About 6 months ago you closed your interview by asking me why I thought the Scottish music scene was special. You seemed content to equate it to Switzerland’s music scene. As much as I miss Sportsguitar, I think the 35 artists we’ve featured since the beginning attest to just how special it truly is. And we’ve only gotten started. It all started with you, of course, and I think it is about time to check back in. Could you tell us about the inspiration for the song “Something Approaching’ from the last single?
“Matthew: I think I wrote the title for that first. I probably heard someone else say it, or read it somewhere, and it struck a chord, and I thought, ‘there’s a song in that’. It’s very unlikely I thought of it myself, as the vast majority of everything I do is stolen. After the title I would have thought, ‘something approaching what?’ And then I would have added the word ‘love’ at the end, because if I’m ever stuck for words, I’ll inevitably stick the word ‘love’ in there. Love is, in my experience, a bottomless black pit from which you can endlessly mine material for songs. To me it’s also one of those words that you can’t overuse (though I’m trying), and that your ear never gets bored of hearing, so it works aesthetically too I think. It might seem lazy, and a bit unoriginal, but it’s true. To paraphrase The Beatles, “all there is is love’. The song is about two lovers who don’t know what they want or how they feel. “
Michael: Wasn’t it “All You need is love”? That The Beatles said?
Matthew: That’s why I said ‘paraphrase’ douchebag.
The last time out I never asked about the band name. Would you care to tell that tale now?
Kieran: It doesn’t have very exciting origins at all, I’m afraid — our synth player Michael wanted to call us Not Astronaut and I wanted to Cancel something, and we we’re really really desperate for a name. We had spent months saying literally anything to each other and following it up with ‘good band name?’, so when nobody objected too strongly to Cancel The Astronauts, apart from the drummer, we went with that.
The drummer left soon after. It’s fine though, we got a new one.
Michael: It’s not a good story but the name has grown on us, now we’re stuck with both the name and I suppose the story. We should probably start telling more interesting lies about the origin of the name.
The new single – Intervention will definitely be out physically in April. I just stumbled across your old demo songs and was able to listen to both the old version and the Latin Quarter session to hear the new take on it. Why did you decide to polish up this one?
“Matthew: It will definitely be out in April You can download it now from at www.canceltheastronauts.bandcamp.com , and that download comes with a physical CD copy which will be sent to you from Monday 16th April, the official release date. You will also be able to download it from all the other places (iTunes and that) from the 16th too, but if you want it first, BUY IT FROM US! We decided to do a new version because it’s a cracking song that still stands up against the new ones we’ve written, it hasn’t ever been probably recorded or released and we never felt we quite did it justice.”
Yourselves included, so many bands we’ve talked to in the last 6 months will be releasing a full length this year. How is work on yours progressing? Song order set? Album art selected? Special pre-order package contemplated?
“Matthew: Ours is progressing well actually! The songs and the order have all been decided, the artwork has been finished, and now we’re just finishing of recording and mixing. We are currently planning a September release, and we hope that won’t change. What could we include with the pre-order package? T-shirts? Signed singles? Posters? Badges? What would you like?
Michael: I was thinking we could do a “Cancel The Astronauts – Secret Files and Origins” comic with profiles of us all, detailing our powers and you know with origin stories for us that tell more interesting lies about how we came up with our name, etc. And badges.”
You both championed and regretted the demise of DeRosa and Mitchell Museum in your first post. Lo and behold – they have both recently reformed. Thoughts? I think somehow you had something to do with it.
“Matthew: I think probably those two bands were too good to break up and they knew it. I know Martin John Henry released a solo album recently, so it will be interesting to hear the new De Rosa material. Bar a few songs on his album (like the fantastic Span) I slightly preferred De Rosa, although the style was not vastly different at all. He must have a lot of material if he can reform De Rosa so soon, which is surprising considering how incredible his songs are- I’d assume they all took bloody ages to write.”
Personally, I’d love it if another A.C. Acoustics record magically appeared. If you really did have the power, what other band would you will back into existence?
“Matthew: I did it with those two and I did it with Pulp, but Pulp took a lot out of me. I had to raise some very dangerous spirits for that one. The Smiths? My black magic is powerful, but I’m not sure there are enough demons in hell to conjure to pull that off.”
I’ve been trying to follow up on your original band recommendations. … rather unsuccessfully. The Bad Books (UK ) are pretty scarce. Since you played with them on the 24th, maybe you could convince them to get some music out there. Perhaps I’m just not looking hard enough.
“Matthew: I think they’re working on it!
Kieran: We should bootleg their set.”
I suppose that I am going have to get to SXSW or Scotland to see Cancel the Astronauts?
“Matthew: Probably yes. I warn you though, it will make for a very disappointing holiday.”
Lastly, favourite Over The Wall song? I stand by A Grand Defeat. Agree? Or convince me otherwise.
Kieran: It’s the obvious choice, but for me it has to be Thurso. It’s just a special song, and has just the right amount of pathos, euphoria and trumpets. Also whenever they play it live, the place goes call-the-roofer mental. It’s ace. My second favourite is Gimme Five.
Michael: There’s no denying A Grand Defeat is lovely, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Keyboard Heaven. Lovely heartfelt love for an electronic instrument. But but… I also love Settle Down and… They’re just a very good band aren’t they? I’d probably have to agree with Kieran in the end though. Thurso is astonishingly good. Live, I love it when everyone sings along with the trumpet. Magic.”