Sparks and passions: Calling All Astronauts 2018

Calling All Astronauts have been no strangers to attention and acclaim for their multi-flavoured and adventurously eclectic electro punk nurtured sound; albums and singles sparking eager ears and support with persistent success. They have inflamed the senses and zealous praise yet again with new EP, Influences; the London trio sharing some of their keenest inspirations in their own inimitable way. Thinking it was high time we caught back up with the band to talk about the EP, a new album and plenty more, we had the pleasure of grabbing some of vocalist David Bury’s time….

Hi and welcome back to The RingMaster Review.

It has been almost two years since we last talked with you, around the release of your album Anti-Social Network. Could you bring us up to date with all things CAA?

We released loads of singles from Anti-Social Network, all of them were really well received, as per usually we did loads of remixes and our ubiquitous low budget videos. We actually wanted to release every track as a single, but in the end didn’t want to be accused of flogging a dead horse, so there are still some absolute gems, that only people who bought the album will know

You have just released the Influences EP made up of a quartet of covers. What was the spark to its idea?

We started writing our next album early last year, however, my wife and I (David) had our first baby in August, so time was kind of against me, but we really wanted to release something new, so we thought it would be a good idea to record versions of four tracks, this then evolved into the idea that we’d make it a “Quadruple A-Sided” single, so we made videos for all four tracks, and had them staggered two weeks apart on the streaming sites and YouTube, having to send promo out on four releases two weeks apart has been crazy, and really not something I would recommend to anyone J

Would you talk a little about each track for those yet to hear the release?

First of all is a drum and bass meets metal version of Gary Numan’s (Tubeway Army) Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, we managed to get synth sounds that are quite similar to the original, but it’s now at 176PBM, with noisy guitars all over it, next is a stripped down version of T-Rex’s Metal Guru, we’ve really slowed it down, to an atmospheric post-industrial type sound, thirdly we’ve taken on the legend that is David Bowie, and put own stamp on his song Scary Monsters; far be it from me to say our version rocks more than the maestro’s original, but you can if you want J, and last but definitely not least, we’ve absolutely brought Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water screaming into the 21st Century, it’s like Skinny Puppy, Rammstein, Ministry all rolled into one, according to the reviews; I’m not sure it is, but I’m happy if that’s what people are saying.

Many bands play covers but most just seem to approach them in the same way the original artists did and maybe hope their own sound comes across. You seem to have gone far deeper into the songs and taken the CAA imagination to certain aspects; the result tracks which are as much yours as their creators. How did you approach each track and decide what way to go with them?

We approached them exactly like we do when we are writing our songs; we kind of got an idea of how we wanted to do them, started off with drum patterns and then layered everything on top of the drums, we didn’t really have any trouble with any of them, the fill before the verse on Scary Monsters was a bit of a challenge, but I came up with that kind of dubstep drop and it all came together nicely.

Obviously the theme to the EP is in its title but in its case is it the songs which were primarily the influences or the artists, and if the latter why these particular tracks from their arsenal of persuasion?

I think it was a bit of both; they are four artists that we liked as kids, and still as adults, in fact Gary Numan’s two most recent albums are awesome, I can’t recommend them strongly enough. I was a big T-Rex fan as a kid and regularly drive past the spot where Marc died; there are so many of his songs to choose from, we wanted to pick songs that we liked but were not too obscure, you know. If we’d done Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire, Japan and Psychedelic Furs tunes, they would still have sounded like us, but only people of a certain age would know the originals, so we picked four tunes, we felt had been significant to us that other people would know.

For us it was a brave move to take on four not only well-known but legendary tracks which virtually everybody knows and so many reveres. It has obviously proved a great move as fan and critical praise has quickly gathered but did you have any doubts at any point in taking on such classics?

