All music should have an element of fear within in. It should scare you a little bit, it should mess with your head. Anything to escape routine and things that are familiar. Sure you can sleep it off, but sometimes you need to hear something to let it all out. I’ve been writing about Autumns (Christian Donaghey) for some time now, and everything he puts out is as mind blowing as the last, truly. He has this sound that captures the coldness and the lack of fulfillment from having a typical routine. You need something to kick in the walls of your mind and to give you something you’re not getting from whatever you’re putting yourself through. As someone who is dealing with panic attacks and migraines on an almost daily basis now, this is the kind of music I need to hear.
Christian’s new EP, A Product of 30 Years of Violence is out 15th November (3 days after my birthday, so you know) and will be released via the ever excellent Clan Destine Records. The mood is cold, the atmosphere is tense. Its part The Fall, part industrial town on a dark December day and it is every part brilliant. The tormenting sounds would fit perfectly in some film noir or a shocking horror film. These are not songs for those who only see sunshine and rainbows. They are for those who want, who need more- and they know it.
So far, I’m tipping World Hates as my favourite off the EP. Of course I am likely to change my mind because every track on this EP is nothing short of punch to the gut and a shake to the soul. You’ll feel the world in your head crumble and something else within you rebuild itself. Every song has a tense build up, and regardless of how many times you listen to the songs, you’re just never ready for it to happen. I go through stages of where I don’t know if I even want to write about music anymore, but then I’m sent things like this and it all makes sense.
I have the coldest room in my house. I think this is probably the best setting to listen to A Product of 30 Years of Violence. You won’t gain anything from listening to it on a warm beach somewhere. You need a cold setting. Go for a walk and play it. Play it as loud as you can handle. Take in every note, take in how dark, intense and grand the sound is. Let it boldly consume you and go into the unknown. Let the songs throttle and maim you. Let the songs take you where you daren’t go before. Let yourself escape but feel uncomfortable. Be constantly on edge as you let the sounds drip into your ears and swirl in your brain.
The EP closes on Crime of Passion. My idea of love and romance seeps through this song. There is nothing conventional or tame about this song. Crime of Passion sums up the feel of the EP, and when it ends you cannot help but return to the start. Over and over again. This EP feels like it is ahead of what is around now, maybe it could have fit in with what came before but it has something very special about it that has hold of you within the first listen. It is one of those records I’ll keep playing and finding something else to write about or it’ll evoke another feeling. It stirs something within the listener. I can’t define what exactly, maybe it is too personal. Or maybe words aren’t enough. My words and anyone else’s words about A Product of 30 Years of Violence aren’t enough.
Of course I’m a huge fan of what Christian does, and I’m confident enough to say that so far- this is the best thing he’s done. It steps away from all he has done prior to this, and the sound he has created here is something to truly love and to be proud of.
A few years ago I wrote about Autumns. I wrote about how much I loved them and how Christian is the Northern Ireland equivalent of Alex Zhang Huntai (Dirty Beaches/Last Lizard.) I think I mentioned how brilliant it is to have one person make a load of noise with such urgency and passion. A few years have passed, and now I get to write about Christian’s new EP, Das Nichts.
Christian is currently in America where in the next few weeks, he will be playing his first set of live shows out there. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He makes the kind of music I wish I could, the TV static sound and the distorted vocals aren’t to everyone’s taste but for me it’s exactly what I look for in music. I sincerely hope the American audiences fall in love with him and hear what I hear. I’ll post the dates towards the end, but for now- Das Nichts.
Das Nichts is the kind of record you play late at night when you should probably be asleep. My sleep pattern at the moment is semi-questionable but I can still function. I think life would be easier/better if we all took more naps. Anyway. With this EP Christian has definitely delved into the Electronic side of music more. For some they associate this with really bad 80s music, to an extent they could be right but what they don’t seem to acknowledge is the darker side. Das Nichts sounds like Suicide meets My Bloody Valentine with the fury of Rowland S Howard. The songs are going to torment your mind and you won’t want to sit down with a cup of tea whilst listening to this. With one listen, I loved it but I feel because it is the kind of record that puts you on edge, I feel that’s what makes it Christian’s best work to date. When I hear music like this I always seem to want to know what goes on in the head of the person making it. But recently I’ve started thinking what goes on in my brain and how it would sound if I translated it to music. It would sound a bit like this record. Maybe slightly more tame as I’m annoyingly shy. I try to get better at it, but what can you do. Das Nichts is a remarkable EP that is made for night time/very early morning listening when the world is asleep.
