Coming off the success of their hit singles “Around the Bend” and “The Golden Age,” The Asteroids Galaxy Tour released their second full-length album, Out of Frequency, in early 2012. While the album expanded upon the sound adopted by the band in their studio debut, Fruit, it did not enjoy the same success as the band’s aforementioned singles. Out of Frequency did, however, showcase The Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s tremendous musical potential and established a consistent sound that has won the band a special following of fans.
For the majority of 2012, the band has been busy touring in support of the record. Two multi-national tours have seen them play countless venues across three continents: Europe, North America and South America. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour closed the book on 2012 with an energetic and passionate performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
Ahead of the band’s final show in Brooklyn, Glide Magazine spoke with The Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s Mette Lindberg about the band’s experiences on the road, Out of Frequency nine months post-release, and their plans for 2013 and beyond.
I heard you guys just got to Toronto today, so I know you guys are really busy so I want to jump right in. I reviewed your record, Out of Frequency, for Glide Magazine back in January, and I want to start by saying it’s nice to have a bit of distance to reflect on it, and to have the opportunity to chat with you about both the CD and the tour. So, you guys are on tour right now, your second tour in the US this year in support of Out of Frequency, and you play in Toronto tonight. What’s it been like being back on the road here, and how’s everything going?
Oh, you know we’ve had such a busy year with the touring and we played in Brazil and we played all over Europe. So this is actually the last tour of this year for us, and then we’re going to go back to the studio and write more and stuff like that. But it’s been kind of nice to come back and make this work and to grow, you know, and go other places playing different venues and stuff. I mean, it’s always tough to travel and come from Europe being a kind of new band, because it’s expensive. So we’re just happy that it’s possible and that people are coming to the shows. You know, it’s a dream to tour and that it’s possible to tour for our band right now.
Right. Well, Out of Frequency is your second full-length studio release, so undoubtedly you’ve become acquainted with being on the road frequently. Can you tell me a little bit about what have you learned about touring since you started? How is an Asteroids Galaxy Tour show different today than it would’ve been in the past? How do you think you have grown and what have you learned about touring?
Well of course, we’ve gotten older, and we started five and a half years ago. The experience from touring, we’ve played so much and we have a crew. When we tour here we have a smaller crew because we just can’t afford to bring everyone, and you know we’re set up with a big following like, for example, in Europe. And we recently got a new drummer as well, and have people joining, or old people coming back at every show. We really have the band moving around as this collective thing. But, the main thing is we have to bring these people with us, you know? But it’s still very lively and refreshing, and that’s how it is with our band. You know, we’re a live playing band and we have a horn section and we have people joining, and of course we’ve gotten better. And we have two albums, so we can do different things on set lists, we can try different things, and have the opportunity to work on the set.
Having two albums, it gives you a lot of versatility in what you can play these days.
Yeah, and you know the good thing is, we can play a lot and we don’t have to play all the songs. And sometimes we have to pick, or get to pick what we want to play more. We don’t have to be worried playing a one and a half hour set, but we also have to choose.
Yeah, I actually saw you guys play in Washington, D.C. at Rock & Roll Hotel earlier this year, and it was a great show. I’m planning to be at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on the 11th, so I’m looking forward to seeing you guys again.
Yes, it’s going to be the last show on the tour, so…
Are you excited for that?
Yes. Well, I mean, it’s exciting to go on tour now, but it’s also very exciting to go back and start working on new stuff. But you know especially now that all of these things happened in New York, it’s terrible. We have people in the band who live in New York, and it’s terrible that bad things like this happen, but hopefully we can maybe bring in some sunshine with our music. I mean, when you’re traveling to play a show somewhere where something crazy happened, you see strangers passing by, and you just want to give them some respect and some love.
Well I’m looking forward to it! Do you guys have any new material that you’re currently playing live?
Well, we’re not playing any new material at shows, but we do have some something there that we’re going to work on more for our next album and stuff. So, we have something lying there. Also, Lars has a portable studio, he’s got this box, so he’s going to be recording our gigs and ideas, and we’ll go to the studio and see what we’ve got. But there’s always something happening.
Well that’s great! It’s exciting to know that you’ve got some material and that you’re planning to go back into the studio soon after the tour. So like I said earlier, I know you guys are in Toronto today and you were in Chicago last night. I’m sure that it’s an exhausting schedule, but what’s the greatest thing about being on the road? By that same measure, what’s been most challenging?
I mean, I really like getting out of the studio and touring. It’s a great feeling for us to spend so much time in the studio, and have all of our stuff there and to create music and feel as though, “Oh this is a great album.” And you can’t wait for people to hear it, and then release and album, and then you go meet people live, and play as a band and make it come alive live. That’s so special. I mean we really love playing live. We are definitely a live band with real people who play real music. That’s what we like, and it wouldn’t be the same without each other. So, I think it’s a perfect circle to have studio time and then to have touring time, you know? Like we love music and we want people to feel the same way about our music. And meeting people and seeing how they react, it’s touching. It’s especially crazy coming to understand that people feel like that about something we created.
Definitely. Well, you guys have been touring all over the States and Canada. Of all of the shows you have played so far, what has been the best audience this tour?
Oh, it’s difficult to say. I mean, it all depends sometimes on whether it’s Sunday, Monday, Friday, or Saturday you know? And you know, is it 21-plus, or is it younger as well? I mean, first thing is, I don’t understand, in the States, why there is such a rule as 21-plus. These people could just get a wristband if they’re under the drinking age. I mean, when you’re in that age range of 15 to 21, that’s when you want to go see shows, seriously. When I was that age all I wanted to do was see live shows, and after 21 I stopped. Well, almost! I think something needs to be done about that. It’s so stupid.
