Autumn Kings take on the A-Z challenge

Our A-Z challenge is a fun way to get to know the many bands and artists out there. Here it’s the turn of Autumn Kings to tell us all about themselves.

In today’s A-Z challenge, we asked Autumn Kings to answer 26 questions based on the letters of the alphabet to tell us more about themselves!

A song that made you want to make music?

Boulevard of Broken DreamsGreen Day. The chords, the melody, the beauty in the lyrics, the image Green Day presented at that time. I was eight when it came out. I could never get that song out of my head. I remember listening to it on my iPod nano during a sleepover with my buddies.

Best rider you have had?

Japan/Okinawa / South Korea / Guam tour for the military last year — Abundance of fresh gourmet Korean food and all the coffee / tea, apples and drinks you could ask for. We came up on the scene bringing our own Subway and waters to every gig, so anything beyond that is pure luxury for us. Haha.

Craziest moment in the band?

When we were 19, travelling across Canada on a four-month headline tour, and heard our song “Devil in Disguise” on the radio. One of the guys on a crew at the time was driving this modified school bus-turned-tour-bus, and and we thought he was trying to prank us by hijacking the aux cord and pretending like we were on the radio – so we listened until the end of the song to see if it was really the radio playing us. We all simultaneously pull out our smart phones hopefully capture the moment on the one-in-a-million chance that it was actually real. Then all of a sudden we hear, “ that was Autumn Kings Devil in Disguise you’re listening to 101.5 the bear”. This was in Fort St. John B.C. We start screaming. We only had five original songs released at that time, so to think that, after just dropping out of College, touring on a beat up old yellow school bus with my boys, and having nobody at home understand the path we were pursuing, this was the greatest stamp of legitimacy and gift from the heavens that could’ve fallen on our lap. Not to mention, we were so far up north in Canada I think I could hear Santa Claus.

Deepest lyric one of your songs features?

“I would rather die than live a slave” from our song Electrified. This essentially summarizes the essence of our band. As extreme as it may sound, we are staunch advocates of choice, self-sovereignty, and freedom — not only in a patriotic sense, but in embracing and utilizing that freedom of choice that we all possess. I believe most of us grossly underestimate how much choice we have in our lives even when it isn’t so obvious and even in hard times. For us, the choice to start this band was an unconscious act of courage. We were 18 at the time, and grew up in a blue collar city that prioritized conventional jobs over passion. Joe and I – since the day we met, stacking shelves for minimum wage at the grocery store, Fresh Co., have abided by the philosophy that no life could be worst than that of voluntary slavery and conformity to what other people expect you to do.

Easiest song you wrote?

Definitely Go For Gold. I was living in Nashville at the time, and wound up in this songwriting session with a company called Song House that was famous on TikTok for hosting their “30 Minutes to Write a Hook” sessions where they’d randomly assign a group of 4-5 writers to a team, give them an instrumental, and allow 30 minutes to make a chorus. It then gets filmed, goes on TikTok, and the world gets to decide whether it is a ‘hit” or a dud. That chorus was done in 30 minutes, and the rest of it written in a few hours. It’s really interesting how songwriting works – it is such a right-brain activity and can’t really be forced the way administrative or managerial tasks can be. I learned from my favourite book of all time, “The War of Art – Stephen Pressfield”, that all we can control is whether or not we show up to TRY to write. A lot of days, I don’t end up with magic, but it’s the repetition that keeps the muscle strong, and even if an idea doesn’t stick on a given day, it often morphs into a new idea down the road; a puzzle piece was created that will ultimately fit in a future, yet-to-be-discovered puzzle. Most songs take serious time to nail; the universe was very giving to me and the co-writers the day we wrote Go For Gold.

Favourite song in your set?

Ouuuu…. We just headlined Detroit a few weeks ago and the reaction to “Sleep When I’m Dead” was off the rails. I’m gonna go with Sleep When I’m Dead. There’s a real cockiness and energy to that song — yet it is still real and relatable to a lot of people. One of the things we pride ourselves on is refraining from sulking in negative emotions, something we feel has become overdone in rock music. That’s one of the big reasons I love Nickelback (aside from the fact that they are born-and-raised Canadian and we share accents when we speak – on the words “about” and “sorry”).

Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?

It’s a 3-way tie between Eminem, 50 Cent, and Tim McIlrath from Rise Against. They are among my biggest influences and I believe they each changed the world of music in their own right.

Hardest thing about being in a band?

Juggling all of the things that happen behind the scenes to make a career out of it beyond simply creating. I’d say anybody doing anything entrepreneurial, or athletic understands that having the mental resilience to be able to withstand all of the ups and downs that are thrown at you is the single most important thing. During COVID, I personally knew many people who quit doing music all together because they felt it was simply too difficult. That temptation is definitely there, but for us – it was summoning that willpower to keep going no matter what happens…. Sustaining high-performance.

