Post-Punk, New Wave band Astari Nite recently released a single called “The Girl Who Tried” on Cleopatra Records. The track is an instant flashback in time, to the late 80’s, early 90’s dark and goth clubs of London and New York. Formed in 2008 after years of internalized ideas and melodies, the band quickly became the referents of Post punk and New Wave in Florida.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
My childhood altar boy years were lived in New York. As for now my beautiful home is located in Miami Beach.
Introduce us to your band members:
Myself and Illia Tulloch (drums) are the remaining founding members of Astari Nite. Howard Melnick is our guitar player and Monch Sallons performs on Bass guitar. Occasionally a dear friend of Illia and I, Danny AE will joins us on Keyboards.
How did the band form and members meet?
Illia and I met at a party several years ago. I recall discussing briefly the idea of forming a band together, and so we did. Howard who was most memorable for his leadership on guitar in a band called Fashionista, and he had exactly what Astari Nite needed. Monch Sallons is the bassist that everyone wanted and it just seemed logical that he played for us. So after several line-up changes we found comfort in the support that Howard and Monch have added to the band, they both understand what we are trying to accomplish and they execute the part very well.
What does music mean to you?
Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Any song that you hear can be related to in some strange way. I to this day am blown away by how a song can make you happy or even bring tears to one’s eyes. Now if only I can master the playlist in my dreams, I might be able to sleep more soundly in the night.
How would you describe the music scene in Florida?
As for the Gothic, post-punk, New-wave scene in Florida. We have several places, publications and events that keep most a bit sane. There is the Fetish Factory in Broward, The Kitchen Club that is held at the legendary Churchill’s, and MASS are events that many in South Fl. attend. Orlando has Memento Mori and Uberbahn, and lastly Ybor City in Tampa has an amazing venue called The Castle which Astari Nite had the privilege of performing at. Communion after Dark provide their weekly podcast from the area and also host events occasionally. Too Much Love magazine holds court to useful information actually worth reading in South Miami. The scene is alive however it is a bit spread a part.
You have a classic sound from vocals to music soundscapes, who are some of your musical icons?
Personally speaking I was always fascinated by the voices of Siouxsie Sioux (below), Robert Smith, Peter Murphy, Hope Sandoval and Brian Molko. As for Astari Nite’s musical influence, it ranges from New-wave, Post-punk, and Gothic Rock. The four of us have similar flavors in music though we’ve been known to stray from time to time. Bands like New order, The Cure, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode and Bauhaus have taught us quite a few lessons in our songwriting process.
Congrats on your new EP ‘Dreams Of Majesty’, I see there an upcoming tour in the works. How excited is the band to play the Gothic Dark Wave Festival in France?
I think of this performance as a wonderful way to say thank you to many people in France who have supported Astari Nite for a bit of time now. Our intention during the festival is to meet anyone and everyone who would like to chat or simply say hello. Needless to say we are very pleased to be a part of the first Gothic Dark Wave festival held at the Chateau de Tilloloy.
You’ve shared the stage with Peter Murphy, The Psychedelic Furs, She Wants Revenge, Cold Cave, VOWWS, Modern English, and Andy Rourke of The Smiths. I’m happy to say we’ve featured 2 of these bands in Dark Beauty. Which of these shows stood out to you and why?
As I am happy to have performed with all of these brilliant artists, it is Peter Murphy that holds a special place deep inside of my heart. He and his discography is something that I have always been very fond of. Watching him sing tracks such as “Cuts You Up”, “I’ll Fall With Your Knife” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is unforgettable and he will always inspire me. As for my next choice, I believe it was a day or two after ASTARI NITE played Wave Gottik Treffen in 2015 we found ourselves back home as support for the Psychedelic Furs in Fort Lauderdale at the Culture Room. I found the night to be emotional and very overwhelming. Many where in attendance and the reception made us feel as if we had a clue of what we were doing on stage. I had no idea that people knew the words to our songs. I hope to never forget these memories.
The big question, how was the show opening for the Damned and share some highlights:
The Damned is an iconic band who many have loved for many years and we were invited to support them at their Fort Lauderdale performance earlier this year. Music as we all know is the soundtrack to our lives, so during our sound check seeing Captain Sensible enjoying a track reminded me of listening to The Damned during my skateboard years as a boy. I felt joy and confirmed with myself that anything is possible in this life.
What’s in your iPod or Playlist?
Bestial Mouths, Nine Inch Nails, Sci-Fi Affair, Mazzy Star and Tori Amos are getting me through my days and nights as of recent.
What is your ultimate goal as a band?
It took me sometime to understand that there are people in this world that relate to what I am actually speaking about in my songs. A few years back I received a message from a girl in Paris who went on to tell me that our track “Astrid” helped her leave an abusive boyfriend at the time. As you can see, my goal has been achieved. Now I can only hope to help someone else or perhaps make someone smile a bit brighter.
What’s next for Astari Nite?
We have several shows scheduled for the month of September in support of the “Dreams of Majesty” EP, One of which we will be performing again with the legendary “She Wants Revenge”. Shortly after we will begin tracking our next EP with the hopes of an early 2018 release. We find ourselves traveling to the U.K. at the beginning of February which makes for a perfect start of the New Year.
September 23rd – Respectable Street 30th Anniversary with She Wants Revenge
September 30th – Jolt Radio Anniversary at Gramps, Miami
October 21st – Respectable Street, West Palm Beach. With Lords Of Acid, Combichrist, Christian Death and more
November 25th – Tumbas Eternas Producciones VI Anniversary, Lima, Peru
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
I can surely tell you what I think of when I hear the words “Dark Beauty”. What comes to mind is having Halloween and Christmas anytime of the year that pleases you. It is telling someone how beautiful they are just to see them smile. It is anything and everything you wish it to be.
Photo credits Charlie Tonelli, Dinro Rio, Sandy Holmes and Peter Pontone