By Capri DeBicarri
Described as “Part New-Wave, part Britpop, part Electro, part R&B, but for the most part Synth-Pop,” Boston’s own Bearstronaut offers a little bit of everything. All I know is that I can get down to it. If you want to make your ears happy, check these dudes out. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Dave Martineau and Phil Boisvert, who are the lead vocalist and drummer for the band.
Chaos Magazine: How did you meet and start making music together?
Phil: I met Dave and Paul, the keyboard player at UMass Lowell, and we started playing music together. We started officially, technically in 2007, but in this formation we’ve been together for about 2 and a half years.
CM: What artists have influenced your music?
Dave: The main ones that brought us together were Daft Punk, that was a big one, as well as David Bowie, Talking Heads, Roxy Music, a lot of prog-rock, art rock, a lot of dance and DJ stuff.
CM: Who writes your songs? Do you feel like they have an overarching theme?
Dave: Well, we write them together. I don’t really know if we have a theme.
Phil: We try to come up with juxtapositions, like if it’s a brighter sounding song, it’ll have darker sounding lyrics. Or vice versa, have like a lighter subject but darker music.
CM: Briefly describe the music making process?
Dave: Nobody writes a whole song start to finish. We try to maintain it being a very collaborative writing environment. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for lyrics, or just like a story and I’ll pitch it to them and they’ll kinda help me craft it, I usually try to go through a lot of drafts to kind of, not just stick with the first thing I come up with. So, um, I’ll pitch the lyrics to the guys, or I’ll come up with something or the other way around like somebody will come up with a song idea, musically, like chords or a riff.
Phil: Ideas get bounced back and forth a lot. A lot of collaboration. We try to have a mission for each song. We try not to have a formula– so not every song is like verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge– we try to look at what the song needs and we just we try to come up with the strongest parts and trim the fat, you know, suit the song and the subject to whatever it requires.
CM: How do you feel your band and your music has evolved since you formed?
Phil: It took us a while to find out what kind of music we wanted to center in on. Towards the beginning we were kind of playing with different sounds and different sounding songs, and there were like, we had a lot of faster music. We realized you can’t dance to that– it’s not really fun to dance to, so we worked on grooves more, and slowed things down. Took away the stuff that we didn’t like that was like, hard riffs, more like hard guitar rock. We kind of like, take aspects of rock and aspects of dance and just kind of like blend those two together
CM: Proudest Moment for the band?
Phil: We recently got to open up for Fun. at Middlebury College in Vermont. We got asked to open up for them maybe a week before the show so it was like a really quick thing. It was a pretty big thing for me because I was like, “wow, they’re nominated for six grammys right now. They’re a major deal right now.”
Dave: I’d say the last six months have been the best that this band’s ever had. We’ve been super productive and really focused and the results are coming in and we’re able to show people the fruits of our labor essentially, which is great. We worked really hard over the summer to get this record put together, and we put that out in November, we’re super proud of that.
CM: What do you feel makes you guys unique?
Phil: I think a lot of bands that are doing the same thing that we’re doing, you know, they’re trying to mix rock and pop– a live band with an electronic aspect. We try to take that and then add a thin layer of humor. We don’t try to take it totally seriously. We try to be a little bit tongue in cheek.
Dave: We try to kind of walk a line of our own sense of humor to try to put our personalities into the song and in our performances and stuff. We write pop songs and we know that. We’re not trying to hide that.