Astronautalis & Bleubird – Europe is dope!
A large crowd of people loitered in the courtyard of the Villa Chez Mimir in Strasbourg. Four years have passed since Bleubird and Astronautalis were the last time on tour together. This attracted countless curious music lovers – despite the icy temperatures. After a while the gates opened and the hall soon was filled to the bursting point. The coldness was forgotten soon after the first notes sounded and the room warmed abruptly due to the energy radiated by the two motivated artists. The first jackets were opened. 90 minutes of superior performance art were delivered, old and new songs played, freestyles and ludicrous dialogues offered - the chemistry between those two artists is unparalleled. But even before the compelling concert started, we had the honor to conduct an interview with Bleubird and Astronautalis.
DEAD: Not every artist comes to Europe. Can you tell us something about the motivation touring overseas.
The Shows are better in Europe, the crowd is more fun, the promotors work harder.
Astronautalis: When you tour America with other American artists, who have toured in Europe, all of them say: “this is fine in America, but way to get to Europe – it’s so much better.” The Shows are better in Europe, the crowd is more fun, the promotors work harder. And my favorite part about my job is the travel. I always want to go somewhere else, push forward to see more.
Bleubird: In Europe there are associations, there are clubs, that the government funds, especially in France and Germany. They can care more, because they have a little bit of money, so they can pay our expenses – they’re not losing it personally. We get treated very well here and always have food and a place to stay. In America that’s not the case, when we tour. I also think Europeans appreciate art a little bit more than most Americans, so we’re able to be ourself and do what we do here.
DEAD: The success of “This is our Science” was quite overwhelming. Did anything in the life of Andy Bothwell or the one of Astronautalis change after that intensive experience?
Astronautalis: I still walk down the street and nobody throws money at me, got still the same. But it’s my job has become easier in some ways. We have more people at the shows, we make more money of the concerts. It’s still not like a ton of money, but it’s more and more comfortable. It hasn’t made my life too much different, it has made my job different. I always had to get in the car and tour and tour and tour. Now it’s a little bit different – now I have to do interviews and this sort of things.
Astronautalis: Certainly not like it was in America. The record wasn’t distributed in Europe like it was in America. It didn’t have the infrastructure behind it, the push behind it. In Europe we’re still kind of pushing a record on the road. In America it was kind of pushed before us with publicity and magazines and videos and stuff. This tour is to see how it is going to be received in Europe.
DEAD: Bleubird – Can you describe the idea or concept behind “Cannonball!!!”?
I wanted to make a record that I can be proud of, I wanted to make an album that could open up my sound to a wider audience, but still retain the elements that make my music mine.
Bleubird: I always had a few songs prepared here and there that were personal. But for this record – it has been so long since I’ve made a solo-album and just at that point I was in my life I was ready to make a record like this. I took influence from what Astronautalis does, and what Radical Face does and that’s why it was so perfect that they came together to make the music. We wanted to try something different. I love the music I made, but I’ve toured on it, I played it to death – and I was just like “I don’t wanna continue to keep doing the same thing”, but my biggest fear was “I don’t wanna make a record that’s like Bleubird trying to sound like Astronautalis.” And we both decided that that just wasn’t going to happen. It started with “Giehe 1977” I really wanted to make a song that I could present to my family. Before, my family liked what I do and loved the shows – but my music didn’t really hit them. I wanted to make a record that I can be proud of, I wanted to make an album that could open up my sound to a wider audience, but still retain the elements that make my music mine.
Bleubird: It was great, because we hadn’t actually toured together in like four years and so we would spent time together like when I was doing “freebird”. We would see each other in a state, hang out for one or two days. That’s when we started the discussion and just like the day after christmas we locked ourselves in the studio and he only had five days before had to leave for tour and I had to continue on the freebird. But we literally locked in for five days and lay down the first three or four songs. I still was writing when we met up for another three days and worked out some more songs. Then there came a point where Andy had to work on “This is our Science” and I turned to Radical Face and spent many nights in his studio. It was never all three of us together in the same place.
DEAD: You both released your last albums on Fake Four Inc. . How did this new label change your music-career or the way of making music?
For the first time ever, the process of working with a record label was fun.
Astronautalis: It’s the third record label that I’ve been on. The first one is out of business, the second one was a punk rock label, that is now, though they won’t say it, also out of business. Both of those experiences were not good and I didn’t enjoy it. The process of being on a record label was terrible, I hated it and the only reason I wanted to be on a record label was, that I hadn’t enough money to make a record the way I wanted to do it. Then Ceschi came along with his small Record Label, which was basically three people, but they did it the way it should be done. They give me money to make a record and they go like „you do what ever you want, this is how much money you have to do it.” For the first time ever, the process of working with a record label was fun.
Bleubird: It hasn’t changed the way I make music in any way. For me i’m just psyched, because it’s been ten years that I’ve been making music and this is my first album ever to be released in the U.S. The other albums were all released on Canadian, Japanese and European labels. It’s just great to be on a record label that’s not only friends and fans of mine but you know, it feels good to have people working with you. I used to feel like I’m standing alone and now it is like – wow, I’m standing with Astronautalis, Radical Face, Ceschi, Busdriver…the list just goes on and on of so many respected names. It is really cool and I feel like I’m a part of something bigger.
DEAD: Astro – you teamed up with P.O.S. for Four Fists, Bleubird you also did a lot of collaboration-work for example the one with Thesis Sahib and Edison as Les Swashbuckling Napoleons. Are there any collaborative projects planned in the near future?
Astronautalis: Yeah, I started working with a girl named Katy Morley, she sings in a band called Gangz and she has never made a solo record. So she and I started to work together. The result was like a super electronic kind of „dancy“ type of music. I have all of the „Four Fists“ files, too. So this tour, I’m going to try to edit them and make them into songs. For now those two project are in mind.
Bleubird: After the successful Japanese tour of „Triune Gods“ we’re talking about recording a new record this year and try to tour Europe. „Les Swashbuckling Napoleons“ as well – we’re really starting to discuss what direction Edison, Thesis Sahib and I are gonna go with the new record. But once we figured it out, we definitely gonna try to record another album – hopefully this year.
DEAD: Do you have certain aims or dreams you still want to achieve?
My goal is to continue to make records that are as good as „This is our Science“ was and make sure that it’s always different and new.
Astronautalis: I’m really, really proud of the new record and now I feel like I have to find a new direction to push myself in. I want all my records to sound different and I want to make sure that the people, that are new fans, understand that they’re never gonna get another record like this again and be okay with that. My goal is to continue to make records that are as good as „This is our Science“ was and make sure that it’s always different and new.
The last year and a half I’ve been living in a dream – everything that I’ve been working for, has been happening.
Bleubird: The last year and a half I’ve been living in a dream – everything that I’ve been working for, has been happening. I’m always struggling financially, but this is just like if I ever get too comfortable, my music would just suck. I would just lay back with Andy feeding me grapes (laughs) – but seriously with the Freebird project for example, I’m really living my dream and I want to continue to do the things that I love to do which is traveling and make music, but I always want to do it better than before.
DEAD: Thank you very much for your time.
Astronautalis: Thank you, too.
Bleubird: Yeah, go support DEADmagazine – they supported me since day one.
A big thank you to our author Alexander Auweder for his assistance during the interview.http://bleubird.org/
Text: Markus Matt
Credits: Interviewed with the assistance of Alexander Auweder.
Tags: Astronautalis Bleubird Fake Four Inc.