Friday 19 March 2010

K&A with Cancel The Astronauts

It's fair to say that last year was an amazing year for EPs with Meursault, Jesus H. Foxx, Broken Records and Withered Hand (to name a few of my favourites) all releasing mini musical masterpieces. You'd have been hard pushed though to find a more enjoyable EP than Cancel The Astronauts' "I Am The President Of Your Fanclub And Last Night I Followed You Home". Twenty minutes of the most addictive indie pop you're likely to have heard all year.

And the guys have only gone and put the EP up for FREE download on their bandcamp page! To mark this very generous offer, Matt and Kieran agreed to answer a few Kowestions. You'll like this....

Kowalskiy: So how did the band come about?
Kieran: Matty, Michael and I all went to big school together, back in the day, back in Kilmarnock, and then we shared a flat for a while, back in the other day, here in Edinburgh. Matty had been writing songs and letting me play guitar over the top of them for pretty much all that time, plus Michael owned some synths, so starting a band seemed like the obvious thing to do.
We recruited the Chris through putting adverts on the Gumtree. I forget where we got Neil. I think maybe we sent off for him. Matty?
Matt: Thanks Kieran. If I’m imagining this correctly, then we got Neil free after collecting twelve breakfast cereal tokens. He came in the post, and he was very thirsty.

Kowalskiy: What's the story behind the name "Cancel The Astronauts"?
Kieran: The best story we've come up with for the name is that Matty is deeply religious and doesn't believe we should be up all in God's business like that, but the truth is probably way too mundane to relate. I suppose it was excitingly last minute though -- there we were, demo CD in one hand, marker pen in the other, going 'Well we have to be called something!' And the best we could come up with was Cancel The Bleeding Astronauts, which, you know, why would you want to? Astronauts are great. I think the pressure got to us. We later removed the 'Bleeding'.
For months after we planned on writing an intro song consisting of a big spacey, portentous countdown thing, aborted at the last second and giving way to 'Ladies and Gentlemen: Cancel The Astronauts!' and us, shuffling onto the stage, trying not to giggle. It would have been aces.
Matt: This story contains so many facts it is almost unbelievable.

Kowalskiy: For anyone who doesn't know you already, how would you describe your music?
Kieran: Slightly sinister synthy-indie guitar-pop. It's an all new happening genre.
Matt: I would agree with that. We are getting ever more sinister and scary, which I rather like. Boo!

Kowalskiy: Aaargh! So who or what are your musical influences?
Kieran: I'm going to let Matty bang on about The Smiths here for a bit...
Matt: The Smiths! The Smiths are unquestionably the best band ever, and that can’t be questioned. Morrissey is a bit of an arse these days of course, and I certainly wouldn’t ever want to meet him or be his friend, but his contribution to skinnywhiteboyindieguitarpop cannot be overestimated. He’s the best lyricist ever. Johnny Marr is the best guitarist ever. He seems like a nice chap and Id love to meet him and possibly become his friend and the imagination and sheer overpowering melody of Marr’s guitar lines really cannot be overestimated and his influence over floppyhairedpastyrockguitargods has been unrivalled over the past thirty years and I wet myself a little every time I listen to the end of Well I Wonder and ooh The Smiths The Smiths TheSmithMozfatherSmithsMozzerandMarrandoohhh...
... They are better than Radiohead.
Kieran: That is definitely true.

Kowalskiy: What bands (other than yourselves) would you like to see do well this year?
Kieran: Our indie-pop compatriots Kid Canaveral and Come On Gang! have both got albums out this year, and they're both brilliant, brilliant bands and lovely, so I'd like to see them do well. Also this year will be a big year for French Wives, or I'm a big wrong idiot.
Matt: Babygod. They have a song called "Throw It on the Fire" which, in all seriousness, is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. We've had the enormous privilege of playing with them twice now, and they really are a phenomenal live band. I encourage everyone to go buy their stuff. They don’t play very often but if you do ever get the chance to see them then don’t miss out. Lovely, thoughtful, intelligent people as well.

Kowalskiy: What are your desert island discs?
Kieran: My computer - which knows such intimate things - says my most listened to album is Four Tet's Rounds, so I'd have to take that. Also Elbow's Asleep In The Back. Probably OK Computer, though I imagine most desert islands are lousy with Radiohead records so many people choose them. You'd be tripping over them. The Midnight Organ Fight. Um. Fifa 10.
Matt: Different Class by Pulp. Dizzy Heights by The Lightning Seeds. Definitely Maybe by Oasis. A compilation of Randy Newman's best songs and, ooh, Strangeways Here We Come by, er, The Smiths is it? I am very cool.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect to hear from you in the future?
Kieran: We've just finished mixing our second EP, which I can exclusively (exclusively!) reveal will be called Funny For A Girl and out at a time that we don't know yet. Soon though.
Matt: That is all true, but not so exclusive.

Kowalskiy: What would your dream gig be?
Matt: I’d like to play with Roxy Music. And Talking Heads. And Frightened Rabbit. And Babygod.
Kieran: NASA launchpad. Early evening. Right before launch.
Matt: There is also a band called The Smiths who I’d quite like to play with.
Chris: Whitesnake.
Kieran: Shut up Chris.

Can't wait for the new EP! In the meantime that link again for their free EP is ----> HERE! and if you fancy keeping up to date with all the goings on then heep tabs on their blog too. Oh and there be rather a lot of demos up on their page too for your downloading pleasure. Enjoy!


  1. Nice interview, thanks. Their comments about The Smiths are funny - and true.

  2. Cheers :) Really enjoyed the interview! Put a smile on my face reading it back. Hope you downloaded the EP ;)