Astronautalis is set to perform at DeLuna Fest.
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Most people might not think that a freestyling rapper fusing with the indie genre would make amazing music. At least people who aren't yet fans of Minneapolis-by-way-of-Jacksonville artist Astronautalis (aka Andy Bothwell). Listen to his newest album, “This is Our Science,” in front of a mirror, and wait for that moment when you'll see a light bulb go off over your head — that's the signal of magic happening in your ears.
Astronautalis heads back to Pensacola for DeLuna Fest after spending most of 2011 touring with the Canadian indie duo Tegan and Sara. An early morning flight did not keep him from chatting on the phone about his previous work with fellow rapper Bleubird, what to expect on his next album or from raving about some of his personal favorite muscians.
Q: This is probably the earliest interview I have ever done. Would you call yourself an early bird?
A: Certainly not! I am on my way to New York and I had to catch a flight. I don't like sleeping in when I am on tour — I try to be up reasonably early but certainly don't find myself fully dressed and up at 9 a.m. very often! [laughs]
Q: Speaking of birds, a few years ago you teamed up with Florida-based indie hip-hop artist Bleubird. Got anything in the works with him, or are you just focusing on your tour right now?
A: I just finished a world tour playing two shows in Europe in the last year, about one two month long European tour and then in Australia for the month long Tegan and Sarah tour. It was really amazing. I actually produced his [Bleubird's] last record, so we have just kind of been working together on that and stuff but we'll always fall back into each other's lives.
Q: Your video for “Lookin' Kittie” with Bleubird a few years ago went viral. Did that have any impact on what you are doing now or on your career in general?
A: I don't think I gained any fans from them finding “Lookin' Kittie” and then going, “Oh, I wanna get to the bottom of this!” [laughs] I think it really started me having more of a playful approach to my career. I feel like I can be more comfortable being just myself in every aspect of my career as well.
Q: Actually, that video is how I became a fan, so …
A: Wow! Amazing! That's totally incredible — you just proved me wrong! [laughs]
Q: Yeah! [laughs] I was wondering if you might play it at DeLuna Fest maybe?
A: [laughs] I probably will not. I can't play without Bleubird, he's gotta be there!
Q: True. Delving more into what you are doing now, I saw on your Twitter feed that you are keeping up with the big news story about the FBI allegedly leaking more than 12 million Apple unique device identifiers. Will that make for material on any new songs you are working on?
A: Certainly, the new record I am working on is influenced by a lot of certain things that are going on in the world. I tried to make the least political music that I think I could of — its a creative pitfall. I am also not the kind of person that is presumptuous enough to think that I could make an album telling people what to think about the world, you know? That's really not my style. There is a lot going on momentarily with our government that is upsetting me a great deal and that will certainly inform the work that I make. I don't think I will be making crazy, crazy political music, but it certainly will be informed and it will kind of seep out into the work that I make.
Q: Cool. So are you going to have the full band with you at DeLuna Fest?
A: I am pretty sure no. I am in the middle of a tour; I was just going to fly out by myself to play DeLuna. It's no opportunity to bring the whole band with me for just one show — to fly in from off tour out of Los Angeles and then turn right back around and fly into Albuquerque.
Q: I don't think you had your band with you at any of your previous Pensacola shows, but wanted to check. In the interest of keeping this short so that you make your flight, my last question is (besides your new album), who should your fans be checking out musically? Who are you flipping out over?
A: The album that I have been listening to more than anything is Dr. John's newest record. He is sort of a legendary New Orleans jazz musician and is a notorious kind of weirdo. [laughs] And he's worked with absolutely everybody … if you think you haven't heard [of him], you have actually probably heard his music. His new album was produced by Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys. I've been a Dr. John fan my whole life; I am also a Black Keys fan and this is one of the most exciting records I've heard in a really, really long time. It's really like a forward thinking that is still kind of holding on to Dr. John's roots as well; it's a pretty beautiful record.
Other than that, I am really, really excited about my fellow rapper P.O.S. putting out a new record in October — I've been looking forward to that for a while. It's unreal. When it comes out in October it's going to blow everybody's minds.
Check out that Dr. John record. I think it's kind of one of those things that you can't not like. It's really pretty amazing!
Most people might not think that a freestyling rapper fusing with the indie genre would make amazing music. At least people who aren't yet fans of Minneapolis-by-way-of-Jacksonville artist
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