I Dream of Vinyl

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Welcome To The Black Bloc – Calling All Astronauts

Sometimes a record is released which perfectly sums up the current times. That album is “#Resist” by Calling All Astronauts and is out this week. The London-based three piece recorded it months ago but it is incredibly prescient following the events of the past few weeks in the US.

The second single, “Welcome To The Black Bloc” came out last week and is a blistering, angry industrial-punk anthem for those who are tired of the populists targeting minority groups and are willing to stand against them. It is a call to arms warning that “Our world is about to die” and to “fight fire with fire, an eye for eye, fight violence with violence, Fascism must die“.

Calling All Astronauts are vocalist/programmer/producer David B, ex Caffeine guitarist J Browning and bassist Buzz. We caught up with the band as they prepared for the release of their third album.

The new album is called “#Resist” as a reaction to the current world situation. How did this affect your approach to writing and recording the record?
This is weird, we’ve written these songs over the last three years and nothing has changed, in fact it’s got worse, Max who mastered the new album yesterday saying “dude, looking at the shit that’s going on in the world right now, you’ve written the soundtrack of 2020”, The world’s problems have been brewing for a long time, but since Trump and Brexit every racist and nationalist feels empowered, they suddenly don’t seem to understand why anyone thinks their views are wrong.

Did you consider postponing the album release due to the difficulty in getting out to promote it and play live shows?
No, now is the time to get this out, we don’t play live that often anyway, though we did expect to play some festivals this summer. When we released “Welcome To The Black Bloc” last Friday and suddenly the riots ensued in the US, I felt like Nostradamus.

How are you coping with the lockdown? Are we likely to see “Influences 2” from it?
I can’t say we are doing great, we have all been rigorously observing the lockdown and social distancing, but then you look and see nobody else following you feel like you are being mugged off, until you see the daily death toll then you know it’s the Covidiots who are wrong. Influences II will appear some time, not sure when, we have been so busy promoting the two singles and the upcoming album, plus we can’t get into the studio together, but it will happen

The live music scene is in real trouble due to Covid – what help would you like to see for artists and venues?
This is tricky. I can’t see when it’s going to change, the Government made a big mistake in February not issuing a total lockdown. We would have been all but out of this now, but they decided to purse “herd immunity”.
Well so far according to their figures, only 6% of the population has had the virus in three months, to get to Herd Immunity you need 60% of the population to get it, that’s 100 weeks at the current rate of infection. And when you consider there is some evidence saying that antibodies only protect you for around 6 months, their plan looks badly flawed. You really have to wonder if there will be any grass roots venues left when this is all over.

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Seriously hard question, there are so many albums I love. I think I would cheat and have a spotify playlist, maybe this one! It’s one we made of a 1000 tunes you should hear during Covid-19 lockdown.

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
It would obviously be called “The Astronaut”; it would be all base and therefore have plenty of space.

What classic album cover is your current mood?
I think it would have to be The Clash – London Calling, that Pennie Smith photo of Paul Simonon smashing his bass, this lockdown is getting to me, I really could smash shit up, I obviously won’t, that would be really dumb, but tempers do get frayed.

What does the rest of 2020 hold for the band?
Our latest album “#Resist” is released on June 5th. We are releasing a new mix of each track as a single, six weeks apart, so we are going to be busy making videos and doing promo for as far as the mind can imagine. We will hopefully get to do at least one gig before the end of the year, we want to start writing the fourth album, have another musical project, that I can’t say anything about, but it will surprise people, plus we will get round to Influences II. We just need lockdown to be over so we can start working together again.

“#Resist” by Calling All Astronauts is released on Friday 5th June on Supersonic Media.

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