Interview: Bearstronaut

bearstronaut2Blending solid musicality with enormous stage personality, Bearstronaut are the answer to the demand for better dance music. Hailing from Boston, the four members of Bearstronaut have been working hard; not to set a place for themselves within a current genre precedent, but rather to set their own standard, as well as invite listeners to be a part of the celebration. Sometimes jubilant and exclamatory, other times soulful and expressive, the band’s first album Telecoast, has delivered the brilliant introduction to what promises to be an exciting body of work. After having experienced Bearstronaut at a recent show in Los Angeles, I was excited to speak more with charismatic frontman, Dave Martineau, about the album, the band’s recent successes, and about what comes next: 

You released Telecoast last year as your first full-length album. Are you overall happy with how the record turned out?
We are incredibly proud of Telecoast, and honestly it is pretty wild to think about how it has been a year since the release. But the whole process of making Telecoast push our relationships with each other and proved to be creatively challenging; mostly because we all are perfectionists to a certain degree. I will say, I think making that record helped us understand what we want to do for whatever our future release will be.

You won Guitar Center + Converse’s Get Out of the Garage contest, it must have taken a lot of hard work and perseverance to get you to this point. What keeps you going when things get tough?
I think we really try to make sure that we’re still having fun, the moment we feel like it isn’t fun anymore that’s when we have to step back and reassess what we’re doing. We’re self managed and self produced for the most part so everything can get overwhelming pretty easily. But with that said, we’ve been a band for almost 10 years at this point and we know how to get the best out of each other.

You’ve just had your first West Coast show, which was met with a lot of love from the audience. The band is cool, the sound is groovy, and I can see the music jiving really well with Californians. Is there an audience you had hoped for the record to cater to?
I think we tried to design Telecoast  to be really inviting. We tried for a lot of different sounds while still aiming to make it sound like us. There are some more delicate moments on the record with songs like “Begonias” and “Curacao.” While songs like “Tucson” and “Dogs of Carnival” are more in line with the excess and hedonism. The song “Shadow,” which is what we’ll be playing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this Thursday, is kind a of a mix of all of those things. We wanted to make a song that had the fun, party-vibe and catchy hook to sing along to, but with some introspective lyrics about being okay with the idea of being alone.

At your recent performance at The Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles, I really felt like you used synths and jazzy drum fills to your best advantage. What do you make of the resurrection and breathing new life into some of these classic sounds and do you think they’re something the band will continue to utilize in future work?
First of all, thank you! We’ve worked really hard to make a sound that makes people say, “Oh, that sounds like Bearstronaut!” rather than just pegging us as one thing or another. We all listen to such different types of music between the 4 of us, so it really helps us create something that truly sounds like us, and I think Telecoast truly represents that. This also frees us up to try a lot of different styles or approaches to songs. Honestly, I’m not so sure we would have tried something like “Dogs of Carnival” a few years back, but we won’t necessarily rule a style or genre out until we give it a real try both in rehearsal or in demo form.

How would you describe your local music scene back home? Were there any other native Boston bands that inspired you, as musicians, or did inspiration come from elsewhere?
Boston has always been very supportive, and I think we’re lucky to have started this band here. We’ve been very fortunate to work with all the people we have over the years. There is a lot of collaboration going on between different genres, which is always inspiring to be around. It can be easy to get comfortable or complacent in any “scene” I think, but we’ve been so happy to see a lot of our friends do big things and get out into the world recently which continues to encourage us to do more and more every year.

You recently filmed a performance for Jimmy Kimmel Live, set to premiere August 17th. Being exposed to a national audience, what do you hope viewers will take away from the performance?
All we can really hope for is that they have fun watching and listening. We just want to bring a party to people whether it’s on a stage during a show or while they listen to us on their commute to or from work. Our bigger goal is to just play to as many different audiences as we can. I hope we can spread out more as a result.

It’s clear that you’re a band who likes to dance! What bands / artists are you currently jamming out to?
Oh that is a long list between all of us, but here are some inspiring friends and people we’ve loved playing with
-Theo Katzman
-Bad Rabbits
-Hayley Thompson King
-Bent Knee

Bearstronaut’s energy is infectious and should truly be experienced live! Does the band have any touring plans going into the end of the year?
We’ll see what the end of the year holds for us, but we will probably focus on new music for the rest of the year. There are some new songs floating around right now that we’re really excited about getting out for people to hear. However, for next year we would like to travel abroad and do some shows overseas if we can.

A huge thank you to Dave and Bearstronaut! American readers can catch the band’s much-anticipated performance of their song “Shadow” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! August 17th at 11:35pm local time on ABC.