Two Inch Astronaut Interview: “This one is definitely poppier”

two inch astronaut

Can You Please Not Help is out now via Exploding in Sound Records.

Can You Please Not Help, the new album from Maryland alternative rock/post hardcore trio Two Inch Astronaut has made it into high rotation in my car’s CD player. A fairly rare occurance, it made the cut due to it’s balance of thick, chunky, angular riffs with a deft sense of pop melodicism. Building on the successes of their last album, Personal Life, this time around everything is slightly grander. It works pretty damn well, too.

We were lucky enough to have a chat with the band recently and they gave us the skinny on working with renowned producer J. Robbins, what a ‘snitch jacket’ is, and how they reacted to Chris Cornell’s untimely passing.

Overblown: On both your last album, Personal Life, and the singles from your upcoming new album, Can You Please Not Help, you’ve managed to create a very rich and warm sound. It really reminds me of the depth and warmth albums in the 90’s had. Is that due to working with J. Robbins?

Two Inch Astronaut: I think the new one is a good bit warmer sounding than Personal Life, which is kind of thin and tinny. J definitely wanted this one to be bigger sounding, and so did we. We used louder, fuller guitar tones and more of a traditional ‘rock and roll’ drum setup. I have no idea what J was doing over there behind the board but I’m sure it had something to do with the depth and warmth that you’re describing.

O: One of the new singles from the new album, ‘Play To No One’, has quite a poppy and playful flavour. How was that song written?

TIA: I wrote it on a guitar in my room.

O: It seems to me that all the new singles released from the record so far are quite accessible and melodic. Is that a theme throughout the album?

TIA: Yeah, this one is definitely poppier on the whole.

O: Lyrically, your songs often remind me of the comix writer Harvey Pekar. He had a comic strip where he looks in the mirror and thinks, “That’s a reliable disappointment”. His work was often about how the familiar is comforting, even if the familiar is not all that great. What do you think of that comparison?

TIA: I’ve never read any Harvey Pekar, so I’m not really sure what to think. Glad you’re paying attention to them, though!

O: As you know, Chris Cornell recently passed away. How did you react to the news? Was he someone who would have influenced the band in any way?

TIA: We were all pretty bummed. I mean, the circumstances of his death would have been completely heartbreaking regardless of who he was, but we’ve always had a soft spot for his stuff. We were driving to a show shortly after the news broke and listened to a bunch of the Soundgarden and Audioslave stuff, really powerful and well written and a LOT weirder than I remember. Not sure if I’d count him as a direct influence, but I’m sure it’s somewhere in there.

O: I really enjoyed the first single from the new album ‘Snitch Jacket’. What is a ‘snitch jacket’?

TIA: A snitch jacket is a reputation for being an informant.

O: There’s been some awesome albums released so far this year. What is your favourite album so far this year? Why?

TIA: I’ve been really into the new Big Thief. I don’t really have the words to do it justice, but it’s really really marrow-quiveringly good.

O: Where do you go from here?

TIA: I don’t know, tomorrow I go to work.

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