Austra (band)

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Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Synthpop, dark wave, new wave, dream pop, indietronica
Years active 2009–present
Labels One Big Silence, Paper Bag, Domino
Members Katie Stelmanis
Maya Postepski
Dorian Wolf
Ryan Wonsiak

Austra is an electronic music project from Toronto, Ontario, founded by Katie Stelmanis in 2009.[1] Katie writes and produces the music herself using Ableton Live. Maya Postepski, also a producer under the moniker Princess Century, sometimes contributes on the recordings.[2] The music is performed live as a band with Maya Postepski on drums, Dorian Wolf on bass and Moog, and Ryan Wonsiak on keyboards.[3] Austra used to include twin backing singers Sari and Romy Lightman of Tasseomancy.

Austra's debut album Feel It Break was released on May 11, 2011 by Domino Records[4] and May 17, 2011 in Canada by Paper Bag Records.[5] On July 6, 2011, the album was shortlisted for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize,[6] but lost out to Arcade Fire's The Suburbs.[7] Feel It Break was included on several year-end critics' lists; notably, both the Toronto Star and New York named it the best album of 2011, with the former calling it "an outright stunner".[8][9] Stereogum named Austra a Band to Watch on March 14, 2011.[10]

Their second album Olympia was released on June 18, 2013,[11] from which the first single "Home" was released on March 7, 2013.[12]


In 2004, Katie and Maya played in a band called Galaxy together with Emma McKenna.[13] Katie started making electronic music at home during that time, and was also writing industrial-inspired soundtracks for performance artist Zeesy Powers. Zeesy convinced her to start performing her songs live, and in 2008 Katie's debut album Join Us was released under her own name with Blocks Recording Club.[14] Katie toured the record all over Europe with Maya Postepski on drums and xylosynth.[15] In 2009, Katie decided to change the name of the project from her own in order to increase her band member's visibility, and because she felt too many people were mistaking the project for being an acoustic-folk act.[16]

In 2010, the band played the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas, under the name Private Life.[17] An A&R guy from Domino Records saw them play and they subsequently signed a record deal with the label.[18] They played 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.[19]


Studio albums[edit]


  • Beat and the Pulse (2010)
  • Habitat (2014)

Remix albums[edit]

  • Sparkle (2011)


  • "Lose It" (2011)
  • "Spellwork" (2011)
  • "Home" (2013)
  • "Painful Like" (2013)
  • "Forgive Me" (2013)
  • "Hurt Me Now" (2014)
  • "Habitat" (2014)
  • "American Science" (2014)
  • "Utopia" (2016)


  1. ^ Morris, Gina (May 17, 2011). "REVIEW // Austra 'Feel It Break'". Hive Magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ "PRINCESS CENTURY //". Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  3. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (May 19, 2011). "Austra". Now. Now Communications. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Feel It Break". Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  5. ^ Dina (May 17, 2011). "Austra's 'Feel It Break' Out Today!". Paper Bag Records. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Arcade Fire, Ron Sexsmith shortlisted for Polaris Prize". CBC News. July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Arcade Fire win 2011 Polaris Music Prize". NME. IPC Media. September 20, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Rayner, Ben (December 28, 2011). "Rayner: Albums that really rocked in 2011". Toronto Star. Star Media Group. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  9. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (December 4, 2011). "The Year in Pop". New York. New York Media LLC. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ Brandon (March 14, 2011). "Band To Watch: Austra". Stereogum. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  11. ^ "iTunes - Music - Olympia (Bonus Track Version) by Austra". Apple. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "iTunes - Music - Home - Single by Austra". Apple. Retrieved 10 May 2013. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "radio free canuckistan: January 2008". Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  14. ^ "Katie Stelmanis". Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  15. ^ "radio free canuckistan: January 2008". Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  16. ^ writer, J. L. Sirisuk LA/NY/UK based (2013-06-21). "The Beat and the Groove: Interview with AUSTRA's Katie Stelmanis". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  17. ^ "Private Life - BrooklynVegan". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  18. ^ Telekom (2011-04-29). "A mystery called Austra". Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  19. ^ Fader, Lainna (November 3, 2011). "Austra Turn People On With an Electric Feel". OC Weekly. Village Voice Media. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 

External links[edit]