Astronautalis 35 Denton Interview+Review

Review/Interview & Photos by: Taylor Prater

I’d known from before the festival even began that Astronautalis’ set was one of the most anticipated of the weekend. Not having seen him live myself, I was stoked to see why he’d gathered such a loyal following as a performer from Minnesota.

His punctuality helped. The dude was ready to rock right as the clock struck 3 – he was waiting for this just as much as the crowd.

So much so, that he leapt on to the stage and into the crowd almost immediately. This guy isn’t about distance when he performs, and really, shouldn’t all hip hop artists be the same way?

There was no denying the happiness that spread over the crowd like wildfire from the get-go. When you’ve got Andy Bothwell bouncing around every square inch of his grounds, how could you not be excited as hell?

Bothwell’s roots come from rap battles all around the nation, as he considered himself a musical nomad of sorts, travelling around for the past 10 years on tour. With every performance he shows some of that with his own crowd-sourced spitfire.
It would be hard to top that set (and if you really wanna know, I think it was the best of the weekend. Some murmurings from several crowds days later would say the same thing).
I caught up with Andy a few days before his performance for a quick Q&A about his Texas and Denton love, local artists he respects and the music festival itself...

Taylor: First off, I’ve read that you actually attended college nearby, over at SMU. We might have a problem – I’m a student at TCU.

Andy: (laughs)

Taylor: But you’ve clearly got some deep roots in Texas. I know you released your first album not long after you were done with school. How did going to school around here influence you today?

Andy: Certainly, that’s where I learned my creative process. I went there to be a director for theatre, and the creative immersion in the program, the relentless sort of work ethic there, where you take, you know, 18 to 22 credit hours a semester, but then you also direct your own plays and act in other people’s plays – you’re creatives who are constantly working. It’s the way that I’m inspired, the people that I surround myself with, and that’s always been the way that I work, the way that I think about my records – that’s how I know how to be creative. That’s the language I speak.

Taylor: It’s easy to see that work ethic, seeing as you’ve been touring pretty much straight for 6 years?

Andy: It’s 10 now.

Taylor: What drew you to 35 Denton?

Andy: Denton’s where I started really making music, I’d kind of run over from Dallas to Denton on the weekends, make all my records in Dallas but with a Denton sort of tie-in. Denton was where I got my start and it’s always been home for me, and so to play a set there is really a no-brainer.

Taylor: What DFW artists really stand out to you as your favorites, or your biggest influences?

Andy: I’m a huge fan of the band Midlake, their drummer plays on my records. I’m also just a big fan of Sarah Jaffe as well. A.Dd+ is another one I’ve been really excited about, they’ve definitely blown up creatively in the last year, but beyond that kind of the older bands too, like the Polyphonic Spree, Beadhead was always a big one for me too. 

Taylor: What can we expect from your set at 35?

Andy: I’m looking forward to being really really loud, really sweaty. I expect everyone else to be really loud and really sweaty.

Taylor: What do you look forward to in coming out to Texas? Anything stand out?

Andy: I just like being in Texas. It’s always home here, always good to be back. I come from a line of Texans – my grandmother’s from Poteet, my father was born in San Antonio, so there’s that kinship here. And when you go and you play shows, I love the diversity of the crowd, people just coming out to enjoy music, you never find yourself playing for just one kind of person, it’s people from all over, different ages, races and demographics. I love that. 

Taylor: Anyone you’re looking forward to seeing at the festival?

Andy: Killer Mike. I really want to see him, NOLA bounce music can be really thrilling.

Taylor: Anything you really want to do while you’re in Denton, on what free time you have?

Andy: Jupiter House coffee. Theirs is still some of the best coffee I’ve ever had.

Taylor: Looking forward to your set, I know a lot of people are anticipating it.

Andy: I guarantee it’ll be a good time.

Check out amateur video of the freestyle crowd topics performance by Astronautalis at 35 Denton:

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