Post-Rock Powerhouse God is an Astronaut Plays “Center of the Universe” Tonight

Like Canadians Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Texans Explosions in the Sky, and Scotsmen Mogwai, God is an Astronaut plays the type of music that marries dexterity, harmony and pure power that can only be described in rich visual terms. Fittingly, the Irish post-rock powerhouse plays with a cinematic backdrop complete with high-end AV equipment. If you’ve seen The Album Leaf or Sigur Rós or Mew in concert, expect a similar multi-sensory experience if you make it out to see God is an Astronaut at the Nectar tonight.

If you’re still on the fence, keep on scrolling to read our interview with bassist and visual-mastermind Niels Kinsella and watch the video to get a better idea of what’s in story.

As musicians from Northern Europe produce the lion’s share of cinematic post-rock, how do you feel weather and geography play into your songwriting?

For us living on an island on the edge of Europe there has been a sense of escapism which permeates through our music.

Also there are not too many sunny days in Ireland, similar to the weather in Seattle, so it can make for a rather depressing scene most of the time.

For us writing songs has always been away to capture our emotions and experiences, like a photograph and of course our surroundings have an influence in our music.

What’s your typical or usual songwriting process?

Most of the songs start with a melody written on guitar or piano.

The initial melody is crucial for us, the composition is more important than the style. Unlike most bands we don’t write songs in a rehearsal hall, all the songs are finished and produced by us in the studio, this stems from our dance/electronic background were producing your own records was commonplace.
On average it takes about 2 months to write and record 1 song.

From what sources do you get the most inspiration?

Again music is like a way for us to capture or emotions, a therapy and give us a way to escape the mundane and quite literally has allowed us to travel the world.

Have those sources of inspiration changed I’ve the years?

The ethos still remains the same as it did from the very start, to make music we love and music that has some emotional connection to us.

What should people expect from your show at the Nectar on August 16th?

Live the show has massive energy, the band is at its best at the moment, even starting mosh pits and stage diving in New York. I think most of fans will be surprised by the energy and passion. We always give 100%.

How does playing to crowds in the US differ from playing Europe?

So far its been very similar, in Europe the fans always give back the energy you give them, makes for a very intense show. We weren’t expecting the same level here but New York was definitely one of the most intense shows we ever played. The crowd here in the US have been really great, its been a real pleasure to play for our fans here.

Portugal. The Man, one of our US favorite bands from Portland-via-Alaska suffered a similar loss as you all experienced in 2008 as their van and equipment was stolen after playing Lollapolloza this week. How did you all recover from that huge financial and emotional setback and what advice would you have for them?

Its a massive financial blow and an emotional one too. Its become extremely difficult to make ends meet in the music business, most bands barely get by as is and for the gear to get stolen is often the nail in the coffin.

We were very fortunate to recover so quickly, we have a loyal fanbase who continued to buy our music and merch which helped us to financially recover.

As for advice, there is not much we can give, we are always extremely cautious were we park the van, we always get secure parking where possible but if someone wants to steal your equipment bands are all easy targets unfortunately.

Do any fond memories of Seattle come to mind from past tours or other experiences you’ve had with the city or its history?

We didn’t get to see much of Seattle last time. We were touring in December so the days were pretty short. We always wanted to play in Seattle as so many of our favourite bands originated from there.
We are really looking forward to putting on the full show this time around, back in December 2008 we didn’t have the budget.

Anything in particular you’re looking to do with your time in Seattle?

We would love to see the whole city, hopefully this time we will have a bit of time to do some sightseeing.

What’s next for the band through end of the year?

We are re-releasing our entire back catalogue early next year as part of our 10 year anniversary. All the albums have been remixed and remastered, the results so far have been stellar. There will more touring in support of that. A new album is in the works for early 2013.

8/16 God is an Astronaut & Guests @ Nectar : 8 p.m. : $12

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