Astroid Boys are a crew of Welsh rappers, MCs and DJs fusing together party-heavy hip-hop with grime, dub and a generous dose of hardcore Black Flag-style attitude. Touring with the likes of Ms Dynamite, the band kindly let us premiere their video for “Bad-A$$”. Wonderland caught up with members Phil ‘Traxx’ Constantinou and Benjamin ‘Benji’ Kendall to find out more.
Astroid Boys: are you all a bunch of sci-fi fans or really into your Greek mythology?
Benji: I’m both, I’ve been crazy about space since I was about four. My grandparents (one of which is Greek) took me to the NASA Kennedy Space Centre and I was sold.
Traxx: I hate all that Star Trek and Star Wars hype. I just thought it was a rad name for a crew few years back.
How did the band come into formation?
Both: We all live in Cardiff which is a small city. Before music came into the picture, we came together through a mixture of skating, music, causing trouble, making videos. Now there’s a huge group of us around the band that believe in what we’re about.
Tell us about your single ‘Bada$$’, which is about to drop.
Both: It’s like a mixture of gentle hip-hop beats and storytelling lyrics, combined with heavy dubstep drops and metal guitar. I would say that the song is a blend of everything we like at the moment. The video was shot naturally over a few days, we played at a biker gang warehouse for the live scenes which was pretty gnarly.
Your sound’s been described as a fusion of UK hip-hop, underground grime combined with quirky lyrics. Fair description?
Both: Kids today don’t get categorised by what music they listen to; it’s more of a generalisation of style. Your standard kid today would be into or taken influence from grime, hip hop, dubstep, hardcore, punk, and most of all people telling blunt truths about things.
You come from Wales. What’s your favourite thing about your home turf?
B: For me it has to be the fact that Wales is so small. It’s big enough to have its own scene and all the facilities you need to become successful, but because the scene is so small it’s not difficult to stand out.
Are you concerned about any Goldie Looking Chain comparisons?
Both: Hell no! GLC are top lads. They took us on tour a couple years ago. The only real comparison is that we are Welsh, we rap and theres about 40 nutters in our crew.
Who or what have been your biggest inspirations?
B: I like funny rappers like Danny Brown, Eminem and Ludacris. I love the way that when I listen to their music, it seems like they didn’t put any effort into it but it’s naturally awesome.
T: I hate tracks that are built up and thought about too much. Old punk bands like Agnostic Front, Black Flag and Circle Jerks were outright bold on saying whatever the fuck they wanted.
How do you think your sound has grown since you started playing together as teenagers?
Both: Our shows have become tighter and experience has taught us not to get thrown out, pay fines and be banned from venues as much. I think our live set may sound very different to people now. We have a live band and we’ve thrown in some hardcore riffs that get fans bouncing off the walls. The older we get and the more we see and live, the more we have to write about.
“Bad A$$” will be released on Astroid Boys own independent label (Brain Juice Recordings / My-ish) on 31st October 2012. www.astroidboys.com
Words: Shane Hawkins