As part of the same label group, Astronaut & Barely Alive have become enormous buddies in bass music. But even friends have scuffles every once in a while, right? That’s what this Rivals EP is all about – four banging tracks across varying tempos made to excite and entice listeners to taking one side or the other.


The rollout for this EP has been tremendous, featuring loads of goodies and exclusive content on both sides. As a way to hype listeners into a frenzy, the pair have also created an app where you can choose to play as Barely Alive or Astronaut, and collect hamburgers or eggplants, respectively. (Personally, I’m #teameggplant, but more on that in a moment.)

I’ve heard the EP, and it’s basically all you could ever hope for in a massive collaboration between these two newcomer heavyweights. I got the chance to speak with Ross from Astronaut and Willie from Barely Alive about some aspects of the EP, and a lot about how weird it is to work together.

Rivals is out March 30th!

What was it like to work on the EP together?

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
Working on the EP together was really fun! We’ve made a few tracks together before, but this was the first time that we managed to get in a room with each other to work on music, rather than sending project files back and forth across the internet. Willie flew over to our place in LA at the beginning of December last year and spent a week goofing around with us. I was a bit nervous to begin eggplant with because we had set ourselves a goal to write a complete EP with each other in only one week! It usually takes us about 2 weeks to finish one track when we’re
working alone… On the first day we sat down to write a dubstep track and we seemed to nail the drop really quickly and it felt natural too. Me and Willie spent the afternoon sketching out the rest of the track and then Dan came home, gave it one listen and nailed the intro melody in about five minutes! That was the ‘Yes’ moment for us where we all started to feel really inspired to make the rest of the EP. Following this, we actually made a new EP track everyday during Willie’s stay and even had enough time left over to make the Countdown remix for TC that came out over New Year’s Eve!

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
It was a lot of fun working with Astronaut on this project. We’d been planning on making an EP together for a while, and Matt and I have always wanted to make a game to go along with our music. With the Rivals EP, we started out with a strong sense of what we wanted to achieve ­ instead of just “lets make a bunch of tunes together and release them”, it was more like we had a concept to guide us along. When I got to Ross and Dan’s studio we immediately got straight to work, knowing we had limited time to write all the tunes. It’s actually amazing how we were able to basically write four tunes in a week, considering how much time we spent playing Super Smash Bros and Mario Party instead of working on music. I’m still not sure how it happened.

How many arguments did you get in while producing?

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
None actually, although at one point I started to hate everything that I doing on one of the tracks and the guys had to convince me that it actually sounded fine.

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
Yeah we argued over pretty much everything! haha 🙂 The first dispute was over the house track on the EP titled ‘Raga’. The night we made it Willie actually turned to me and said ‘I think this is the best thing I’ve made in a while, possibly my favourite track on the EP’. But, the very next morning, Willie then completely changed his mind and decided it was the worst track ever and wanted to take it off the EP so bad. During the mix­down stages we argued a lot as well over kick drums, master compression and a bunch of other stuff. We both have very different mix/master techniques that we’re used to and they don’t gel with each other well, so there was a lot of compromise for all involved. I’m glad it turned out like it did though because to me, The EP sounds like a perfect fusion of what Barely Alive and Astronaut sound like.

How many arguments were there about where to go to eat?

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
Yes, they just wanted to eat hamburgers all the time, and we wanted to take the healthy option and go with eggplants. In the end we always settled our differences by agreeing that Chipotle was a great option.

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
Yeah, once we set aside our differences regarding eggplants and hamburgers, we didn’t have any problems agreeing on food. I ended up teaching Rossy how to go grocery shopping, too, which was cool.

What is one of Willie’s strangest habits that you wouldn’t know about if you weren’t living with him?

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
He snores louder than me, and that’s saying something! We actually had to share a double bunk bed with each other, so one night I woke up at 3am to the sound of him snoring so loud, I had to snapchat him and send it out to all our followers.

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
Well this is the first I’m hearing about the snapchat…

You guys are currently in Vegas celebrating Willie’s birthday. What’s the best way to pass the time while you’re driving for a long period?

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
The funny thing about this is that we picked him up from LAX airport and managed to get two and a half hours outside of LA before Willie was like ‘Guys, your new place in Hollywood is so far away, where the hell are we?’ Then we just started singing happy birthday and told him that we were half way to Vegas, it was so funny. So most of the car journey after that was spent practising how to play black jack on our smart phones.

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
I’ve only been to LA once before this trip, so I’m still trying to get my bearings and get a sense of how big the city really is. Most of my geographical understanding of the place is based on GTA 5. This inexperience combined with 8 hours being in airplanes and general lack of sleep contributed to me not realizing what had happened until we were halfway to Vegas. Needless to say I felt incredibly stupid.

Who’s better at drinking,­ Ross or Willie?

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
Willie is fresh off the Datsik tour so I’d say he’s had a lot more practice recently than me… I think I was first to throw in the towel last night.

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
No comment.

What was your reaction after hearing that #eggplantfridays was already a thing? (Google at your own risk.)

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
Well… I was a little surprised to say the least but found it hilarious that this had been a thing all along. Probably should have done my research… haha 🙂

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
I still don’t understand why Astronaut chose the eggplant to represent themselves online, but hey, it’s 2015 and we don’t judge.

Why did Barely Alive choose to be represented by a hamburger?

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
#FiveGuys

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
Because we love hamburgers.

Will there be other “Versus” EPs from Disciple in the future?

(Rossy ­ Astronaut)
I hope so! there’s so much more you can do with the ‘versus’ concept, I love it. It would be really fun to put more artists head to head and make more smart phone games like we’ve done for Rivals.

(Willie ­ Barely Alive)
I think it’s a great idea! Friendly rivalries can often have productive results, and the Rivals EP is proof of that!