This EP is intensely dark and would sound perfect in some Danish Thriller that messed with your mind. If this is how Christian’s debut record is going to sound, then we are most definitely in for a treat. It’s the right kind of loud, the right level of noise and creepy. I can only imagine how brilliant this is going to sound live. The first track on the EP, Motel Lover is 19 minutes and 45 seconds long. It’s a solid way to start the EP and I think it straight away indicates to the listener where the EP is going. It’s going somewhere no one and nothing else can take you. You feel like you’re on a motorbike at 2am heading deep into the unknown. The night air sends chills over you and the dark mist keeps you on edge. It’s beautifully terrifying and is under 20 minutes of straight up noise. The static guitar sound mixed with the repetitive kick drum keeps your attention locked. There are swift changes in the song here and there but it’s the torment of the kick drum that remains your focus throughout. When it comes to an end, you find yourself looking around to check who was there and who took you to wherever this song may have taken you to.
I really can’t praise Christian enough for what he’s done with Das Nichts. It’s a captivating listen that will scare you a little but you won’t want to turn it off. Something about this EP will make you feel a little uneasy and unsure of what is around you- it will heighten all you feel as you listen to it, and that for me is what makes this the best thing he has done to date. The suspense in the EP makes you feel like it is the soundtrack to something. I’m 100% sure that Christian could easily create a soundtrack for some dark and unsettling Thriller film going by this EP. He would be perfect for it. Das Nichts isn’t a kick in the gut kind of listen, it is more like someone messing with your head in a way you didn’t know was possible. This kind of exposure of the mind is what makes this one of the best things I’ve heard this year. Sure there’s still many months to go, but this is truly something else.
As mentioned previously, here are his US dates for this month:
3/09 New York @ Nothing Changes + (with Nite Fields)
3/12 Lafayette @ The Spot + (with Nite Fields)
3/13 Indianapolis @ State Street Pub + (with Nite Fields)
3/20 San Francisco @ Rickshaw Stop * (with Lust For Youth)
3/21 Frenso @ Dynamite Vinyl + (with Nite Fields)
3/23 Long Beach @ 4th Street Vine – (with Gold Class)
3/24 San Diego @ The Whistle Stop
3/26 Los Angeles @ Non Plus Ultra # (with SEXTILE)
Christian will also be drumming for Nite Fields on all of their dates.
The best musicians are the ones that are fearless. The ones that play a little louder than most, the ones who play until a part of them bleeds, the ones that MAKE you believe in what they are saying. The ones that feel like an old pair of boots that you placed aside when you were forced into buying new ones. The best ones make you feel uncomfortable too, like a new pair of boots.
Autumns are a mighty fine Derry band. If you’ve listened to them prior to the Blonde EP you’ll have been familiar with Christian’s distorted sound. A sound that me love his music instantly. It felt like you were creeping into a secluded world. You daren’t tell anyone anything. Keeping up with this sacred feel, the Blonde EP is clearer and bloody hell he’s got a strong voice. Think along the lines of Orange Juice meets Dead Boys meets something completely else that none of us have heard before.
These four tracks smack you so wonderfully between the eyes, they shake you and wake you up. Every song shows the potential that Christian has, and I am so so proud of what he has done with Autumns. I’ve said this every time I write about him, but he does remind me of Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches/Last Lizard.) One person making a load of noise that just HAS to be heard because it is phenomenal.
I Can See Them Looking At Me feels like it should be featured in some sadistic black and white film. It’s brilliantly creepy and sinister, everything you should want from music. Bands like Autumns are exactly why I want to write about music. I don’t care for doing anything else. They heighten something inside, and things like that do not happen often. Today in London it is damp, dreary and dull; the perfect soundtrack for this is the Autumns EP. Escape somewhere else or stay where you are. Play it so loud the neighbours ask you for a copy. Through your body around to the jangly guitars and furious drums. It’ll start making sense.
Blonde leaves you wanting more from Autumns. Not in a sense of wanting more and more songs, but in a way of just wanting to hear what’s going to happen next. Knowing how the sound has changed and more clarity with Christian’s vocals (which is a very good thing) you can’t help but know that this band are definitely something special. I did one of Christian’s first interviews last year/the year before, and it was so obvious that he’s not making music that should be ignored. He’s making music that feels like a punch to the gut and a jolt to the body. An electric shock making its way through you and when it gets to the crucial point, that is when you know.
