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Escape Velocity

Deastro: By The Light Of The Moon
The Quietus , October 6th, 2009 06:35

Detroit resident Randolph Chabot aka Deastro shares his thoughts on cute one-eyed babies, 'chilling in a kiddie pool' and hanging music on the fridge. All his friends are made of stone, apparently; Charlie Ivens chips away

Sometimes a piece of music appears seemingly out of nowhere and mainlines into your bloodstream as if it were that mechanical insect-like device in Guillermo del Toro's Cronos — and simply refuses to relent until it's seen its viciously addictive venom coursing round your body. Towards the end of last year, that song for us was Deastro's 'Michael, The Lone Archer of the North Shore'.

For sure, it has a preposterous name — and there's a lot more where that came from — but don't be fooled. This is no groansome hippy drivel: Deastro is the glorious point at which M83 and This Mortal Coil meet a-Ha, and we should only be thankful that first, and then interesting US label Ghostly (home to School of Seven Bells and The Chap), have stood up and repped with such enthusiasm for the boy whose general practitioner calls him Randolph Chabot.

Now but 23 (and we're thankful he didn't mind us getting that wrong below), Chabot's earnest, life-enhancing second album Moondagger came out a couple of months back and has barely been out of our heads since. Here's what Deastro has to say for himself — and bear in mind this is an email interview, otherwise we'd have asked him plenty more about his, um, thought-provoking description of new single 'Toxic Crusader' . . .

Hello Randolph — may we call you Randy or do you prefer Deastro?

Randolph Chabot: Sure, call me Randy!

“De astro” — from the stars, perhaps? Are you interested in astrology or religion?

RC: Yeah, “from the stars” GI Joe. It is a good fit for me because my primary interests lie somewhere between the supernatural and cartoons.

Please describe Deastro to a room full of children.

RC: I would tell them that making music is like making a drawing for your mom at school. You do it because you you want to make something nice for someone else and you want it to be hung up on the fridge.

How typical a Detroit resident are you?

RC: I am pretty typical Detroit Dude, I like rock & roll, beer, going to shows, gardens, bikes, my friends, Detroit and Belle Isle. I am kind of a newcomer in a way to Detroit music. I didn't have any friends who made music, but people are so welcoming in our music scene that I feel like the other bands here are like my second family now.

Most people think second album Moondagger is your debut. Why did first LP Keeper's receive such a limited release?

RC: It was a compilation of my basement demos and stuff. put out the record on eMusic Selects last year and I didn't have a label then, that might have been the reason. Ghostly re-released it later in the year after we signed with them. I think that my approach to the stuff I make by myself these days has been to just get it out there. If someone decides to put it out that is cool, but I am having fun just writing songs about my friends and what it means to be from Detroit right now.

Having been making music for more than a decade, do you feel like a cynical old coot despite only being 22?

RC: No way man, I am 23 now and I feel like I finally know how make a song a little bit.

Are you afraid of your contemporaries, and who do you hope they are?

RC: No, I just want to hang out with them and steal new music from their computers. I hope they are rad.

We saw you play live in London in May. Are you enjoying turning your bedroom creations into something people can watch? Who’s your band?

Yeah I am having a good time playing live. It is a totally different thing then on album which I like about it. The dudes in my band are gods.

Tell us about your new single, 'Toxic Crusaders' — like much of Moondagger, it's awash with imagery not usually associated with pop music.

RC: I had a dream about a child born with a single eye, everyone responsible for his mutation stands around him as he lies in his crib making cute, cyclops baby noises. His parents, heads of food and chemical companies, presidents and kings, didn't cry when they saw him, they just resented him for being the truth for burdening them with their own problems. The song is about how no one is immune, no one is invincible, and about looking for a better way to do things.

Deastro's music sounds distinctly European and is fairly unmistakeably rooted in 80s electropop and 90s dream pop. Can you explain how this came to be?

RC: I only listened to Christian music till I was about 19 or 20 and I was into these two brothers, Ronnie and Jason Martin who both have bands: Joy Electric is this really classy kind of goofy electropop and Starflyer 59 has this really mellow dream pop feel to it. Those were the two main bands I listened to growing up.

What's a typical day in the life of Randolph Chabot?

RC: I haven't been able to keep a job lately because we have been touring a lot. I had to move out of the house I was living in in Detroit in July and I am back in my parents' basement. I am playing in two new bands right now so just doing that, going to shows, hanging with friends, working on music, eating, and chilling in a kiddie pool at my friend Adam's house.

Would you describe yourself as ambitious? If so, what for?

RC: Yeah, I want more attention for the Detroit music and art scene.

What's your favourite Deastro song and why?

RC: I really like this song called 'Shield Whip' that I put out on a Free EP, Orange Swimmer Red Summer on my blog. We are re-recording it for our EP that is coming out in November. I just like it because it's about being 13 and having no idea what the heck is going on in the world around me and inside of me, and my friends being great.

What are the disadvantages of being autonomous?

RC: You just get so myopic (not to mention lonely). Lately, I have been trying to include as many people as I can into my life and my music.

And finally, is your name as unusual in Michigan as it sounds in the UK?

RC: Yep...

Deastro's 'Toxic Crusaders' single is out now on Ghostly, as is the Moondagger album.