The launch gig we’ve plugged heavily below has been cancelled due to a few difficulties at Sneaky Pete’s. Follow @canceltheastros for details of the rescheduled date.
Edinburgh seems to be stuffed with really good indie/pop/rock bands at the minute. We’ve got ourselves mixed up with the likes of the Bad Books and Fuzzystar, and of course there’s the peerless Kid Canaveral who’s second album is due soon.
Cancel the Astros, or Cancel the Astronauts to give them their Sunday name, have shared a stage with all of those bands but perhaps haven’t been given the credit they deserve. Their’s is a brand of raucous power pop with an emphasis on fun times, dancing, and more fun times.
Debut album Animal Love Match is due very shortly and follows a handful of EPs and the Intervention single released earlier this year. A launch gig is also in the diary, and judging from the last time we caught them live it’ll be packed with hook-laden pop tunes, and hopefully plenty of people too.
The five piece don’t look like they should be in a band – at least not with each other, anyway – but they make a lot of noise and our fingers are crossed that Animal Love Match, insinuated procreating fauna aside, brings them to a wider audience. They deserve it.
We spoke to frontman Matthew Riley this week about the album, bestiality and why he insists on wearing tracky bottoms on stage.
So who the hell are you?
Cancel the Astronauts. We’ve all got individual names because you need to really don’t you, these days, but you’re not interested in them. Names are but noise and smoke obscuring heavenly light. If you REALLY want to know who we are you’d have to spend a few hours gazing into our eyes in a tantric stare, but you wouldn’t like what you found.
Describe your sound in ten words or less!
Creepy pop and sinister indie in ten chords or less.
How did you chaps start making music together?
Me, Kieran (McCaffrey – guitar) and Michael (Craig – keys) all knew each other from school and moved up to Edinburgh together. Me and Kieran had in fact been writing song together for years and years in various mostly imaginary bands and we have a good understanding of each other musically. Neil (Davidson – bass) and Chris (Kay – drums) joined as others left and Cancel the Astronauts were born. We’ve been together in the current line-up for about four years now, and hopefully we’ve got at least another four together.
What are your influences then, eh?
Wine and women. I’m just in this for the wine and the women I’m afraid. So far, in five years, I’ve managed half a bottle of Shiraz and I remember a girl came to one of our gigs once. Not too good eh? It’s lucky that there’s also lots of fantastic music which I like and which makes me want to make fantastic music too. I’ve mentioned most of my influences before, but right now I’m going through a major Bob Dylan phase. I’ve only recently-ish got in to him, you see and I’m slowly buying everything he’s made. I’ve been listening to a lot of Everything Everything and Eugene McGuiness too. And lyricists like Randy Newman and Loudon Wainwright III are brilliant.
How does it feel to have a proper grown up album ready?
It’s a huge relief. We’ve been working on this for a hell of a long time and we’re super pleased with the result. We can only hope other people are too. It’s a good chance for us to say farewell to a lot of older songs that were on the EPs that we’ve been playing for ages. And it means we can start writing the next one, which is the best bit of it all!
What’s lined up for the launch gig?
We’ve got two great bands playing with us – Shooting Stansfield and Letters. It’s worth coming just for them to be honest. Nothing special apart from us playing songs though. We’re not very gimmicky. Although we might buy party hats and streamers.
Can we expect to see some other shows lined up?
Is wearing tracky bottoms on stage rock n roll??
No, but it is comfortable. Saying no to drugs kids: now that’s rock n roll.
I’m trying to think of a definition that doesn’t make ‘animal love match’ sound utterly seedy. Please elaborate.
There isn’t one I’m afraid. It’s an entirely seedy title and an entirely seedy album. It’s really about lust, passion, instinct and desire, and what these impulses can drive us to (and whether those things we do are actually bad or should be indulged and celebrated). Animals are a useful metaphor for that sort of thing of course because they don’t have the moral or intellectual dilemmas that come with it all, and we often forget I think that we’re just animals too, albeit exceptionally clever and special ones. Quite a few of the songs mentioned animals and then I came up with the line Animal Love Match which has a nice bit of poetry to it I think and it seemed like the perfect title. It also gave us a theme for the artwork. But yes, it’s seedy, and it should make you feel a bit dirty and a bit rude (feelings which you might like to enjoy).
Doesn’t ‘cancel the astronauts’ sound in particularly poor taste following the death of Neil Armstrong?
It does a bit doesn’t it. I’d like to apologise to the family of Neil Armstrong for our name. It was insensitive and hurtful. I hope they can forgive us. Space though eh? Walking on the moon and that? Earthrise; the pale blue dot. Pretty impressive stuff altogether. I didn’t even know he was ill. If I ever make a million pounds I’m going to buy a ticket to space on one of these space tourist flights everyone is selling. I don’t think there can be any more humbling or moving experience than going to space. I once met Alexey Leonov, who was the first person to do an extra-vehicular space walk. He was a very nice man, and told a lovely story about stepping out of his spaceship and the entire ‘sky’ was taking up by earth (he was very close to it you see) and he could see the continents and storm formations and the oceans and everything. Wonderful. You can do what you like after that can’t you.
Animal Love Match is out on September 15, available from Bandcamp and you can stream the entire ruddy thing below! The band play Sneaky Pete’s that very night with Letters and Shooting Stansfield. We recommend you get down!