Astral! Thanks for joining us bud. To start things off I figured I’d fire you some quick ones.
– Banana or blueberry muffins? Blueberry All Day
– Cats or dogs? hmm, right now it’s cats
– Japan or South Korea? Both
– Trump or dump? Trump will kill us all
– Ortofon or Shure? Ort!
Take me through your childhood in three words. A color. An object. A record.
Green, Nintendo Gameboy Original, Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy
Describe your personality in three words. A name of a chain restaurant. A month. A drug.
A Stoned Mc Donalds in Late March.
Take us through an average day in the life. Actually, just fill us in on what you like to eat. That’s what we really want to know.
I spend most days moving and sorting huge boxes of new records and slowly destroying my back. I eat carbs to stay strong and the occasional leaf for nutrients.
Describe the moment you fell in love with music. What made it clear that this was what you wanted to pursue?
We had a show in England on the BBC called Teletubbies in the early 90s. It was pretty trippy and weird and I remember getting the cassette for one of my first christmases, i was about 5 or 6. I lost my shit to that tape all week and danced harder than i ever have since.
You’ve been making music for a while now and just recently changed your name from “Palace” to “Deejay Astral”. Tell us about the reasons behind the switch.
Aliens came to me in a dream.
Your next release is coming out on Mall Grab’s new imprint “Steel City Dance Discs”. It’s an absolute shocker. Tell us about the EP, the label, and what this means moving forward for you.
It’s my first EP under the new alias so I’m pretty hyped. They are just some trax I sent Mall Grab a while back that he was super into. The 2 tracks are just a showcase of the newer deeper direction i want to take my music into and i wouldn’t say they are the best i’ve made, purely because they are a bit older than the stuff I’m working on at the moment, but still i really do like them, much more so than some of my older Palace stuff. It’s a good foundation to build on and it’s inspiring me to work a bit harder to fully finish off more tunes, something I’m pretty bad at doing sometimes.
Having been featured on all Shall Not Fade White releases to date (002 is coming out soon, it’s a rocker), you play a significant role in shaping the character of the brand. Tell us more about the music coming out of there and the vision behind the label. I heard the guy running the show was an absolute charmer.
I guess everyone on the label has there own unique sound and take on house but the mix of artists and the music really work well together as a collective. The label has a great visual aesthetic too and all of the forthcoming releases are pure fiyah! Lots of great up and coming producers. Big ups to Kieran.
Lo-fi as a genre has seen immense growth in the last year. How do you separate and define yourself as an artist in a space that is rapidly becoming filled with other bodies?
I guess i have a pretty unique sound as i use a sample based tracker called Renoise, i’m yet to meet someone else that produces with the same program. I’ve used it for too many years and built my own method of making tax and would never use anything else. I’ve always made pretty raw and minimal sounding music. I feel like sometimes producers push the Lo-FI thing too much to the point where some tracks are just unplayable in the club because the sound quality is so shit. Theres also a lot of formulaic basic house music coming out and it can all sound a bit saturated (literally) and similar. i just feel like producers should experiment a bit more instead of trying to replicate something that is popular.
I think it would be fair to say that things are rolling well for you at the moment. Where’s Deejay Astral in five years?
Going b2b with DJ GOD in a futuristic Virtual Reality infinity club. I need to get some promo pics done first though.
You’ve previously told me about your struggles with anxiety and depression. What’s your take on the stigma surrounding mental health in the music industry?
I think most producers / djs in some way suffer from mental health & drug issues as its such a tough industry and can it can be, at times a real struggle to survive financially. it’s quite hard trying to deal with the stresses and realities of real day to day life and then having to put on a show and perform to a crowd of people wanting to party, and i think the easiest way for most is to get fucked up with them but that can be even more damaging in the long run. Mental health issues are dealt with pretty badly in normal day to day life though for so many people, it’s a tough thing to combat.
Rumor has it that you’re coming to Canada next spring. What’s your impression of our country? What’s one thing you need to see/do when you’re over here?
I’ve only ever heard good things and i’m so hyped to be coming to visit. I definitely need to try Poutine and sample some Canadian bud!
You recently whipped up a mix for Mushi-Shi Radio. Crisp as fresh iceberg lettuce if I may say so myself. Take us through how you approach DJing. What separates your dedication to the art from others?
It’s pretty hard to seperate yourself with so many other DJ’s. I guess i just like to play music that complements my own productions and music from friends, producers i enjoy listening too. I try to play tracks that mix well as i love blending elements from 2 tracks to make something unique in the mix. Filters are my best friends.
I think that’s all we got for today. Give your shout outs now!!!!
Mall Grab & The Shall Not Fade Fam, Axe Trax, All my fans ( I see you ), Soundcloud Followers, Every one that donates to my Bandcamp store (you are literally feeding me).
Final Remarks: Readers, please check out the new Steel City Dance Disks release. It’s 100% Astral, 100% banging low-fi feels. Catch you on the other side.
Interview: Ryan Otis