Look out Warped tour, the Welsh are coming to rock your world! The Automatic Automatic have been tearing up stages in Europe for quite some time now, but for some reason, our glorious country hasn’t had the privilege..until now! Their album “Not Accepted Anywhere” is about to be released on Columbia Records in the United States and the band will join a leg of Warped tour to bring their music to the people. They may be the new kids on the block but they welcome the challenge and embrace the opportunity to win over new crowds and gain new fans. With huge hits already under their belts in Europe and sell out crowds showing up to get a taste, it’s only a matter of time before we catch on over on this side of the pond.
The band (Rob Hawkins on lead vocals and bass guitar, Alex Pennie on synths, keyboards and vocals, James Frost on guitar and vocals, and Iwan Griffiths drums) mixes rock elements with synthesizers and a unique blend of vocal melodies that are almost hard to describe. Catchy choruses and songs that move into your mind and take up residency for awhile resonate from track to track.
What’s not to love about a band with a unique sound, great accents and best of all - a David Hasselhoff shrine at each of their gigs...nothing I say. Nothing. I recently talked to Rob about the upcoming U.S. release of the album, Warped tour, and what exactly qualifies as an appropriate shrine to “The Hoff”....
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | June 2007
Yeah, I’m not sure what to say to that, are we not still called that? In the UK we’re just The Automatic but there’s a guy who’s British who lives in America now who about twenty years ago had one single out under the name of Automatic and was threatening legal action. So to avoid that whole can of worms we stuck an extra Automatic on the end. I thought it was still there actually.
No one’s ever heard of the other guy, put it that way.
Yes, that was our first gig in the U.S., that was my first time in the U.S. actually.
It seemed to be really good, the audience obviously didn’t know us which was quite new since we’re use to playing in front of two thousand people who know who we are, our last couple of tours we’ve done in the UK have been like that, but it was quite refreshing as well. We were quite jetlagged at the time though which was another challenge. It could have been a lot worse.
The production is different, its been mixed to sound a bit more raw and a bit more rock, which is probably more reflective of the way we are live than the UK version is. Which is nice.
I’m quite fond of By My Side, I think that would be the band favorite as well as far as songs off of the album. It’s a darker heavier song. Also it just seemed to come together so well. Bits of it were three years old when we recorded it. That was one of the first things we had written after Pennie had joined the band when we were sixteen or seventeen, and we had a song called By My Side in various different forms, then we scrapped it for awhile and brought it back in loads of different parts. It was nice to see it come back and be resurrected and actually make it on to the album, it’s one of my favorites. Lyrically it’s sort of about introspection and examining yourself and working out who you want to be and becoming more comfortable with yourself. It kind of symbolizes a growing up experience I suppose. I like Recover a lot because we always end with it live. I think it’s much more powerful live than it is on record.
I write the bulk of them but its all open to veto and Pennie did quite a bit of the lyrics on the first album as well. It’s always open to suggestion, if one person doesn’t like it we come to a mutual band decision. The actual lines are put together by me but all together the music us a group effort.
I’m looking at it as a challenge but in a positive way. It’s not at all daunting. We’ll go out there play gigs the same way we always do with as much energy poured into it as we can. I think that’s an infectious thing and it tends to win audiences over. I think we gained a lot of our fanbase in the UK based on our live work. Hopefully we’ll be able to do the same thing in America. I don’t really know a lot about American audiences, and to treat all of America as just one country is a bit naïve because it’s the size of Northern Europe.
It depends on what you’re saying though doesn’t it.
Well you can hear on the record, that we’re quite high energy anyway. You have to put as much emotional energy into a song as you can live to convince the audience that it’s worth it. Playing the songs live gives us the opportunity to breathe new life into it every time. Someone may have already bought the album but we can put something new into it every time we play it. I really enjoy playing live and that’s why I’m able to put as much as I can into it. Everyone in the band goes for it live and I think that’s what makes it a good show. We can actually play too. You see a lot of bands that just can’t hold it together live.
A lot of what I just said applies probably. We rock live! We’re probably not as quite punk as a lot of bands on that bill. Not that we’re lacking in energy, its just not quite what we do, I think rock is more of the word for us. So we can offer something a little bit different to the usual Warped tour fan.
There’s still a dance element to it which is part of the fun, the old punky bass line and all.
I’m looking forward to getting to know all of them really because I don’t know many of the bands on the tour. We only know a few bands going out, I know Gallows because they’re a Welsh band.
Well, we found out that a lot of bands do something really daft on their rider, something really stupid. So we thought of the stupidest thing we could think of and the Hasselhoff shrine came to mind so we put it on there. It’s started to get more serious though. Everything feels a lot more home-y with a picture of David Hasselhoff somewhere in it. It’s a good omen if he’s there.
It can be anything from the bare minimum of a photo of Hasselhoff and a tea light candle but we’ve seen some elaborate ones as well involving some fake animal skins.
He’s definitely aware that we’ve done it because we had to get permission first. I have no idea if he’s actually heard it or not though. We covered it a for radio show in the UK that did a Live Lounge show where you did one original and one cover all acoustically. The idea is to pick a cover of a contemporary track. There were a few other options on the charts but none that we thought would be interesting enough that we could do proper justice to. It became a staple of our lives for quite awhile, it got a really big reaction.
It is yes. We’ve been trying to phase it out of the set in the UK. You don’t want to cover something bigger than your own songs.
Pop and rock have been an obsession since I was about twelve, I’ve just always been into it, buying cds. Even before that I started to play instruments. When I was five, I took up piano but that didn’t last long. I played flute when I was eight and played with a few orchestras. I had quite a musical upbringing. In my teenage years being in a band was a huge creative outlet. Writing songs with my friends was an enjoyable experience and important to me. I’ve defined myself as being in a band for the last decade now. It’s my identity.
Yes, we’ll be doing our own dates on the East Coast after Warped tour. We fly back to the UK on August 9th to finish our album here but theres a possibility of us returning to America to support somebody on tour.