Audiofile: The science of Astronautalis

By Brayden Mann
Staff Writer

Minnesota’s hottest new rapper is breaking through the mainstream incorporating rap, folk, techno, and indie rock. His name is Astronautalis and he has a lot of people talking, including people from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and various local publications.

I had the opportunity to sit down with him on his life, newest album “This is Our Science,” and his recent success of the Billboard, Amazon, and iTunes charts. It’s very exciting, with near-constant touring, hanging and recording stuff with the Doomtree clan, and enjoying the Minnesota scene. This may come across as hectic going around the world so often, but when asked, he said “I’m out on the road all the time anyways, so it doesn’t even matter where home base is because home is out in a van… everything is distant, and that’s the beauty of my job. I don’t have to be anywhere.”

It’s the cornerstone of his success, the constant touring, seeing an almost unexpected—yet well deserving—commercial performance with 2011’s “This is Our Science.” “We were expecting to sell maybe 40 copies opening week, so we figured to make these little bracelets for the first 50 people who bought the album. So, when my manager calls me on the day of release saying to me ‘[Astronautalis], we sold 70 copies in the first hour, it was totally unexpected. Those bracelets we made can’t be found for sale anywhere in the western hemisphere.”

The album’s success marked the most commercially successful the musician has reached, hitting #43 on Billboard’s Heatseeker chart, as well as a number #9 spot on iTunes hip-hop chart. This was done entirely from word of mouth. With no advertisement from label Fake Four Inc.

Above anything else, it’s exciting to see his talent pay off. He has a wonderful chance to become the biggest emcee out of Minnesota since the Rhymesayers crew. Publications have taken notice, including Rolling Stone, Billboard, and a multitude of local publications. Local rap is doing well, and non-Rhymesayers MC’s signify the fleshing of the scene. With future projects such as the upcoming collaboration with P.O.S. on The Four Fists as well as future projects with Marijuana Deathsquad, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and a spot on the Minnesota Beatle Project in the works, side projects are the musician’s main focus as of now. It’s a good spot for him to fill. He’s charging his reserves before he makes his next exciting move.