Anna Cieslik ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
Boston band Bearstronaut has become a favorite of locals thanks to their fun, synth-pop jams. Recently, they have started spreading out and building up their fan base all across the country. Thanks to a slew of awesome remixes on their latest album and a feature story on Chicago’s NPR station, Bearstronaut is bigger and better than ever. Emertainment Monthly caught up with the band at Boston Calling Music Festival after their set on Sunday and the guys had a lot to say about everything from obscure cartoon characters to 90’s fashion trends.
Emertainment Monthly: So first of all, how does it feel to be playing Boston Calling as a hometown Boston band?
Bearstronaut: We were joking about how we took the train here and when we did, we saw the ads with our name on it and we just remember thinking “I don’t know what we’re doing, this is crazy.” We never thought we ‘d play on a stage here.
It’s such an honor to be a part of this. This is the second time they’re doing [the festival] and just to be on this bill and to be doing this with the city of Boston is a huge honor for us. We’ve been playing in this city for years now and we’ve played as many of the clubs as we can so to be at City Hall Plaza on a huge stage like that – you couldn’t ask for a better show.
EM: Going off of that, what’s your favorite venue to play here in Boston?
Bearstronaut: We played at the Paradise in June with the Shout Out Louds and that was a really cool venue and really cool stage. That was a great night for us.
EM: Can you guys explain where the name Bearstronaut comes from?
Bearstronaut: Yea, Bearstronaut is a very small character from a Brad Neely comic, which is online. It was a part of the Super Deluxe site for a while and it was a really brief character that was in this one thing called “Future Thoughts” and it just caught my eye a few years ago before we were a band. We didn’t take a whole lot of time on the name. We were just like “that’s sick!” and it’s worked for us since. So people will remember it and it just works.
EM: What’s your favorite part about Boston’s music scene?
Bearstronaut: I would say definitely the diversity between the groups that you can play with. Like, we’re really good friends with Moe Pope, who’s a hip-hop artist. We play with him all the time; he comes out during our song Moniker whenever we’re around together and he’ll rap over the bridge that we do. We also just played this heavy metal show at the Middle East Downstairs. We had no idea how it was going to go but everyone was really into it and really supportive and friendly.
EM: Earlier in August, you guys played on the Chicago radio station WBEZ’s program Morning Shift. How did that come about?
Bearstronaut: We went to Chicago for the first time to play a show. And then a friend of ours has been working at the local National Public Radio station there, WBEZ, and she’s a big fan of ours who’s helped us out a lot along the way. So she pitched it to her superiors and they were really cool about it. They were the nicest people we’ve met. We had such a great experience with them and they treated us so well.
EM: If you had to live and create music in another era, which one would it be?
Bearstronaut: Late ’81 because we like to use older synths and stuff like that. I don’t know, maybe the late 90s or early 2000s. It seems like everyone who started a band was able to get 100 thousand dollar record deals. That was kinda the golden age of the record business. If I could wear JNCOs and a ball chain necklace and play a seven-string guitar, I would be down.
EM: Who are you most excited to see at Boston Calling?
Bearstronaut: Kendrick Lamar is my number one for sure. Big Black Delta were really, really awesome. And Flume had a pretty cool set.
EM: Where do you tend to draw your musical inspiration from?
Bearstronaut: We have a lot of different influences. We started with a lot of similar classic rock and stuff we grew up on brought us together. Stuff like Bowie, Roxie Music, and the Talking Heads. We all listen to a lot of different stuff individually, but we also share a lot of the same interests. Like Holy Ghost!, !!!, Friendly Fires are all big ones for us. But the fact that we do all listen to such different things individually helps us have a different sound.
EM: What can we expect to see from Bearstronaut in the coming months?
Bearstronaut: We want to make a new record – a full length. We’ve been doing EPs because we produce ourselves so it probably takes longer than it should. It’s really hard [producing for ourselves] because we’re so picky and we take a long time to write a song because we go through a long process. We’ve got to wait three months and then if we still like it at the end of three months, then it’s a cool song! There’s a lot of freedom, but you can also get lost in all of the possibilities. We’re bad at giving ourselves deadlines.
With a proper album on the horizon and a plethora of influences to draw from, the future possibilities are endless for Bearstronaut. But whatever happens, you can be sure it’ll be great. To keep up to date with the band and listen to more of their music, make sure to check out their website and SoundCloud page.