Interesting fact about one of your members?

Joe is 100% Italian and I always love when we hang with him and his family as the gatherings are massive and there is a never-ending supply of delicious and high-calorie food. Troy actually has a background in engineering, which is wild – he is far and away the genius in the band. I used to be able to play “Before I ForgetSlipknot” backwards on Guitar Hero III, like a massive nerd. Can you tell how awesome this band is?

Jokes you have in the band?

When we are on the road or in the studio we have a steady stream of awful dad jokes as well as a library of quotes from Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. Lots of talking smack and busting balls happens, especially when you’re 6 coffees deep and haven’t been able to nail the first line of the chorus when you’re recording. We owe it to ourselves to know how much we suck.

Key to writing a song?

Sit down and do it. A million times. I fully believe sitting down to write a song is the most challenging part of any of this. When no one’s watching, sit down and do the work. And be willing to write 95% of stuff that never makes the record, just to get that 5% of gold.

Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a show?

Last year we did a 9-show headline tour for the military, and one of our stops was in Guam. I pulled up my Google Maps and saw how far from home we were, and that we were in the middle of the Ocean. That was a trip. Took about 3 connecting flights to get there, including one from Denver to Tokyo.

Most inspiring musician you’ve experienced?

Tie between the following two: James Hetfield of Metallica – I don’t know anyone who’s done more to push the boundaries of a genre than him. I tell every new guitarist – if you can learn Metallica, you can learn most things. 2) Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day – I’ve never seen someone care more about writing incredible songs AND being an incredible entertainer live. Green Day far and away put on the best show of any band I’ve ever seen live.

New band you’d recommend?

The Indiana Drones – Justin Zuccato, my boy from Windsor, is the lead singer and produces / mixes everything himself. He’s a wicked talent and craftsman like few we’ve seen this generation.

Opening for this band would be ideal?

Fall Out Boy…. Nuff said.

Place you’d most like to tour?

Probably Dubai and the rest of the Middle East. Just to experience the surreality of it. Plus, I am of half Middle Eastern descent so I think I could really strike a chord with the locals. Probably run into my third cousin.

Quote that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – the only and only Franklin D. Roosevelt. This is the cornerstone of the message of Autumn Kings.

Reason for the title of your latest release?

HELLBOUND is a feeling we all get at times – that life isn’t going according to plan, that we are helpless to change our circumstances – but it is just that a FEELING. Not reality. Hellbound is really all about conquering learned helplessness, discarding the victim mentality, and taking control of your own life.

See us live at?

USA / Canada / Europe / worldwide…. Stay tuned 😇

The old days of music were better than the current, do you agree?

I actually see it differently. Music has always to a degree been homogenized. If you listen back to music from the sixties, the amount of generic 12-bar blues that was pushed would make the homogenization of trap music seem trivial! It’s harder to FIND the good music now because of the sheer volume, and the means of distribution have become so decentralized and democratized that it’s easier to find generic, cookie cutter stuff than undiscovered gems. Back in the day you had radio, MTV, a big movie placement, record stores, etc – not too many outlets. But fast forward to some artists of today: Phoebe Bridgers, Sleep Token, Ghost… These are all unbelievable newer school artists with far more complicated musicality than some of the hits of the past half-century.

Unusual merchandise?

All of our merchandise is pretty straightforward!

Variations you’d like to do on one of your songs?

I think a pumping DJ remix of Electrified would slap. David Guetta, where you at?

What do your fans mean to you?

Everything. They have given us a career in music when we were destined to be working regular 9-5 jobs. We value very deeply what our fans value and believe. The best part about what we do is getting to talk to the fans before and after shows and learn what’s important to them, what they’re going through, and what they enjoy doing. We’ve got fans with tattoos, fans who come to every possible show they can, and ones who are profoundly moved by our music and lyrics. Without the fans, we’d have nothing.

X-rays or any other treatments needed for band injuries?

Massage therapy is maybe the greatest drug on earth. My back gets tight from performing, plus I’m an avid runner, which doesn’t help. Thankfully no serious injuries yet. Stretching is so important to keep us in top shape to perform.

You’re late for a show, whose fault is it?

Probably mine – I’m also a full-time Lebanese mafia mobster so it’s difficult juggling that with the band. The band and our management understands, completely. I think they sometimes get jealous, but I tell them that someday they will be as cool as me.

Zoo animal that best describes the personality of your band?

LION…. The lion is our logo, so it would be blasphemy to say anything else. However, it also happens to be true. We don’t really allow anything to slow us down, and we value mental and physical toughness.

AltCorner Staff

July 9, 2024

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