Band of the Week: Artificial Astronaut

Local hard rock group will play first-ever live show on November 11 at the Rialto Theatre

click to enlarge Artificial Astronaut. - Courtesy of Artificial Astronaut
Courtesy of Artificial Astronaut
Artificial Astronaut.
MEET THE BAND: Ian Kolarovsky (vocals/keyboards), Michael Socrates (guitar/electronics/keyboards), Matthew Socrates (drums), Fred Winkler (bass),
Cody Heichel (guitar)

A PANDEMIC PROJECT: Both Mike Socrates and singer Ian Kolarovsky hail from Wayne County and played in a '90s cover band prior to forming Artificial Astronaut. But while covering tunes by other acts, they still managed to find time to write some original material, and by 2020, they had written a slew of original tunes and started recording them. “The first song was 'Ghost,' and we liked how it came out and wanted to keep going in that direction,” says Michael Socrates, who counts Tool, Bjork and Stabbing Westward among his influences. “I like industrial music from the late ‘90s and early 2000s and even stuff coming out now. Industrial music in general has been a guiding light.”

A QUICK START: The group has released two albums in the span of the last two years, a remarkable feat. “We’re just bored dads, and we needed something to do at night beside watch TV," says Socrates with a laugh. "We built studios in our basement and traded files because we’re dads and can’t really jam in the basement together all the time.” Kolarovsky built a vocal booth in his basement and would send files to Socrates. "It was all tracked and engineered in our basements," says Socrates.

FINDING THE CURE: One of the band’s standout tracks is a cover of the Cure tune “Burn.” The band makes an edgy song even edgier with thick bass riffs and shimmering synths. “It’s one of those things where we have a group chat, and we talked about how that song is hands-down one of the best songs ever written and has stood the test of time,” says Socrates. "We demoed it, and once we got going, we decided it sounded pretty cool. It was a no-brainer.”

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: “The Flow State” sounds like a cross between Tool and Incubus as it pairs propulsive drums and heavy guitars with softer vocals. “I keep a list of cool phrases, and I’ll pick something from there and do a demo,” Socrates says when asked about the track. “I send them over and Ian writes lyrics around the riffs.” The upcoming show at the Rialto Theatre will be the band’s first-ever live performance, and Socrates says the group is excited to make its debut. “We expect it to be a boosted step-up from the recordings,” he says of the performance. “We sound really tight and polished. We want to do the music justice. We didn’t spend all this time playing in our basements to suck on stage. We want [the concert] to sound big and loud.”


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Artificial Astronaut performs with Jeff Klemm & the Letters and Indigo Lake at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Rialto Theatre in Akron.
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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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