• Toys

An Inaudible Conversation with...Astrolope!

Updated: Aug 30

Welcome to a new series of things wherein Toys heads out and about chit-chatting via satellite with all those splendid Dream Kitchen artists we know and admire! In our first such entry Toys is joined by the amiable and deftly talented Paul (from Astrolope, Other Families, Waxlimbs & Plutoid Records!) in talks on stuff like music & art & why they matter, why money maybe not so much, and how a good band might just save the world some day. So, plz enjoy, human_friend... k-thx!

Logo Design by Cayden Mobray

Hi Paul! How are you? Also, who are you?

Paul knob-twiddling live as Astrolope!

Hey Toys!!

I'm good, hbu?

Also hi I'm Paul G, drummer for Waxlimbs and Other Families, producer and composer as Astrolope, co-founder of Plutoid Records.

I'm 6'2" and I like long walks on the beach

Yes, good! Beach walks are nice! This is going well, I think... 

Okay, maybe let's get started with Plutoid, cuz it seems like lots of big things have been happening around headquarters there lately. I was poking around the website ( just recently and found tonnes of amazing music from all kinds of great artists, and the site itself is really cool, too.

So what is this, Paul, what is the meaning of this?

Oh yeah, that's our little Plutoid reboot. See, me and Lex started this label around 2015 bc we wanted to start releasing stuff properly and putting on cool shows etc. It's s'posed to be like a little creative asteroid orbiting at the edges of the musical galaxy. We had some decent success with it, but just kinda ended up leaving it hanging in favour of other projects. But recently we've realized that it would be really cool to dust it off! It's actually all thanks to Sinéad; she told us that when she originally came to Toronto she randomly ended up at a show I was playing, and then looked me up and also found out about all the other cool artists on Plutoid at the time. So we realized how nice it can be to have a network of artists all linked up together. (Kinda like the Dream Kitchen on $tm!) And now Sinéad's deeply involved with all the label stuff behind the scenes, along with Lex and I. That's all Lex's handiwork on the new website btw, pretty snazzy right? Feels pretty good to have our own little corner of the internet free of ads and bots and likes. It's also got a built-in store where you can buy any of our music and merch without any other "services" taking a cut, so every day is bandcamp friday on Plutoid! :D

(Editor's Note: Just wanna take the opportunity to mention to our loyal readers that Sinéad makes music under the moniker Animal Party, while Lex's creative audio outlet is Feyla, and both can be found and within The Dream Kitchen!)

It's a mighty little asteroid, no doubt! I've found out about lotsa new music there as well! Also super-excited to see the kinds of collaboration that's taking place as a result of artist-linking efforts like this one. I know you (as Astrolope) remixed an Animal Party song a little while back, and Feyla and AP had a collab track a short time ago, too, and both were recently featured artists for the Animatist remix album (on Glue Gun Recs). Thing too about Plutoid is that's where you release your own music as Astrolope, and you just recently (like remarkably recently) put out a full-length album AND live performance video to boot! ...Cuz, I mean, you actually perform all your music live...somehow....with an awesome lightshow and everything...all by yourself!

Paul, how could you?

Paul likes to hit things with sticks! - Photo by Sam Haggart

Oh, it's nothing really. My computer's really doing most of the work in those sets lol. Idk how much of it I should give away, but basically the thing is blasting out audio tracks from the songs, click track to my in-ear monitors, MIDI notes to the synthesizer, and DMX programming to the lights simultaneously. And I just control it all from a little USB controller, so I can be very interactive with it, or totally hands-off if I need it to be. So it's basically the perfect backing band, stage crew, monitor engineer, and lighting tech, all in a convenient little box! Pretty neat what you can do with a little tech nowadays, isn't it? So once that little system is backing me up I can simply play my instruments without a care in the world, and nothing can go wrong. Except for the actual performance of course, which frequently goes a bit wrong anyways. But that's the fun part right, where I'm breaking drumsticks and hitting sour notes and everything? I really like to have tons of room for improv and slop in there so that the set feels alive and dramatic every time, despite the fact that it's all sitting on a rock-solid foundation of robotic precision.

I dunno, Paul, seems like a whole lotta complicated stuff going on at once to have to comprehend there...and I've always found just performing live with backing tracks to be a pretty scary experience, even. Like, drop off that click track and omg, the sky is falling!! So yeah, much respect and admiration for putting it all together yet keeping it human in realtime.  

...And see that's the other thing -- you also play with lots of other musicians. Two of my fave bands even! I mean, Other Families is a wild ride and sooo different from anything out there both in composition and execution, and Waxlimbs creates some of the most detailed & interesting rock music I've ever encountered. How do you divide your mind to accomplish all of this seemingly simultaneously? Like, Other Families and Waxlimbs both released singles in October, plus you released a full-length as Astrolope on the 1st of the month...

How can this be?

Paul with Waxlimbs - Photo by Sam Haggart
Photoshoot with Waxlimbs

Haha, thanks! It doesn't all happen simultaneously, and I don't have to divide up my mind to do it! It's very natural, it just takes up some time. Being in bands is really nice because the bandmates do lots of great work, and they have complementary skill-sets and are super flexible.

I actually think that more things in society should be structured band-style! It's an extremely efficient and ethical way to organize a group of people with a common goal. For example, it's non-hierarchical, meaning leadership is completely fluid. Different people are "in charge" on a moment-to-moment basis depending on their suitability to the task at hand. And decision-making is not democratic, it's consensus-based. If even one person is opposed to an idea, it is either modified to address their concerns, or scrapped entirely. I could go on. Money is dealt with openly and equitably. People work at their own pace, on their own schedules, while holding each other accountable and picking up each other's slack. All forms of communications are used as-needed, including dirty jokes and dank memes.

Wouldn't it be nice if our jobs worked like that? Try to imagine it for a sec. I know we're all used to the status quo and everything, but if you've ever been in a good band you know firsthand that a better way is possible.

Oh yes, where would we all be without dank memes!?