All it took was one listen of “Banksia” from Alex the Astronaut for an obsession to start brewing. The unabashed emotion, the arrangement. It was all so perfect. With that, I knew that this was an artist I wanted to share with ZO readers. Turns out, the rest of Alex the Astronaut’s music is just as wonderful, each song presenting something new from sexuality to women’s rights. It’s all there and then some. With that, we’ll get right to it as we talk Elton John, loss, and the new album, ‘The Theory of Absolutely Nothing,’ out now.
Kendra: Your music is new to me, but now I’m obsessed. When I pressed play on “Banksia” I felt such a rush. You have this natural storytelling talent that is conversational but also poetic. Are you just one of those people to which this skill comes naturally?
Alex the Astronaut: Not at all, I’ve been writing since I was about 13 so I’ve had 12 years of learning and lots and lots of bad songs and still some days I have no idea how to write a song.
Kendra: Because you started as a soccer star. With that, If you had to compare the heart and spirit of ‘The Theory of Absolutely Nothing’ to a soccer mascot, which would it be and why?
Alex the Astronaut: Star is a bit generous haha, but I do really like soccer. The mascot for ’The Theory of Absolutely Nothing’ should be a sea turtle, I’m not sure why but they’re very cute.
Kendra: You’ve dropped a good deal of singles from this record already and each one varies so much from the last. I adore the RomCom realness of “I Think You’re Great” just as much as the impact of “Lost.” For the latter, abortion is a topic that still garners so much debate around the world. Why do you feel people still have this need to want to control that aspect of women?
Alex the Astronaut: I think it’s because it keeps the powers that be in place. Giving minority groups their rights, especially reproductive rights, means they have agency to control their own lives and people that don’t believe that minority groups are equal to them will do whatever they can to keep them from having that agency.
Kendra: Before we talk about “Banksia” more, I just want to say I’m sorry for your loss, and that I’m sure Maddie is somewhere listening to this song because it’s just beautiful. When you wrote “Banksia” and then released it as a single, were you wary about the idea of facing those emotions every time you would then play this life going forward?
Alex the Astronaut: Yes, I knew Maddie in school and I wrote “Banksia” to her as a way of talking to her and telling her how sorry I was that she went too early. She was a beautiful person and her and her closest friends and family are the ones I think of when I sing this song.
Kendra: Just want to hit rewind for a second and ask how you felt when THE Elton John spun “Not Worth Hiding” on his show?
Alex the Astronaut: It was very very surreal. I was in London on tour and I woke up in the middle of the night to listen to Elton John talk about my music. It was like a very cool dream.
Kendra: Also, how important was it to write that song and give such a great anthem in many ways to the LGBTQ community?
Alex the Astronaut: At the time it felt like I was just talking to my 16-year-old self. I struggled a lot with my sexuality. I sometimes still get self conscious so this song is my way of telling myself I’m okay as I am. It’s really humbling to know that it’s helped other people too.
Kendra: With everything that is going on, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
Alex the Astronaut: It’s given me a lot more time to think which has meant I write more. I think I’m loving music more and more everyday. I am learning the drums and more guitar and I listen to more music than I ever had.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Alex the Astronaut: I have no plans yet, and the song I always go back to is “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie. It is a great song for a big world mess time.