There are tons of medical television shows that have a huge fanbase. For instance, there’s ER, Grey’s Anatomy, and House, just to name a few. However, most of those shows deal with adults with their daily drama and medical emergencies. FOX’s new television show Red Band Society is a new take that is great to watch for any age.
This dramedy focuses on a core group of teenagers who “band” together while living as patients in Los Angeles’ Ocean Park Hospital. Actor Astro (former contestant on season one of X Factor) plays Dash Hosney who suffers with cystic fibrosis and is known as “the player.” When I watched the pilot, I was instantly hooked. There aren’t many television shows that show this side of the hospital.
The Daily Quirk had the opportunity to talk to Astro about his character on Red Band Society, his past movie roles and his budding music career.
The Daily Quirk: Let’s start off by talking about Red Band Society. For our readers that aren’t familiar, can you tell us a little about the show?
Astro: It’s pretty much about these kids in a hospital that even though they’re in the hospital, they live normal teenage lives like every other teenager in the world. They have their problems, they have their good times. It’s a pretty fun show. You know, everybody, when they hear the main subject of the show, they think it’s about death and they think it’s depressing when it’s really about just living life and enjoying yourself.
TDQ: Can you tell us a bit about how your role on the show came about?
A: I got the script from my agency. When I read the script, it was an awesome script. It was very playful and I thought it was very interesting how it told the story of the teenager from the teenager’s perspective. We have a bunch of shows on TV that try to tell the teenager’s story but they don’t do it right because they’re older people who don’t really know what the teenager’s are thinking or living like and doing all that at the moment. When I read the script, I was like, ‘OK, cool. This is a very playful script. They have an amazing cast.’ I originally read for Jordi but they switched it to Dash and then I got the part.
TDQ: Does playing a character with a serious illness like cystic fibrosis, put extra pressure on the way you portray him?
A: Not yet, I guess. There are a few episodes where I really get sick but I do my best to portray a kid with cystic fibrosis. From what I’ve seen, I met one kid with cystic fibrosis and he was 17 but he looked like he was 8. He didn’t let that stop him. He was enjoying himself. He had on his favorite sports team’s jersey and he didn’t seem like he had anything. He was just relaxed and enjoying every moment so I try to do that on screen.
TDQ: The friendship among the characters is such an important part of the show, what’s it like for you all off camera? Do you have fun working together?
A: Yeah, everybody has fun working together. It’s a pretty cool cast. I mean, we’re out here with each other for like four to six months so we better get along. [laughs]
TDQ: You’ve also had some films come out recently, A Walk Among the Tombstones with Liam Neeson, and Disney’s Earth to Echo. Can you tell us a bit about what those experiences were like?
A: Well, Earth to Echo was relativity. It was cool working on all those projects. It’s like the beginning. This is only my fourth role ever. I’m still a beginner. I’m still learning and acting is still something I’m stepping into. I’m not extra, extra serious with it yet so just to be on different sets, work with different people and shoot in different parts of the world is pretty awesome. It’s a blessing.
TDQ: In addition to acting you’re also a musician. When did you first realize your love for music?
A: When I was a baby. It’s always been in my veins.
TDQ: What inspires you to write?
A: Life. Everyday life. I’ve always been a writer. My mom is a poet so writing has just been in my blood.
TDQ: Can you tell us a bit about your sound?
A: It’s real music. You know, music that people can relate to. I don’t like to fantasize too much. I like to create real music. Music that can get you through your day.
TDQ: You have a new EP Computer Era coming out in November. Can you tell us a bit about the tracks?
A: This is my first thing that I’m selling so I really took my time with it. Worked with different producers, got a few features on there, but it’s really a strong project. I can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s gonna put me on the map officially.
TDQ: And you’ve already come out with a music video for “88.” It’s got a bit of an old school vibe that goes really well with the song. Was that a stylistic choice?
A: Yeah, I guess so. It was something… Whatever I feel like doing at the moment I just do. So, when I got the beat, it just had a vibe that I liked and that I could relate to. I just recorded a song over it but I mean, Computer Era sounds like that but better. The entire EP is not like that at all. The entire EP is actually a bit more modern than what people are expecting. I think it’s going to be shocker.
TDQ: I just have to ask, who are your inspirations?
A: The Gods of rap. The legends: Biggie, Tupac, Nas, Jay-Z, Snoop. You know, those guys.
TDQ: Do you have any live performances planned that you can share with our readers?
A: Oh, yeah. Definitely. Definitely. I’m trying to. The only thing is with acting, the schedule is crazy. I gotta find when I have time off to really perform like I want to perform but I’m pretty sure as soon as Computer Era drops, a lot of shows are going to come up.
TDQ: Where’s your ideal place that you would want to perform?
A: My ideal place… I mean, I like Toronto. I performed at the North by Northeast Festival and they showed more love out there than New York has ever showed me love and I’m from New York so that was kind of surprising. Toronto is a very cool place. I’d love to perform there again. Actually, if I had to choose, I’d love to go to London.
A: I heard they support hip hop heavily out there so I’d love to go out there.
TDQ: Where can they find out more about your music?
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Astro for taking the time chat! To find out more about Astro, you can follow him on all the social media platforms mentioned above. Don’t forget to watch Red Band Society, airing every Wednesday at 9/8c on FOX.