Courtesy: The Astronomers
So we reached out to the team over at The Astronomers and this is how it went:
Cage Riot: Ok so thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions… let’s get started. Michael, Ben, what is the meaning or origin of the name ``The Astronomers”?
Ben: When I started producing music in high school I went by the name DJ Baker. The entire YT channel was space themed and it was all copyright free instrumentals. When I called Michael in 2019, I said we should make this a duo and call it The Astronomers. (It was a good transition from my current audience since they were all into the space-branded instrumental). But also, space is dope! We are both fascinated by space and I personally thought The Astronomers sounded cool.
CR: IKR I love space. Fun(ny) fact. When I was growing up schools told us we only had 9 planets (even then I was like - really you think that?!! - please stop).
CR: We really love this new song that's out right now. It’s a hot track! “Hotel Rooms”
HOT HOT HOT PARTY ANTHEM ALERT SING-ALONG VIBES!!!!!
This is what we want to and will put in this interview headline for the fans to see because it's a great tune. In fact, we predict the lyrics “If I wasn't in Denver ….” Is no doubt going to be on all our tongues in 2022. And btw, if you the fans didn’t already hear the lyrics you might not know this is a sad boo boo heart song all rolled in one!!! They are so sad that their loved one is so far away!!!!
This makes it a double win for us at Cage Riot because we LOVE lyrics with a twist!
Sooooo…. Tell us who is this about or what was the motivation to tell us this story? (Leaning in like Oprah)
Michael: Unlike most of our songs this story is indeed about somebody, but more of a made up story seeing as we have yet to go on tour. It’s more of a promise that I am making by saying, “no matter where I am, I'll always be there for you.” I know, it's so cute.
CR: We noticed a Hotel Room reference that regular listeners will notice. Is “Hotel Room” a part 2 to “Overthinking”?
Michael: That's a great question! Actually, I didn’t have that in mind while I was writing the song. But honestly, I think it's cool when listeners come up with their own assumptions about the story behind the song.
CR: We definitely do that a lot! It is totally fun like English Lit when we had to give our interpretation of Shakespeare.
CR: We were listening to “Bad Type”, your most recent release to this and we can’t tell who is the object of your accusations. Can you tell us if this is about a person specifically (no names) or is it just a generalization of experiences?
Michael: Honestly this is an example of a song that doesn't actually have a person behind the meaning. Most of the songs we write don't have a true story and are more so stories and scenarios made up in our heads. Bad Type is about a person who is supposedly the nicest/most liked in the friend group. While in reality, is the backstabber and I am the only one to see through their façade.
CR: Sounds like a great movie plot too! Coming this fall to theaters Michael is... “The All-Knowing”. He sees through your façade and he MURDERS YOU!!!.. ok I may have run away with that a little.
CR: There are a lot of pics in your IG feed with tons of fans at your shows. What's the best story you could share with us about a memorable performance or a story that we would think is funny?
Michael: A lot of our good fan stories came from our show in Green Bay, Wisconsin at Titletown. One that comes to mind was when a group of girls came up to us after the show and “their thing” at shows was to have the artist sign something really weird that they had on them right there and then. So one of the girls pulled out a dollar bill and Ben and I both signed that dollar bill.
CR: A dollar bill. I have to say I was forecasting a different ending to that and I was waaay off.
Ben: Mine is also from the Green Bay Show. The radio station we did the show for had a meet and greet set up for us and a mom came up to us with her baby and was like “Here! Hold my baby for the picture!” I could tell Michael wanted me to hold the baby just by the way he looked at me. So I held this mom’s baby and then the mom told me that her baby's favorite lyric is “How did I get high in the Bathroom.” She then wanted us to sign the baby’s dress (which we did). 😂
CR: OMG - OK that is like literally a comedy sketch. “My baby’s favorite lyric" is WHAT?!?!? I’m dying. Well, at least you know you have future generations of fans to keep the streaming revenue coming in!
CR: Can you tell us what each of your roles is typically in the creation of your music?
Michael: Ben and I as of late have done quite a good mix of everything when it comes to making our songs. But at heart, I am the singer/songwriter and Ben is the producer.
Ben Agreed. We’ve learned a lot from each other over the past couple years. When we first started in 2019, Michael didn’t know how to use logic pro. Now, he can record and produce demos when I’m not there and the demos are actually pretty good. I also learned a lot about songwriting/arrangement from Michael. It’s a cool dynamic, and we really trust each other on certain things. Michael trusts my judgment with running the Production and Business side of The Astronomers and I trust Michael when it comes to songwriting, arrangement, content, and live show stuff. (If that makes sense).
CR: That’s great. I think that arrangement is going to prove very important and valuable to your success. We get asked a lot what is the method to success? Treating a band or artistry like a business is as important as is the music.
