ASTR makes music for everyone, "from babies nursing to the nursing home."

astr photo by jason sheldon
Zoe of ASTR at Voodoo 2014, by Jason Sheldon

When ASTR erupted onto the Carnival Stage at Voodoo  Saturday, the two-piece band managed to exude a presence and energy that filled up a stage big enough for twenty. Zoe was wearing little more than tight white pants and a red vinyl jacket from the eighties, and as she sang she whipped her long ponytail--and the crowd--into a frenzy.

Afterwards, Zoe and Adam were stoked that there were no technical glitches or wardrobe malfunctions in their set (apparently Zoe’s shirt often gives out). But more than anything else, they were excited by the diversity of the audience, including the elderly “grandma” in the front who knew the words to every song.  ASTR makes music for everyone, Adam explained, “from babies nursing to the nursing home.”

It isn’t hard to understand their broad appeal. The duo draws on a wide spectrum of influences from Kanye to Gwen Stefani to produce a nostalgic indie sound that borders on pop music--a genre they’re “open to,” Adam says. The two also come from disparate backgrounds; Zoe is a yoga teacher who suggests routines for her tour crew, and Adam is a high school dropout who spends his free time studying cosmology and quantum physics. He had never played the drums prior to ASTR, though he uses an MPD and small electronic drum kit to trigger samples in Ableton.

astr photo by andi rice Adam from ASTR at Voodoo 2014, by Andi Rice

He was attracted to production from a completely technical standpoint, unlike many other artists who approach electronic music from genres where they played instruments, and then apply that knowledge to a digital audio workstation. Adam’s atypical background has proven beneficial, though, especially when combined with Zoe’s eccentricity. It is their fusion of personality that gives the pair such an intoxicating chemistry and  made ASTR a highlight of Voodoo 2014.