Austin-based indie artist shares dreamy lounge-pop record
Dream-pop reigns supreme these days in the indie space. Luckily, nobody is complaining, thanks to the powerful music emanating from that genre across the globe. Originality is the key and Kae Astra is bringing that energy boldly in part with her latest release, “Grow.” Music fans have a chance to enjoy more goodness from this musician thanks to her new EP Fortune, via Modern Outsider, which entered the air waves last week in full swing.
Kae is pushing on through the autumn days of 2019 by gracing ears with songs that seek to find balance from the heart of Austin, Texas. Her dreamy adventures bring listeners on a whirlwind to a space yet unseen or heard. Her musical evolution has been steady. “Musically, the biggest evolution of my sound has come from collaborating with Walker Lukens and Curtis Roush on Fortune… I do think my songwriting is always evolving, but finding the right producers for your sound can really change the shape and color of the entire project… My evolution as an artist has been shaped by taking a different approach to the industry as a whole. I’m a big Elizabeth Gilbert fan, and, if you don’t already know, she is big on talking about not burdening your creativity with the expectation for it to provide for your material needs (i.e. bills). I spent many years prior in various projects hoping that the art I was creating would somehow ‘save’ me from the day job life. At a certain point, I realized that the measure of success I had created was a moving target that left me constantly feeling like a failure. Who wants that?!”
As the year 2020 creeps up, Kae had her thoughts on the future. “I’m an absolute optimist, because, well, why not? My hope is that we can swing the pendulum back toward some kind of unity as humans. I think everyone, regardless of their views, feels the weight of the past several years and how much the world has felt more and more divided. I know this is especially true for creatives, who tend to feel negative and oppressive energy on a daily basis in a much more visceral way… I could hope for nothing more than an awakening of empathy.”
Beyond that optimistic spirit, Kae was keen on pointing out the progress. “I DO think that a lot of what’s come up has been good and there’s a lot to be excited about, such as the rise of the #metoo movement and the increasing diversity we are seeing in so many public facing outlets like entertainment, politics, etc. There’s still work to be done, but we’re breaking the chains of oppression that have been in place for lifetimes… As a first generation Armenian-American, I have seen the effects that systemic oppression and tragedy can have on my older family members who lived through the Armenian genocide and/or displacement. That sort of trauma reverberates through subsequent generations, whether they are aware of it or not… Often with any kind of growth; be it social, political, personal, spiritual, or physical, there is a tremendous amount of pain that comes with it.”
Kae has a wealth of visual artists who keep her inspired within her medium. “I love Juxtapoz Magazine and feel like the majority of what they curate fits well within the world of Kae Astra. I also love all the Meow Wolf artists, and definitely feel like my music would fit well with their overall vibe. Playing at Meow Wolf is definitely high on my personal aspirations as an artist… I recently had the opportunity to visit the The Art Institute Of Chicago and fell in love with this Ivan Albright painting called ‘That Which I Should Have Not Done I Did Not Do, (The Door)’ The painting features a desolate door that has a beautiful, but dying, wreath of roses which stands in stark contrast against the dark color palette of the door leading to what was once a home… Albright considered this painting his most important work, and ‘a powerful meditation on a life unlived.’ It fits well with my sound because it’s simultaneously introspective, beautiful and haunting. Things that I often find coming out of my work organically. Also, Albright spent a decade creating the piece, so the dedication to craft really resonates with me.”
Having an adventurous spirit helps her sound grow. “[I enjoy] trying something new, especially trying to learn some kind of new technology… I’m constantly trying to push myself in that area and learn new ways to evolve my sound. I always try to stay super open to learning in general. I think if you’re not pushing yourself, you’re stagnating. I also really love collaborating with other artists… You can learn so much from writing with other people. It strengthens your musical abilities, and expands your own songwriting style. It’s very freeing to let go of the ego and to fully commit yourself…”
As a purveyor of the craft, 2019 brings music into a new frontier. “I think it’s a time where we have more opportunity than we’ve ever had at our fingertips to create and distribute our work to the world, which is wonderful. Anyone with an iPhone, laptop, etc. can share their artistic voice and vision… I’ve found personally that it’s been very important to have a close connection with myself, so I don’t get lost along the way. I think it can be easy in any career path to try to create what you think will be popular or will sell, but if that’s all your concentrating on then you’re likely not feeding your creative spirit and as an artist that’s just not sustainable…” Artists need to keep on it every step of the way and Kae Astra is a superb example of that resolve.
Give Kae Astra’s Fortune EP a listen below: