Hot on the heels of releasing their debut single last month, North Coast band The Autocratic make their way to Masons Bar this weekend to unleash their new music upon local audiences.
‘Beluga’ which was recorded in the city’s very own Small Town America studios has already captured the attention of music lovers along the coast - not to mention those inland too - and has whet the appetite for more releases which we are told will soon follow.
We caught up with the guys from the North Coast to find out more about The Autocratic.
Who are The Autocratic?
We are an indie/alternative rock band from the North Coast and we are made up of Connall Ennis on vocals and bass, Odhran Bryson on lead guitar and Conor O’Kane otherwise known as Clancy on the drums. The three of us all had an interest in music and knew everyone played an instrument but none of us ever had experience in a band until the idea was sparked in the summer of 2015.
We feel that not having any previous experiences in a band really got the ball rolling for us when it came to writing songs and goofing around with different riffs as we were all just filled with musical ideas that we wanted and never got to share with anyone else.
Tell us a bit about the band name…
Our previous name was a bit of a mouthful to say and it was really becoming a problem for us so we finally decided on The Autocratic, but it still doesn't stop the taxi drivers from saying 'The Auto-whah?’ As any band knows when choosing a name you think about all the tiny details about a name like, will people remember it? And will people think we are some tribute to Joseph Stalin? But we couldn't of agreed more when Conor brought forward the idea due to his interest in history.
Who would you say the band as a whole take most inspiration and influence from?
We have our fair share in differences in music, and its fair to say its sparked a debate or two during practice. We could go on forever about all of our influences just because were always listening to new music, new or old and whether its using a certain effects pedal or playing in a specific time signature, were always looking for ways in which we can incorporate our influences sounds with our own.
But for us as a band we would have to say bands such as RHCP, Catfish and the Bottlemen and some good old Brit-pop bands such as Blur or The Smiths would have a huge influence on our playing technique and our song writing. Although as we said were always looking and listening for new bands to perhaps bring a new idea to the light.
You released your debut single last month titled ‘Beluga’ how did you find the journey of releasing your first record?
We could all agree that it was one of the most exciting experiences we have had as a band, whether it was just because it was our first time in a studio or the excitement of finally releasing music, we really just don't know. In the beginning there was a handful of songs that had been written and practiced and had been thrown into a set just to get things going but most of them have now been replaced or dropped, although Beluga was one of the very few songs that stayed.
Over time, changes were made here and there, new ideas and new sounds were incorporated and by the beginning of 2016 we finally had a finished product that we were all very proud of and excited to show.
We recorded with the guys at Smalltown America Studios, Chris and Caolan who were more than helpful in helping us achieve a bigger, more fuller sound that we have seeked from the start. We were more than proud of the work that was put into it, we feel it has really paid off and has been quite a big stepping stone for us.
What is the single about?
Good question, we wish we knew ourselves. Honestly there are a few different emotions and topics thrown together in there to make this song. You could say its a tale about that one kid thats stays quiet, bottling up any fears and opinions about others but finally becoming the underdog or if you don't mind a cheesy metaphor, its about people with fur coats and no knickers.
Is there an EP or album release on the cards for this year?
Yes we really hope and aim to have our first debut EP released for summer this year. After leaving the studio after making Beluga we all just had a craving to get back in and do it all over again so definitely be on the lookout for a release this summer.
What is the local music scene in Coleraine like at the moment?
We wouldn't say our music scene is just Coleraine as it is more the North Coast in general or as a whole. But the music scene here is outstanding at the minute in our opinion, we have bands such as Little Arcadia, Brand New Friend and The Bayonettes who have underwent a change in name to Born Only Yesterday who are all just great guys (and gal) who love being loud and love making some great moments at gigs down here, they are definitely ones to look out for.
We feel that the bands around here all look up to the older generation of our music scene with bands such as ASIWYFA and Axis Of showing the outcomes of gigging around here and what everyone else can achieve. The North Coast music scene is like a big community, everyone helps each other out whether its offering a support slot or sharing each other's music on social media, were just very thankful for the help we were given from everyone at the start.
What next for The Autocratic?
For us we have quite a few support slot gigs lined up around Derry, Belfast and Portrush. We have never really ventured out of Portrush yet so were really looking forward to meeting some new people and getting our single spread around as many places as possible. Other than that our plans consist of writing some new material for some summer gigs and hopefully getting back into the studio to record our debut EP which we are extremely excited about.