When two bands you are a fan of or when two musicians you like make music together, it’s always a good thing (I’m sure there are shit ones, but it’s important to be nice.) You can hear both sides. You can hear each band’s influences and you can pin point signature sounds in some of them.
There’s a chap from Derry called Christian. He has a band called Autumns. I’ve written about him loads because he’s bloody good. He’s better than good. He’s an Irish version of Dirty Beaches. One guy making a load of noise in the best way possible. He’s made a 3 track cassette with Phil from equally brilliant Girls Names. If you’re a fan of both bands, you’ll love this. Or if you ever wondered what would happen if Kraftwerk stayed awake for 24 hours straight and dropped acid, this is what they would sound like.
Gross Net are an ideal “super band.” This is from a selfish point of view, obviously, because I like them. The three track tape isn’t enough, but for now it’s all we have. That’s why the repeat/back button was invented. For bands like this who simply make you want to play their music on a loop.
The EP was recorded in a dark and damp space in just a day. The EP touches on subjects such as idiots in the arts who think they are better than everyone else (shut up you elitist twit) to surviving the recession. Listen super carefully and you’ll pick up on it. Wrong Place Wrong Time is a euphoric gem with less tension than the others, but the EP is just simply wonderful anyway.
At the moment they’re making noise and causing riots (possibly a lie) all over Northern Ireland and Dublin. If anyone can bring these guys to the UK, then please do.
Their self-titled EP will be released via Art For Blind as a limited edition tape and you can listen to it here:
This EP crept out late last year and should not be ignored. The tracks just capture how they are live (check out the YouTube clips of their separate bands and of Gross Net.) Loud, brutally dark and unlike anything else. If you think Ireland doesn’t have a solid music scene, then you thought wrong.
When a band/singer changes their sound, it can either be utterly shite or something really bloody great. Fortunately, Autumns are super good and have made something ridiculously good.
I’ve written loads about Autumns since being sent their music possibly a year and a bit ago. I loved how Christian was basically a one-man band, and he reminded me so much of Dirty Beaches. The fury in his music and its cinematic feel was something I really enjoyed and became obsessed with. The new sound is equally as important and a little louder. Loud is good, musically.
Je Veux Être sounds like something Orange Juice would have probably come out with. It’s a brilliant short and punchy number (Ramones did it, many tried to copy but ballsed it up) and it’s the only thing I’ve been listening to for the past half hour. As someone with a questionable (or even non-existent at times) attention span, Je Veux Être is just perfect. It’s a wonderful build up brewing within the last minute and suddenly the last 30 seconds is nothing short of a beautiful fuzzy noise that makes you want to turn it up some more. I had every intention of writing my “Lyrics of 2014” piece, but Autumns distracted me and that’s really okay. I need to give it some more thought anyway.
Autumns are Derry’s finest, and someone somewhere needs to find the funds to bring them to the UK. Easily one of the most exciting bands around who I’m just so bloody proud of. I can hear a few bands I love sifting through the new Autumns sound, and it’s just so good. Christian’s voice is one I really love, and I’m fairly sure their EP (out in February) will be one of the year’s finest moment.
The EP, titled The Blonde EP will be a limited 7″ release out in February.
A few months ago I wrote a little preview about the Autumns record. On this clear Sunday evening whilst avoiding whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing, I thought I would finally write something. I’ve sort of lost interest in writing, but the love of Music is still there. It’s there because of people like Christian/Autumns who make Music that means something. What it means specifically I do not know, only he can tell you that. I can only write as a fan, never as a “professional writer.” A fan has love, a person who takes it all too seriously looks for faults.
What I immediately saw in Christian’s music was what I saw in Alex’s/Dirty Beaches. I saw that one person can make a lot of noise in such an intense manner, that to turn away and to not be a fan would be incredibly stupid. The Mini LP that Christian has put out consists of tracks to zone out to on public transport or just siting around waiting for something to happen.
The LP (much to my appreciation) has Keep On Sinking on it, which I think was the first Autumns song I heard. How can someone so young make music so bloody good? Quite easily, because age shouldn’t be a factor.
