ASTR, a duo that lives, works and makes music in New York City, may be one of those bands, mixing genres to create a fun new sound for anyone who appreciates a sick beat and a good dance tune. They have been super busy this year, participating in all types of music festivals, from Self Magazine's annual fitness event to P. Diddy's inaugural Revolt Music Conference in Miami. It's easy to digest their music and to feel its influence when paired with the group's current visuals to songs like Operate and Razor. Zoe and Adam of ASTR met three years ago in a Manhattan yoga class, as they were both interested in cinema noir, Miami Vice and urban dreamscape. This is what you would call the transfusion of sub-cultural music in hip hop with help from the internet.
I saw ASTR at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on a cold Friday night. During the sold out show, Zoe, the lead singer, took the stage belting out long breathy harmonies, as Adam, the lead drummer and the fingers for anything with keys (vintage synths, guitar and bass), backed her up on the drums. As soon as the beat dropped, Zoe's collar-shirt-wearing-all-boy-fan squad literally rushed the front of the stage to get a better view of her ginger locks and a possible serenade. No joke, there were a bunch of bros dancing in the crowd at the front of the stage, and they appeared normal, with reasonable jobs. After the show, I casually mentioned to ASTR's manager how awesome it was to see a bunch of good looking guys rocking out to their music. Surprisingly, she confirmed that this was the norm in every city they've played thus far.
Just this year, ASTR has been gaining so much attention with features in notable publications like Complex, Harper's Bazaar and Interview Magazine, to name a few. Most of their music is definitely a more pop-inspired version of R&B, with beats that are more on the trip-hop spectrum of indie alternative. They aren't far from a collaboration featuring anyone who is down for some "electronic future R&B noise makers" as noted on their Instagram bio. Not to mention that their social media followers have shown them a lot of love since their inception-proof being through their Soundcloud and YouTube accounts with over three million plays and counting. It's not hard to realize why their niche sound has quickly gained a devoted audience, consisting of fans that are willing to travel hours just to see them perform live. I found myself grooving to ASTR's most popular song Operate, partially due to Zoe's dancing which was a mix of Jamaican dutty winding and a two-step. After the show, she tells me that she was actually tired, but that was hard to believe given her fanboy group. All in all, the relatively short set was accompanied by fans screaming "encore!" by the crowd. However, they are going to have to wait until ASTR's EP drops, which is expected in early 2015.