Meet Norway's Kid Astray and Listen to Their "Taking You With Me" EP
A Vogue model, a junior golf champ, and a piano prodigy walk into a bar…
It sounds like the start of a hackneyed bar joke, but an Italian Vogue model, junior golf champion, and piano prodigy really did come together to start a band (alongside three other friends). With their accomplished and very different backgrounds, Kid Astray—that's Benjamin Giørtz, Elizabeth Wu, Alex Meek, Even Steine, Håkon Carlin, and Jakob Bechmann—joined forces to make spry, synthy, indie-pop jams filtered through their own twenty-something realities. The story really started for the Norwegian sextet when they won a radio contest after writing and recording their track “The Mess” in six hours—no small feat for any band.
We’re excited to premiere Kid Astray’s second EP, Taking You With Me, above, in full. Pulling from a range of influences as varied as Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, hip-hop, and Foster the People (!), Kid Astray create instantly catchy dance-pop with hooks and harmonies reminiscent of St. Lucia's When The Night and NONONO's Pumpin Blood EP. With its accompanying remixes, the group's EP, is a dance party for your brain—as perfect a distraction as the summertime.
Check out the exclusive above and read our interview with Benjamin, Elizabeth, and Alex Meek who talk career changes, what it's like to have 5,000 teenagers shout your lyrics, and how to write and record a song in six hours.
Kid Astray: (L-R) Elizabeth Wu, Benjamin Giørtz, Alex Meek, Håkon Sageng Carlin, Jakob Bechmann Hansen, Even Steine.
Noisey: How did you guys go from having such crazy careers to being in Kid Astray? I know one of you was a Vogue model, one of you was a piano virtuoso and one of you was a professional golfer.
Elizabeth: Well, we met in high school and we just started playing together for fun. We just started playing covers like “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. We were just having fun with it. Last year, we submitted our single, “The Mess,” to a competition. Then it got picked up immediately and played on the radio. We just realized that our childhood dream could come true. It was crazy how fast everything went. Then we got a manager and a record deal. We kind of realized that this is what we wanted to do.
Nice. How did you guys write “The Mess” in six hours?
Benjamin: I don’t know. We just wrote it [laughs]. I had the chorus and Jacob, the drummer and I, just tried to finish the song. It just went very fast and easily.
Elizabeth: We had a deadline, so we had to finish it for the competition. So, we just had to whip something up. And it worked. I think we work really well through pressure.
Back to your original careers, do you still do anything of that nature?
Benjamin: I play golf still, and am in competitions.
Elizabeth :I still play classical piano in concerts with opera singers or myself.
Alex: I was the model. When it comes to the modeling thing, I haven’t been doing that too much. It’s gone a bit away in favor of Kid Astray.
How did you come up with Kid Astray as your band name?
Elizabeth: We had lyrics from a band that said, “I am astray playing my kite.” The drummer in our band was like “what does astray mean?” So, we looked it up, and then we put a “kid” in front of it. It sounded cool. The first name for the band was Made In China, but we realized we needed to change it. So, we brainstormed a lot of new names and then “astray” came.
Love how new words can be so helpful. So, is there a theme that resonates throughout this EP?
Elizabeth: Basically it’s one new track with a bunch of remixes. [The title song] is about if someone is trying to take you away from your troubles and worries; they can take you to a better place.
What’s a piece of advice you’d give someone if they had six hours to write a song?
Elizabeth: Don’t be too picky. You can never be 100% satisfied with something you make.
Benjamin: Nobody was really satisfied with the track, but we figured it out afterwards that it’s actually pretty cool.
Well, it won! What’s the craziest band experience you’ve ever had?
Benjamin: There are so many!
Elizabeth: We played this Norwegian festival last year and it’s one of the biggest festivals in the country. For me, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was like 5,000 crazy drunk teenagers shouting the lyrics back at you. It was super hot and the sun was crazy. So fun.
Benjamin: One time our guitarist tried to bring a really big knife on a plane, but it didn’t work [laughs].
Why did he try and do that?
Alex: We don’t know. He doesn’t know himself.
Benjamin: The story is that he didn’t check his backpack well enough.
So you guys are about to record your debut album in Manchester with Joe Cross who’s produced stuff with Hurts and The Courteeners. Is each song an individual story or is there one theme that will run throughout the record?
Elizabeth: It’s more like individual stories. It’s the world seen through 20-year-old eyes. Some relationship stuff. It’s our realities.
Alex: We’re not trying to sing about stuff we don’t know anything about.
What do you hope your listeners will get out of Kid Astray’s music?
Alex: We hope people relate to the situations that we’re talking about because we often try to leave a little room in the lyrics or in the stories so you can understand what we’re saying from your own point of view. So, that’s our real goal—to appeal to people in our own way.
Taking You With Me EP is released on 6/23 via Cosmos
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