There are a handful of bands/singers I love that make me wish I had even the slightest bit of musical talent, Christian is easily one of them. When you listen to his music, especially this LP, it really does make you want to pick up a beaten guitar and pour your heart out in the most raw and honest way possible. If someone can do this on their first LP, if they can leave you feeling inspired and whatever else, then you know you’ve found something truly special and something that will undoubtedly last.
I sincerely hope that some teenage misfit finds this record and is left knowing that it’s alright to make some noise that truly does mean something. I hope he/she finds a copy of this record and sticks two fingers up to what their friends and family want them to be. It’s a record that you can drown the world out to, it’s a record to find answers to. You won’t find a cure, just some clarity. I remember when I saw Dirty Beaches live last year, and suddenly his music made much more sense to me. Some things you just have to see for yourself to gain a different insight, and that’s one of the many things I get from Christian’s music. I firmly believe that when I finally see him live, I’ll have a different view on his music. What I mean is, that when you see a band or singer perform live you can pick up on what the songs mean to them. You can’t fake certain feelings- the feelings that come from music.
This is just a prime example of me being unable to write like a “Music Journalist.” I can only write as a fan, and as a fan of Autumns I can wholeheartedly say that this LP is one of the best things I’ve heard this year. It’s everything I look for in a record, and it is everything I love about music. And from a totally personal perspective, it makes me want to write about music.
Last year I wrote about Autumns. Autumns is one guy from Derry who makes music that is entirely atmospheric and beautifully noisy. I got the chance to interview him shortly after that piece, and when you speak (in this case email) a musician you really like about their music, you sort of become more sentimental towards their music.
When I first heard Autumns (Christian) I straight away felt like I did when I first heard Dirty Beaches many years ago. I was yet again in awe that one person could make a sound like this. One person could make this much noise. It was a delight to hear, and it still is.
I’m really pleased that Keep On Sinking and It’s Sooner Than You Think will be on the LP; they were the first two tracks I heard and they just blew me away then.
Autumns is one chap making a whole load of noise. You can’t really turn away from someone with talent like this. Make sure you buy a copy at the end of the month. His music is like a cloak of darkness, but at the same time it is exceptionally comforting.
There’s so much heart and passion in his music, I’m fairly sure he will be listed amongst the likes of Dirty Beaches with his ability to make music that is haunting, heartbreaking and a pleasure to listen to. He just leaves you in awe with his talent.
“If you ever get lonely, just got to the record store and visit your friends.”
Six years ago in a classroom at University I set up this blog as part of an Online Journalism module I had to take. As someone who cares far too much about writing and music, I decided to keep at this for longer than I probably should have. There have been times where I am supposed to have done something “important” but decided to write about a band instead. I’ll always do that, and I don’t see anything wrong with it.
Over the past six years I have done the ridiculous (met Patti Smith) and the relatively sane (standard record reviews.) I don’t find writing about music I love exhausting, but Writer’s Block can sometimes smack me in the face leaving me feeling entirely frustrated and annoyed with my abilities, or in that case- a lack of. Everyone has something that they truly care about, something that forces them to wake up in the morning and to keep going.
I decided to keep this blog up because I was annoyed with typical Music Journalists who seem to enjoy slagging off bands in their writing. Sure I dislike boring bands such as Coldplay, Mumford & Sons and the dull sounds of that guy with the poor quiff, Bastille but I’m not going to waste my time writing a thousand words as to why I dislike them. I’d rather write about a band/singer/song/record that has truly moved me because it makes me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile I guess. My words won’t change the world, they won’t make someone else go out and buy a record and they won’t make a band I love become huge. They’re just words. Words some will skim over. Words that may not go read. Words that most won’t agree with. But seeking approval is the worst thing a person can do to themselves because they will lose sight of who they are.
Maybe I’ve got another year in this or maybe I’ll be 90 years old dribbling on the keyboard writing about “that time I saw….” I have no idea. All I know is that you cannot put a price on doing what you love. I’ve never received money for writing about a band.
I wish I could name every single band that has sent me their music, but I can’t. I’ve got a rubbish memory, but everything I’m sent gets written about.
However, I would like to specially thank the following for being exceptionally generous with their music and time:
-Soft Power Records
-Little Death Machine
-The Creeping Ivies
-The Long Wives
There’s many more, but as I’ve mentioned I don’t really have the best memory.
Any email or comment left about anything I’ve written means a hell of a lot. I remember when I posted my Warpaint interview and reading the emails I got sent-I felt proud and that maybe someone got the point I was trying to make.
