Meet ASTR, a collusion of lovely contradictions which meet to make for awesome music. The NYC-based duo, comprised of singer Zoe Silverman and producer Adam Pallin have somehow melded R&B and pop melodies with a seethingly dark synth-electro undertone. Add their horrorcore-inspired visuals to amazing music (produced entirely in-house) and ASTR has a dope formula for success.
Although, the two musicians are relatively new to the mainstream music scene their amazing performances made quite a splash during CMJ week. ASTR has yet to release an official body of work, but the select tracks on their Soundcloud are tantalizingly promising bits of what’s to come from this promising pair.
How did you guys meet?
Zoe: We met at the Jivamukti Yoga School through a friend, got that yoga hook-up.
Adam: Everyone thinks that like during downward facing dog there was some sort of connection but we actually had a mutual friend who was in music and she said we had to meet and introduced us and we just started writing and working together without any real…
Zoe: …We made it our passion project. ASTR became our everything—writing for other things kind of sucks when you’re in a box creatively so this was like, let’s do what we actually want to do!
That’s great, so the chemistry was pretty much instant.
Adam: Yeah, I mean we ended up with a bunch of songs that wasn’t our [typical] stuff, it just ended up having its own sort of vibe and it was like, “Oh, this is cool.”
How long have you guys known each other for?
Zoe: Three years.
When did you guys start performing live together?
Zoe: About a year ago.
Adam: What we’re doing now, though, has only been going on for like four or five months.
Zoe: At first I was performing solo and Adam was just producing and he got into the visuals and we started doing it together and building the show.
How long have you guys been doing music?
Zoe: Forever. I have some background in theater and dance but I’ve been doing this forever, just singing and dancing.
Adam: As a kid I played guitar for a long time thinking I was going to be a hot shot blues guitarist, which just sort of turned into messing around with computers and production. I’ve been in other little bands before but this project is the most fun, I feel.
You guys have a bunch of songs on your Soundcloud but you have yet to release an EP, what’s the word on that? Any forthcoming release dates?
Zoe: We’re going to put out a body of work in the next few months so people should definitely stay tuned in.
Adam: We have a bunch of songs we want to release that we’re [basically] sitting on but we put out one, we put out another and we’ve had some great response so we decided to do something official instead of just putting it online for free. That was cool and people loved it but now it’s time for us to put a real collection of our songs together and release it, do things the right way with videos etc.
We’ve seen some of your videos like “Operate” and it appears to be snippets of random— and we use that term loosely because everything has some sort of cohesion in art—shots. There was one shot where a mannequin got his head chopped off, a lot of black and white and sepia shots of Zoe singing. What made you guys go that route?
Zoe: We’re definitely inspired by horror film scores.
Adam: We wanted to put together videos that had some sort of aesthetic, like anyone can get a good camera and make a cheap video but we wanted some sort of other component to it. It was like sampling other records, we just sampled some clips.
Zoe: It also had to do with the song, it’s called “Operate,” it’s like a psycho-thriller song if you read the words and we wanted to go full-out with that in a way that’s sweet but gritty and mysterious.
It seems like the song “Operate” really encapsulates your sound, with that pop melody and Zoe’s R&B sound yet still maintaining that artsy, dark electro-synth quality. In that collusion of influences, what do you guys feel you brought to your sound individually and you guys have to answer for each other?
Adam: Well, when we started working together we found that we had a lot of similar perspectives [in terms of] our influences. Zoe has a great voice and that was one of the first things that I was drawn to and there was this undeniable R&B component in her delivery that I thought was cool. But I also thought there was a pop sensibility that would allow us to write songs that wouldn’t put us in a niche or be completely indie.
Zoe: When I met Adam he was doing some super pop stuff and I respect the craft of pop music and that allowed us to make hits that you can really feel, that have substance but still really pops. Adam is such a freak and I felt like I could get to the core of that, working together we deconstructed all that pop stuff and got to both of our roots which is like hip-hop and house music. That was exciting to us to get down to what we love.
What’s next for you guys? You said you plan to release an official EP in a few months but do you have any other big projects coming up?
Adam: It’s kind of cool because when we started working it wasn’t with any real intention of going in our current direction but the feedback has been so amazing that it’s exciting. We just want to put more music out, there’s not a whole lot of content online so people are hungry for more. We might do an EP, might be a full-length collection but we’re not sure as yet.
Zoe: We’re going to create some visuals and take our performances to the next level [which I’m really excited about]. We’re going to have a sound guy, lighting, dancers, do some T-Boz moves.
Ok, this is random but Adam, we want to ask you about your hair. Is the “mad professor” look intentional, it looks styled?
Adam: It’s very intentional and requires a little finesse. I’m hoping that people take notice and I can do a hair product line.