CR: We saw Michael’s performance mashup of “Bad Type” with GAYLE’s “abcdefu” and that was great. Other videos you put up led us to your YT account. So much content we were very impressed! Can you tell us a little about the purpose and “value” this has had on your career? (so many artists are searching for a means to be found and we think your model is exemplary - we feel it has to go beyond just music)
Michael: We think having a variety of content relating to our music is very important because it gives fans and future fans a personal look into our personalities and also who we are.
CR: What was each of your favorite comments from YT that made you think - “really did you just post that????”
Michael - Someone said that they loved my enthusiasm and energy on a Studio Sunday video of ours. It’s basically a vlog series of us working on songs in the studio. I take pride in my energy and enthusiasm put into my work so I found that very nice.
CR: That’s a cool idea to show the process. I watched one on the Doors “Break on Through”. I have a totally new perspective on a song that I had been listening to for decades! Personally, I love the deconstructing and explanation by the creators.
Ben - We read a lot of comments and 99.9% of them are positive and really nice. One that made me laugh once was when someone said we were the “Walmart version of AJR”. Took that one as a compliment. We love AJR and it’s dope to be compared to bands/groups like that. (Even if we are the Walmart version lol.)
CR: Well that person is an ass lol, but you are totally right it's a compliment!
CR: Covers. We don’t see any cover songs in your discography. Do you play any at your shows? What would be each of your choice of covers if you did decide to make one? How does this song have relevance in your career or life?
Michael: Ben and I were actually in a cover band in high school and still to this day play covers at our shows. If we did a full cover I would probably have to do yellow by cold play because it was our first cover we ever posted on Instagram and at the time no one knew we did music at all. So it would be really fun to bring that full circle.
That’s dope, Cold Play is one of my favorites.
CR: What music (or something unusual) unintentionally or accidentally inspired you to make a song?
Michael: I think the funniest story we have is for Overthinking. I was working with my aunt, landscaping at a house. I was just doing my job raking leaves and then I just randomly came up with the “over-over-over” line in my head. I yelled to my aunt saying 'can I go record a voice memo for a song idea and she said yes.’ So I went over to my car to get the original ideas recorded on my phone. The rest was history.
Ben: For me, I started the production for our song “Casita” when I was living in a Casita. I didn’t know what to name the production when I sent it to Michael so I just called it Casita. MIchael thought it was a dope song name and we ended up keeping that title.
CR: What's the deal with touring? Have you made any plans since everything is still being canceled? Adele’s brokenhearted cancellation apology made me wanna cry.
Michael: Yeah, we are definitely in the process of trying to figure out where we can play and how to go about that. But we want to go on tour so bad and it is 100% our main goal right now. I also agree, Adele really hit me in the feels with that vid.
Disclaimer* To the dedicated fans of The Astronomers, we love this band, and we decided to keep this interview whole and in its entirety.. but we apologize for the controversial ending. We could not avoid the situation we were put in.
We had read the Bios of this band on Spotify and Michael and Ben said a few things we were “bothered by”. This is where things get…. controversial.
Michael you say you play a “lil piano”… how small is this piano? Like 2-3 inches? Does that hurt your back? Why won’t you just play a regular one?
Michael: (no reply)
CR: Ok, we have more questions. Cage Riot is a little confused about some contradictory statements you’ve made.. we need clarification on them. You stated that you “love nature” and also “love being inside” which is it??? In OR out?
If you are not outside do you use a body double at your shows?
We think the fans should know!!!!!
FYI after we asked this question Michael remained and developed a “cold dead stare” and the interview got weird …so we turned it over to Ben and asked the following:
Ben, so you say you arrange sounds correctly “sometimes”. Is this only when you “feel like it”? Plus, about your dog named Jeff - You say you taught him to sneeze. Well, guess what? Jeff is smarter than you think... He has also learned how to talk!!! He called us and said he “wants more treats for the sneezing tricks”. That's right Ben the cat (dog) is out of the bag…… what do you have to say for yourself about this possible underpayment of treats?
At this point, now being busted, Michael, Ben, and an entourage of pets they brought with them abruptly left.
I guess we will never know if we can or can ever trust Ben to properly “treat tip” or if Michael will ever really go outside.
Thank goodness the music and shows are GREAT SO WHO FUCKIN CARES!!!
(Ok, so none of this actually happened but check these guys out on YT or their socials and you will see - they are pretty entertaining and we were just trying to keep up)
So go to their Spotify, IG, YT, etc, and check out their content. It's fun and informative as well as just great music. Also, special thanks to Gabe Herring, the Astronomer’s manager for making this possible.
Check out The Astronomers YouTube channel!