Space Kadet Stands Ready for Blast Off
Words by Jason Myers (Memorandum Media)
Atlanta live-tronica act Space Kadet wants you to know that COVID-19 isn’t slowing them down. In fact, the funky quartet have shown that, even in such uncertain times in the music world, they can be just as productive and creative as ever. Fresh off the release of their new EP, Human Being, the band is brimming with energy. MusicMarauders recently sat down with the group to chat about the EP and what it’s been like navigating the music world during COVID-19...
Jason Myers: Thanks a bunch for doing this interview guys! Let’s start with a quick introduction. Can you give a brief history of Space Kadet that includes a description of your sound?
Rohan: Space Kadet started as a 5 piece band in Alex and I’s hometown of Auburn, AL in early ‘15. Eventually Alex started making more moves to Atlanta around 2017 and Thomas joined the band in late 2017. From then on, we took this project very seriously and treated it like our baby. Not that we didn’t treat it that way before, we just knew that we needed to take further steps to make this project blossom. We started hitting the road much more for tours and festivals and released our first EP later that year. Our sound has evolved a long way since then and we dropped our first album last year and our second EP a few months ago. I would consider our sound instrumental electronic music with a psychedelic funk, drum and bass, hip hop and dub influence with a progressive rock twist. We have songs where we focus heavy on improv and we have songs that are tight knit electronic compositions.
JM: Is there any specific meaning behind the name Space Kadet?
Alex: It started out as a joke name in our friend group for when we would zone out or go into a wild tangent about something. But it slowly started to become a more exploratory term, like taking an idea into new unexplored territory. I like to think that we keep that in mind while we create new songs or distort old ideas and improvisations
JM: Can you guys give us a breakdown of your equipment?
Alex: Currently for my Bass I usually use a fender Jazz 5 going into an Eden Navigator Pre-amp and out an Agular 4x12 cabinet. Bass synth consists of a Moog Subfatty with a dry signal to the board and a line to my amp for a thicker sound for myself on stage. I use ableton Live 10 currently and control it with an APC40 MKII as well as a few other drum pads for glitch effects. I also run a small Modular rig through a multi-FX pedal for wild live electronic improvs.
Rohan: I endorse SJC drums and Bosphorus cymbals. I have a turquoise pearl custom SJC drum kit with gold rims (10’, 12’, 14’, 16’ toms, 20’ kick, 10 and 14’ snares). Bosphorus antique and gold series cymbals + Yamaha DTX electronic drum pad.
Thomas: I use an array of Marshall and orange amplifiers with some choice effects from earthquaker devices, MXR, Line 6 and some other brands. My favorite guitar to play is definitely my Gibson es-335 however, I love Ibanez guitars and like to travel with an Epiphone Les Paul.
JM: Let’s talk about your newest EP, Human Being. What was the writing/recording process like for this disk? What was it like releasing new music in what has been a rather turbulent year for the music industry?
Rohan: The process of recording this EP was more hands on than on our last couple of records. Usually either Bambi and I would produce a track in ableton and then bring it to the table for us to jam out on and for Thomas to get his licks down during practice and then expand the tracks from there. For this, everyone was involved in the production aspect of things and I feel that this showcases a more organic, instrumental side of our music. The track "Extempore" is basically a modular improv, I also played tablas (Indian hand percussion) on this one. "Human Being" part 1 and 2 was initially one song but we had to split them into two tracks because it was 12 minutes long. We tracked all the music at Prana recording studios in Atlanta with our good friends Will and Andy, they also mixed down the tracks and then Anthony from Papadosio mastered the tracks. It was my favorite recording process to date.
JM: How have you guys adapted as a band to the challenges presented by COVID-19? How have you stayed productive as musicians?
Rohan: I feel that we’ve all been productive in different ways even though we live in different states. We all live two hours away from each other though so we make it a point to get up at least once a month to jam and work on music here at our studio in Atlanta. I’ve been producing a lot of new tunes myself and I have started a producer side project called ROHAN SOLO that I’m excited about.
Alex: It has been interesting, it's given us a good time to better ourselves and our individual craft, and thankfully I’ve been able to put more into my side project Bambi - let me figure out how I can bring more intricate and cohesive ideas to the table. The hardest part is staying with it and keeping the momentum.
JM: If Space Kadet could play any music venue in the world, what would it be and why?
Rohan: Red Rocks is an obvious pick but also Valhalla in Sweden, an amazing outdoor quarry amphitheater. Those are major goals, though. I’ll start with Red Rocks.
Alex: Red Rocks and The Gorge. Those two are bucket list status and to play where some of my favorite bands have played would be a dream come true.
JM: What have you guys been listening to lately? Can each of you suggest an album to the masses?
Alex: The new Tom Misch X Yussef Dayes "What kinda Music" is fire.
Thomas: Lots of roots reggae bands. Early Outkast records especially chopped and screwed versions, and liquid dnb.
Rohan: I've been listening to lots of Dnb; Upgrade, LTJ Bukem, Netsky as well as some future funk stuff like Griz, Manic Focus and The Floozies. An album I would recommend is 3 by Netsky.
JM: Any final words you’d like to leave us with?
Rohan: You can expect lots of music from us in the coming weeks/months. We are already starting to book some cool shows for next year too, so please everyone, wear your mask when you go out in public, let's do our part to play it safe and bring live music back. The music industry is hurting worse than ever right now and we must do our part to help bring live music back.
The Human Being EP is available to stream HERE.