Astroid Boys - Photo Credit: Vicky Grout
Every now and then there’s a show surrounded with such excitement it permeates in to the atmosphere. Tonight is no different as Astroid Boys get ready to take the stage at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach for the first launch show for their debut album Broke. Noizze got in a room with Benji from the group to talk the new album, getting signed and partying with Enter Shikari…
Noizze: Starting with the new album 'Broke', there’s quite a clear concept, what inspired you to write an album about being broke?
Benji: That’s a tough one. Literally not having any money. Obviously, being on tour, playing gigs and working really hard for a long time and then realising that we’re not making pocket money from what we’re doing, we’re still just doing it for a passion, but we felt like we were taking it more serious than other people. It was just a bit frustrating.
N: Especially with how it comes across on your Instagram etc… It all looks quite glamorous playing festivals and stuff, was that a sense of frustration?
B: Yeah definitely was a sense of frustration, If you’re putting in twice or three times the amount of work than other who are doing similar music to you are and you’re not making any money, especially at my age, I’m 27 now but, at this age I have things I wanna do with my life, places I wanna go, I can’t have a family until I make some money y’know? So if I’m not making money maybe I’m doing the wrong thing so it was almost like quite a frustration thing to say if we don’t work 4 times harder than everyone else, so that’s why we made the album. We’ll work 4 times harder and we’ll be broke while we do it, and give it one last chance.
N: Continuing with Broke, what’s the most exciting track for you? What can’t you wait for fans to hear?
B: I really like Razz purely because it’s just a ripping grime tune and I wrote it, and also because Manga’s verse at the end is really really sick.
N: Speaking of collaborations earlier this year you dropped 'Foreigners' with Sonny Double 1, how do these collaborations come about?
B: For us guys, obviously people know as an artist; as a musician, it’s important to collaborate with other people to sort of grow yourself; but we’ve never been in a position where we’ll use other peoples names to grow. We made our thing; our thing is solid. So we try to work with people that we respect, and we believe in their talent. Like Manga, Sonny and Mace are the only people that feature on the album. Other than Manga who is someone we’ve looked up to since we were young and deserves a lot more credit than he gets in the overall scene, because he works his absolute b*llocks off. Sonny and Mace they’re from our city and they’re not gonna get put on as quickly as we would maybe so let’s be the guys that channel that.
N: Cool, so what’s the biggest difference between the EPs you’ve recorded and now the full length album? did you approach writing/recording differently?
B: Honestly we approached the EPs in exactly the same way as we approached the album. but when we first started recording demos for the album it felt like we were recording for an EP but we knew we needed to make an album. So what we said to ourselves was let’s just make an EP, then make another EP, and then work out if that’s an album. But then we ended up getting a lot more demos done, we got signed we had a little bit more time to make music and be a bit more free with it, so we carried on demoing and the we whittled it down to the songs on the album. It literally was the exact same feeling and mentality and togetherness as a group that we had for the EPs, also very DIY. I don’t feel like anything changed, we didn’t change studio.
N: So were there any struggles you faced in making your first full length album?
B: Yeah. Being broke, like, literally that is it. Before we received money from a deal, which doesn’t really last long unless you’re a very lucky artist, then you’re not really getting signed for much money anyway, if you do get signed for a lot of money then you should be careful, because they’re probably gonna mess you up in the end anyway but - what was the question again?
N: It was about the struggles in making an album but I kinda wanna move on to a different one now…
B: Go on…
N: Now that you’re signed and you’ve got your foot in the door to that level of the industry, is there still that same sort of skepticism?
B: Yeah I hate it the industry.
N: So you hate it, even though you’re now a part of it?
B: Yeah but let’s be real about it, the people at the label that we’re signed to are good to us, and I know - and I mean this now - I know that they have our interests at heart. However, we all work for somebody that is trying to make money, yeah? So I have to work as hard as they have to work to keep money coming my way, because otherwise it will go their way, it’s a business. I understand that and I respect that, but that means I have to have a guard up, and as a band we have to know that.
N: So you’re out on tour with Enter Shikari later this year, that’s quite big how did that come about?
B: I’d like to credit for that, but I can’t really…
N: Tell us the story…
B: So last year we played Slam Dunk festival and those guys and I became quite friendly, and we partied together for like 3 nights, they let me stay at their hotels, and then they gave me a lift to the next city. So I basically left my crew and stayed with their crew for the 3 days, but on the last day I said to Rou, please come along and check out our set and he came along and we saw him in the crowd, we knocked it out the park it was really cool. Then after the show they said good bye to us as we were leaving, and there was a little bit of a glint between them and us and I think it was Rory or You said “Yeah, We’ll see you guys soon” and from that moment I genuinely knew that we would end up on a tour with them.
But at the same time then, it was important to work hard and like, they are a great band to be on a tour with, in our position - because of the fact that they’re cross genre and they’re huge and they’ve had a great career and they work hard y’know, so that was a tour that we wanted to be on at some point in our career. And now is the time, but we still had to between meeting them and having that conversation and getting the booking, we had to prove that we were worthy of tour.