstream?
David: We love the DIY scene, we don’t need “the man” telling us how to think, how to behave, what we can and can’t release, our song “Hands Up Who Wants To Die” is available in seven different versions, that would never have happened if we were on a major.
L.A: Alternative music is slowly gaining grounds. How long do you think will it take for the alternative to create an impact on the mainstream?
David: Everything goes in cycles, all this autotuned, karaoke singer pop, will soon be out of vogue, and then real artists will come to the forefront again. You only need to look at the “Grime” scene in the UK, hiphop with punk attitude, everyone and his mate is a producer or rapper, these guys are out there doing it for themselves and getting massive followings, I’m noticing more and more new alternative bands starting to get a lot of interest, people like Slaves and Sleaford Mods, the future looks bright.
L.A: Your Facebook page says your genre to be “Dark electro Goth Punk”. Is it a conscious decision or an organic process? In other words, did you choose the Genre, or the Genre chose you?
David: I think as a band we actually defy a single genre, as we take influences from everywhere, yes there are lots of punk, goth and post-punk influences from the late 70’s and early 80’s in our music, but we are also influenced by a lot of today’s electronica from DnB, Dubstep and EDM. People want you to fit nicely into a bracket, that’s just not us, we don’t write songs to fit nicely anywhere, we just write songs.
L.A: Which bands and musicians do you think have a lasting influence on your music?
David: The list is endless, we are influenced by everything we hear, but if I had to cite acts that have influenced us:- Joy Division, Editors, Bauhaus, Chase & Status, Prodigy, Sisters Of Mercy, Pantera, Kiss, Lamb Of God, Pendulum, The Clash, Fad Gadget, New Order, Napalm Death, Chemical Bros, We Are Scientists, Jimmy Eat World, Alkaline Trio, NOFX, Stiff Little Fingers, On-U-Sound System, Killing Joke there are so many, I could continue all day 🙂
L.A: What, in a word, would be your greatest ambition?
Left to Right : J, David and Paul.
L.A: You are known to be politically vocal. How much do you think does music, or any art, for that matter, affects the mass’ psyche?
David: Whether or not musicians can change people’s political opinions is debatable, my hope is that at least I may make people stop believing the hype for a minute and think about social issues and go away and do some research before forming an opinion, rather than jump onto the latest social media bandwagon.
L.A: It would be really interesting to understand your take on the social responsibility of an artist.
David: Historically, pop artists were the “role models” and rock and rollers were the “bad boys” there has been a complete turnaround, as we see more chart acts behaving like irresponsible asshats than we do alt/rock artists, rock artists tend to want to make the world a better place for everyone, pop artists just want to make loads of money, and live a life that is the envy of everyone.
L.A: What is your strength as a band? Something that sets you apart?
David: Every time somebody plays our records on the radio, somebody wants to interview us, somebody reviews us, somebody buys or streams our records, somebody says we’ve helped them through a hard time, we feel very humble and grateful, we take nothing for granted, and appreciate everything that happens, I think too many artists see themselves above their fans, when the reality is, if everyone ignores your music, you may as well not have bothered.
L.A: CAA has been around since 2011. What, in perception of CAA, are its biggest achievements?
David: Still being able to write new songs, still having enthusiasm for what we do, and still not selling out
L.A: Response from “Anti-Social Network”?
David: It’s been fabulous so far, both the singles from the album we have released have done very well at radio, and there are several more releases coming up over the next few year.
L.A: If you can share some of the memorable moments along the journey so far…
David: When we started we had Andy the drummer, he went to Asia for six months, that’s when I learnt to program drums, that was a pivotal point in the band. I was very sad when Kristi our original bassist left to look after her baby daughter, it was understandable, but set things back for us.I think playing Beautiful Days Festival is going to be a memorable point for us, we played a large chunk of Anti-Social Network live for the first time, and pretty much nailed it, I now want to play every day, whereas I’ve been kinda reticent to play so often previously due to nerves.
L.A: What is it that drives to more? The Cause or the Passion?
David: I’m a man on a mission, I don’t know what my mission is, or if I’ll ever get there, but while my heart still beats, I’ll continue to have ideas.
L.A: You have maintained a clear stance on matters that needs to be addressed. There are struggles and a certain fear of backlash. In fact, in an era of postmodernism, taking such a stance also puts forward the question of universal acceptability. What’s your take on that matter?
David: I touched on this earlier, society has problems, and one of the biggest problems is people jump onto bandwagon online on a daily basis without knowing what they are fighting for, or a clear exit strategy. Peer pressure is a dreadful thing, never be afraid to stand up and say you think something is wrong or shit for fear of what others may think. I get untold trolls on twitter for just saying it as I see it, I generally just block them unless I’m in the mood to rip them a second asshole, but I feel bad about that as some of our followers will join in, and bullying the bully, is still bullying and I don’t want to be a part of that.
Left to Right: J, David and Paul.
L.A: Your stand on BREXIT?
David: Whilst I don’t like European Federalism, I support free trade and free movement of people throughout Europe for education and work. I voted remain, because I think there was too much Xenophobia on the Brexit side, I’m not for one minute saying all Brexiteers are racists, but I think all racists supported Brexit.
L.A: What are your future plans?
David: I’m going to the AIM Awards on Tuesday and Musexpo at the end of September, beyond that, it’ll be a case of releasing and recording more records and as many shows as we can get, to feed my new-found hunger for playing live.
L.A: Any message you would like to convey to our readers?
David: Music isn’t rocket science, anyone can do it, if you are not happy with what you hear on the radio, don’t listen to it, go make it instead.
Le Amusant had a great time interviewing the band and wishes them all the luck for their future endeavors. Please do let us know your comments and follow our blog for more such amazing and fun interviews lined up only for you guys. You can also mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure to share your story to the world.