Independent Music News– Interview + Review / Astronomique

Minneapolis-based Astronomique were born out of inspiration from the psychedelic artwork of vocalist, Logan Andra Fongemie.  After collaborating with seasoned guitarist, Sean Hogan, the pair envisioned a musical sound that would compliment their visual component.  Their sensual synthpop has an undeniable space-age vibe to it, and Logan Andra Fongemie’s vocals come across as not quite human – like she is some kind of sexy Star Trek lady or the City Computer from Logan’s Run.  The instruments are a beautiful mixture of organic-sounding guitars and not-so-organic-sounding futuristic bleeps. 

Independent Music News sat down with Astronomique to talk with them about their influences, and the conversation took an interesting turn!

IMN: So you have described yourselves as a "Space Wave" act...what does that actually mean? Is space a big influence for you? (it seems to be!)

Logan Andra Fongemie: Well, our music is heavily influenced by both outerspace and early ‘80s New Wave music.  We figured we’d just create our own genre that is a combination of the two.  Ha!  But when you think about outerspace, it’s so vast and mysterious…  No one knows what’s really out there.  New things are always being discovered, while older ‘known’ ideas continue to be disproven.  So it’s totally open to the imagination and whatever the creative mind chooses to imprint upon it.  It’s like a huge blank canvas where you can build and shape a soundscape to fit what you’ve imagined exists out there in the vastness.  So that’s what Astronomique chooses to do.

IMN: What about the name, where is that from?

Logan Andra Fongemie: I wanted to bring my French heritage into Astronomique’s music, and so it seemed fitting to have our band name echo this as well (my family is from Bourgueil, France and Montreal, QC).  Sean and I came across our band name in a French picture book from my childhood, where the words ‘lunette astronomique’ were printed beneath an illustration of a telescope.

IMN: If you could only listen to one song for the rest of time, what would it be?

Logan Andra Fongemie: David Bowie’s ‘Ashes to Ashes’.  It’s so sooooo good.  I can’t get over those amazing synth sounds at the end.  And of course, it’s about one of my favorite subjects... 

Sean Hogan: Radiohead’s ‘How To Disappear Completely.’  It’s one of the saddest and most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, and I still get goose bumps every time I listen to it.  It may not be the most upbeat tune to listen to forever, but I love it so much.

Mitch Billings: Weezer’s ‘El Scorcho.’ Weezer is my all time favorite band, and this is my favorite song by them.  It's pretty funny and is one of the first songs I figured out on guitar.  Actually, just about every Weezer song is fun to drum in my head too. 

IMN: Would you rather have fingers for eyelashes or eyeballs for fingernails?

Logan Andra Fongemie: Eyeballs for fingernails.  Then all I’d need is a creepy beak-face and I’d look like Alec Baldwin in Beetlejuice.

Sean Hogan: I suppose I’d rather have fingers for eyelashes because I could easily flip the bird with my eyes.

Mitch Billings: Fingers for eyelashes.  I couldn’t stand having to use my eyeballs to touch everything.

IMN: Finally, do you have any good jokes?

Sean Hogan: A guy walks into a bar and takes a seat.  Before he can order a beer, the bowl of pretzels in front of him says, "Hey, you're a handsome fellow."  The man tries to ignore the bowl of pretzels, and orders a fine Pilsner beer.  The bowl of pretzels then says, "Ooooh a pilsner, great choice.  You're a smart man."  Starting to freak out, the guy says to the bartender, "Hey what the hell, this bowl of pretzels keeps saying nice things to me!"  Bartender says, "Don't worry about it, the pretzels are complimentary."

Mitch Billings: It's hard to explain puns to a kleptomaniac because they always take things literally.

Logan Andra Fongemie: This joke was written by my good friend, and accomplished Minneapolis comic, Andrew Cahak:

I think R. Kelly sings about sex so much that you know he must be a virgin.  It’s every single song.  He’s like a freshman in highschool who’s desperate to prove something.  Talking about how he scored, but you know he’s never even touched a boob.  He’s got to be just the most naïve, innocent, pent-up little virgin.  On the other hand, I do believe he can fly because he only wrote one song about that.

- Katie Burns