God Is An Astronaut: "Thanks to Russian fans for the incredible support!" | British Wave

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    God Is An Astronaut: "Thanks to Russian fans for the incredible support!"

    God Is An Astronaut will be doing a Russian-Ukrainian-Belorussian tour at the end of February, 2016. In the run-up to the series of gigs BritishWave.ru talked to the band's guitarist and keyboard player Jamie Dean about Russia, fame and his music preferences.

    Hi Jamie! Thanks for doing the interview for BritishWave.ru, we will be truly glad to see you in Russia again. It will not be your first time here, but when you came here for the first time did you expect something from the country, the audience, were you full of stereotypes?
    I wouldn't say we were full of stereotypes. Russia is an absolutely beautiful place. I feel that people of Russia are really passionate and they really enjoy music. We have a lot of similarities, the Russians and the Irish, we are very intense, emotional. So there were similarities to begin with from day one. Personally, Russia is my favorite place in the world to play for the reason that there's quite a lot of tangible energy in the room when we play there, the audience is always very receptive. So yes, for me and I know for the guys as well Russia is certainly one of the highlights of the year with that question.

    Thanks, that's nice to hear! And what was the most memorable thing for you about Russia during your previous stays?
    Well, we played in the Aurora club in Saint-Petersburg and we also played in a club in Moscow, both of our shows were incredible. And I remember the last time in Moscow the queue was at the door literally and it was all way down the street, to the point where people unfortunately had to be turned away. We have always had such an overwhelming support from our Russian fans and hopefully this time no one will have to wait outside.

    Well, we'll see. During your gigs you play same songs over and again, but each time you bring the house down and you do a great performance as if you have an inexhaustible source of energy. So is there some secret of keeping the so to say initial emotion of song so you play it at full performance each time?
    That's a really good question. You can find yourself lacking in energy, especially towards the end of a long tour. I feel like the first week or week and a half when you go out you have so much energy and you throw yourself at every single song, but definitely towards the end of a tour people are more tired and more exhausted, so I suppose  you would generally reserve your energy until the heavy part of the song. But to be honest, when you're playing each song you're taken back by whatever headspace you were in when the song was being written or you are in a moment very much. Personally I don't feel much too concerned about will I have a lot of energy or will I not, I am very much in the present moment, involved in the song. But definitely you have to be conscious of how much energy you do expend. We also look after ourselves, we generally go back to the hotel room and get a good sleep at the end of the show, we don't go partying that much. Some of the guys in the crew do, I won't name any names, but some guys love to go out and party, but I prefer just get rest and prepare for the next show.

    Yeah, your schedule is quite tense. Do you remember your first stage performance? What was it like for you, which feelings did it evoke?
    Combination of different feelings, I guess. Excitement, terror, joy… I think actually my second show was in Saint Petersburg in Russia in the B1 or B2 club? I felt excitement and gratitude. One of the consistent feeling that I have from the very beginning until today is a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the position that we're and that we're getting to travel the world and see beautiful places and meet fantastic people. So I would certainly said excitement and gratitude from day one until today.

    What are the worst and the best things for you about being famous?
    (Laughing) I was only having this conversation with my friend yesterday, just this whole concept of fame. Personally, I would certainly not say that I am famous at all, the reason I'm laughing s that it's a funny question… The band is known in our circle, in our sphere, perhaps the band and its name and the music… The music if anything might be famous and recognized, people might be familiar with the music, but I certainly don't think any of us are famous and I think it is a funny concept: what is fame? I don't understand exactly what is it supposed to mean…

    Well, you know sometimes there are these obsessed fans, for example.
    Yeah, you hear of some horror stories of some certain intense people. I know there was a guy called Ricardo Lopez, he was nothing to do with God Is An Astronaut. If I am not mistaken, he was a Bjork fan and he was this really obsessed character who tried to have her killed in a variety of ways. But he ended up with shooting himself in the head, because he was so insane and so obsessed with her that he wanted to kill her and kill himself so they could be together in the afterlife, which is obviously ridiculous. Years ago when we still used to use visuals, we used Ricardo Lopez's video. We obviously didn't show the clip of him killing himself, but we featured an extract of video that he made in out song "Suicide By Star". We don't use visuals obviously anymore… Luckily we don't have our own Ricardo Lopez!

    Yes, that's true. Talking about you personally, what are your music preferences? Which new musicians or bands have you discovered recently, which new albums can you recommend?
    I've been listening to lots of Nils Frahm and a lot of Kiasmos (two Icelandic dudes who are really cool). I suppose the genre would be like classical-electronic-dance music – that's Kiasmos, if I had to put a label on those guys. Nils Frahm is more neoclassical electronic. I prefer to listen to music without lyrics, without vocals. Not that I have anything against it, but I've always been a believer in a concept of music saying enough, I've always said that. Music can dictate the emotion and you don't particularly need the vocals telling you how you should be feeling.

    Being a musician, what don't you like about music industry, what's the thing you'd like to change if you could?
    So many things! I fell like a lot of the time there is this orchestrated opinion about certain artists – I am not discrediting them – but I feel like sometimes an artist – I don't want to name any names, I am not even really too familiar with the currents of the pop-scene – but there is a lot of people who would believe that certain artists and certain acts are fantastic given the promotion they receive. Not necessarily every artist who receives this publicity warrants it, if that makes sense. Generally it can be a case of people just pumping obscene amount of money into pop acts and then they become extremely successful. I am not bitter about it or anything, it's just the way it works. My point is that it would be nice to see other bands, really-really talented bands from all over the world to have this opportunity.

    Yes, there are a lot of underrated artists.
    Exactly! To answer your question – if there's one thing I'd like to change about the music industry it would be nice seeing other bands having the same opportunity as mainstream acts, if that makes sense. There're so many fantastic acts, even in Ireland and Russia – we played with the band Mooncake, they're a very good band, it would be great to have more opportunities for these bands rather then what there is in the mainstream domain.

    What is the God Is An Astronaut song which you find the most close to your heart?
    Simple question, actually, I like "Helios Erebus" from our latest album, and that probably is the closest to my heart. I like how it goes in so many different directions: it's heavy, and sad, and tragic, and explosive, all at the same time.

    This will be a tricky one… Which question would you like to answer but nobody asks you?
    That's the best question! Well, maybe… "Is it rewarding?" The answer of course is "yes". It doesn't matter how tired you are and how exhausted you may feel after a tour, the feeling when you get home is always the same, you're very happy and glad and appreciative. I would just say that everything is really great at the moment, these are exciting times for us, recently we've done a deal with "Napalm Records", which is based in Austria, so we feel that this year is going to be really positive and really productive year for us and we're delighted to be able to kick off the year with a row of shows in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

    Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans?
    Yes, thank you for your continuous support, it really means a lot, and as I said in the beginning of the interview Russia has always been one of our favorite places to play, so we can't wait to get back to you guys and really put on the best show we've ever done. I personally believe that this current show is the best that we have ever done. We're also using our own lighting engineer, Derval Freeman is her name, so we have a lightshow. We have worked tirelessly over the sound to get all the guitar sounds and keyboard patches and stuff sounding perfect, so sonically, visually, energetically this show would be the best one that we've done.

    We are all full of anticipation! Thanks a lot for the interview, it was a big pleasure and see you at the gig.

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