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Astronautalis: The Sky Is No Limit

Astronautalis interview, Andy Bothwell interview, Astronautalis, Andy Bothwell

There are delightful, rare occasions when I hear something so passionate that I can picture the artist—a body possessed by creativity, with protruding neck veins, straining over every lyric.

Astronautalis is one of those occasions.

Andy Bothwell, more commonly known as Astronautalis, began freestyle rapping when he was 13 years old but it wasn’t until age 20 that he truly became serious about it.

After self-releasing his first album, You and Yer Good Ideas in 2003, Astronautalis signed with Fighting Records. He then released The Mighty Ocean and Nine Dark Theaters in 2006.

Bothwell graduated college with a degree in theater, and immediately hit the road with nothing but strong work ethic and a desire for something more.

While on tour, he worked various odd jobs to make ends meet, all while continuing to live in his parents’ basement.

“Finally when I moved out to Seattle is when I was like ‘you know what, I’ve gotta do this, I have to get out of my parents’ basement, I have to push myself harder in music, I’ve gotta push myself harder in my business, I have to make this a better situation,’” Bothwell says.

Shortly thereafter, he released his third album Pomegranate. “… I haven’t worked a real job since.”

Astronautalis is currently signed with Fake Four Inc., a label that, according to its website, was started in 2008 by Ceschi and David Ramos “as an outlet to release music by members of Anonymous Inc. and friends.”

Ceschi and Bothwell met though small circles in rap and quickly became friends. This encouraged Ceschi to hound Bothwell about signing with Fake Four and after multiple exchanges, Bothwell agreed.

“Finally I looked around, and looked at the other options and the other labels weren’t interested in it and it just… it made the most sense,” Bothwell said. “… his heart is in it and that’s what mattered the most to me.”

Last month, Astronautalis released This Is Our Science, an album that has shattered all expectations.

Although there is no marketing team and no big-name label promoting the album, This Is Our Science debuted at #43 on the Billboard hip-hop charts and quickly jumped to #9 on Itunes.

“It… was a jaw-dropping experience for me to see the show of support that I got… and that’s when it really kind of dawned on me,” Bothwell says.

“’We did this by word of mouth. Five people hammering out on social media, email… all the fans just kind of taking it and running, that was just like the most incredible, empowering affirmation for what I do.”

The album is the first of Bothwell’s that is truly autobiographical, focusing on the last seven years he’s spent touring the United States. It’s an ode to self-discovery and a realization that he may never lead a normal life.

“It doesn’t matter that you don’t own a home, it doesn’t matter that you don’t have the same standards of success as everyone else does, as long as you are chasing down this dream” Bothwell says.

“It’s really me… kind of getting down to this idea of just sacrificing everything for the thing that is important to me.”

Astronautalis reminds us that passion goes a long way.

“You have to love it more than friends, more than your family, you have to love it more than anything, because it may never love you back and chances are you will probably never get paid back for all of the money you put into it,” he says.

“It’s going to cause health problems and personal problems, but fuck man, if you do all that and work your ass off, and you’re a good person and you really love it, the reward is just the most incredible thing.”

Fortunately for Arizona, Astronautalis will be performing with Matthias The War and DJ Hartbreaks at Venue 104 in Tempe on Oct. 13. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at Zia Records, Stinkweeds, Hoodlums and here.


“A couple months ago I became really good friends with Andrew Jackson Jihad, I kind of have a big crush on them as a band. Hopefully one day we’ll get our shit together and tour together. Hopefully I can come back through Arizona. I just want to thank the state of Arizona for producing Andrew Jackson Jihad.”

What’s In His Ipod
“I was listening to The National when you called, High Violet album, we’re driving through the mountains in Idaho and its really foggy and we’re passing by Lake Coeur d’Alene… it’s just the perfect soundtrack for that. I’ve also been listening to a record… that I listen to more than anything else. It’s an album called Music For Egon Schiele by a band called Rachel’s. Just really beautiful classical music.”

Fastest Way To His Heart: Pumpkin Pie.
“Thanksgiving has always been a real big deal for us as a family because we’re kind of scattered all around. We try to make it a point to get together and my mom makes amazing pumpkin pie so it all just kind of, I think a large part of it is just that tie-in, and it always reminds me of that. And I also think it’s just so delicious, it’s not too sweet, it’s not cherry pie sweet, it’s just fantastic and I’m a sucker for it. It can really bring me to my knees.”

His Stage Name
He laughs,”When I was 15 and I was trying to think of a really cool rap name I combined the word astronaut and the word nautalis and thought it sounded really cool. For someone that puts so much effort into making everything mean so much, my name means so god dammed little.”


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