[INTERVIEW] ASTROID BOYS
As I enter the creative room at Sony’s headquarters Traxx greets me first with a hug and I double take to greet Benji as he opened the door. Dellux gets comfortable pulling out a chair to sit on and as we get to talking about their train journey from Cardiff to London I casually jump in and ask…
When it comes to genre you’re considered a mixture of rock and grime. What is it about the two genres that you like?
Benji: I think with grime and certain elements of rock, hardcore and punk the attitude is pretty similar, the way of expressing yourself comes from the same place in angst, aggression and frustration. It’s the mindset that transcends between the two genres not necessarily the sounds, however if you listen to certain heavy beatdown metal some patterns in the drums sound like grime tunes. You can spit grime verses over certain metal tunes, so theres a lot of ways they can melt into each other
So how did the track with Abra come about?
Traxx: Through adidas, we made friends with Minnie and the adidas gang.
I was just about to ask what was it like working with him?
Traxx: They thought it would be cool to put people from two different worlds together. Millie asked if he was up for it and Abz was like yeah i’m down and we kind of just got thrown together, literally thrown into a studio together.
Benji: I would say Minnie had a good vision there because it was definitely her idea. I think it was a strong call from her, she saw something that could work. We probably would have never approached Abra Cadabra even though we’re fans of his and like what he’s doing with his music career.
I don’t think we would have thought we could have him on a tune at that particular time. But when she came up with the suggestion and told us he was up for it we were like yeah that would be sick and the tune came out pretty well.
Yeah it did…you’ve pretty much just come off a UK tour what was your favourite city that you performed in and why?
Traxx: Feels like ages ago now but it wasn’t that long ago.
Benji: For me the best date on the tour was Bolton because there’s a little tiny pub that’s called the Alma Inn and rather than put on gigs in the pub because it’s so small they have a back garden area that they fill with like 150, 200 kids and it just pops off.
There was also a chrome tricycle. A handmade low rider tricycle hanging up on the wall in the pub and I was like who’s trike is that, that’s sick it looked like something out of an exhibit from a Snoop Dogg music video. I was like can I buy that and they sold it to me, I managed to get it for £125 so now I own a chrome handmade low rider tricycle with twister handle bars
With that being said what do you feel makes a good live performance?
Benji: A good live performance should be an equal contribution from us and the audience, but a little bit more has to come from us in order to get the audience to bounce off our energy for sure. We have to make an effort to perform our lyrics well, to have strong delivery, to be energetic and to make eye contact with the audience. Bringing them in and making them feel like they’re personally part of the performance. From what we manage to get to do with that it seems like we get the response after and then we all enjoy the show as well as each other.
So I’m going to talk a little bit about your album…
Your album “broke” comes out in September. What was the inspiration behind the name?
Traxx: We just went through a period of time where we were broke for a while, we were all struggling and then I was like lets just call it how we see it. Lets just say it how it is.
We had names floating around for a bit and then it just kinda hit me one day and I was like it should just be broke because it can be interpreted in many ways and like whether you get the message the way we intended it or not we’ll just leave it to them.
Dellux: I see it as, some people will see it as monetary and they’ll just see it as a money thing but there’s a lot of other aspects that have been, were, or are “broke” in a sense there’s different aspects that could be broke.
I don’t want to say it is, what it is because it’s up to the people to decide. I don’t ever really want to define it and tell someone what it is because it is what they want it to be. I guess it has multiple meanings.
When you were in the studio making the album what did you do or need to get in your creative zone?
Traxx: There was a lot of dancing around in the studio.
Benji: A lot of just sitting there for a while and a lot of coffee saying “well we have to make something”
Traxx: It depends what songs, some of the stuff was quite sad really it was like the deepness of the reality of the situation and then we’d like channel it in a way. Then when our friends were in the studio it was more like vibes, just dancing and stuff.
Dellux: There’s such a diverse range of sounds on it, sometimes it was just one of us or two of us in a studio room with the lights low doing some bits and then sometimes everyone was in there and everyone was just spitting their bars and seeing how it works.
Sometimes we’d just play a show and test out something and then take it back to the studio and work on it. We worked on a tune on tour which was a completely different thing again because the touring parties there. So everyone was throwing in their ideas.
How long did it take to put the album together?
Traxx: The making process of the album was constantly moving, we made it with songs from a year ago, on tour, in hotels. We hired a room in a warehouse that was in a church downstairs and that was kinda like a spot for a while.
We were just moving constantly.
Dellux: Yeah it wasn’t just one big session we did it in. We actually took time.
Benji: We started the album two years ago when we weren’t signed and we were working towards making our own album, then when the deal came around and we signed I think there was a new excitement and a new sort of want to make some other stuff. We then had so many demos that when it came down to cutting for the album we realised we actually had two albums worth of music.
Traxx: Like “dirt” we made that track in the last 5 days to the deadline, like the album was already made and we literally was like lets make another track.
So I know Deluxx is a producer, regarding production for the album did you keep everything in house or did you work with other producers?
Deluxx: Yeah man, kept everything in house
Benji: In fairness though certain drum patterns and certain guitar notes we all at some point sat and tried to write bits or help change bits, manipulate guitar notes.
Dellux: Yeah for sure, I don’t take credit for it all.
Benji: Some of the guitar bits were played in by our guitarist, think even our tour driver helped with one of the guitar bits.
Deluxx: We actually had a handful of guitarists we even had a few of my mates from Newport that these guys don’t know come in, so yeah I guess I produced everything . But I didn’t write every single part, we all decide on everything really I just put it all together .
If you had to define yourself as a song from the album which song would it be?
Benji: I’d probably define myself as lost.
Traxx: I don’t know really, I wouldn’t want to define myself as any.
Dellux: Mine didn’t make the album, I don’t know this is hard I’ll get back to you with that one.
I guess you can think about it then and tell me in the future… So the years coming to an end what has been your most memorable moment as Astroid boys in 2017?
Benji: It has to be that festival. We played at boomtown and I personally think for a band of our position we played a stage that was possibly a little bit more than we deserved, but we were obviously wrong because we filled it front to back wall to wall and it was going off.
Interview by Giovanna Mae