Astronaut Husband

Sonntagsporträt – Interview mit Astronaut Husband

Sonntagsporträt: Astronaut Husband im Interview beim Soundkartell

Sonntagsporträt: Astronaut Husband im Interview beim Soundkartell

An diesem letzten Sonntagsporträt im August habe ich mir gedacht, dass ich mal etwas Besonderes mache. Dazu habe ich sozusagen die Musik des Songwriters Astronaut Husband entdeckt. Die hat mir so gut gefallen, dass ich mir dachte, ihn einfach ein paar Fragen zu stellen.

Introduce Astronaut Husband in three sentences.

Astronaut Husband: “From the palm of Wisconsin… Small town of Merrill, home of Zola Jesus… Astronaut Husband is born!”

In which way is it right that you are making that kind of music of which I have to embark myself because I’m in a special (sad) mood? Or is not that contextual?

Astronaut Husband: “It’s something that just feels more natural to me. My favorite songs have always been the slower, quieter ones. I grew up listening to music right before bed, when my thoughts are running wild. I think those songs helped calm me down and they put everything in perspective. And that has always been the kind music I felt compelled to make in return. Stuff you can listen to when you are alone and really have some reflection with. I think for me, with my skill level and technical limitations at the time, that was the only music I even felt comfortable making. I’ll just add the lyrics that fill my songs are kinda all over the place. I always write the instrument parts first, and then while I am muttering nonsense sounds over the guitar parts, a certain phrase might fall out and I’ll build the rest of the song off that. I also try and fit in some lyrics from this overall narrative I have built up since the start of Astronaut Husband. I try and reference my other songs when I can when I’m writing lyrics. Listen closely, and you will notice recurring characters and events throughout my whole discography. These things are based very loosely on my actual life. This way, to me, Astronaut Husband is the story, not just the writer.”

What can we expect from your new songs?

Astronaut Husband: “You can expect a more coherent album this time. I admit that a lot of my bandcamp stuff is here and there. With Bugsy, the songs feel more like a family with similar sounds and feelings. You can listen from beginning to end and hopefully walk away with some kind of narrative and not feel like you are just listening to some mix bag of random astro hub songs. I feel like Drip already accomplished this goal, but it is shorter, slower, and overall gloomier than Bugsy will be. You can expect a wider range of emotion with Bugsy. This will also be my first album on cassette!”

Did you notice a special shift in yourself in making music?

Astronaut Husband: “For me it has been a long, gradual shift. Looking back at my earliest songs and what I have been recording lately, I can tell my songs have more of an identity. My creative process remains the same, but as time passes and I get better as a musician, my sound is becoming more true, I feel. I think one of the more noticeable shifts in my music is the use of a slide. I can’t really use it the right way, but when I first got it, it was like a key that unlocked a secret room of creativity in my brain. Same thing with my sister’s keyboard, which I use in all my songs now. So I think I’m in the middle of this shift towards to a more gathered astronaut husband. I know there is still something out there belongs in astronaut husband and I hope there always will be.”

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For me your music is very muffled. I really like that mood but sometimes like in your song “coat”, I would love to stand up and say: Please let your music burst out!

Astronaut Husband: “It’s wrong of me to blame my equipment, but to be honest, it does have an impact on my songs. I have no drums or bass to record to with, so I do them all with my sister’s keyboard. I have been trying to get my songs to open up more, but the keyboard has no dynamic range, so it’s hard for me to get it sounding right. I think I’ve made some steps forward on my new album, however. In a way, I think these limitations are what appeals to people. The whole bedroom artists thing is a little endearing.”

In which ways would you agree that Bon Iver’s influence on other songwriters was tremendous in the last few years.

Astronaut Husband: “He’s definitely had a huge influence. I know several people who, after hearing the Bon Iver story, took a trip to their own cabins in the woods to seclude themselves and record their own music. I think Justin Vernon has a lot of hometown pride, and that’s really inspiring for other artists, myself included, who live in these small Wisconsin towns. That was huge for me, at least. Maybe even more so than his actual music. It was just so fun to see this guy from Eau Claire journey to the top. It was like watching your sports team win the Super Bowl or something. Everyone wanted to follow his footprints.”

What do you want to tell us in your songs, which stories do you want to tell us?

Astronaut Husband: „A lot of my songs are loosely about my real life and things that have happened to me. There are some lyrics that (at least I hope) wouldn’t make much sense without knowing me personally. Like I said earlier, I like to think that I am telling a story, or building an astronaut husband world, that people can explore and decide for themselves how they are supposed to feel. I just want people to find comfort in my songs. Maybe it would make them smile or remember a good memory, or make them revisit some of the choices they have made. You know, that’s actually probably what I want most, for my songs to make people revisit things, good and bad, and help them see things in a new light, or put it to rest.”

What is your favorite quote of your lyrics in your new songs and why?

Astronaut Husband: “Hmm, I don’t think I have a favorite. I do like this quote from the song “Eventually”. “sung to sleep. such a lovely voice. do I have a choice? Eventually.” 
The whole song is kinda about feeling like a prisoner to your heart. You meet people in real life or in dreams that make you feel stuck in a big jar of honey. Everything is so sweet and warm you can’t possibly choose to leave. Why would you ever want to? Alas, you need to make a choice eventually.“

Why should astro hub play some gigs in germany?

Astronaut Husband: “There a few friends I met in high school through a student exchange program. It would be really nice to see them again. Also, my mother’s maiden name is Merkel, so maybe I’m secretly related to the chancellor. I’m sure she will want to see me.” 🙂


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