We did obviously worry that we could face a backlash, or just get dismissed as, “another rock band doing covers” but after finishing them, we felt that we had, as they say on TV talent shows, made them our own, however unlike TV talent shows, I don’t think we have ruined any of them, I hope we have given a modern flavour to them, that will hopefully make some of our listeners revisit or even visit for the first time the artists that original wrote and recorded these songs.

Has the buzz, support, and acclaim for the EP surprised you in its swiftness and richness?

It’s truly been astonishing, we have honestly never done so many interviews before on any release, I’m feeling there isn’t the stigma associated with covers that there used to be (The Dickies excepted); people seem to have embraced it in the spirit that it’s intended, and for that we are very grateful.

Was there any specific intent in unveiling the four tracks within Influences one by one over a handful of weeks rather than as a single entity?

The original idea was to just release it as an EP, but when we got them back from Max, our mastering engineer, we were like, these are just too good to promo as a group; tracks are going to get lost. We thought it would be a shame if that happened, so we came up with the idea of 5 different release dates, 1 for each single and a final one for the EP as a whole, I’m glad we did it this way, because different DJs have had different favourites, so we’ve ended up getting an amazing amount of radio play

Tell us about the videos accompanying each song.

Here we are, confession time, as you know we have very small budgets, so we commissioned two of the video’s on Fiverr, the Scary Monsters lyric one and the Smoke On The Water one; for Scary Monsters, we just sent her the lyrics, told her we’d like it to be scary, paid her $12 and that’s what she came up with. The SOTW one, cost a little more, $30 I think, we gave the director carte blanche to do what he wanted and what he came back with, though quite surreal, works perfectly. Are ‘Friends’ Electric? was a little different. We have a friend called Stevie Mac, he makes animations for video games. He had a short story of around 90 seconds that he’d done, that wasn’t owned by any of his employers. He kindly said we could use it, so I cut it together with royalty free footage that Paul found online. Metal Guru is a whole other story. A Twitter friend of ours in Texas offered to make us one for Metal Guru, he was making a stop animation video for us but as release date loomed it became obvious he wasn’t going to get it done in time, so he came up with this one. He did go back and re-edit it as there where a few scenes towards the end that were quite disturbing, but all in all to come up with four videos for less than fifty quid, is a right result J

Was there anything about recording the EP which was more difficult than creating your own music?

I wish I could say there was something, but Paul and J are such accomplished musicians, they got their parts down really quickly and everything just fit into place. The mixing is always the hardest part for us, because we always have bass, kick drum, sub bass and bass synth sitting in the same part of the audio spectrum, so a lot of use of lo-pass and hi-pass filters is always needed.

Is there a possibility of an Influences Part 2 in the future?

Without a shred of a doubt, we will revisit this; we’ve just had so much fun with it. Don’t ask me when, there’s album three to finish first

Any hints to songs or bands which might be considered, I know you guys have eclectic tastes and inspirations.

We have tried a lot of other songs; we did Adele’s Someone Like You [but] my vocal was so out of tune, I cried with laughter’ I’d like to cover some things that nobody would ever expect us to, maybe The Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? or The MVPs Turning Your Heartbeat Up. Who knows, we will just have to wait and see.

As you mentioned, the band is working on their third album. How is that actually coming along and have you a timescale to its release?

We have 16 songs so far in various stages. It’s sounding enormous, and as eclectic as you would expect from us; it goes from drop D metal circa Lamb Of God to expensive anthems almost reminiscent of early Simple Minds. The 16 songs we have so far will probably not all end up on the album; we will undoubtedly write some more, amalgamate some of them, and probably save some for singles B-Sides

I also heard there could be a release for a previously unreleased album from J’s previous band Caffeine on your label, Supersonic Media; could you tell us more?

They had a couple of albums which are now on Supersonic from when they were touring with the likes of The Offspring, AFI, New Found Glory etc. Alain their original single left and the recruited Scott who is now in the Candle Thieves, they recorded an album with Andy Hawkins from Midget producing. It’s a fantastic album that never got released; it’s quite reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World or Alkaline Trio. For fear of sounding like Trump, it really is fantastic, super, terrific, maybe it’ll do well in Mexico J

Our big thanks David for taking time out to come chat with us; anything you would like to add?

