A few years ago, I pitched an all female producer showcase - that unfortunately fell on deaf ears. I thought about this a few more times, esp after doing Red Bull Music Academy sessions where I would see this overwhelming amount men show up, and I would taken upon myself to assure the ladies that it wasn't really a navy shipment - though it looked like it. So, the idea of doing a female producer showcase was born again at that point, and the editorial part was really sparked after listening to a Culture Remixed podcast which featured the following producer: Astronautica.
As I mentioned, I was locked into an online podcast w/ Astronautica, and she came out from her LA suburb for an interview with Culture Remixed, and wanted to spark a greater convo w/ her on the air but ran short of time. As such, I shot her an email and it went from there.
How did you get your start? You alluded to LA/CA being a bit of a beat scene mecca, and that inspired you. Was it a person? A moment?? Can you recall?? Where do you generally draw you're inspiration from??
Like everyone else, I hate traffic, but one day, it actually wasn’t so bad. I was picking up a friend from the airport who also produces and djs, and we were sitting in traffic on the 405. I had made a mixed tape with Flylo, Tokimonsta, Nosaj Thing, Teebs, Take, Aether, etc. and my friend was surprised that I was into that kind of music. He was even more surprised when I told him I wanted to start learning how to produce my own. It had been a lingering idea at the back of my head for some time, but it finally became something I was sure I wanted to do. I asked him how I should get started, and he told me to start with Garage Band. I ended up making some stuff on Garage Band, but I was getting bored with it and wanted to have a program where I could elaborate more. That’s when I moved over to Ableton, and became hooked on the endless possibilities that comes a long with it.
I became inspired by the city of Los Angeles, and all of it’s creativity and talented people that come from this area. It was that moment, sitting in traffic in downtown LA and listening to artists from LA, that I decided I wanted to be apart of this growing scene.
My inspiration mainly comes from my day-to-day experiences. If something or someone has me feeling a certain way, I’ll go and express that feeling in a piano melody, or a guitar riff. With my song Casino, there is a sense of newness, like that new feeling you get when someone you’ve known for a while or just met comes into your life, and it makes you feel blissful that they did. The night I finished that song, I had just gotten back from one of the first dates my boyfriend and I had gone on, and it was indeed at a casino. (It was a tattoo convention; no we were not gambling on a first date, ha!). When a song is completed, it's a collage of my emotions is its foundation.
You mentioned feeling some pride in being part Filipino. Is there a part of you that feels the same about being a female producer in this male heavy segment of music?
Pride in being a female producer? Ha, well no not pride.. I don’t think the whole mentality of “anything you can do, I can do better,” should apply to anything, especially music. Music is something everyone feels, its natural. But, it is interesting to me that there aren’t more females into it, it’s so relaxing, and not to mention, satisfying once a song is done! It’s this feeling you get when you’ve finished a song, it never turns out how you originally planned it to, but it’s still all good.
It's been about a yr of production under your belt, and things move pretty fast in the new music ecosystem. Where do yourself see in the next 2 yrs? Is there a dream label you'd like to have a release for??
I’m surprised it’s already been a year! It went by so fast.. Time just keeps going faster each day! Let’s see, in the next couple years, I would like to have definitely put out a full album. I’ve been thinking of possibly singing… so that’s always something to work towards. There are some artists I’d love to collab with in the future as well. I would love to have a release for Brainfeeder. That label has so many eclectic artists, and I would love to be apart of that jazzy, funky, head-bopping sound.
You play the guitar. Is that you're instrument on choice?? Do you work it in to your music?? Or are you mostly sample based?
I love the guitar, it’s the instrument I wanted to play from the very beginning, even though I was forced to start with the piano as a kid, it worked out for my benefit. They come hand in hand with each other. I work it into my music, I’ll make a beat and record a little piano track.. I pretty much set it up for the guitar. I make most of my samples, I bought a little recorder off of craigslist awhile back, and I take it around with me, so if I ever hear a sound I like, I record it, and manipulate the sound later.
What is your recording/writing set up like?? Did anyone walk you/mentored you through the production process, and who if so??
I have a little studio in my garage. I mainly use an Akai APC 40 and an MPK 49. I have an Epiphone Les Paul I got as a present from my parents for my 8th grade graduation that I use in most of my tracks. I just bought a Stanton t.92, so I’m starting to play around with that a lot. A friend recently moved to Brooklyn, and gifted me with an Autoharp, which is awesome; I love that thing that so much! Those are the main instruments I use, other than that, I have a bunch of other random instruments lying around in here that I’ll pick up time-to-time and record with.
The same friend who I picked up from the airport mentored me a little through the production process at the beginning, showed me the basics. After that I was pretty much on my own. I’m the kind of person that likes to learn things on my own. I’ve always been attracted to hobbies that I can figure out at my own pace, and the way I want to, producing music allows me to do that.
You can check much more of Astronautica's music on her Soundcloud and Bandcamp as well.