Exclusive: ASTR on Pornhub and their Dark Pop VCR Summer

Deep in the bowels of the Lower East Side, Zoe ASTR sits perched on her couch in an all-white end-of-the-90s Y2K ensemble. She is discussing her mom’s habit of buying meditation crystals wholesale while Adam ASTR, seated nearby in all-black, listens and nods along. The pair of musicians formerly known as Zoe Silverman and Adam Pallin have been in the music business for years, but are transcending their corporate ties and embracing untethered artistic creativity with their 90s-inspired alt-electronic group ASTR.

Fresh off a recently released single and video for their Darkchild-produced track ‘Activate Me’ and a wild performance at New York’s Governor’s Ball festival, Zoe and Adam are working on a new EP and trying to survive the summer heat without sweating to death. Milk Made’s Chris Thomas sat down with the pair before their photoshoot with Miyako Bellizzi to talk about their evolving sound, nostalgia for VCRs and cassette tapes, astrological influences, and the potential for a Pornhub collaboration.

You’ve been doing a lot of festivals this past year. How was Life is Beautiful? I’m from Las Vegas and I didn’t get to go. I’m pretty jealous I missed it.

Zoe: Vegaasss! That was my first time in Vegas and I have a real appreciation for it that I didn’t understand before and I’d heard the clichés but I mean, showmanship. They really believe in it. The show must go on and it’s theatre, darling.

Adam: I fucking hate Vegas but we were on the old side. It’s rundown. Some dude was pissing off his balcony as we were walking to the set. It’s got all this nice end-of-the-world shit.

Your new video for ‘Activate Me’ just came out. It’s set in Coney Island, right? I’ve actually never walked around in Coney Island.

Adam: Part of it was at Coney Island. We had wanted to do a New York(ish) video but not have recognizable New York but it was like the coldest day of the winter.

Zoe: I was in a windbreaker and I was crying because you couldn’t—the wind was blasting you. Adam was like, “how did you get so good at those fake tears?” I was like, it’s freezing what do you mean? This is real, baby. That was intense. I think for our next video we should get a girl to masturbate for the entire video. Really raunchy.

Adam: I just saw that last night at 2AM when I went to bed. It was on PornHub.

You could get sponsored by Pornhub for your next video.

Adam: Video premiere on Pornhub. Nobody’s done that before.

Were those your friends in there or were they models?

Zoe: It was our friends. Cameo girls! We put it together ourselves our budgets are pretty limited as new artists so it’s us doing everything. Adam actually directed the video with our friend Brett who we shot with in the desert during Life is Beautiful. The video was shot on VHS. It’s just an ode to 90s house New York.

Your musical style is very influenced by the 90s in your past work. In terms of the new EP, how would you describe your new sound?

Zoe: That’s the thing, when things get confounded they turn into something that they’re not supposed to be but I feel like this is the dark wave. In my head, it’s like a 90s dark pop wave of edgy pop music that didn’t just mesh in with absolutely everything else that was on the radio. There’s still going to be elements of nostalgia in it but it’s classic dark pop. Working with Darkchild on the ‘Activate Me’ record put that into perspective.

Is Darkchild working with you on the new album?

Zoe: He… I can’t say anything about anything right now but he’s influenced us and just having him as someone we can talk to really influences the sound. It’s still going to be underproduced pop.

That definitely aligns with your 90s sound. In terms of fashion, what kind of 90s style icons are your inspiration?

Zoe: Aaliyah, TLC, Destiny’s Child. Like, more and more Destiny’s Child. I feel like the millennium is approaching and I’m all about Y2K and the clothes. Putting the clothes together in the way that Beyoncé did—stapling fabrics on her. That’s inspiring to me. I’m trying to get sports bras to give to all my friends that are artists to draw on so I have original art to wear.

Adam: When you talk about 90s icons, I think Monica Lewinsky is going to sell her famous blue dress and so, if that’s on Ebay, we’ll definitely scoop that up.

That would be a serious look. Now, I heard you two met at a yoga studio. Would you ever do a yoga video with your music playing in the back that was released on VHS? That would be beautiful.

Zoe: Namaste. Welcome to ASTR’s class. We teach like 80s aerobics. That’s kind of how I move on stage so I start teaching step left or right like Jane Fonda shit.

Just set your music to it and only release it on VHS so people have to go buy a VHS player.

Zoe: That’s a fucking great idea. VHS only. We have to give you an adapter to actually watch it because nobody has it.

I’ve read that the name ASTR can apply to astrology. Are you into that?

Zoe: Well, Asteria in mythology was the goddess of the stars so yeah, of course astrology. I feel like the idea of the stars and space is something us humans don’t know a lot about but it represents potential and expansion. Phonetically it’s androgynous, which I liked. It means the stars. It’s fucking cool. I want everyone to be like the stars.

Before we go, this is my first summer in New York. What would you recommend?

Zoe: Go to Governor’s Ball to see us perform.

Adam: Go to Coney Island on a Saturday night. No joke, that’s when the freaks come out.

I now have my summer plan. Your next EP is tentatively slated for a July release. How many tracks will be on it?

Adam: Seventy tracks.

Zoe: Five to six.

Seventy tracks. Released exclusively on cassettes. Is there anything else the readers of Milk Made should know?

Adam: The casingle drops in two weeks.

ASTR photographed exclusively for Milk Made by Miyako Bellizzi.

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