Astronautalis exhibits an approach to hip hop that is both eclectic and adventurous. Hailing from Minneapolis, he is out here for an Australian tour. Melbourne’s Joelistics will be support this weekend at the Northcote Social Club and you can get your tickets here. We have a chat with Andy aka Astronautalis…
1. This is not your first time to Australia. How was your last experience?
It was rather surreal, in all the most amazing ways. beyond the initial thrill of getting to travel halfway around the globe to a new country, i was also on tour with Tegan & Sara, so i was playing in front of MASSIVE crowds…for me any way. Plus, i held a koala, so, checking lots of boxes off the list, you know?
2. Did you get much time to hang out in Melbourne? Anything you dig in particular?
I actually got to spend five days in Melbourne, and that cemented that city in my top 10. Back in the states, I am from Florida, which is an incredibly, creepy, weird, and magical place…but not exactly a cultural epicenter. So, as much as i miss the beach, i had leave. Damn, Melbourne had this amazing music and art scene…PLUS A BEACH?! It is like Seattle or Austin…with a beach?! How do you get anything done? I am amazing at how productive that city is, because if it was in america, we’d all just start sublime cover bands and smoke weed on the beach all day.
3. How does your home town of Minneapolis shape you as a performer and rapper?
I moved to Minneapolis almost 3 years ago, and it was easily one of the best choices i have ever made. In my opinion, it has the best music scene in America right now, and one of the best in the world. I have never seen a large city support its musicians from top to bottom like they do in Minneapolis. The fucking mayor goes to rap shows in this town! It is unreal. All the support, has not only shaped the arc of my career, but having that many people at your back, and to be surrounded by so many great musicians, enables a certain level of creative confidence that allows you to push your art and your craft further and further then you normally would. I am lucky to be a part of it all.
4. Your brother Seth introduced you to hip-hop. What were the first records you listened to that blew you away?
Lord Finesse “Return of The Funky Man”
DJ Shadow “Preemptive Strike”
De La Soul “De La Soul is Dead”
GZA “Liquid Swords”
Sole “Bottle of Humans”
It is important to note that Seth also introduced me to The Clash, The Smiths, early techno and drum & bass…i owe him a lot.
5. Seth also gave you your first gig. What was that like?
It felt like a dream, not in the “all my dreams are finally coming true” Disney bullshit dream way, but in the sense that when you are wandering in a dream, you don’t really know where you are, or how you got there, but you somehow know exactly what to do? You have know idea HOW you know those things, but there you are, doing them. And there i was, freestyling on-stage in front of thousands of people, opening up for Tribe Called Quest.
6. You blend a bunch of styles together. Aside from hip-hop what else were you listening to growing up?
Beyond what my older brother was feeding me, my folks had me listening to lots of old Soul and R&B, plus early folk, and rock. They had a really solid collection of records, and we were all taught at an early age how to use the turntable. Once i got to high school, and started skateboarding, i met all of the friends that introduced me to American indie rock, which changed a lot for me. I was wearing timberland boots and baggy camo pants…to a modest mouse show…in 1997. That about sums it up.
7. For those who don’t know your stuff, what can they expect to see at your live show?
It is like a sweaty, loud, old southern baptist church revival, but with way more whiskey…and way less god.
8. Fave records from 2013?
Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Danny Brown – Old
Bombino – Nomad
James Blake – Overgrown
The Cloak Ox – Shoot the dog
Lizzo – Lizzobangers
Blind Boys of Alabama – I’ll Find a Way
Jim James – Regions of light and sound
Run the jewels – s/t
Major Lazer – Free the Universe
Rich Homie Quan – Still goin in
9. Fave 3 records of all time? (sorry I know this one can be tricky)
Rachel’s “Music for Egon Schiele”
Smog “Red Apple Falls”
Young Jeezy “Thug Motivation 101: Let’s Get it!”