AUSTRA is a group of musicians & singers from Toronto (Ontario - Canada) in the Synthpop, dark and new wave, dream pop, indietronica music genres. Austra sees itself as a group of -electronic-dramatic pop-. AUSTRA was founded in 2009, by Katie Stelmanis, singer, songwriter, keybordist and drummer. The band includes Maya Postepski (drums) also known as producer Princess Century, Dorian Wolf (bass), Ryan Wonsiak (keyboards). They also use twin backing singers Sari and Romy Lightman (Tasseomancy).
Katie Stelmanis, born in Toronto is the daughter of an Italian father and a half-Latvian mother, half English. When she was 10, she took piano lessons and enrolled in the Children's Choir of The Canadian Opera, surprising her parents, much more fans of Frank Zappa & Bob Dylan, with her passion for classical music. It's only at age 18 she began interested in rock music, inspired by Radiohead, Björk, Nine Inch Nails, etc... Katie composes her own songs in MIDI. In group or in solo, she makes her way in the punk rock, then in the gospel mast of folk rock, before launching in electropop.
In 2004, Katie and Maya played in a band called -Galaxy- with Emma McKenna. Katie started making electronic music at home during that time, and was also writing industrial-inspired soundtracks for performance artist Zeesy Powers, who convinced her to start performing her songs live. Then, in 2008 she released her debut album -Join Us- under her own name with Blocks Recording Club. Katie toured the record all over Europe with Maya on drums & xylosynth. In 2009, she decided to change the name of the project from her own in order to increase her band member's visibility as an acoustic-folk act. In 2010, the band played the SSWF -South by South West festival in Austin (Texas) under the name -Private Life-. A guy from Domino Records saw them play and they signed a record deal with the label, playing a number of early shows under that name before learning it was taken. They subsequently named themselves after Stelmanis' middle name Austra, which is also the name of the Goddess of light in Latvian mythology.
Their debut album -Feel It Break- released on 11 May 2011 was hailed by critics. The Toronto Star, but also the New York magazine, rank it in the good surprises of 2011. A new album titled -Olympia- was released on 18 June 2013, recorded on -real instruments- as a collective work, always with the voice of Katie Stelmanis as a common thread. On 20 January 2017 they released, always with Domino Records a new album (11 songs) titled -Future Politics- which includes the track -Utopia- published on 19 October 2016.
Discography : 3 albums : Feel It Break (2011) ; Olympia (2013) ; Future Politics (2017) - 2 EPs : Beat and the Pulse (2010) ; Habitat (2014)