Meet Astara: The Exciting Talent Taking Electronic Musi….
Astara is a talent on the rise within the Electronic Music realm; as he continues to impress genre fans with a unique signature sound, presenting a style that blends between vocal-driven Deep House and the elements of Melodic Techno, Astara is no doubt one to keep an eye on. With such an exciting future ahead, we are thrilled to have this talented Producer joining us this week to share more about his journey into music, introducing us to his ever-passionate world of creativity.
Hi Astara, how are you?
Hi! I’m doing great. Just getting back to the studio after spending Thanksgiving with family. Excited to close out this year with a few more studio sessions as we reach the holidays!
Can you start by telling us more about yourself? Where are you from, what do you do?
I’m a Producer, Sound Designer, and DJ. I specialize in vocal-driven House music. You’ll find most of my music in the lane of Melodic Techno and modern Deep House, but I’m drawn to anything with a strong hook and melody. I’m always interested in dipping my toes into new waters and experimenting with other genres as well!
I was born in North Carolina and grew up mainly in New York, which is where my project found its genesis. Now, I’m based in Nashville, which I’ve found to be one of the best places for music in the world: it’s a city brimming with talent, particularly vocalists and session musicians.
When did you initially discover your passion for music? Can you remember your first musical memory?
This is always a tough question – I think the earliest musical experiences we recall are rarely concrete memories, they’re more like recollections of a dream: hard to pin down, yet subtly affecting our sense of musical identity. The first formative experiences I recall were listening to World Music soundtracks: Celtic Music, American Bluegrass with searing fiddle and banjo licks—written deep within the Appalachian mountains—and other American Folk records from early groups like the Carter family. These influences made me aware of a very broad bandwidth of musical expression from an early age. As a result, I find myself drawn to music that incorporates exotic elements and instruments—at least when I’m listening!
How would you describe your sound and style?
As much as we’d like to believe there’s a formula to music, in my mind, there is no such thing. Some people are drawn to a song by the quality of the melody—the lyrics may not matter to them. We see this trend commonly with foreign consumption of American and English music. To foreign audiences, what the singer is saying may be incomprehensible, but the feeling and the emotion are certainly there, and that’s what engages them.
On the other hand, you have artists like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt who place lyrical meaning and narrative above all else. In my case, I strive to strike a balance between these two. My sound is designed to give the listener a hook that will connect with them on an emotional and visceral level, and a lyric that engages the intellect of the mind. If I can do both, then I feel like it’s mission accomplished!
What has been your biggest success so far in your career?
I think success is something everyone will define differently, but I don’t say that as a cop-out. It’s easy to jump to accolades, streaming numbers, or external metrics, but I view my success as my ability to honestly tell a story to my listeners. I’ve always felt that the best songs are written about real experiences and true emotions, and it takes a lot of searching to find a way to do that without compromising or distorting your vision.
For me, this has been a gradual process of unfoldment, and I feel like I’m really hitting my stride heading into 2024 with the quality of songs I’m writing and the point of view they share. So, for me, finding a way to share my music in a pure and unadulterated way has been my greatest success. But as we know, you never simply arrive at a place like this—it’s a constant battle to keep yourself at the bleeding edge of your work and to ground yourself from a place of sincerity.
Can you tell us about your inspirations? Are there any particular artists that have been particularly influential to you?
This is a great question, and it can be answered in so many ways. Dance music originated as a genre for “misfits” and people who weren’t accepted by mainstream culture—as such, the music was written by people who had a real passion for free expression and musical experimentation. They were in it for the art rather than the commercial aspects of the music.
So, when I look at my influences in the genre, I go back to people who carved a path in this subculture when it was supported by these “fringe” fans—long before Dance music became the billion-dollar industry it is today. Chiefly, I’d point to Sasha, Richie Hawtin, Deep Dish, Chicane, and Todd Terry as my foremost influences. These are guys who DJ and produce records for the pure love of the genre, and you get the sense that their passion is such that they’d play these shows for free. And of course, these guys would trace their influences to even earlier artists whom I also greatly admire, such as Chicago’s Frankie Knuckles, Derrick Carter, Kraftwerk, and Jeff Mills. As you see, there are simply too many brilliant artists to mention!
Which of your tracks are you most proud of and why?
I have an unreleased song called “Walk Through Fire” which I have just finalized! I hope to release it in early 2024, and I am working on a date for that as we speak. This is my favorite song I have written so far because it marries a strong vocal melody and lyric with what (in my mind) is a really catchy Melodic Techno production. I have really admired the work that Innellea, Argy, and Tale of Us have been putting forth lately, and I feel like this new record of mine has a bit of that dark melodic flare—but it feels truly personal in the overall style and narrative. I’m excited to share it with you soon!
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself that might surprise fans?
Sure! Here’s something that may surprise your readers.
My background is in film production and audio pre and post. Translated for normal people: I spent many years behind the camera and behind the scenes. So, while I most enjoy producing records and performing for my project, on a personal level, I really enjoy meeting and talking to creatives who wear different hats all across the music and film space. This is because I am interested in understanding how creative people think and what draws them to their work, and so I enjoy flipping the script and interviewing other people in the music space—whether they’re a Front of House Engineer or a VJ.
I am very curious about what makes these artists tick. This curiosity was probably borne out of my experiences during my college days when I spent a lot of time doing sound on set for film and media projects, as well as live press coverage and interviews at music festivals such as Spring Awakening and North Coast Music Festival. These experiences opened my eyes to the diverse roles that creatives play in this industry and the myriad perspectives these individuals bring to the fore. To this day, I continue to enjoy the opportunity to engage in conversations with my peers, delving into their creative methods and gaining insight into their particular processes!
What would you say makes you stand out within Electronic Music? What makes you unique from other DJs/Producers?
What sets me apart within the realm of Electronic Music is my commitment to authentic storytelling and original songwriting. These commitments aren’t just principles I talk about; they are the guiding force behind my music. As I mentioned earlier, I firmly believe in anchoring my songwriting in real experiences and true emotions. In today’s music landscape, it can be tempting to tailor your records to what you perceive to be the ‘sound of now’ or record a cover of a popular 2000s or 90s hit and drop a trendy instrumental behind it. However, I hold myself to a higher standard as an artist because I owe it to my listeners.
If I cover a song, I try to breathe new life into the music, infusing it with the emotions I feel from the original, brought to life in my composition. Likewise, when I create an original song, it’s not just about composing a catchy melody. It’s about delivering something that can genuinely resonate with the listener.
These beliefs are at the core of what makes my music project truly distinctive in my opinion, and by upholding them, I think I offer something that stands out.
What are hoping to achieve next, do you have any specific goals in mind for the next year?
Great question! I have to start with the songwriting: I feel like I have hit my stride in terms of producing songs that have the sound I’ve been going for, and the lyrics I’ve been writing are coming from a genuine place. My goal for 2024 is simply to share more songs with my listeners. And I will continue to work to inspire and connect with people through my art—whether it’s through singles or live shows. It’s the greatest gift to work in a creative field. I’m just thankful to all of those who have supported me with my music, and I am excited and ready to deliver for them in 2024!
As we close our conversation with Astara, we thank him for taking the time to speak with us and for sharing an insight into his musical journey so far; with such a passionate determination to carve out a unique way within Electronic Music, one thing is for sure, Astara is on a trajectory to reach more exciting milestones soon. So, be sure to follow Astara across social media to stay up-to-date with his upcoming releases and projects.