D//E Interviews: God Is An Astronaut

Post rock veterans God Is An Astronaut celebrate the release of their milestone album number ten, Ghost Tapes #10, and return to D//E for an interview to discuss their new work as well as the band's current state and future.

Torsten Kinsella provides the answers, followed by the band's latest video for Adrift, once more created by Chariot of Black Moth.

Did you think the band would come such a long way when you started almost 20 years ago?

When we began in 2002, we had no idea we would be putting out albums 19 years later to eager listeners.

The End of the Beginning was intended to be our final farewell to the music industry after trying for ten years wondering what would get us signed, we decided we just wanted to finish on a release that we were really proud of, something we liked and forget about what anyone else, critics, labels etc. expected and that ethos was never in question since. We are aware we appeal to niche audience but it’s what we like and do best. It is an achievement to stay relevant in the music industry and we are very pleased with Ghost Tapes #10 and we are excited for it to be heard.

Which are some of the themes and aims of Ghost Tapes #10?

Ghost Tapes #10 isn't written about a specific event but is more of a reflection over the last two years which have been unprecedented for us. Our last live performance was in Boston nearly 16 months ago, our All is Violent 15-year anniversary tour in 2020 fell through due to the pandemic and that was especially frustrating because we hadn’t been too busy with touring in 2019, the Scandinavian tour had fallen through in April and the US tour in the fall was costing us a lot of money. When we got home writing something with tension and intensity felt like the natural thing to do. Burial was the first song we wrote for Ghost Tapes #10 which touches on the aftermath of Epitaph which was written in memory of our 7-year-old cousin Oisín, Burial is the transition between the two albums. Adrift was written in February of 2020 so perhaps subconsciously it was written about the state of World being adrift.  We wanted the album to be more focused on the live performances and less on the electronic soundscapes. Ghost Tapes #10 is much more up tempo, intense and progressive than all of our previous albums. We wanted to make sure that the musicianship, arrangements/structures and timing signatures were far more complex and abstract than our previous material.

Is the album's heavier direction a deliberate choice or a more organic one?

It was more organic; our music is shaped by the events we experience in our own lives. For us, writing and playing music is a cathartic experience, it’s our way of expressing ourselves. After Epitaph we instinctively didn’t want this album to be sombre, we wanted to keep it up-tempo and rawer in direction.

This is your second album released on Napalm Records. How does your music fit a primarily metal label? and why does it appeal that much to metal audiences?

While we are not a metal band, our music may share some of its components, ultimately, it’s less refined and more based on melody with a diverse range of emotion vs the power and rage which metal mostly strives for. Our music is understood by the more open-minded heavy metal fan who appreciates melody and is open to other sounds outside the electric guitar, it shares the power of metal and some of the intricacies with complex timing signatures and detuned guitar lines. Napalm Records have been very supportive and are excited about Ghost Tapes #10.

Chariot Of Black Moth came up with impressive visuals for your singles. What is the approach on the visual front this time?

We liked the idea of trying something different for the videos for Ghost Tapes #10, Chariot of Black Moth known for his dark themed black and white videos which are well known in black metal circles and other dark underground genres. On the surface it may seem like an unusual collaboration but his style complimented our music, like a symbiotic audio/visual amalgamation.

You have some European live dates coming. Which are the band's expectations touring in the age of COVID?

We are hoping that we can tour this album this year but only time will tell. It seems unlikely, it’s looking like mid-2022 and but perhaps a few social distance gigs this year in Ireland. In the meantime, we are rehearsing a lot of our older material that we have neglected in the past so expect a few songs from our discography that we have never played live before when we return.

Are you feeling hopeful about how quick the music business is going to return to a kind of normalcy?

I think things will return eventually to normal for the most part however some venues, promoters, booking agents and some bands may not survive but I am confident we will and we to be able to hit the ground running as soon as the pandemic ends. We are rehearsing every week and we plan to stay match fit.

What comes next for GIAA?

We will be releasing a series of live albums this year in run up to our 20-year Anniversary in 2022. We have recorded a live session of the All is Violent album being performed in its entirety, along with a few new songs.

The video footage has captured the performance in an exclusive, revealing and behind the scenes manor which is very unique. It is approx. 60 minutes long and we hope to make this available before April.

Band photo by Brian Meade

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