Aaron Short is best known as the keyboard player of New Zealand / LA-based synthpop band The Naked and Famous; since making it big with them, Short has been gestating a project of his own. Space Above—made up of Short, Sam McCarthy of BOYBOY and Maddie North of So Below—is set to release Still tomorrow. The spacey debut is as much a languid, breathy whisper as it is a proclamation, a band carving out a relaxed space for themselves amidst sharp synths and sparse production. Regardless, it'll leave you in a catatonic, near-meditative state.
Currently on tour in France, Popdust caught up with Short via email to talk about his side project's debut, how he's used his time with The Naked and Famous to craft Space Above's sound, and why he christened it "space tech."
What are you doing all the way in France?
Currently out on tour with The Naked And Famous. We had a new record drop in October last year, so that has us right in the middle of a tour cycle currently. Nice to be out exploring the world!
Still more than lives up to it's name. Tell me about the creation of the record's subdued, ambient sound.
It came about just after the end of the last Naked And Famous tour cycle. The band was left a little bit broken, and it was time to explore and find some well-needed calm. I began writing with a long time New Zealand friend and roommate of mine, Sam McCarthy from BOYBOY. We both have a shared love for the deeper electronic cuts, and Sam is an incredible songwriter / vocalist, so we were on the same wavelength very quickly.
Has your time with The Naked and Famous leaked into the work you're doing for this project?
Space Above was created using all the skills I've learnt over the past decade with TNAF, but I'm using all those skills in a very different way. Collaborating with others also causes worlds to crash and collide in a fantastic way.
There's so much more going on here outside of electronic; how would you describe Space Above's sound?
I made it's genre on SoundCloud #SpaceTech when I first posted a couple of songs hoping I'd start a world wide phenomenon, but it's yet to happen. The main worlds the project pulls from would be ambient / techno / alt pop.
What mood do you hope Space Above's music creates for its listeners?
To me, the music evokes certain feelings of being very present, that's what I loved about working on it. Whether these moments may be light and weightless or dark and aggressive, you kinda have to surrender and go with it.
Will you be playing any music from this new project when The Naked and Famous tours with Blink-182?
I wish! As much as I'd love to take a 20k capacity arena of Blink fans down a dark little techno hole, it might not be the place to try the new material. [Laugh]
Does a theme or anything in particular run through the music on the record?
In context with what I was speaking of about the mood of the record, there are definitely themes running through the album of surrendering to things you have no control over. It's something both Sam and Maddie captured so well in the lyrics they wrote.
Where do you hope to take this project in the near future?
Album release is on Feb 17, and we just released a new music video for our last single "Fall Through." I would love to look at adapting some of the music to fit a short film / movie score formatl, as I think a lot of the mood and sound design in the songs is very cinematic.