YORK band We Could Be Astronauts have been chosen from “tens of thousands” of bands to take part in the Surface Festival 2012.
“This festival is working with multiple partners to develop alternative ways for bands and artists to gain exposure and develop their fan base,” says bass player Stu Fletcher, formerly of The Seahorses and The Yards.
“Shows start in March and we’re playing the Manchester/Liverpool nights. Attendees to the shows vote for their favourite band of the night, as well as bands voting for their favourite too.
“For people unable to attend shows, lines open on February 1 for a text voting system for age 16 upwards; text NORTH 2003 to 64343.”
We Could Be Astronauts next will be in action on their home patch on February 10 at Fibbers. “We’ll also be playing numerous shows outside of York, both as part of and independent of the Surface Festival,” says Stu.
“We’re in discussions to play the unsigned stages at major festivals including Download, as well as every independent festival we can find, and we’ll also be releasing two EPs, both digitally and in hard copy.”
The band formed from the ashes of Hijak Oscar and Idle Jack & The Big Sleep after they split around the same time in late 2009. Not wanting to let the grass grow under their feet, Idle Jack singer Rob Hughes and Hijak bass player and drummer Mark Meilack and Dave Hartley decided to jam out some of Rob’s left-over Idle Jack material and, after a few successful rehearsals, they were joined by Idle Jack drummer Simon Himsworth on guitar.
When members of Hijak Oscar, Mark and Dave also played in The Blackwater Trio, a band formed at York St John’s College, and it was there that they first met Paul Heaney, who joined the Astronauts as the lead guitarist.
Songs came thick and fast, leading to the band performing at the 2010 Galtres Festival, but although everything was progressing well, Mark had always craved more song-writing input and moved to Leicester to form Wonderbus.
Whereupon, Rob and Dave spent all of two seconds deciding to ask Stu Fletcher to replace him, both having worked with him on past projects.
The Astronauts line-up was now complete and ready to go into orbit. Within months, the band had revisited Galtres, this time playing the festival’s main stage, and last month they supported Shed Seven at the Sheffield O2 Academy, playing to a 2,000-strong crowd. They have headlined two pub/charity festivals too.
“We Could Be Astronauts believe in the old-fashioned way of making music but are under no disillusion that the record industry is anywhere near what it used to be,” says Stu.
“We’re taking inspiration from the old music and mashing it with the current sounds and ways of doing things to make not only a sound that seems to be missing from today’s popular scene, but also a way of working that we hope will inspire other bands and individuals to get behind it. Let’s get our record industry back to the bands and people with talent and away from the computers.”
Tickets for February 10 cost £5 via Ticketweb. Support on that night’s 7.30pm bill comes from One Way Street and Montego Bay.