How did the Autumns form?
The original lineup met in high school. We were friends, interested in the same bands, etc. So we started playing together.
As a relatively young band, was it hard to get the respect of the music scene when you were starting out?
I don’t think there is or ever was a monolithic “Music scene.” We of course earned the respect of the bands with whom we ended up forming our own little scene. And that was all that seemed to matter. If I was looking in from the outside, I certainly wouldn’t have respected us back then — we were terrible. I think the people who got into it caught the gleam of something promising in it. When I look back, I’m amazed by the fact that many people with pretty solid taste in music actually liked the band. It seems like they should have known better.
What are the general band consensus favorite songs of your past cd’s?
I haven’t taken a survey recently but I can’t remember there ever being a consensus. My own favorites have changed over the years (they’ve also become fewer). Speaking for myself, “Sunblush”; and “Relinquished”; still strike me as pretty good songs. We recently received a video of “Eskimo Swin” from a young guy that is pretty impressive for a first attempt. Seeing that made me think that “Eskimo Swin” wasn’t such a bad song either. I think “Boy with the aluminum stilts” is a good song. And I like our cover of “Please please please…”
How do you approach songwriting? Is it a collaborative effort?
It is very collaborative. When I listen to the new songs especially, I think Steve, for instance, really writes drum parts. He’s extremely resourceful and imaginative. The contribution is substantial and I think people can really see it. We’re always getting feedback on how unusually creative our drummer is.
Describe for us the recording process of Nocturnes and Subades. What still needs to be done to have this cd completed?
Just a few vocal tracks and we’ll be ready to mix. All the music is down. The recording process has been long and arduous. We’ve been at it for nearly three years at this point. We’ve used several different studios, including jamie’s house. Jamie must have put in several hundred-thousand-dollars’ worth of time by now, which qualifies him as the undisputed saving grace of our band. If it weren’t for him, this record would have been left to the dogs long ago. The payoff has been our ability to sit back and listen over a long period. This has led to repeated overhauls, all of which have taken the record several steps forward. We’re pretty close now to making the record we were born to make.
Describe for us the sound of Nocturnes and Sunbades? Is it similar to Angel Pool era Autumns, or later recordings?
I’m just assuming there are continuities between what we’ve done before and the new record. There isn’t anything I could write out that wouldn’t bore you, ugh. I don’t want to ruin it with verbiage. You spend so much time trying to get something just so and then some look-how-clever-I-am music journalist urinates all over it with “A stalactite tempest of bliss-drunk arpeggiare…
Fans are wondering: when will Nocturnes and Sunbades be released? Will Matt Kelly sing at my funeral? No, wait, I won’t be able to hear it then. .uhh. next question.. What is Matt’s relationship with Eric Campuzano? In other words, how did Matt hook up with Eric to record the best song on the Charity Empressa debut, and how was that recording process?
I know Eric through Andy Prickett, who has produced a few of our records. They used to be in a band together called The Prayer Chain, which was big with Christians. This has led to some unfortunate confusion over the years, which I assume is largely cleared up by now. (I haven’t been approached concerning my “Walk” in some time.) At any rate, Eric gave me a four-track demo and a lyric sheet a few years ago and asked me if I’d come up with a melody. He had done this with a number of other people as well, and when he settled on the songs he liked (one of which was “Future King of England”), he asked me to come down to Huntington Beach and sing it again on his eight-track. That’s the version on the record.
How did you get the gig to score the Angela Shelton film? How was that process different than recording an Autumns cd?
Angela came out to a show one night at the Silverlake Lounge and liked the band. I got to know her over a period of a few months and eventually she asked us if we’d like to score her next few films. We jumped at the opportunity, of course.
Film scoring — at least this first time — was much easier than ordinary songwriting. We had a pretty limited time frame, which made it a lot of work, but the creative part just flowed. I would say we stuck with about eighty percent of our initial musical ideas. They just seemed to work. In the autumns, we throw out about ninety-nine percent of our ideas.
What is your inspiration for lyric-writing?
I’m not the only lyricist and I can’t speak for anyone else. I suspect you’d get a straighter answer from Frankie. I don’t know what my inspiration is. I mean, over the years, there have been songs inspired by particular experiences, but they’re a definite minority. On this record, I can’t tell you what any given song was inspired by initially. Some of them grew into things that I can look at and say, “Here I’m talking about this or that.” But that isn’t to say that this or that inspired the writing. I usually have no idea what I’m writing about as I write. I’m just looking for certain combinations of words — certain phrases that strike me as right.
Is there any particular message or ethos that you as a band are trying to convey through your music and /or lyrics?
What is in the foreseeable future of the Autumns?
I have no idea. We’re going to put this record out. That’s the one certainty. After that, things will take care of themselves.
Any other comments?
Website for anyone who is interested is www.theautumns.com. Records and information on shows, etc. Are available there. Thank you for your interest.
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