Astroid Boys have built a solid, faithful fanbase through their live shows and are now ready to release their new single BadA$$. Shireen talks to MC’s Traxx and Benji about their whole album being deleted, how they work together and what we can expect from them…
Firstly how did you guys meet and form this eclectic group?
Benji: Traxx and me met at a house party, there’s a video online on YouTube of the moment we met and we did not like each other. We were both MC’s from Cardiff and people showed me a lot of respect and people showed Phil a lot of respect, but there was a lot of competition between us. Everyone looked at us like are they going to get on and we just clicked.
Traxx: The rest of the guys are just are massive group of mates we just all met through a mixture of skating and DJ’ing.
Define your music and style…
Traxx: Benji came from a hip hop background and grime, I came from a punk background and then I got into grime, and then my DJ came through deep house, dubstep and all that kind of stuff and the producer came through grime. It’s hard to define the sound.
Benji: When a bunch of people hang around together who all have different musical interests, we all share each others knowledge and eventually your knowledge is broadened and what you listen to.
How does being from wales influence you all, and is there a downside to not being in the music hub of London?
Traxx: If you’re from Wales you get to see everything from an outsider’s point of view. We ended up thinking we either are who we are or we give up now.
Benji: Being from Wales, it was easy to realise how big of a competition we were in. Where we were pushed aside for so long it was like guys, were never going to be an MC like Kano. All these MC’s are so good in what they’ve crafted, so you have to come with something different. I found I relaxed and found a groove I felt comfortable with.
Where do you see your position in the UK scene?
Traxx: We haven’t got a position we haven’t got a parking space. It’s harder for us to take off.
Benji: Nobody knows if its quite going to work, but everybody that’s been watching us for the last couple of years are like ‘it works’.
You’re recognised for your live shows. What’s the rowdiest most memorable show you have done?
Benji: For me it was Oxford Bedlam
Traxx: This was before it even turned into the full live band. It was just me and Benji and a DJ. We turned up and Oxford was just giving it large. It was the speed of how we did it, we turned up and ran backstage and ran straight out on stage, and they were calling us as we were running through, ran out on stage and there was 1,500 people just giving it. The whole front row, and four people back were just head banging and behind that was just a huge moshpit.
Benji: By the time we were done the stage was soaking, peoples shoes on the stage, cups, it was a mess.
A sound engineer deleted your entire album a year ago. How did you feel and what did the experience teach you?
Traxx: Literally I felt like crying. I was digging in my back garden and I felt like breaking down.
Benji: I still can’t remember most of the lyrics of that album. I think it’s a blessing in disguise.
Traxx: It gave us time to grow. We were ready to release stuff.
Benji: We were like yeah it’s going really well, put it out everybody’s listening. It was nah let’s do some gigs, we did that and everybody was like ‘wow those guys are next level’. It mapped it out a bit more steadily instead of just jumping into it.
You have a new single BadA$$ coming out soon. Talk us through what the tracks about and the sound behind it.
Benji: At this age it’s a difficult transition between being a kid and a man. The way people our age deal with it is going out, doing stupid things, everyone gets drunk and has too much fun for their own good. At times people are looked at as bad asses.
Traxx: Me and Benji have both been through bad pasts, in the sense we haven’t had anything or everything given to us, we’ve grafted through some hard times. The music is taking away our fear, and now were just going to be who we are.
Benji: Too many people are scared of what people will think of them if they are who they are. Stop covering it up with an act, just do what you do, because you’re never going to actually be happy, your never going to succeed and your never going to feel comfortable.
What’s next for you guys after the single release is there a new album in the pipeline?
Benji: The next single, it’s called ‘Shack Out’.
Traxx: We did it with a producer called Dr. Mika, live drum & bass, those guys are killing it, and so we did a single with them. We’ve shot the video and that should be out next month. We’ve got this tour going on and we’ve got some super good shows in the pipeline, so were just going to creep up and play these shows.
Benji: We need to get past Christmas and once we get into the New Year it’s going to be like it’s on. We pull in as much money as we can from this tour and gigs we’ve got and that’s how were going to go into the next step.
Bada$$ is out November 5th
Interview by Shireen Fenner
Edited by Natalia