Thank you! xx
The Smiths debut record came out 30 years ago. There’s no other reason really.
It’s the time of year where everyone voices their opinion on what was good and what was shit about this year, musically. Most do it all the time anyway and these lists are of course, boring. As someone who isn’t exactly thrilling, I might as well add to the boring lists much like I did last year. And probably the year before that. I’ve not got an impressive memory so I’ll start with songs that where out this year that I really liked. And by that I mean constantly playing them until I wished to never hear them again. I still play them. Music doesn’t bore me. Well, music I like doesn’t bore me.
For the past week I’ve been ill. Some kind of cold/flu thing. I missed the Peace gig last Saturday. That was pretty shit. But I was sensible, and I suppose it was for the best. A constant earache which is causing headaches and a constant feel of tiredness/exhaustion. Never mind. I’m here to write about what matters to me- music. Let’s see if I can write this without wanting to change my mind every 5 minutes. This will be in no order, aside from the last song I mention because that will be my favourite of the year. Here we go:
Say Lou Lou- Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. Elektra and Miranda’s cover of this Tame Impala song is beautiful. Yes I could have mentioned Beloved or Better In The Dark. I chose this cover because they did it in a way that makes you feel as if they wrote it. I play this song most evenings on the tube home from work. Resting my head against the window and all I see are street lights. Everything is lit up perfectly, and this song evokes solitude. A state of bliss yet frustrations of never being able to get ahead. Something I think most can relate to. I finally saw Say Lou Lou live the day after my birthday in November, and it was such a magical thing to be part of. Their voices are angelic but can portray pain in a way most spend their life trying to figure out. There is something wonderfully charming about them. Something which you cannot get out of your head, and I’m just fine with that.
Deptford Goth- Bloody Lip. Pretty much everything I just said above about Say Lou Lou can be said for Daniel. His debut record, Life After Defo was one of the best to have come out this year. It was just a step ahead of everything I’ve been listening to, but also quite different from the bands I’ve been listening to. His music is ideal to listen to late at night when nobody else is around. Whether you’re laying in bed searching for answers or on the late train home with nothing much to occupy you. His music soothes the soul. His gentle voice offers reassurance for those times when you aren’t so sure. (I wanted to pick Union but that came out in 2012.)
Cold Cave- People Are Poison. After waiting years, I finally got to see Cold Cave this year. Seeing Wes and Amy live was a brilliant experience. I wasn’t really sure which Cold Cave song I wanted to pick. Originally I wanted to go with A Little Death To Laugh, but after listening to People Are Poison a few more times- I made my choice, of course I am likely to want to change my mind but for now I’m sticking with People Are Poison. Cold Cave are a band that have meant a lot to me for a long time, and Wes’ words have been my crutch for even longer (listen to American Nightmare) and he just has this brilliant way of unleashing fury and the like in a way that seems less daunting to carry around.
Ezra Furman- Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell. I just love Ezra. He’s the kind of person you’d want to be in a band with, tour the world with. Get lost on the motorway with him and write an album’s worth of songs whilst waiting for help. The sax on this song is awesome. My girlfriend has a saxophone, but I doubt she’d want me to try play along to this song. Or any song. I fully appreciate that. I’d probably cause the windows to shake and break. I just love the opening line; “I’m a runaway dog and I’m kicking up dust. In a Chevy Express with a hood full of rust.”For me, that opening line is on par with Search And Destroy by The Stooges; “I’m a street walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm.”They DO make them like they used to, you just got to dig a bit deeper to find it.
PINS-Girls Like Us. Easily could mention every song off their debut record which finally came out this year. PINS are amazing live, anyone who’s seen them knows exactly how fascinating they are to watch. I chose Girls Like Us because it feels like a pleasurable punch to the face. I was going to go with To You, but there’s something about Girls Like Us which has an anthemic feel to it. It pumps you up and makes you feel as if you are part of something that makes you tougher than you initially thought you were. I just think PINS are one of the most exciting bands to come out of England in a very long time. Quite frankly, they are Manchester’s finest.
LOOM- I Get A Taste. There aren’t many bands around who posses the same energy that The Jesus And Mary Chain had. Not many are willing to express this rage and the like in that kind of way. It’s too much for them, they physically cannot do it. At least we have a band who are willing to do that. I remember liking their Facebook page and they virtually no one aware of who they are. Thankfully people are starting to listen, and they are seeing just how exciting they really are. They are beyond brutal and I think if you don’t feel as if you’ve been beaten up after you’ve listened to them, you’re not doing it right. I’ve yet to see them live, something always gets in the way of me doing so. Pretty such people will leave their shows with bloody faces and ripped clothes. Just as it should be!
