With simple, child-like lyrics that focus on nature (deers, bunnies, and cherries are just a few of their favorite topics) and synthesizer-driven sounds, Chilean alt rock quartet Astro is riding a wave of international buzz. Since their formation in 2008, they've emerged as one of Chile's most popular bands and are often labeled as the español version of MGMT.
Things have moved fast in 2012 for Andrés Nusser (vocals & guitar), Nicolás Arancibia (bass & keyboard), Daniel Varas (keyboard & percussion) and Octavio Cavieres (drums) who never expected that in just a couple of years they would be playing at huge music festivals like SXSW in the U.S., Lollapalooza Chile, and Mexico's Vive Latino.
Released this past summer, their self-titled debut album has been featured on NPR, reviewed by the New York Times and featured in spots for Bloomingdale's and "FIFA 13" by EA Games. For a feel of their sound, check out their trippy video for "Ciervos."
"The things that have been happening lately have made us realize that we are way more established than I would have ever imagined," says Andrés. "All this has really taken us by surprise," concurs Daniel with a laugh.
Recently signed to Nacional Records, the 20-somethings recently visited Los Angeles for the very first time to meet their label, promote their album and play for the Angeleno crowd at a special concert in the hipster area of Silver Lake.
In an effort to give them a warm Californian bienvenida during their first trip here, I took them to the iconic Venice Beach boardwalk for some skateboarding and sunset watching.
Cool dudes. Chile-fornian mood.
"This is the best interview ever!" says Andres as he jumps on his skateboard and goes off to explore Venice Beach.
The guys contemplate whether they should join the local skateboarders showing off their tricks in Venice Skate park.
But decide not to...
A local skateboarder teaches Octavio and the boys a new skate trick.
Up in the air! Octavio attempts a new skate trick. After many tries and one fall, he finally got it. He and the boys were very happy he could finally do the 'shuffle.'
Now that's team work! Daniel, trying to jump off the side walk, gets help from Nicolás.
The nature-loving boys were in awe with Cali's beautiful sunset.
Andres sings "Hallelujah" with his new Venice beach friend. Street Smart indeed.
"Who are you guys?" asks a local.
"We're a band from Chile and we play music with synthesizers." says Andrés.
"Like, techno?" asks the local.
"No, no! Not like techo. Like Vampire Weekend or Empire of the Sun."
"Oh, thank god!"
And just like that, Astro make their first LA fans.