Those kinds of restrictions definitely keep a lot of people who really want to go to a show from having the opportunity to see it.
Exactly! I don’t get it. For younger fans it’s not about drinking, it’s about seeing live music. I guess it just miffs me because a lot of people want to go and they can’t.
It really is too bad. Well, on a bit of a different note, I want to take a little time now to talk about the album. I really enjoy listening to Out of Frequency, and so do a lot of people I’m close with. In fact, my friend insists that we listen to it every time we’re driving somewhere together; it’s the only album he wants to hear! Personally, I think that the listenability and the flow of the album are two aspects that make the album a great effort. With respect to Out of Frequency, what about the album are you most proud of?
That’s great! We had a big pile of songs that we threw in and worked on, and we didn’t know how the album was going turn out. And then, in the end, when you have to put it together and create a playlist, some songs didn’t go on the album, they didn’t fit. I think it’s really tough to be in charge of saying, “We’re going to use these songs because they fit in some weird way.” I’m just really proud of the songs that we wrote and what we put together for the second album. You know, Lars is the main songwriter, but I also write as well, and we write together. He’s the producer, and comes up with the foundation, and we work on top of that. I just think it’s great, the songs we’ve been putting together. We take our music seriously. The lyrics are often dark. “Major,” for example, it’s not a cheerful, happy song, it’s about growing up in social code. You need to kill to survive or someone else will kill you, and it’s all a competition to survive. Anyone can make it, regardless of where you’re from, but you need to be aware that a lot of people will take advantage of you wanting part of fame. So you have to be aware of other people, and stay strong by yourself.
Right, there’s definitely a lot of depth and some darkness there.
Yeah, but aside from that, I think that we have lots of different energies in the songs, and we create and play around with different characters. We also like it to be futuristic and stuff like that. I think we manage that very well even though we do music that doesn’t have a popular scene. We’re not part of a scene, so we get to do what we want even though it’s not a part of something that’s “happening” right now.
Well, it’s funny that you mentioned “Major,” in particular because that, along with, “Suburban Space Invader,” are two of my favorite tracks on Out of Frequency. As we’ve been talking about, I believe that there’s a great amount of substance there, but I also believe that you, as a vocalist, have a tremendous voice, and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour as a whole has great musical skill and technical production.
Well, thank you.
If you had to pick a track from the album, what track would you say best reflects what The Asteroids Galaxy Tour is all about?
Well, we’ve always had a lot of horns in our music, so we kind of feel like one of our signature sounds is with the horn arrangement. We also have songs like “Suburban Space Invader,” “Heart Attack,” and “Out of Frequency,” that have no horns. So, I like that side of it as well. I also like to sing different. I like to sing soft, I like to sing aggressive, I like to sing something deep and then really high notes. I really like “Suburban Space Invader,” I really like the track. Also, “When It Comes to Us” is a great song. Honestly, I can’t really pick; it would be extremely difficult. I like that you picked something; I like that.
I understand. To be honest though, I really love listening to the album from start to finish, and I love that it’s so easy to get lost in the work as a whole. I feel like with Out of Frequency, start to finish, you really get a complete picture over the course of the album.
I’m glad you say that, because you know, we’re not on a major label or anything, we don’t have a lot of money, and we do a lot of things ourselves and with the people we’ve got in our small group. We can’t make big, fancy videos, or release a million singles. We just wanted to make an album that was kind of a journey, like a soundtrack to something about the asteroids. You know, sometimes people will know one single, and you think, “Okay, this is the only track you know.” But then some people actually do know the kind of music we do. And they talk about the album tracks that are strongest, and the ones that grow on you more as well as the singles. Most people know one or two songs, but it takes some energy to listen to a full album. Sometimes a single doesn’t do it for the album and sometimes it does. So when I hear that people listen to the full album and really get something from it, I love that. I love to do that myself with music, really enjoy an album and listen to it from the beginning to the end.
Looking back on this experience of writing Out of Frequency, recording the songs, releasing the album, and then touring in support of it, if you had to do it all over again is there anything that you would change?
I mean, no not really. You can go on forever working on the tracks. We could be in the studio producing the tracks forever, listening and considering different mixes. And at some point you need to close it and say, “It’s done, now we need have it mastered,” you know? I don’t go around listening to the album all the time, I listen to it live, and actually it’s very beautiful to have been playing all that, and then go back to revisit the album and see it with new eyes and see how it’s grown. I like that. It’ll drive you insane if you work on something too long, because it’s going to change. You always want to fix more things and make certain things different in the production, but it takes time and money to release an album. That’s really the most difficult thing.
I know a lot of people know The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from songs like “Around the Bend,” and “The Golden Age.” I think they are great tracks with a great musical aesthetic, but other than these singles, what is one thing that you want people to know The Asteroids Galaxy Tour for?
I wish that most people knew more than “The Golden Age,” because I don’t feel that “The Golden Age” represents exactly what we are. It’s just a part of something. I would love for people to know that we’re actually a big live band, and that we’re not a duo playing to a back track or anything, we are a live band with horns and stuff. Also, our music isn’t just cheerful pop, we want it to be tough and raw and bombastic. We are a live band and we love to play and create, and we want people to be there with us for the moment, let go, and enjoy.