Autumns- Who Would Have Thought. Soft Power Records are pretty much my favourite record label. They’ve been behind the best releases this year, and have exposed me to some truly great music over the past year and a bit. Out of all of their releases, Autumns has been one that’s stuck out the most. Autumns is just one guy making a lot of noise. He’s Derry’s answer to Dirty Beaches. He plays with this admirable passion that just leaves you stunned. He makes you want to pick up a guitar and make your own scene- to hell with what anyone else thinks or says. Who Would Have Thought really shows how brilliant he is, and how fearless he is with his music. He’s someone who is constantly leaving me in awe with what he does. I sincerely hope 2014 is just as amazing for him as 2013 was. He really does deserve it.
Royal Chant- Did You Pay Cash For That Panic Attack? Okay so this was recorded last year, but the video came out in January, so we’ll go with the date of the video. I love Royal Chant. I think Mark is an exceptional song-writer. Mainly because he manages to write the songs I wish I could. They’re good guys with big hearts, and I’ve vowed to not leave their side when they come to the UK. Did You Pay Cash is a tidal wave of unapologetic angst. They’re (pardon my language) fucking brilliant. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I went with this song because it immediately meant a lot to me. You can’t put a price on that nor are there words good enough to express it. They know though. They know.
Dum Dum Girls-Lost Boys And Girls Club. I’m just going to call Too True as being the best record of 2014. Nothing else needs to be released next year. It’s ALL about Too True. Lost Boys And Girls Club is not like previous Dum Dum Girls songs, and that’s why I’m a huge fan. Every record and EP they’ve put out has always been different from the last. Dee Dee isn’t afraid to experiment with sounds and be brutally honest with her words. Coming Down remains one of the few songs to truly pick me up when everything is just wrong. Dum Dum Girls make music to get lost in, and to also find yourself in. I love this song because it stays with that dream like/hazy feel that is always present in their songs. Dee Dee’s delicate voice is like a reassurance, a call to safety. It just takes you to where you want to be. Lost Boys And Girls Club feels like the ending of a party and you’re watching the sun rise on your own, but you feel alright in doing so. I could quite happily write a thousand plus words about why I love this song. I think all reasoning will come to life when I finally see the band on Saturday. You have no idea how excited I am about seeing them.
CROCODILES- ME AND MY MACHINE GUN. This was tough. At first I thought I wanted to go with I Like It In The Dark. Then I toyed with Teardrop Guitar. Then my mind flirted with She Splits Me Up. Basically, this was tough. I didn’t know which Crocodiles song to go with. This year I got to see them live twice and I got to hang out with Charlie and Brandon before one of their shows for an interview. I had waited since early 2009 to see them live, and to see them twice this year just really did make my year. Crimes Of Passion is an incredible record. It’s one I play every single day on the way to work and on the journey home too. There’s something about it that just blows my mind with every listen. I went with Me And My Machine Gun because it just captures everything I love about Crocodiles. “On the battlefield, search for something I can feel. Just so I can shoot him up. He may be tough but he’s no match for me and my machine. We don’t take no shit from anyone.”The machine gun can be your loved one, anything you want really. This is a gorgeous song to see live, especially the instrumental at the end. It just catapults you into a different world. Everything about Crocodiles is all I want from a band, and from music.
Maybe I won’t change my mind. I think this is a pretty solid list. However, there are some bands that blew my mind this year and they deserve a mention:
Little Death Machine
Mikey & The Drags.
(PS Dirty Beaches will be mentioned on my record of the year..soon!)
Finding new music that blows your mind is one of the best feelings. Writing up an interview of someone who’s not been interviewed before is pretty daunting. If I balls this up, I am sincerely sorry. The music speaks for itself with this musicians, but as someone who really cares (understatement) about music and the process that goes on to make it-I guess part of me is a bit nosy in that respects. For everything else, I don’t really care what anyone does. That’s how it should be. I don’t want to know what Morrissey had for breakfast; I want to know what was going on in his head when he wrote the lyrics to certain songs. These are the things that matter. And this is why I’ll never be paid for this. Money isn’t important (I wish I could tell O2 that though..) doing something you really care about is what counts. We punish ourselves by doing things for others that make us miserable. This is coming from my own personal experiences, some a lot more recent than others. But there is always a handful of musicians who unleash the fury in a way a never could; by being mind-blowing musicians.
