Interview – Pan Astral

Pan Astral is a electronic/synth-pop band from Denver, Colorado. This 4-piece consists of members Gabriel Otto, Kipp Koren, Mike Smith, and Tad Lusk. They formed back in 2010 and are known for their captivating vocals and melodies. Their recent album, Color Field, was released in October of 2014. I think it’s their best work to date because of its rich textures and energy. My favorite track is “Animal” because of its lyrics and unique melody. I also love “You Need” because of its 80’s feel. I recently sent over some fill in the blanks to learn more about the band and their 2015 plans. Be sure to check out Color Field below.

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Three words we’d use to describe us are…Energy, terrebilita, and atmosphere.

The story/meaning behind our name Pan Astral is….On a long distance phone call from Dharmsala, India, Gabriel’s friend Nate explained to him in detail of an experience he’d just encountered with astral projection. Apparently, a local tibetan monk’s visage had appeared in his dorm, scaring the daylights out of him. At the time, back in the USA, The band had been text battling for months about band names and were unable to come up with anything remotely decent when Gabriel texted “Pan Astral”, to everyone’s liking.

We met each other…..In 2011. Tad and Kipp met when Tad responded to Kipp’s room for rent ad on Craigslist. Kipp met Gabriel shortly after this at a show and recognized Gabriel as the lead singer for what had been an earlier version of Pan Astral. Fast forward a few months. Despite never becoming roommates, Tad and Kipp still managed to end up playing in a band together. Gabriel soon attended one of their performances and afterward approached them both about an audition. Another six months later, Tad and Kipp were helping to write songs. Having been the guitarist in another band with Michael, Tad invited him to an audition, which was held in a 10’x12′ room in Gabriel’s house. During Michael’s audition, a neighbor threw an apple at the window because of the noise.

The pickiest eater is….Kipp, although “discerning” is probably a better word. Kipp is our resident foodie.

The most OCD member is….Gabriel, who, although he found his guitar in the trash, only uses slightly played guitar strings, never brand new or too old.

For fun we like to….Listen to records, get lost in the woods, eat exotic foods, travel far and wide, and chase frisbees and tennis balls.

We knew we wanted to pursue music when….When each of us realized our love for it. We all, in our own ways, pursued music from an early age. Michael actually bought a drum kit with lawn mowing money when he was nine years old.

We find inspiration from….Fearless artists and their art, the endless curiosity of children, amazing thinkers and doers like Kierkegaard and MLK.

We’re currently listening to….Today, Tad was playing The Samples in his car. Michael has been obsessively collecting records for the past few years, most notably a newly re-released Beatles box set. Gabriel’s been listening to delta blues and modernist composers. Kipp has been on an electronic music kick.

Color Field was recorded in….In the personal studios of Gabriel and Pan Astral sound man, Kyle Zender.

Our favorite tracks to play live are….Whatever our newest ones are at the time. Right now it might be “Trainspotter,” which is unreleased.

If we play another band’s music it’s….We shy away from cover songs right now. Sometime’s in the practice room we spontaneously go into a song from this band or that, but we seem to always end up making fun of ourselves. We’re unable to take the songs seriously after that.

Something odd we want our fans to know about us is….Kipp has a cat named Geddy Lee who sleeps on all of our gear while we’re away from the practice space. Michael once had “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson in his head and couldn’t shake it for months. Tad spontaneously goes into voice impersonations, most recently the voice of Jerry Seinfeld. Gabriel once met Mark and Mike from “American Movie” while working at a Starbucks in Chicago. After befriending the two, he actually accompanied them for a screening and Q&A for their movie, “Coven”. No fooling.

We’re absolutely terrified of….Somehow having the foreknowledge of when exactly our last meals would be.

Our last meals would be….Tad’s mom’s homemade soup.

In the next six months you should expect….A new album and a tour with Lotus.

 

 

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– Victoria

 

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