Featured Photo Credit: Libby Olson
After the success of their debut album, Girls of Summer, Vancouver based duo, Sam the Astronaut are back with their new album, Midnight Carlight.
Inspired by the soundtracks of their childhoods, Garrison Johnson and TJ Gibson have created a project steeped in the sounds of the 80s. Gibson’s production utilizing 80s technology and Johnson’s vocals create a distinct combination of pop, new-wave electronic, hip-hop and disco.
We chatted with Sam the Astronaut about the album, their inspirations and more.
Excerpt from podcast:
What was the inspiration for your single “Monster Squad”?
TJ: Monster Squad is one of my favorite movies. It was almost like a babysitter for me growing up because my Dad would just toss it on. When I was making the beat for “Monster Squad,” I had Monster Squad [the movie] playing. Originally, [the song] wasn’t called “Monster Squad.”. It was way more synth/funky than the outcome. At the end of the movie, the military comes in to defeat the monsters and the military goes, ‘who are you?’ and the kid pulls out a business card and hands it to the military guy and goes ‘Monster Squad.’ In that moment I was like we’re calling the song “Monster Squad” because that is the most confident … It was just like this group of kids that defeated these monsters – I was like that’s me and G.
Garrison: The song was actually a complety different song before we actually got the final out. We had rap on it. A lot of the time, I’ll go to TJ’s place and he’ll have this killer beat – and it’s the process of making a song. Gosh, if our fans could see what some of the songs used to be. It’s like they’re not even the same. “Monster Squad” used to be this funky rap thing. Then we decided let’s throw some singing on it.
TJ: Garrison just all of a sudden one day had this rap kind of synth funk thing. I was just like yup, that’s it. That’s a hook. The only thing that’s original from the original version of the song is the chorus and the chord progression.
What can fans expect when they listen to Midnight Carlight?
TJ: They can expect all of us. We spent four years on it and I can truly say that me and Garrison put everything we had. We sprinted down every single hallway. There’s nothing we took with us – it’s all on the record. When people listen to the music, I hope that they hear how we’re right there in the speaker cone. We truly gave it everything. There was no hold back. So that’s what they can expect. They can expect to have a really good time listening to it. It’s a ride. I really hope people listen to it front to back.
You can hear more from Garrison and TJ about the album and more on our podcast.