05/03/2012 The Up-Turn Presents: A Conversation with Astronautica
The beat music scene isn’t exactly a female dominated scene. Considering how little gender should effect music (let alone instrumental beat music) it’s a bit strange to consider how few female producers and beat makers there are. The work of Edrina Martinez as Astronautica may first grab your attention for the fact alone that she is a she, however, it’s the quality of her music that is the real selling point. Steeped in the culture and music of the L.A. beat scene, Edrina has been releasing a steady stream of laid-back and intricate beats for a while now gaining a deservedly growing following. I got the chance to chat with Edrina about her influences, favorite color and being a girl in such a male heavy culture and the entire conversation can be read below…
PK: I was hoping you could talk about how you first got into making music, how did Astronautica come about?
Edrina: well the name stemmed from me wanting to be an astronaut as a kid… I figure if I’m not gonna actually become a literal one, I can still be one in another sense… ha! I played the piano and the guitar as a kid. I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was like 5, but my grandma put me in piano lessons first. Then in 5th grade, I started to really get into playing the guitar. I played for my school choir, but stopped playing in high school and my first year of college I didn’t play because I didn’t even bring a guitar up to San Francisco with me. Then when I moved back home a couple of years ago, I just got back into it.
PK: wow that’s all awesome, I feel like almost everyone I have ever interviewed started playing piano at a young age.
Edrina: yeah, same here! but I also know people who didn’t play as a kid, and can just pick up an instrument and play something that sounds good. But I think for me, having played as a kid, was beneficial because it stayed with me, even through the years where I took a break from it.
PK: for sure, what artists or bands did you grow up listening to?
Edrina: I have a young mom who was really into hip hop, so growing up I was always listening to it. The first song I ever learned how to sing was “Gin & Juice” by Snoop. I cried when Biggie died… I was like 6 lol. I’ve always really been into A Tribe Called Quest. I’m also half latina, so a lot of the time spent not listening to hip hop, I was surrounded by salsa, mariachis, and bossa nova.
PK: do you think being raised in that environment has influenced your sound?
Edrina: I think so… there are a lot of sounds that I pick up from that kind of music that I try to encompass, especially with hip hop and r&b from the 90s. But then again, there are days where I won’t listen to music just to clear my head, and have a clean slate to when it comes to producing something of my own sound
PK: definitely know where you’re coming from (blogger/hipster fatigue definitely takes over some days)
Edrina: haha yeah, srsly
PK: are there some contemporary artists that you think have directly inspired the kind of music you’re making today?
Edrina: yeah definitely… even though Charles Cooper isn’t here anymore, Telefon Tel Aviv really inspired me. Flying Lotus of course, J Dilla, Tokimonsta, Teebs, Thom Yorke, Missy Elliot! What Shlohmo is doing is really awesome too… the list goes on, I like seeing how artists work off each other. Another huge inspiration other than fellow musicians would be my friends who are also doing something they’re talented at and that they love.
PK: so living in California is probably great musically?
Edrina: oh hell yeah, there is so much going on, especially in the Los Angeles area… even if the music I make isn’t someone’s cup of tea, there are so many other music scenes out here. The west coast vibe is really dope though. To be completely honest, I feel like the constant warm weather totally has an effect on me when I need some inspiration. Aside from the weather, there are a ton of people you meet here who are into the same things as you. People you can connect with on some level, whether it be music, art, food, architecture, whatever, California is an awesome place to be.
PK: so I’m not sure it’s really even a question at all but obviously the beat world is pretty male dominated, what is it like being a girl in the scene?
Edrina: I’ve always kinda been into tomboyish things… I played basketball for a few years, and was always into camping and getting dirty when I was little… so being a girl in a male dominated scene doesn’t surprise me… it’s funny though, I like seeing people’s reactions when I tell them what I do. A lot of the time, it’s a conversation turner
PK: what are your plans with Astronautica in the next few months?
Edrina: well currently I am working on a remix for a UK artist. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say who, but I’ll be turning that in in a couple of days. I’m also working on a mixtape for a podcast on a blog called That’s Deck. I’m supposed to have a show at the Hip Kitty, in Claremont out here… they do a show called Beat Cinema which should be cool. I’ve had a few people wanting to collab and work on some side projects… as for myself, I am working on finishing a song… actually going to release it hopefully by the end of this week. Other than that I plan on playing more live sets, and just working on making more songs I guess
PK: what’s your favorite color?
Edrina: turquoise I like that question haha
PK: nice, if you could collaborate with any living or dead artist who would it be?
Edrina: Aaliyah, definitely… Chan Marshall, Thom Yorke, Billie Holiday, Tupac, Q-tip, Sasha Grey, Miles Davis, Astrud Gilberto, Art Tatum, Minnie Ripperton, would be cool to get some guitar tracks from Santana, Biggie, Nosaj Thing.. again, list goes on
PK: damn that’s quite the list for sure
Edrina: I know! I tried to keep it short
PK: anything else the good people on the internet should know about Astronautica?
Edrina: I’m going to Cal State Fullerton next semester! Majoring in Communications (emphasis in Broadcasting) so you all might see me as a newscaster someday haha. I have one tattoo, and a black cat named Spunky.
PK: awesome, if you had a unicorn what would you name it? and are there any shout outs to musicians or other things you want to give out?
Edrina: If I had a unicorn, I’d name it Moonshine Stardust and as far as shout outs… shout out to Bondax, reaaaally into your guys’ stuff. Astro Nautico, separated at birth? Let’s make some music? Hologram 2pac… you gave me the eeby jeebies… in a good way.