Thank you for having us.

People can check out every aspect of our new EP at http://smarturl.it/Influences-EP

Explore Calling All Astronauts further at:

http://www.callingallastronauts.com/    https://www.facebook.com/callingallastronauts   https://twitter.com/CAA_Official

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 06/04/2018

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mothertone – Got It Memorized

 

Mothertone 2

On the evidence of their new single Got It Memorized, Scottish band Mothertone has a rather accomplished handle on merging various flavours for one highly appealing brew. Our first introduction to the Edinburgh quartet is a feisty and contagious exploit which shows why there has been a keen buzz brewing up around the band from their previous EPs, Four Stars and IV, from which the song is taken. Creating a not exactly unique but definitely attention catching form of heavy rock from a multitude of essences including heavy metal, classic rock, punk, and grunge, the band’s new single entices and lures the imagination with a robust stomp of thumping rhythms, mischievously inciting riffs, and blues kissed melodies. It is an urgently captivating slice of rock ‘n’ roll which ensures that better late than never is continued to be proven.

Formed in the middle of 2012, Mothertone as many went through a number of line-ups before finding the right potent mix with vocalist Eric Mothertone cd babyBrock, guitarist Kieran Gallagher, bassist Dean Gordon, and drummer Rikki Smith. Across their time they have also have built a strong reputation for their live performances, lighting up venues around Scotland such as the Liquid Rooms, Classic Grand, King Tuts, and Cabaret Voltaire. Their next aim is to infiltrate the rest of the country and with the likes of Got It Memorized in their armoury you feel it should be a done deal in stretching their presence and fanbase.

Slamming beats and rigorously swiping riffs open up the encounter, their jagged provocation sparking an instant appetite which the song exploits with a subsequent stroll of flaming guitar enticement alongside those still commanding rhythms and an irresistible growling bass lure. A virulent groove also adds its potency, the song building heavy rock bait with contagion in full throttle from its start. Intensity and urgency adds its say to the encounter soon after as the clean vocals join the affair, their entrance sparking a punk breath to the antagonism of the imagination infecting song. Vocally Brock is impressive but without a real snarl to his tones the production of the song leaves him a little adrift at times though it makes no ultimate impact on the success of the song and his enjoyable lead.

Throughout the song twists and swerves with invention and craft whilst the guitar solo towards the impending climax of the song flames brightly with skill and poise. With a final beefy stab to end its show, Got It Memorized leaves you wanting more and though as mentioned the band is not setting new templates for rock music with it, the single proves that they definitely give it another tasty choice for fans to devour eagerly. Expect to hear a lot more of Mothertone as they invade the rest of the British Isles, to which no one will be disappointed we suggest.

Got It Memorized is released via Coffee Jingle Records (www.coffeejinglerecords.com) on 17th March.

https://www.facebook.com/mothertoneband

8/10

RingMaster 13/04/2014

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Naked Lunch – Beyond Planets

cover

    The return of Naked Lunch, one of the UK’s first electronic rock bands, has been an increasingly impressive and thrilling proposition with a clutch of single showing that this is not just an aesthetic return of an eighties band as with so many others. Reinventing their sound and early songs with a craft and invention which sees them an easy fit in the modern premise of electronic world as well as casting new and invigoratingly inciting encounters to bask in, the band has made a striking statement with their debut album Beyond Planets. Anticipation was high because of the previous singles but the album exceeded all assumptions and hopes with its refreshing and magnetic slices of electro rock/pop.

