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The dark side of the moon

Phil Udell takes one giant leap with God Is An Astronaut.

Phil Udell, 05 Feb 2004

In an industry as obsessed with success as the music business, it’s rare to find people who are willing to take a risk in the name of fulfilling their own artistic desires. Yet that is just what Torsten Kinsella and his brother Niels have done, first steering their successful remix outfit Super A.D. towards a more original approach and then abandoning it all together in favour of a new identity and sound with God Is An Astronaut.

Their debut The End Of The Beginning strikes me as quite a dark record, an analysis with which Torsten wholeheartedly agrees.

“To us it’s a very dark album. We were a little bit depressed when we were making it. The Super A.D. record had completely failed from a sales point of view and a lot of people were against us. It looked like it was over for us, so Niels said let’s just do what we want to do and forget about what other people want us to do; put singers on the record, create a single hit. I was never into singles, we were always more into the stranger side of music. We didn’t to make something to make other people happy, we made an album to keep us happy”.

It’s an element that will confound their critics, not least those who would venture that electronic music is devoid of all emotion.

“That was really important to us,” Torsten explains. “We’d been criticised in the past that we could come up with great sounds but that we had no soul. We wanted to prove that we could write melodies and feel emotion. That was running through my mind while we were making this thing. There’s nothing worse than when you’re making a record and it doesn’t mean anything to you other than you’re proud of your mixing. These songs have a lot of meaning for me, one of my friends died last year and ‘Ascend To Oblivion’ reminds me of that whole time. There is emotion there and it was done on purpose, we wanted to create melodies that meant something”.

One of the ways that the trio have found of putting across this meaning is the use of arresting visuals, although their often confrontational nature have not exactly leant themselves to everyday TV play.

“When you have a dark disturbing track it’s great to have dark, disturbing images to go with it, but it is difficult to get that kind of thing shown. ‘From Dust And Beyond’ got shown on mainstream MTV, late night on the Coming Down section. It makes sense at the moment for us to do it this way. Art is more important than just creating a video that’s going to get lots of plays, what’s important that we get our ideas across”.

While it’s clear that the fall out from Super A.D. still holds rancour for Kinsella, things are looking up for his new project. The End Of The Beginning, having sold out its original run, has been reissued and several tracks are to be featured on RTE’s high profile new series ‘The Big Bow Wow’. Does he think that his approach will alter a little?

Maybe slightly, I wouldn’t think a lot. We’re just going to try and perfect what we do. In many ways I’m happier with where we are but I’m not content with where we are. I still want to strive to get further”.

The End Of The Beginning is out now on Revive Records

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