When two unmatched music CVs collide, you get pop alchemy so pure and explosive, it’s nothing short of intergalactic.
Which is why the name Ashtar Command – a reference to a 1950s group of extraterrestrial believers — is appropriate for the collaboration between producer/DJ Chris Holmes and programmer/musician Ben Liesegang. For starters, they’re old friends with a sci-fi bond. They met during their stint at the University of Chicago, when Holmes hosted a radio show centered around the unexplainable; Big Foot, for example, or the Heavens Gate cult.
Separately, they eventually became music moguls in their own right. Holmes would produce for the likes of P.Diddy, Billy Corgan, Mandy Moore, and, in his most laudable cred, he was Paul McCartney’s opener during Coachella 2009. Meanwhile, Liesegang worked on Nine Inch Nails’ best known album The Downward Spiral before founding the band Filter, and touring with the likes of Ozzie Osbourne and The Smashing Pumpkins.
Between their own massive successes, Holmes and Liesegang found time to get together and drop some singles, as well as their short collection Love Songs In Advance of the Landing in 2008, and their EP Holding Out for Love in 2010. They landed music spots on The OC, Ugly Betty, and on ads for Nissan and Microsoft. Their official 2011 debut release, American Sunshine, is a triumph of complex, psychedelic dream tracks worthy of subwoofers on Mars. But a more earthly comparative reference might be the melodies of The Beatles, coupled with the effects-laden, electro art pop distance of Beck.
Photo by Ryan Rickett