Wednesday, November 11, 2009
An interview I did with local Richmond band, Autocue, for RVA Magazine. Have fun, I know I didn't. Hahaha. Kidding. It was average. ;) Check the lads out this Saturday at Gallery 5.
Photo by PJ Sykes
Not since the animatronic animal band, The Rock-afire Explosion, have I been so duped into expecting one thing and given something else. Those guys were all dark and mysterious with their music, but once you got to know ‘em, they were the most innocent of sweethearts this side of Huckleberry Pasture. I could say the same thing for Autocue, a calm and cool collective of hip hipsters born right from the Earth of Mother Richmond.
If I were me, I’d categorize their sound as layered, constantly dueling guitar patterns with a solid, unrelenting rhythm section. Unique and yet sometimes familiar, their tone is from the dark side.
But when I went to meet with the guys, they weren’t dark at all (I already knew this because we all know each other, but for the sake of this article, pretend I’m from England and just arrived). They were quite the opposite. In fact, when I got there, they were playing Call of Duty 4, laughing and drinking Shasta. Or maybe it was beer, but still, they were having a laughable time.
I sat down with the band starring Nick Wurz, 26 (guitars), Andrew Prousalis, 26 (guitars), Patrick Ball, 25 (vocals + bass), and Timo Prousalis, 22 (drums) to discuss the band, the weather, and their upcoming EP release show at Gallery 5 on November 14.
We’re at Nick and Andrew’s new workplace/funhouse. Nick’s looking through a sweater catalogue and vowing to buy everything in it the next day.
McKay (Me): Nick, you recently opened up Mondial Creative Labs. What goes on here and why is there a half pipe next to a computer desk and a half-eaten bagel?
Nick: Me, Andrew and two other guys started it with a vision of a very creative, collaborative place where we could do anything we wanted to do. Whether it's video, work or band stuff. We're here all the time, writing music or working on some video or skateboarding or whatever, playing video games.
Me: I mean seriously. There’s a mother effin’ half pipe right there.
Nick: Yeah, that's there. We have periodic skate breaks during the day. Actually, Patrick broke his foot a few weeks ago. First official casualty.
Me: Does that affect your performance?
Patrick: Hopefully not. It affects my performance in other areas.
Me: Like in the bedroom?
Patrick: I don’t wanna talk about it.
Me: Do you hate each other being here all the time?
Nick: Surprisingly not.
Andrew: No. And Nick and I live together.
Me: 24/7. Is there something we should know?
Andrew: We get along surprisingly well considering how often we're around each other.
Me: What's it like practicing here.
Patrick: It's great. We've got a whole in-ear monitoring/recording set up to where all of our amps and drums and everything have microphones hooked up all the time. With our computer we can record it (snaps) like that. It's all set up. At the same time we have our own mixes. Say I'm singing with the vocal mic, I can hear it in my headphones. So that allows us to turn everything way down and just keep it really clean. We can hear everything like you're listening to a record.
Me: Where'd you guys find each other?
Andrew: Patrick and I talked about starting a band about 2 years ago. We’d played in bands before and we really wanted to do something that had a focus on being creative and trying to expand. Then Timo started playing, obviously, he's my brother. Then I ran into Nick at a Ki:Theory show at Alley Katz about six months later, he started playing and that was it.
Patrick: He just kind of filled that gap.
Me: Is that where you got that shirt? Zing! How'd you come up with the name Autocue?
Nick: Timo came up with it.
Timo: Yeah, I found it online somewhere.
Nick: Autocue is also the name for a teleprompter in the UK.
Timo: That's how I found the name, actually. On Wikipedia there are British words that aren't used in the US.
Andrew: Like bangers and mash. We don't have bangers here.
Me: Oh yes we do. Andrew, you and Timo are brothers. What’s it like playing together?
Andrew: There’s an interesting synergy that happens with brothers. He’ll say something that no one else will get and I’ll totally get it and we might also…
Timo: Finish each other’s sentences?
Me: Is there a spot you guys would prefer to play in Richmond?
Patrick: 929 West Grace Street. The atmosphere, the history, the location is amazing.
Me: Any local bands you’re into these days?
Nick: Heks Orkest. We’re very excited about them. Keeley Davis, one of the guys that works at Mondial is in it along with Jonathan Fuller and Cam DiNunzio from Denali, Engine Down and Black Iris.
Me: Saw them at the Bike Lot recently. My ears didn’t stop bleeding for days. In a good way, a good way. Who else?
Patrick: Memorial is awesome.
Nick: Ki:Theory. I was in a band with Ash, the drummer.
Me: So incestuous.
Patrick: This city’s pretty incestuous.
Me: Tell me about it.
Patrick: I’m getting into the jazz scene. Fight the Big Bull. Omback. They’ve been playing at Cous Cous every Wednesday back and forth for a couple years now. I think Fight the Big Bull just moved to Balliceaux.
Me: Is there a band, any band, you guys would like to open for?
Patrick: Blonde Redhead.
Andrew: Sunny Day Real Estate now that they’re back.
Me: How come you guys don’t have beards?
Andrew: ‘Cause I can’t grow one.
Patrick: Timo can grow a beard for all of us.
Me: You should do it. Bearded drummers get way more tail.
Me: The EP release show is coming up. How did you go about making the EP, Epilogue, and is there anything significant about the timing of its release?
Patrick: We recorded it ourselves.
Andrew: Back in June, we were playing out of town for the first time and didn’t have anything to sell. So we thought, if we’re gonna be doing this often, we should have something. Patrick and I had been recording for a while now so we just thought: let’s do it ourselves.
(lots of recording speak; they did it themselves in two different houses at the same time, trust me)
Me: Why Gallery 5 for the release?
Patrick: It’s got a good vibe. The people there are down, on the level.
Nick: We like what they do. We’ve played there before. They’ve always been great to us. It’s just a cool place to bee affiliated with.
Andrew: I like that it has an art vibe instead of an ashtray vibe.
Patrick: I like that it’s a gallery and not just a typical venue.
Andrew: It’s a firehouse.
Patrick: It used to be a firehouse. It’s a museum.
Me: For fire trucks?
Timo: There is a fire truck inside.
Me: Super. How do you guys write? Together or separately? Or does someone else write your music? Like Britney Spears.
Nick: We write together. We don’t really have a set way that we do it. We all write stuff and usually with bands that becomes a problem. In our case we just bring in a part that we’ve been working on individually and work on it as a group and it’s pretty obvious what’s gonna work.
Me: What inspires you?
Andrew: I like cool rhythms, cool patterns. Even like a flash pattern. A lot of times I’ll see stuff like that and it’ll make me remember…
(18 minutes later there’s silence).
Patrick: The weather.
Nick: Yeah the weather.
Andrew: The weather?
Timo: Miley Cyrus.
Patrick: Early Miley Cyrus.
Me: You’re working on creating a visual show on top of the standard aural performance. What's the meaning of this?
Andrew: We deal with videos all day, everyday for work.
Nick: And we deal with music all night, every night. So this is natural. We’re in this creative environment, let’s merge all of our talents and skills and interests and create something unique. Seeing some of our favorite bands and their shows, we thought how can we be like them? My Bloody Valentine is insanely loud. Mogwai is insanely loud and has blinding lights. We want to be insanely loud, have blinding lights and hypnotic videos.
(take this as a warning if you’re prone to seizures)
Me: Anything else we can expect to see at the show?
Andrew: We’ll be there.
Patrick: Our friends Casper Bangs and Cleric are playing.
Autocue // Plateau