Interview with Asta

During Pyramid Rock Festival over the New Year, we managed to catch up with a host of bands including one of Australia’s hottest new starlets, Asta Binnie and her partner in crime/producer Cal Young. 


When you first found out you had won Triple J Unearthed High, can you describe how you felt?

Asta: It was a weird feeling, it was like excitement and emotion like I wanted to cry but I wasn’t crying. I was so happy and excited and just really joyous.

Cal: You were jumping up and down quite a bit.

Asta: Yeah I was screaming!

Cal: I was the one that cried actually. I’ve never won something big so the tears just came out!


Can you believe how quickly your win and everything that’s happened in past few months has come about?

 Asta: It has, it’s just a complete blur I think because it’s just like being chucked in the deep end. I’m not just getting up and singing I’m organising everything else as well, as an upcoming artist. It’s very intense and it’s crazy how a competition can turn your whole life around. I’m so grateful and in a way my dreams are coming true, it’s what I’ve always wanted. I remember being at festivals watching someone up on stage and I’m like ‘I want to be that person.’


Has it been hard to adjust so quickly to, basically celebrity status?

 Asta: No not really, I’m just really cool with it I guess. I mean I’ve always been a bit out there with what I wear, always throughout schooling I would always be ‘that girl’ who always dresses different so I’ve always been like that but it’s fun, it’s really nice. I love when people come up to me and say “I love your music” it’s so good, it’s such a good feeling.


What’s been your favourite memory on your music journey so far?

 Asta: I think it’s just that moment leading up before a show which is so stressful but when you get up on stage it’s that moment of being really unstable, like at the Soundscape festival in Hobart I nearly fell over halfway through the set I was just in this other world and I’m like “what is going on!”

Cal: Like a tension release feeling

Asta: Yeah, it was so weird. It’s just epic, it’s like magical and addictive like, when am I playing next!

Cal: Oh the set’s over, damn!

Asta: I know! It goes so fast being on stage.


Who’s the most amazing artist/band you’ve met so far?

 Cal: Missy

Asta: Yeah, Missy’s gorgeous but I keep thinking of Boy & Bear, that time I met Boy & Bear, that was when you were playing.

Cal: Yeah I was playing at Breath of Life and I gave you a ticket.

Asta: Yeah, that’s where we first met! We went up to this festival and Boy & Bear were just sitting out there, having some dinner and they’re like “take a seat” and I just sat down and I don’t know where you were.

Cal: I was driving home.

Asta: Yeah, you left so I stayed at the festival and I’m like “might as well live it up!” So I sat down, they were so lovely. Just their outlook on life was so cool, they’re so peaceful and beautiful people. So whenever I listen to their music now I’m just like “ahh, I’ve met these guys!”


What’s shocked you the most so far? (Fans, reactions etc.)

 Asta: What’s shocked me is feeling like I’m actually in an industry, I’m not just a person going to university. Slowly I feel it, I’m getting into the industry and there’s a lot of people that want in, sending me emails and stuff that’s been really intense but it’s died down now but when I first won the competition that came as a shock and you realise that not everyone is really genuine because I thought “Oh everyone’s so lovely and nice” but when you have to grow up and when you have to take responsibility to have to talk and deal with people you need to have a lot of good social skills and that’s kind of shocked me.


Are you thinking of going to university at some point?

 Asta: I want to have a crack at it, but I’ll give my music a go for a year

Cal: A year of fun, as you said

Asta: Yeah, I’ll do some festival shows, get a good feel for it because it’s all so new to me and if it’s going well after a year I’ll go to uni and study music or events management.


Who’s your biggest music inspiration?

 Asta: I have a few different ones, I love Annie Lennox she’s really cool and as a child I grew up listening to her and I just love strong females, like dominant female vocals. Kimbra has crept up on me as well, she’s really cool and I love Lykke Li as well, anyone else?

Cal: Sarah Blasko, Cat Power.

Asta: Yeah, Cat Power’s really good.


What was the first album you ever bought?

 Cal: Scandal’us wasn’t it? From Popstars. You had their CD didn’t you?

Asta: Yeah… that was very early days. I remember seeing my first show and I was on my dad’s shoulders going “wow, amazing!” But I think the first CD I ever bought was maybe The Veronicas or Hilary Duff, I’m not sure, one of those. I remember those days in the country like jamming in my music room with a microphone just listening on the CD player, looking in the mirror. We all went through that stage.

Cal: Yep. So did I.


Did you ever think you make it this far in the music industry?

 Asta: I do like to set out things, I think that if you put energy into something it will eventually happen. Ever since I was a kid I just loved performing, I was always into dancing and acting and singing. I have big goals, I want to go all the way.


What’s it like having travelled around Australia compared to usually residing in small Hobart?

 Asta: It’s exciting, I really love just observing and seeing different people, you can’t just grow up in your own state and think that everyone’s like that, it’s really cool to meet people and just experience different culture. But I always think of home whenever I go away I’m like “awww Tassie.” So I’m pretty lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful city.


Who’s an artist you would love to collaborate with and why?

Asta: Well I just met Illy and we may be doing something so but I don’t know really, I’ve never really been in that situation except for us (Cal and Asta) collaborating. I don’t know if it would be a female artist or another instrumentalist.


Do you think you’ve settled into the music lifestyle easily?

 Asta: I think today I’ve realised this is what it’s going to be like, it’s really full on and we’re only playing a half an hour set.

Cal: Waiting, waiting.

Asta: Yeah, I know! You just want to get up and play! But I’m loving it so far, I think it’s just a matter of getting more people onboard the team like “you can do this, you can do this.”


What will you be getting up to in 2013?

Asta: Just similar to this, do a few summer festivals and just work on an album I just want that out! I skipped the whole EP idea because I just thought it would be a waste of energy to put that out and do a whole album as well. The digital sales are going so well, just putting up one single it just goes off.

Cal: We’re going to do another single though.

Asta: Yeah, we’re releasing a new single in early February and that’ll be excited and leave people happy since it’s died down a bit now.

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