Welcome to Alan Astor’s (former lead vocalist of dance trio Punches) new project, E4rth. We’re told Astor got the inspiration for this new endeavor during the winter of 2010 when Brooklyn was covered in snow—specifically while hunkered down in his apartment watching BBC's Blue Planet in HD sans the TV sound in favor of the Hot97 radio station playing in the background. That and "KLF and Die Antwoord's counter-culture pop, Robert Wilson's avant-garde theatre, Kanye's anthemic collaborations and Eckhart Tolle's Neo-Spiritualism." Wrap your head around that readers.
So E4rth, the project has been in the works for the last couple of years, but just started to materialize in the form of music earlier this year with their debut single, “It’s Where We Live” featuring vocals from Amy Douglas. If you missed it, you can download via E4rth’s Soundcloud page, link below—also includes remixes by Asima LaChrome (Hercules and Love Affair’s Whitney Fierce) and Sazon Booya (Rot10, Mad Decent) and there’s a video by Bad Brilliance (Girl Talk, Larry Tee).
Speaking of videos, we’ve got the exclusive premier of “Ice4ge.” The track, featuring vocalist Theresa Dapra (costume designer for Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper), will be featured on their upcoming EP “Free Your Mind And The Cash Will Follow,” which is set for release in early 2013. You can also download the song for free below our quick interview with Alan Astor. Enjoy…
I have a vivid memory of my dad waking me up in the middle of the night and saying there’s some British guy on the phone for you he says he has the files. Troubled teens.
So Blue Planet x Hot97 = E4rth… How exactly did watching the series and listening to the radio station define your sonic/aesthetic, philosophy/position for this project?
Would you like to hear Funkmaster Flex play more new age music? Guess what? He already does! It doesn't matter if Nicki Minaj wrote, “I wish that I could have this moment for life” because she read Eckhart Tolle or not—Hot97 said hello to new age.
Have you ever heard the Blue Planet music? It sucks. David Attenborough is great of course but we’d ALL much rather see the whole thing recut with Lil Wayne narrating with audible weed smoking sounds. Or Katt Williams. I don't know, anybody.
Life is an epic progression. Whether you're Kanye West or a blade of grass it's all the same.
How did you link up with Theresa Dapra for “Ice4ge?”
Theresa is like a cross between nu-Trainspotting and a Norman Rockwell painting. We've been wasting time together forever, like seven years. Do you know Trouble&Bass? I don't know who knows what these days. Anyway that's where we met. I think she was wearing a mask. She made the E4rth mask. Makes sense right?
I got a text one day from her that said, “There should be a song called ‘Ice4ge.’” We always joke around about throwing the E4rth “4” into things and this was a good one. If anyone out there has any stuff that has a “4” in it send it over maybe we'll make a song out of it. I'm skeptical of words that don't contain the number 5 these days.
What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?
Oh yeah everything is everything. Any weather is fine. Any location is fine. We could have made the “Ice4ge” video on a snowy mountaintop or in a beautiful space station. We happened to be at the beach so you know, budget issues.
Inside E4rth studio we stand up—there's really no sitting while we're recording or making videos anymore. We have a 12-foot tree named “Tre3” and four floor-to-ceiling windows that face south and we’re a block from the waterfront in Brooklyn where you can walk out on a pier over the water with your friends at night. I just had a celery pear juice.
So Brooklyn, good times, yes… tell me about one you’ve had.
Oh man who knows it’s been so crazy living here when I try to think about that I just see a flashing sequence of interesting and beautiful people against a backdrop of club nights and themed events in the nicest and most forgotten places of the city. That New Years Eve with the mushrooms seems like it happened at the same time as that rave we played down the street from my house and I've been living the same Sunday every week the whole time.
Speaking about reliving moments, do you have a time in life that is linked in your mind to a song/album?
When the Internet goes out the only music video I can watch is R Kelly's “Step In The Name of Love” because it’s the only video I've ever downloaded. Who downloads videos? Why did I ever download this video? I got it at this time in my life where my room had no windows and there was no heat in January and the shower was covered in ice every morning. It got me through. If a song can do that then I should probably help make more.
What was your favorite toy as a child? Why did you stop playing with it?
My favorite toy as a kid was my 2600-Baud modem. I use regular Internet now, but that modem sound is good nostalgia.
I learned about electronic music by downloading it from Warez Scene sites in the UK. Every crack always came with a dance track and a little video—it was just a part of the culture. I have a vivid memory of my dad waking me up in the middle of the night and saying “there’s some British guy on the phone for you he says he has the files.” Troubled teens.
Have you ever had a brush with the supernatural?
Everything is natural and that is freaky enough.
Do you think there are any commonly held societal beliefs that are false? Like say, global warming is real and drugs are bad for you.
Individual beliefs are amazing things like a yellow sphere or a pink cone or a blue cube. They feel great and represent real discovery. If “yellow sphere belief” or “pink cone belief” or “blue cube belief” works for you, do it. If not, ditch it. It doesn't matter if drugs are good or bad for you, all that matters is that if you believe in drugs, you are aware of your feelings about them.
Do you have a pet? If not, what is your ideal pet and what would you want it to do in an ideal world?
We really—really—want to get one of those foxes that are being genetically bred in Russia to be tame. They evolve them rapidly in this huge biological research facility/farm and then offer them as pets.
When I listen to music, sometimes I see things floating around the room, what about you?
Ice cream cookie sund4e.
What life activities are made better when listening to music?
When is the last time you enjoyed one and the other?
I went to visit Theresa at work the other day. I walked in the door and she was right in front of me. There was music playing I don't know what. We started dancing. This is the spirit of all things.