    Originally formed in 1979 by vocalist Tony Mayo and guitarist Gary Shepherd, under the name Sons of Perdition at first with Naked Lunch becoming the moniker after their debut gig, the band built a strong and feverishly followed presence through shows with the likes of DAF, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, B Movie, and Clock DVA, as well as their own gigs and tours, and first single Rabies. The band also made a major contribution in helping Stevo find bands for the ground-breaking Some Bizarre compilation album which was released via the Daniel Miller (The Normal) owned Mute Records and to which the band itself contributed the track La Femme. That first single followed to acclaim and good support though was banned from day-time radio play because of its title; but subsequently line-up changes and differences led to the band ending in 1981, though there was a short lived live presence through Mayo until 1985.

   2010 saw Mayo reunite with early member Paul Davies with the pair writing new material before original line-up members Mick Clark and Cliff Chapman joined a year later. The band was expanded by Mark Irvine in 2012 and Jet Noir last year. First single Alone sparked the attention and bred an appetite in a great many for the band’s return, which the following Slipping Again, Again and Glow only reinforced and accelerated. Now with their excellent debut album, Naked Lunch position themselves back to the fore of British electronic music with a mature craft and imaginative invention which time has obviously bred in their creativity.

     Opening track We Are, the new video single from the band, opens on an electronic dazzling of sound and sonic light, a space bred beckoning enticing the imagination into play. From the celestial ambience magnetic beats soon register an eager coaxing before stretching the bait with firmer rhythmic temptation. The song soon settles into a restrained stroll with vibrant electro colour courting the somber and pressing dark vocals. It is an enthralling mix with a subdued funk swagger, the track playing like a mix of Fad Gadget and Yello as the narrative sets the scene and premise of the release, humanity in all its oppressive shadows. The song takes longer to fully convince than subsequent tracks it is fair to say but ultimately succeeds to set the album off on a potent and engaging start.

    Slipping Again, Again comes next, the song a reworking of the B-side Slipping Again of that very first single. The song has a dark bordering on sinister essence to vocals and ambience which adds a delicious noir breath to the tantalising mix of melodic enterprise and rhythmic revelry. The dust clad tones of Mayo only accentuate the heavy intrigue and shadow of the song whilst the synth teasing and guitar sculpted flames provide riveting adventure and mystery to the contagious and menacing croon of the song. It is an enthralling new chapter to the original song and easily ignites the senses before being straight away matched by next up Rabies. A new album version of the band’s first success, the track emerges on a skittish shuffle of percussive bait soon joined by pumping electro vibrancy and caustic guitar scratching. The band has taken the heart and essential power of the original but polished up its sides and intent to sculpt an even greater contemporary synth pop dance. It is a mouthwatering piece of enterprise which alone shows how the band has evolved and grown its sound without losing the  striking glory of its first entrance.

     The album continues to raise its plateau as the next trio of songs starting with Emotional Turmoil, toy with, entrance, and manipulate the passions. The track is a bouncy infection drenched romp of electro pop with scuzz kissed guitar and seductive sonic beckoning all framed by a rhythmic toxicity which is equally irresistible. A tonic for any down trodden day, the track is an energy fuelling, emotion regenerating dance of creative endeavour and irrepressible mischief. It is immediately followed by a new version of Le Femme, the song receiving its originally intended spelling but one changed by Miller for the Some Bizarre release. Like Rabies, the track is bursting with fresh updated invention but without losing any of its original strengths, and like the other thoroughly enjoyable. Alone steps in next with its shadowed brew of evocative elegance within an almost oppressive web of emotional drama, its premise that of individuals in a disconnection to the world the voice within an immersive atmosphere. It is a gentler embrace than the previous tracks but no less resourceful and thrilling.

The album’s best track, Weekend Behaviour struts in next with an instantly addictive electro seduction, a tempting soon aided by less intensive vocals and a wash of melodic radiance. It is slightly deceitful though as from within the warm stomp returning intimidation coated vocals join the affray alongside a snarling graze of guitar aligned to raucous energy. The song is a scintillating brew of electro rock with old school punk rock essences taunting and firing up the passions.

     A new version for the album of that previously mentioned single B-side, Slipping Again treats the ear next with similar success to the other re-workings on Beyond Planets whilst its successor Glow, a song which like all the recent singles gets an album make-over, provides a Landscape like expanse of exploratory imagination from the keys and guitar within a smouldering and pulsating electronic soundscape. With a delicious groove around and spicy twang to its central narrative, the track is a lofty pinnacle in a climate of peaks.

     Completed by the excellent Fade Away with its absorbing oscillating radiance and electro majesty, Beyond Planets is an outstanding exploit in a vibrantly expressive journey. Rich in nostalgia but only to the extent of re-kindling old flames to unite with greater new and potent excitements, the album easily declares Naked Lunch the real deal to give all the young electro bucks a run for their creative money.

www.nakedlunch.org.uk

9/10

RingMaster 11/02/2014

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Naked Lunch – Alone

Alone

Receiving the promo for the new single from Naked Lunch instantly raised a tingle as thoughts shot back to our first discovery of them through their appearance of the Some Bizarre compilation album from Mute Records way back in 1981 with the excellent Rabies single coming soon after. Returning after a 30 year break the band shows that maturity and time has not diminished their unique sense of and adventure within electronic music one iota. Alone is an evocative slice of haunting and provoking imagination drenched in the presence fans of the band remember and brought with a fresh and potent, almost destructive dark breath.

Formed in 1979 by vocalist Tony Mayo and guitarist Gary Shepherd as Sons of Perdition, though this name was changed to Naked Lunch after their debut gig, the band underwent a few changes in personnel as well as working out and delivering their sounds live. To condense their story, from a show alongside the likes of DAF, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, B Movie, and Clock DVA organised by the band and Stevo, who Tony had DJ’ed with previously, the band undertook the Naked Lunch’s Electronic Indoctrination Tour in 1980 which included a show at Leeds Futurama, which was filmed and eventually broadcast on BBC2. Naked Lunch then set about helping Stevo find artists and recordings to make up the Some Bizarre album, to which the band itself contributed La Femme (a song originally called Le Femme but Phonogram who the Daniel Miller (The Normal) owned Mute released the album through, changed it to grammatically correct French, missing the point of the androgyny of the electronic music scene and that the song was about that). After a parting with Stevo, Naked Lunch became managed by Ramkup with the single Rabies backed by Slipping Again being released, though it suffered from a ban on day time radio play due to the title but did receive good play and support from the likes of John Peel and Nicky Horne on their night time shows. Line-up changes continued t before the band split in 1981 with Mayo retaining the name Naked Lunch, which he registered with Companies House in May 1981. A second version of the band emerged as a live thing until 1985 and though Mayo continued with Naked Lunch projects the band as such was a quiet presence.

2010 saw Mayo link up again with early member Paul Davies and writing new material, with Mick Clark and Cliff Chapman joining in 2011, both in the original line-up. Their first gig for over 30 years came at BAS II with the addition of Mark Irvine coming in early 2012 and Jet Noir linking up in June of this year.

Themed by “Isolation, Loss and Feeling Disconnected from Society”, Alone immediately unleashes a rich beckoning atmosphere upon the ear to dramatically mark the return of the band, its lingering caresses and expansive breath an evocative cloak around the vocals of Mayo, his tones understandably feeling older and authoritative. Keys and guitars bring suggestive hues to the air and thoughts whilst the excellent backing whispered vocal kisses of Black simultaneously chill and seduce the touch of the track. With a more than slight Fad Gadget essence and the vibrant light spots and melodic teasing holding a sense of Yello to their temptation, the song is a mesmeric blend of frosty intent and warm electronic persuasion.

The single is an absorbing pleasure which raises real appetite for future sounds and endeavours of the band. Naked Lunch is as strong and as impacting as ever and electronic music will only benefit from their return.

www.nakedlunch.org.uk

8/10

RingMaster 22/08/2013

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