Cosmic Cocktails and Space Arcade: Q&A with One Ring Zero
by AMNH on
Escape the midwinter slump with a night out at the Museum. On Thursday, January 26, Cosmic Cocktails and Space Arcade will transform the Rose Center for Earth and Space into a party scene complete with hors d’oeuvres, open bar, indie arcade games provided by Babycastles, and exclusive after-hours access to the exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration. Throughout the night, One Ring Zero will play music from their album Planets, a tribute to the solar system. Below, band members Joshua Camp and Michael Hearst share the inside story behind the album.
Where do you find your musical inspiration?
Michael Hearst: I like to think of some of our projects as crash courses on specific subjects. For Planets, it began with the big news that the International Astronomical Union had demoted Pluto to the status of “dwarf planet.” We wrote a song about it, and had lots of fun performing it live. We then realized it had been just about 100 years since Holst had composed his song cycle The Planets. It seemed like it was time to musically revisit our solar system and come up with our own song cycle. Not to mention, our own geeky fascination with science and astronomy made it a perfect fit.
How did you choose each planet’s style of music?
Joshua Camp: Originally we had some clear ideas of how each planet should sound, but as we got more into the record as a whole, things started to progress more organically and many of the musical decisions were based on lyrics, where the track fit in the sequence of songs, and the general flow of the album.
In what ways does your album nod back to Holst’s Planets, and in what ways does it break the mold?
Hearst: We wanted our planetary suite to be entirely new, and our own. We do, however, give some nods. At the end of our “Mars” song, we sneak in Holst’s melody for “Mars, the Bringer of War.” Of course, we layer this with the actual NASA audio recording of the Phoenix probe making its descent onto the red planet—something which Holst didn’t exactly have access to. Ultimately, his compositions were based on astrology. He even starts with Earth and works his way out. Ours is much more inspired by astronomy. We start with an intro piece, and then head out from the sun. And even though our album is about half instrumental, the other half has lyrics, which by and large incorporate information about the planets.
Camp: Compared to our other work, this is a much more orchestral record for us. But mainly it’s the idea of a musical suite based on the planets of our solar system that nods back to Holst.
What are you looking forward to most about playing at the Museum?
Hearst: From the day we first decided to work on this album, we knew that we wanted to perform the project at planetariums, museums, and science centers. Performing at the American Museum of Natural History is a huge stamp of approval for us. If our music helps encourage people to have more of an interest in planetary science, and science in general, then we’ve really achieved something.