About a month or so ago I was introduced to a musician who instantly became my favourite new artist of this year. I was in awe of his brutal sounds, his eerie voice; distorted and fuzzy. It felt like a dream hearing this kind of music. In short, Autumns made me feel like the lucky ones did when The Jesus And Mary Chain first came out. Except Autumns is just one person. One person brave enough to make his own sound in his own way. On his terms.
When I interviewed Dirty Beaches I was really intrigued as to why he went it alone. He was frustrated and knew that the only way to make the music he wanted was to do it on his own. As a solo artist who posses the same qualities (I think) as he does- I asked Christian aka Autumns why he also chose to go it alone and if he’d ever record as part of a band:
“I made the decision because I was getting into interesting music and I thought I could do that, I don’t want to sound stuck up but no one I knew was into the music I was freaking out to and people didn’t have the ideas or beliefs that I think musicians or artists should have. – I’m really happy recording on my own, I mean I play with my friends live and it’s great but I just love to do everything myself. I don’t need to wait for others, ask for opinions, I just do it. Maybe someday I’ll collaborate with others and make it a proper band who knows, but right now I’m happy with the way it is.”
If you want something doing, do it yourself. This brilliant DIY ethic Christian has is enough to inspire talentless folks like myself to start some kind of music project. Don’t worry though, I won’t be doing that. I cannot sing or anything. I just write shitty poetry. Being content with going it alone is such a great way to approach music. He doesn’t have to look out for anyone else or check if its good enough. Christians knows himself that he has total control over making something truly magnificent.
When I heard his music I could pick up sounds of various bands but no solid nor obvious influence. I think this is what immediately lured me into his music. I love music that isn’t obvious. I don’t want to hear something that is a blatant rip-off of a band I love. If I wanted that, I’d just stick to the old stuff. His music sounds as if it’d fit a dingy basement bar or blasting on a beach in Los Angeles. Thing is, Christian is from Derry in Ireland. The music scene in Ireland is something I’m not massively familiar with. Besides Christian, the only other band I’ve listened to recently from Ireland are September Girls. He’s set to play with them very soon, but what is the music scene like in Ireland and is it easy to get noticed?
“I can’t really speak for Dublin or Belfast. But in Derry anyway it’s awful, I can easily say that I don’t fit into any part of the ”scene” here. A lot of bands/artists are just making either acoustic break up songs or are Arctic Monkeys wannabees etc. I don’t want to be apart of it in any way. There are a few bands in Derry doing some cool things, for example a band called Strength. They make hypnotic synth pop songs which is out there.”
Being from a small place is never good because it causes people to have small minds. A prime example of this is the place I sadly grew up and had the life sucked out of me- the Isle of Man. With no redeeming features (apart from the airport) it’s hard to see any good. Everything and everyone is the same. You carry a wealth of frustration on your shoulders in the hopes you can just get out before it totally ruins you. When I read Christian’s response to my question about the Irish music scene, I suddenly felt something else towards his music. That he doesn’t just make music because he’s talented. He makes it because it is obvious that he needs to get out. The frustration is even more obvious in his music now by knowing this. Something which you cannot help but admire and completely respect.
“As far as I’m concerned I want to get out of here as soon as possible and for Autumns to be unknown here. People just copy everyone and are doing everything for the wrong reasons. I guess it’s why I consider my music and beliefs very Nowave. – To get noticed is hard and easy. If you’re playing like I said acoustic break up songs and you get a number of hits on YouTube you will probably be very successful but for people like me it’s harder, it’s not music for the masses but then again people like me don’t want fame we just want our records out and maybe influence someone enough that they might start a band. That’s what I want, that and a tour. But overall there is a few bands I like from Ireland like September Girls, Sea Pinks, Documenta and Girls Names. It’s not all bad.”
