Interview with Niels Kinsella and Torsten Kinsella from God Is An Astronaut

Interview by: Mo Sheerin

Pics: © Olga Kuzmenko Photography

How did the show in Cork go?

Torsten – It’s always a delight to play a local show. Obviously it’s quite nice when you don’t have to drive for 12 hours to play a gig, so.

Neils – Yeah Cork is always a great place to play and we really enjoyed our time there.

The release of Epitaph in 2018 has been a success. How do you find it differentiates from your previous albums? How has the band changed stylistically from your debut album, The End of the Beginning.

Torsten – Well there’s a huge difference between the two albums, The End of the Beginning definitely has much more of an electronic, kinda trip hop kinda project, whereas Epitaph has more of a doom vibe. It’s inspired by our cousin who unfortunately passed away. This was difficult, but the music wrote itself really.

Neils – It’s kinda like you’re trapped in this big bubble dealing with these things over and over again really and I think initially we were writing a lot more ambient progressions within the album but it didn’t capture our emotions at the time. Then the Doom element came in and it felt it was a bit more natural. It represented the emotions at the time for sure.

Torsten – It all came rather organically, from beginning to end for sure. Our debut album would have a different kind of darkness and apocalyptic feeling to it where as Epitaph is much more emotive.

There is a clear influence of cinematic scores and compositions within your sound, who would be your favourite movie composers and why?

Torsten – I’ve always loved film scores and i take a lot of inspiration from them, particularly John Murphy for sure. He’s amazing and one of the more unique composers out there.

Where do your ideas for songs come from, what inspires you?

Neils – A lot of it comes from experiences, what we’re dealing with at the time you know, our sound is rather emotive and we bring it from a place of release.

How do you approach your music first and foremost? Which instrument do you focus on first?

Torsten –
Definitely I would initially work around a melody on my main instrument which is the guitar. I’m not a major piano player but if I can sit down and record something and work around a progression or something, I find I can work for a track then definitely. I would say Piano also. For me a lot of inspiration comes to me at night also, because during the day there’s the usual elements of life that just distract your creativity like emails, work, general business of humanity. So at night for sure creativity takes a hold of me and that’s where I get most of my ideas from.

So you’re an insomniac as well?

Torsten –
Big time. At night it’s just the quiet and peace that can definitely spur a lot of motivation, whereas during the day writing seems kinda, forced? I guess?”

What would be the most important piece of gear you each own and why

Torsten – For me the guitar and my laptop. Definitely my Axe-Fx also as It just enables me to divulge into an array of different sounds that allow me go through tracks with ease live. A lot of our sounds are unconventional so it’s one of the best pieces of equipment for me”

What is your favourite track to perform live and why

Neils – ‘Seance Room’, for sure. It’s just one of those tracks, I mean we wrote it and, ah, it’s veracious and there’s something weird about the track itself, but beautiful and it’s close to heart.

What other plans have God is an Astronaut lined up?

Torsten – Back to touring in properly May, back to Scandinavia, and we have some shows in the summer and opening for The Cure, and a few festivals. Then we’re off to the states in September and yeah! Very excited.

Neills – Yeah touring in the states is always a great way to see more international audiences because, ah, it’s very hard to promote yourself these days what with the internet. It’s almost like we’re spoilt for choice in terms of what we can listen to, what is shared, what GETS shared. It’s all gotten very tough but all we do is give it our very best when we perform live. The last few months instead of being a trio we decided to tour as a five piece to ensure audiences a more well rounded experiences you know?

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