Autumn Electric Talks of their Latest and Greatest Album to Date

Progressive folk rockers Autumn Electric have a handful of releases including most recent "Flowers For Ambrosia". The band took sometime to discuss this release and the plans they have for the future.

1. What type of band are you?

Genre-ly speaking, we play progressive folk rock. Personally, we're all pretty different from each other, but everyone is nerdy in some occasionally charming, occasionally silly ways.

 2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Michael and I met when he was working at Trabant Coffee in Seattle's University District and I was working at stalking baristas. We quickly realized we had a musical connection. Various band members joined and left the line-up for the next few years. Then Michael met Max through a cover band they were in together. Shortly afterward, Chris responded to our "Drummer Wanted" ad and came to his audition having learned our whole album (Make Me a Tree) note-for-note. Johnny Unicorn had produced MMAT and played bass on it, so it was a natural progression for him to jump onstage with us (we'd been hoping he'd eventually make the leap).

3. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Our songs cover a very wide range of topics. They're mostly about real-life experiences, but sometimes a news article or concept will strike Michael's fancy. From the new album, The Hermit of North Pond was a man who lived in the woods of Maine for decades, stealing food from summer camps. The song questions what it could mean to need that much privacy and isolation from society. Riding the Rogo refers to Robert Goulet's boat and its surprising connection to the infamous Craigslist Mechanic Scammer. Return to Detroit is about how small arts communities are starting to revive the city's culture. Israel's Curtains describes a house fire from when Michael was a child, and Orange Stars is partly based on the Neverending Story.

 Most of the songs on Make Me a Tree are about Michael's family, his
 childhood, and dealing with the tragic loss of his brother.

4. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

All of our songs, with the exception of Hermit of North Pond, were written by Michael. (Hermit was co-written by Chris, our drummer.) I'm not privy to the inner magic of his songwriting process, but when he brings a new song to the band, we start to feel it out and put together a rough arrangement. Sometimes it's a fast process, sometimes it takes months or years before we'd consider the song "finished". Our goal is always to enhance the story and bring out the meaning of the lyrics with subtle dynamics and ensemble work, but sometimes we just have to add a crazy guitar solo.

5. Who are your musical influences?

I'll try and keep it to Top Three or Fewer with no repeats.

Michael: Genesis, REM, Van Morrison
Johnny: They Might Be Giants, Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant
Max: King Crimson, The Mars Volta, The Beatles
Chris: Incubus
Naomi: Mannheim Steamroller

6. Tell me about your album "Flowers For Ambrosia" what does the title mean and is this a concept release?

The title is a reference to one of Michael's favorite old video games. Anyone who can guess it should probably sign up to be his best friend. A lot of similar themes run through the album, but it's not really a concept release.

7. How would you describe the overall sound of this album?

I've heard comparisons to Coheed and Cambria, the Gin Blossoms, and Pink Floyd, so "eclectic" comes to mind. The vocals were top-priority in recording -- we wanted people to be able to hear the lyrics, and who
doesn't love three-part harmonies?! The singing and instrumentation feel folky, but the rhythm section isn't afraid to cut loose and get psychedelic.

8. What would you say is your favorite track off it?

I never get sick of Orange Stars, but Hermit of North Pond is constantly running through my head.

9. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

We wanted to capture as much of our live energy as possible, so we recorded with the full band all in the same room, didn't worry too much about bleed-through, and added the vocals and a few solos afterward.

10. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Not really, but there's definitely a lot more lead guitar and spooky synth. We may not have had alto saxophone on the last album, either.

11. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous Autumn Electric albums?

There are some songs on Flowers for Ambrosia that Michael has been working on for years and years. It can take a long time for a song to feel "ready" to be arranged or recorded. Once we had the Autumn Electric lineup solidified, we started being able to arrange his progressive songs more effectively. That strongly affected the sound of this album.

12. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new album? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?

Joe the Lion Sleeps Tonight: This is the album's ballad. It was recorded with acoustic guitar, accordion, flute, and sparse, effective harmony. The song talks about a person struggling with mental illness and trying to
overcome it for the sake of his family. It takes a lot of work for me not to cry when we play it live.

13. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

We're, and you can buy stuff on the internet or from us directly when we're in the same room!

14. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Tomorrow we leave on a five-week tour of the West Coast and the South! You can find our schedule at, and the Facebook event for the tour is:

We're donating a portion of our proceeds in every city we play to a local food bank. I highly recommend checking out our set if you're on the route! When we get back, we'll start on the next album and plan the next tour. We'd like to play at colleges and universities more frequently, and continue doing as much community/charity work as we can afford.

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