Luckily, I was able to interview some of the band members, including Niels and Torsten Kinsella, quickly before the show. It is a new genre of music for me, that I really connected with, so it was a really interesting opportunity to chat to the band about their new powerful and emotive album, their music in general and the post-rock sector. Neils and Torsten were refreshingly honest and genuine with their answers, despite the obvious pain they feel relating to this album. It was really interesting to learn more about their history, process and their new album. This will definitely be one of my most emotive but informative and fascinating interviews.
Did you need that 3-year break so as to write and record your new album “Epitaph”? What happened during those 3 years and how did it help the band evolve generally?
A: We spent some of the break performing gigs. When we had started to create the new album, it originally had a different theme. For example, “awakening/ Winter dusk” was one of the original new songs, but we felt it fitted with the new style so decided to include it still. But after the tragic loss of our cousin, we felt unable to continue in this style. I write music to express my feelings, and used this as an outlet for my emotions. Therefore, the album took a more melancholic tone to reflect this. (i.n.: Music is so therapeutic, and provides a way to express hidden emotions. I agreed and explained that I used my art as my way to process and convey the thoughts and feelings I cannot say out loud.)
Did the label change play a part on that too? And how is your cooperation with Napalm Records so far?
A: Changing to Napalm Records had no change to how they work and their direction. We specifically stated that they cannot set timelines or direction. As we cannot create real music under someone else’s specifications. (i.n.: Which I completely agree with and admitre their resilence, as true art cannot be manufactured to specifications and deadlines. As an artist myself, I also wanted to remain independent, as you cannot produce real art by force.)
Can you say that “Epitaph” is a more atmospheric album than your previous ones that has its origins back to the first GIAA albums?
A: Due to the events that transpired whilst creating this album, it has a lot more emotional ties and more melancholic tones. Playing this music on tour has helped us process what happened and create a tribute. However, it does bring up a lot of emotions so is challenging. Today is actually one of the hardest as a family member is present.
This new album by God Is An Astronaut is a beautiful and moving piece of instrumental post-rock. They effortlessly flow between light mystical tones, to trancy electronic, and hard rock. They cleverly use vocals in a way it melts into the instrumental tones, flows effortlessly and becomes one with the music. They created a mixture of slower, lighter songs, as well as deep, intense songs.
The songs tend to start with a single musical instrument, such as the keyboard. Playing a slow but mystical tune, lulling you into a daze. Their slow and quiet sections were just as, if not more so, moving and intense. Other sounds are slowly combined, until they accumulate into a symphony of dark and mysterious tones. They build suspense and an unspoken story, through their clever us of varied instruments, pitches and speed.
The first self-titled song is a beautiful testament to their talents. Starts so light and slow it builds a mystical atmosphere; it wouldn’t be out of place in an epic fantasy saga. It slowly builds up, adding in a new instrument each time, leading the listener down a path. The sounds grow more foreboding and the story morphs into an intense thriller. It draws you in, and you can feel your heart racing. Then just as quickly as it darkened, the clouds begin to break, and the light shines through. Completing a full loop back to the light and magical beginning.
God Is An Astronaut is a talented instrumental post-rock band. All the way from the beautiful Glen of the Downs in Ireland, which I personally am very jealous about. This was a great introduction to a new style of music for me. It’s one of the reasons I love doing this, offers me the opportunity to discover new bands and genres. Most of the music I listen to is more lyric heavy, but melding the vocals into the music gave the songs a new focus and depth. I didn’t expect instrumental music to be so emotive, but I was genuinely captivated and moved by this sensational album.
God Is An Astronaut played a mixture of old favourites, which the crowd erupted for, of course. Combined with some of the most moving songs from their new album. They said they wanted to bring it back to their first song, the “end of the beginning” and judging by the crowds raucous response, I think they achieved it.
The overall style is similar to sound-scaping techniques used by prog-rock bands, and reminiscent of parts of Evanescence and Radiohead. They effortlessly flow between light mystical tones, to trancy electronic, and hard rock. They cleverly use vocals in a way it melts into the instrumental tones, flows effortlessly and becomes one with the music. They start with a light and mystical first half, creating a very ethereal atmosphere. Developing into their more techno-rock style, with crashing drums and guitars.
It is no easy feat to create such a diverse, powerful and emotive instrumental album. But somehow they managed it, a true testament to their skill and passion for music. Their slow and quiet sections were just as, if not more so, moving and intense. The lighting paled and slowed to match the music change. The layers of instruments build up a rich tapestry of sounds that really tell a story. There is something hauntingly beautiful about their songs; it pulls you into a whirlwind of music and emotions.