Local progressive rock band ASTRA and musician-producer Rafter Roberts have been included in British music magazine Mojo #193 (on newsstands in the U.S. through December), a special-edition issue celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s 1979 album The Wall. The magazine comes with a CD of a rerecording of the entire album, with each song interpreted by a different band. ASTRA performs the Roger Waters–penned “Empty Spaces,” while Roberts recorded “Happiest Days of Our Lives.” ASTRA and Roberts are the first San Diego artists to be included on a Mojo compilation CD in the magazine’s 16-year history.
“Mojo contacted us and our label about this project they were working on,” said guitarist Richard Vaughn of ASTRA’s inclusion on the CD. “They asked if we’d be interested. They thought we’d be a good fit.”
ASTRA, which formed in 2006, is signed in England to British indie label Rise Above Records and in the U.S. to Metal Blade. They released their debut album, Weirding, on June 5.
ASTRA was allowed to choose the track it wanted to record for the Mojo album, with the recording costs picked up by Rise Above. The song was recorded at producer Mike Kamoo’s Earthling Studios in El Cajon. “A few of our original choices had already been taken by other groups. For instance, our label mates Diagonal swiped the track ‘Stop’ from under our feet,” said Vaughn.
Though ASTRA has built a fan base in the U.S., their biggest market is Europe. Vaughn isn’t surprised. “Our label is based in London,” he noted. “But we are very happy about the buzz we seem to be getting in Europe, as most of our musical influences — King Crimson to Black Sabbath — are from there.”