Thursday, September 11, 2014

'A Stellar Collision' Forms Astronomy For Lovers - An Interview Of The Music Duo

Indie Duo Astronomy For Lovers "Cat Song" 
First Track In Debut EP Homemade Spaceship
(photos courtesy: Astronomy For Lovers; Clio wears Lila by Lisi Lang)
Indie music sweethearts, Astronomy For Lovers, are what I would describe as the product of a stellar collision.  The duo Clio Em and Victor Báez are like two stars that collide, and their attraction for one another results in their merge into a greater and much brighter star.

Clio is Canadian and Victor is Mexican. The two met in Austria while they were studying abroad. Their chemistry and passion for music quickly became the birth of Astronomy For Lovers. Soon they will be releasing their debut EP, Homemade Spaceship, due in 2015.

The first track which recently released, called the Cat Song, is a great introduction of the duo to the audience. Written by Clio, the song narrates the behavior of a lovely cat, which presents to me simple things that we sometimes overlooked in life can be the most amusing.
The ukulele played by Victor in the background added playfulness, like whimsical steps of a kitten ready to cause a ‘cute’ mischief. And the unique vocal of Clio transformed this catchy tune into something very charming, and personally I find quite romantic.

I had an opportunity to interview Astronomy For Lovers shortly after the release of Cat Song, which has now become my favorite morning tune.

Where did the name of the band Astronomy For Lovers came from?

"When we realized we liked each other, we were actually an ocean apart: Victor was visiting New York, and Clio was studying opera in Austria. We wrote long e-mails daily and also sent short stories to each other. The name comes from the title of a short story Clio wrote and gave Victor."

Your latest single Cat Song, what was the inspiration?

"We were inspired by Neko, our sweet rescue cat! He has a habit of determinedly causing adorable mayhem during rehearsals, and it was at one of these disrupted sessions that Clio came up with the chords that would eventually become Cat Song."

Astronomy For Lovers is duo made of real-life sweethearts; does this relationship help finding common grounds when composing a new song? Or embrace eachother's differences in ideas?

"We're crazy about each other in day-to-day life, and we're (luckily) attracted to each other's musical styles too. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to have a duo together! We feel very fortunate that we can both be together and work together. What likely helps us in getting along musically is that we have different approaches to music. We're both classically trained musicians, but when working on our indie material, Victor comes more from the jazz side and Clio comes from the folksy and indiepop direction. 

Each person's contribution to the track gets its own breathing room. Clio's on songwriting duty; with Victor doing arranging and additional harmonies. For example, Victor often adds jazz harmonies to where Clio used a more traditionally modal chord progression, and the fusion becomes something quirky and amazing. But we do have completely different ideas sometimes! We've honestly never let it get in the way of our creativity though. Sometimes if we can't settle on one solution, we just do two versions of a song."
Astronomy For Lovers photo by © Theresa Wey

What is one of the best moments you two enjoyed being as an Indie group? And one of the most difficult challenges?

"The best feeling in the world was playing our January show this year at the Nikki Bogart Gallery in Vienna. That's an alternative art space run by dear friends of ours: it's so underground it takes the term literally, so it's actually in a converted historical cellar! We had a great audience, and every song was received enthusiastically. Everyone had so much fun together and the atmosphere was just amazing.

The challenges are numerous, but that's the case for all indie musicians: it's not too easy finding enough time to play while working on our other day-to-day tasks, approaching performance venues, figuring out the ins and outs of putting an EP together, and basically taking on many behind-the-scenes responsibilities. It's a good thing we got used to the independent musician's life in our classical music careers; it really prepared us for this! All of it is worth it, though."

Can you tell us the central theme to your upcoming EP Homemade Spaceship?

"The theme is traveling in a portable home! We're releasing the full EP digitally this November. Spaceships are vehicles that go far fast but still provide a home for their passengers. We travel a lot, but we always feel at home when we have each other. We wrote and recorded this EP in several countries: Canada, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria. Each place contributed a little piece to the landscape of the overall music. We're glad we could pick up so many different emotions and influences and integrate that tapestry into our songs."

Will Astronomy For Lovers be playing in Calgary?

"Of course, Calgary's Clio's hometown! We're doing a physical release of the EP in early 2015 and will be playing awesome concerts far and wide, so stay tuned to our spaceship's frequency! We'll have more details closer to the date."

After Cat SongAstronomy For Lovers will subsequently release one-by-one songs from its upcoming EP Homemade Spaceship - you can follow their updates HERE.

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