The music that Christian makes appeals to people who believe in music and those who do not want the bullshit that is played to us on a loop on obvious radio stations. It doesn’t matter that you may never hear this kind of music as you drive home from work. What matters is that people like this still exist. People still make music that has a lot of fight in it. Music that makes you want to start your own riot and raise your voice. You’ve got something to prove, so do it. There is a huge Punk ethic to the way Christian approaches this. I don’t know if he knows it or not- but that is the trait that makes him believable and such a rare talent. With many just wanting a hit song to make them enough money to secure them a place in a decent care home, there are still artists like Christian around who make music because the desire and hunger to do so is in them. They are the ones we should be watching. Maybe one day it will all turn around. Keep the faith.
We all have a time in our lives where something happens that just inspires us to be what we want to be. I always wanted to write because I had a massive love for words from a very young age, and a love for music which occurred when I was even younger. I’ve always really cared about what inspires the musicians I love. What made them want to pick up an instrument and make music? Sometimes it isn’t always a band. It can be a piece of literature or even a film. What made Christian want to make music? What made him think “I can do that”?
“Theres definitely a band and a record. The first time I heard Loveless by MBV (generic choice) was just out of this world. It gave me those feelings inside that only music could give to me and I have become so attached to that album, it means the world it me.
An artist that made an impact like that to me was either Rowland S. Howard or The Wake. I can’t even decide. They are both out of this world, I could only dream to develop into the writers they are. (I got greedy with this question)”
On record, you get a brilliant ferocious feel to his music- especially on my favourite song Tired Eyes. I think the title alone just speaks to me. You cannot help but imagine his live shows would involve a lot of sweat and blood dripping from his fingers as he unapologetically slays the guitar into oblivion. His first gig was a week ago for Record Store Day, the most important day in music. Of course you should buy records all the time, but having a day dedicated to one of the finest things in life is something special and to play your first gig on that day? Well….even better!
“Tired Eyes is my favourite too. I played my first gig on RSD, it’s my first time doing this so I can’t really give a good overall review of my shows yet. But I definitely got into the music and zoned out on RSD. We completely went for it. I don’t want to sit around and nod my head like everyone expects you to do. I want to put on a show and make a spectacle, give people something to talk about. Our shows aren’t about trying to be cool. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing planned for the shows apart from the songs we play. It will be us reacting to the music and letting the spontaneous things happen.”
Like I’ve stated many times before about Christian, you can truly sense that making music to him is so vital. That he just HAS to do it. The passion he plays with is so obvious and such an important feature about him to treasure. Zoning out and just letting the music take you where you let it is exactly what it should be about. A band or singer should never be afraid to really feel the songs they are performing. When you do that you build up a lasting relationship with fans who want nothing from you apart from you to keep that fire alive. Again, these are the things that make you believable. If the person standing in front of you on stage is too afraid to let go as they perform their own songs, how on earth can you expect the audience to care? We need more fearless musicians like Christian. We really really do.
Distraction is something that creeps up on us all. You can be reading a book and suddenly you’ve been asleep for 3 hours (this is me every time) or you can be doing something important and you’ve drifted off into a beautiful daydream. Does recording alone mean Christian gets distracted like the rest of us? Does he start on one song then suddenly find himself making another half-way through? Self-discipline is hard to master, but once you have that’s it for life. Are there unfinished songs scattered about on his laptop? How does he find recording on his own?
“I find it very easy to record due to lack of equipment so I don’t have to sit around setting things up, I only use one mic and a laptop. I find that when I plan to record it never turns out well unfortunately. I mean Tired Eyes was written, recorded and finished in about twenty minutes and that was just because I just randomly wanted to do it and never knew this was going to happen. I can’t lie it happens to us all, you write something, you record it and then you just leave it there. I have lots of files on my laptop with guitar ideas etc which I will probably never use but are probably decent.”
I think it is obvious how much of a fan I am of Autumns and even though I think I asked him THE important questions, I was quite curious as to why he called himself Autumns. I know it’s a stupidly generic question, but I had to do it:
“I came up with a name which I’m too embarrassed to say before I came up with Autumns. I basically judge what’s a good name if I’m embarrassed to say it or not. When I was confident enough to put songs up and send them out I just had to change it and Autumns was the last-minute name. I think it’s pretty nice and compliments the music maybe?”
I think it does. Autumn is like the underdog season I reckon, and this is the kind of music that those on the outside looking in and shaking their heads at fools can relate to. Compliments the music entirely.
This was Christian’s first ever interview and I feel honoured, and also proud to have been the one to do it. I really cannot tell you enough how brilliant his music is, but hopefully you’ll feel exactly how I do about his music and be bloody glad that someone is making music like this.