Crash Course: The Galaxy Electric
Once in a while the almighty Algorithm gets it right. The Galaxy Electric entered our orbit via one of the better known social platforms and they looked interesting – that look being retro-futurist with a capital R. Upon further investigation (checking out their Bandcamp) it turned out that their music more than matched that initial positive impression. And here they are to tell us more…
By way of an introduction could you start by telling us a bit about yourselves, who you are, where you are, how long you’ve been working together, how you came up with the name, musical background e.g. were you both in bands/ recording solo before etc?
Hello! We are Augustus & Jacqueline. Our band is The Galaxy Electric. It is inspired by retro-futurism, early electronic music pioneers who used magnetic tape & the “studio as the instrument” and surrealist approaches like automatic writing. This is a big part of why we choose to improvise and use analog sound sources and recording devices. There is something magical that happens with this approach. We’ve been testing it for almost 6 years now and keep getting more inspired by it.
We are based in the US, and our project started when we were living in Los Angeles. We’ve since moved quite a bit, but are still in the US for now.
Our musical backgrounds started almost in the womb, as we both come from musical families and music was a very important part of life. When we met back in the early 2000s, we were both songwriting, producing, performing live in various ways. But once we met, we pretty much exclusively worked together. It’s been over 15 years now and we are still enjoying the journey.
Musically, you rightly describe yourselves as retro-futurist, and it’s hard to think of an act currently that fits that description better. At a guess I would say your influences might be 50’s & 60’s Sci-fi, United States of America, Silver Apples, Radiophonic Workshop? Or was it later acts like Broadcast & Stereolab more so? Who else? There is also a lo-fi, minimalist full band element at times, particularly on first album ‘Everything is Light and Sound’, so maybe a bit of Young Marble Giants too?
You’ve pretty much nailed it! There is a through line from 50s Sci-Fi to Silver Apples to Stereolab that we enjoy following. But nestled in between all of this would be our specific journeys through musical influences. Augustus was very inspired by 90s Indie Electronic Music out of the UK, and even did some DJing back in those days. Finding out how these sounds and productions were being made is how he got introduced to Electronic Music Production. Jacqueline comes from a classical/theatre background with a passion for vocal jazz. The freedom she heard in those iconic artists’ approaches to standards (such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Keely Smith), is what drove her to start writing her own music and improvising. Together we bring these personal influences to the table as a backdrop to creating sci-fi sound journeys. The feeling of flying through space, picking up radio waves of old jazz standards or electronic beats from time gone by, and blending those musical bits with the sounds of the engine or a meteor shower, is what we imagine is happening in our songs.
Which album by another artist do you wish you had recorded yourselves?
For some reason we can only think of the 1990 album “World Clique” by Dee-Light featuring “Groove is in the Heart”- what a fun song to have as your legacy!! They were so cool.
Recently your music has been veering toward lengthier drone-based tracks, like the brilliantly hypnotic, 17-minute ‘Music for Teleportation’. Is that a direction you’re consciously moving more towards?
Yes, it is conscious and intentional. It is something we were developing during the past few years of isolation. There will be a more complete experience of this style coming soon (wink, wink) as we are currently moving on to a new “planet of sound” that is more of a blend of all the styles on our palette.
It’s obvious that you pay a lot of attention to your physical format releases & give a lot of thought to design & packaging (including a special limited edition glitter cassette with stickers provided for buyers to customise their own copy), is that something you have tried to do from the outset? And, given that you’ve released on vinyl, CD and cassette up to now, are there any plans for an album on MiniDisc or anything more obscure?
This has been very driven by our fans. We love all the formats and put a lot into them to create the best experience. But we never could have guessed that our fans really want us to go for it and give them really special releases. They inspire us to stay creative with everything we do. For Tomorrow Was Better Yesterday we actually did a small run of ¼” Reel to Reels. This was so much fun, and we have a backlog of requests for more of these tapes to be made. We always talk about minidisc too, but tape is our first love, then Vinyl of course! What we really love doing are these custom cassettes or tape loops that are filled with sounds from our studio. It’s like a custom sound painting, but you can splice it and use it however you want!
And on the question of albums, it seems as though you are constantly producing new music, but I think I’m right in saying that there hasn’t been a new album on physical release since Celestial Points in 2020. Is there anything in the pipeline?
The pipeline is overflowing with backlog! These years of isolation really took a toll on us and required us to examine things from new points of view. We’re really excited to put the finishing touches on our new album and share it with everyone. We hope VERY soon!
Ok, so finally, for anyone who is new to your music what 5 tracks would you pick by way of an introduction & that give a broad view of your musical output to date? A sort of Galaxy Electric By Numbers?
We actually have this playlist on Spotify (here) that acts as an Intro to our universe. But to list the 5, it would be “Tomorrow Was Better Yesterday,” “Temporal,” “Murder in the Garden,” “Stardust,” “Music for Teleportation.”
With that, and the comforting tone of the Star Trek teleportion sound effect, they are gone. At present the only way to get hold of the physical copies of their releases is via their Bandcamp page (link here). We’re hoping that they might become available here soon…