Bearstronaut did an interview, so read it, punks!
How do your songs get written? Is it a collaborative effort or is there a musical mastermind behind it all?
All of our songs are written collaboratively. When we approach writing a new song, we usually decide on a concept, sound or some quality that we really want to focus on. Once we’ve got that, a lot of times ideas will be sketched out on the computer using synth software to get an idea and we’ll brainstorm throughout the week. Once we get to practice, we do a live interpretation, add vocals, arrange, rearrange, and hopefully get it one practice, but that doesn’t always happen. That’s our methodical approach, but sometimes its best to just get in a room and see what happens with no preconceived ideas.
What do you think of any recent Passion Pit comparisons, and of Passion Pit in general?
I think it’s inevitable, but I feel like our approach differentiates us. I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys, we’ve known them for a long time and they’ve earned a lot of success, rightfully so, but I don’t think they have much of an influence on the way we write songs. On the surface level, it’s pop music that relies heavily on synths and dance rhythms, but whereas they have one lead songwriter and he’s got a very distinctive character and sonic qualities, we’re four very opinionated songwriters that are always pulling in different directions. Our guitars clash with our synths and sometimes we don’t even have enough hands to play bass. We’ve got to figure all these things out and theres a lot of conflict, when we do it right. I think I’d relate to an Ultravox comparison more, half of them wanted to be the Clash and half of them wanted to be Kraftwerk, but that’s interesting. I feel like that.
Your new single, “Shannon,” doesn’t sound exactly like your first album. Why the change and what should fans expect next?
Shannon certainly is a new sound for us. We record and produce our records and feel like the recording process is almost as much of a creative process as writing the actual song. When this song was written and we got that chorus, we knew it was the most directly hook-oriented thing we’d done and we thought we’d really challenge ourselves to make a worthy single. In production for the song we wanted to give it a real disco shine and a pulsating feel. We’ve got some new tools and this song was really our best attempt at making a catchy and memorable single. A lot of the last record was recorded in my dorm room and was a very learn-as-we-go effort. We’re pushing ourselves to not only write better songs, but to become better producers.
The EP that we haven’t titled yet is about halfway through production and it’s continued to be an experiment. The EP varies a lot, it’ll be 6 or 7 songs that go from more punk or riff oriented to thick synthpop like Shannon. Shannon approaches one extreme of our sound and we’re pulling towards the other on a lot of these other songs, at the same time maintaining some continuity.
What are your strongest influences that people might not know about? (The influences do not have to be music)
I don’t know if I could pinpoint many uniting influences for all of us. We all come from different backgrounds, I know people always give that answer, but for us we had a punk drummer, our singer used to play medieval metal (I’m still not sure what that is), I was into the Smiths and jangly britpop, and Phil is big into funk and soul. One thing we did come together on was Bowie, we all love David Bowie, but for completely different reasons.
How did you all meet, and who came up with the idea to start a band?
Luke, Dave, and Phil had met in college and wanted to make dance music somewhere in between Daft Punk and The Rapture, two really big bands at the time. By the time this was getting off the ground I was brought in through Phil. When I joined, they had 10 seconds of music and the name Bearstronaut. We were fortunate to be at a music college that would close down at night and we could go up and practice in the classrooms all night.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened at a Bearstronaut show?
One time, a gypsy took over all our instruments and tried to turn our set into a blues jam. I don’t think she remembers that.
What superhero would each member be, and why?
Are there any French-Canadian superheroes?
Was anyone in the band surprised by the way your recordings came out, like for example, did you think you’d end up playing in a different genre or sounding like U2?
Well, we don’t have a label to please, no producers to follow and no investors to respect. We’re just making music for fans and for ourselves. We bounce around styles, recording methods, arranging ideas, and everything a restless band experiments with and it’s true we’re still learning and finding our sound. So we definitely surprise ourselves, sometimes what we go for becomes totally different and sometimes that works.
What is next for the band?
We’re currently recording and mixing our new EP right now. Some of it is done in our bedroom, but we’ve also been working at Q division in Boston as well. The EP will have 6-7 songs on it, with another single possibly. We’ve also been preparing a REMIX EP that contains some of our favorite producers and friends’ take on songs off of our last album. We’ve got some shows coming up like the Trash Bar in NYC on the 13th of August and one at the PILL in Boston on the 20th.
If possible, would you play music forever? Or would you grow tired of it eventually?
Speaking for myself, I don’t think I’ll tire of making music, but I think eventually I’ll be more studio oriented. I really enjoy the production process and refining ideas. Theres nothing like performing live, but it’s a re-creation of something that already exists, which can be very exciting. However I prefer crafting the ideas…
Cool beans, Bearstronaut, cool freakin’ beans. In case you didn’t read it, go to Brooklyn’s Trash Bar on AUGUST 13TH and see them LIVE! As for you loyal readers, take a listen to another reason this band is genre-hopping and still rockin’ it…
Now that you are a thief, reddem yourself buy buying their merch at ze myspaces!