A Chat With Terrence and Philip of Junior Astronomers

Terrence and Philip. Photo by Rob Benjamin.

Terrence and Philip. Photo by Rob Benjamin.
Terrence and Philip. Photo by Rob Benjamin.

Story by: Mike Rice

For the last few months, my buddy Jarrod and I have been working on getting a print zine together. Due to various real life things, that endeavor has not yet come to pass. This interview, which was conducted the first week of September, is the first feature story that we finished that was going to be in the first issue of the zine. Because the zine is not coming together as fast as we had hoped, the content will frankly be completely irrelevant this Friday.

Why Friday, you ask?

Because this Friday (10/24) is the sixth annual Terrence and Philip’s Birthday Show, which has grown to become one of the rowdiest parties in Charlotte. This interview was done while the band was in the early stages of booking this years festivities, and we talked a lot about it, among other things, and if I were to wait any longer to post this, the interview would have just been a waste of time.  So, though the medium of delivery is not what was originally intended, I give you… Terrence and Philip….

What’s new guys?

Philip: We’re in full swing right now man. We’re writing.

Terrence: We’re working on stuff. We just got back from AfroPunk Festival in New York City.

How was that?

T: It was cool. I didn’t see as much music as I wanted to, but I got to see what I wanted to see like D’Angelo, and Bad Brains, and Trash Talk. Nothing really bad happened. It was chill. You know how people go to festivals and they have complaints like ‘it was sandy as shit’, or, ‘it was hot as fuck’, I don’t know man it was pretty chill.

P: The line to bathroom was maybe the one thing.

T: Yeah, that wasn’t chill. The un-chill.

P: For me, Trash Talk and Sharon Jones owned the whole fest. Also, Ice-T’s monologue.

T: Yeah, Ice-T’s monologue was SUPER sexist. I was like, I can’t believe this, you’re going against the ONE ethos that you shouldn’t go against, and he was like BAM! There it is…sexism.

JA at AfroPunk. Photo by Rob Benjamin.

For those who might not know, what is the whole idea behind AfroPunk, and how is it different from other summer fests?

P: “The Other Black Experience”.

T: I think its just different because it means a little bit more than most festivals to people because…like people say Bonnaroo is a rite of passage, but this is actually something that means something to people that might feel like they never really belonged, like its this one place they go to feel like they do, and its different because its an actual event and experience, and not something you just go to take drugs for or something.

P:  I feel like that it was definitely the most musically harmonious group of people there.

So you guys are writing for a follow- up to a debut record, with a slight line-up change. Has the writing process been any different so far?

P: I think we’re just better musicians and we know what we want new material to sound like. And we don’t really have any kind of time constraints, so we can work more to combine the best parts of the first two EPs with the best parts of Dead Nostalgia. And Lee is a really good dancer, so that helps.

Any plans to have anything out soon?

P: Can you cryptically type “yes”?

Yes. What is coming up for sure?

T: We’re playing the Birthday Show, which is usually our biggest headlining show of the year.

Anything new we should expect from this year’s party?

T: It’s the first year that we are doing it at Neighborhood Theatre.

It’s booked for October 24th. And it’s just going to be bigger and better all around.

The Birthday Show just kind of started out as a party, but it’s grown into a landmark event that people look forward to every year now? What do you think it means to Charlotte these days?

P: It’s important to me and Terrence for obvious reasons. But I  think it’s a good opportunity to bring in good local bands and bring in younger bands who haven’t gotten that kind of exposure.

T: This is our sixth year, and its gotten bigger and bigger, and I think it shows you the power of consistency, and every time someone comes up to me and tells me that they look forward to it every year or that it’s the best show they go to all year, its just so cool.

P: I like that people plan weeks in advance for DD’s. That’s insane.

How could it get bigger?

P: Corporate sponsors!

Any ideas?

P: I don’t know what Monsanto is doing these days but that would be pretty tight.

T: If Drake and us could play a birthday show together that would be perfect! It’s a no brainer.

P: October’s Very Own!

I think he’ll probably see this so maybe we can work something out.

P: Probably.

What’s happening in the Charlotte/North Carolina scene that you guys are in to right now?

P: Its just cool that a lot more bands are getting coverage these days and are on more people’s radar. Like everything that Tiny Engines is doing. And bands like Late Bloomer and Young And In The Way are killing it right now. It’s just cool that bands like that are showing up more on the Internet and on bigger platforms.

Anything you wish was different?

T: Promotion is a big thing for me. Its almost as if bands assume people are going to come or not going to come to shows by default.  So to an outsider it can seem like not all the effort that could be made is made.

P: Also the walk-up traffic for shows in Charlotte isn’t quite what it could be. There is a huge disconnect between the Alive After Five crowd and the like 400 people in Plaza Midwood who go to shows. There needs to be some bridge that brings people to better and different shows.

T: I think it has a lot to do with people not knowing. There’s a large group of people who do things because its all that they know is going on. Like cats go to NoDa because that’s just what they do. It’s the same with anything in any other part of town. If people had a way of knowing that something new is happening, or if some band sounds good, and that there was going to be a good time happening instead of people just standing around, then I think they would go.

Do you guys think JA stands as some sort of catalyst for bridging this gap or making these things happen?

P: Hopefully. Music is for everyone and I think we can appeal to people who may not go to a bunch of indie rock shows.

T: When we were younger there was a lot of internal competition with other bands in town, but nowadays its beyond that because we on some level represent a whole town that is competing with every other place because we are only as strong as our scene. Especially with rock and roll music, because the more that’s happening, the more people are going to check here for stuff. Its kind of like how hip-hop is in Atlanta. There are all these rappers that are huge because before anything they were big in Atlanta, their hometown, and labels or whoever know that about them. It’s possible for us to be a bridge, but at the end of the day, for me, its about having a good time and making sure people come to our shows and have a good time and don’t feel alienated.

Anything else?

T: Eat local, drink local, party local, drink Four Loko.

P: Four Lokal.

Thanks guys.

The 6th annual T&P Birthday Show is this Friday night at Neighborhood Theatre with a bunch of other rad bands and its FREE! Flyer made by Winslow Drum and Garrett Herzfeld
The 6th annual T&P Birthday Show is this Friday night at Neighborhood Theatre with a bunch of other rad bands and its FREE! Flyer made by Winslow Drum and Garrett Herzfeld.

Submit a comment