Q

How science fiction helped Austra's Katie Stelmanis craft Future Politics

Toronto band Austra gear up for their third and most politically thematic album yet. Listen to them perform live and discuss the process behind writing this new record.
Austra's Katie Stelmanis chatted with Tom Power recently in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

Katie Stelmanis is terrified of the release date of her band Austra's new album, Future Politics. It's not the nerves of putting out her music though, that has Stelmanis concerned about Jan. 20; it's something much bigger: the inauguration of Donald Trump.

It's not something that Stelmanis could've ever predicted but it is an interesting collision. "I was kind of worried it wouldn't be something that people would be interested in, or connect to in any way," Stelmanis says, of the themes woven into her new songs. "But, it's in some ways become more relevant than I could've ever imagined."

While Stelmanis is admittedly fearful of the future, her album does project some optimism, especially on a song like lead single "Utopia."

Science fiction and texts on capitalism, neoliberalism and climate change were a hugely influential factor in the writing process. 

"I definitely came out of it feeling quite hopeful and I think part of the reason I got into reading about this stuff was because I was desperately looking for a way out," she explains, of what she gained from her extensive reading. "I think, right now, our current generation is experiencing this pretty deep, collective sadness about a lot of things [...] I was feeling that really strongly and my way of finding a way out of that was to kind of learn more about what was going on and try and read as much as possible about people's solutions for a way out of it." 

Stream Austra's new album Future Politics over at CBC Music now. 

WEB EXTRA | Scroll down for more photos from Austra's q session. 

Austra's Katie Stelmanis performing in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)
Austra's Katie Stelmanis performing in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)
Austra's Dorian Wolf performing in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)
Austra's Maya Postepski performing in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)
Austra's Ryan Wonsiak performing in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)
Austra performing live in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

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