- Thu, 2008-08-21 11:42
The Automatic released their debut album Not Accepted Anywhere in 2006 and achived much success and radio play with the likes of storming indie-pop tracks such as Monster, Raol and Recover. Since 2006 the Welsh four piece have undergone a number of changes. After the departure of keyboardist Alex Pennie the band enlisted the talents of former yourcodenameis:milo member, Paul Mullen, who took on the position of guitarist/vocalist and synth player. The band's second album This Is A Fix has been preceded with the single Steve McQueen. We caught up with Paul Mullen to chat about the sound of the new release, how The Automatic work together, his favourite gig memories and nasty, horrible tattoos...
"I Like Music because… at a gig, a festival, whatever, nothing can come close to the feeling you get when soooooo many people are enjoying that one chorus, or that one riff. Well, maybe if Sunderland score a goal, that would be a very close second.” Paul Mullen, The Automatic
ILM: Your second album is titled This is A Fix. In your own words can you describe the vibe of the album?
Paul: It's a lot heavier compared to the first Automatic album. There are more melodies. We have grown up as a band obviously. There are a lot more guitars and a lot more synths. Overall, it is a massive extension on the first record. Obviously I'm new the member in the band, so that, of course, changed the sound as well. So yeah, it has been really, really exciting. I can't wait for people to hear it.
ILM: Can you describe The Automatic’s process of writing and recording great music?
Paul: We all get into the studio as a band, all four of us, and we all start writing really. One of us will come up with an idea and then we'll all work out if it is rubbish or not. If it is, we just start all over again. Or we will just bring a song to the table and add our own parts to it really. We started demo-ing late last year and then we went over to LA to record it. All in all, it has taken quite a long time to do, but as we've recorded the songs we have got to know them really well. I think what is important is that we have all been in the studio together. All writing together.
ILM: What did you learn this time around? What were the highlights?
Paul: You always learn. You can get quite technical, for example discovering different ways of recording the guitars or the drums. You always pick up different things from the different producers that you work with. We have really tried to get out there with these new songs and we've had a really great rection from the tracks, that's the main thing. It's great to produce this new material and have it recieved so well. You just have to make a record, play it and then get it out there. The response from Steve McQueen has been immense.
ILM: How was the filming of the video for Steve McQueen?
Paul: We were chuffed to bits with that, you never know how that's going to go.
ILM: It looked awesome fun, where was that shot?
Paul: It was in the Mojavi desert. It's about an hour outside of LA and there are a load of dis-used aeroplanes and other paraphanalia lying around. We set it up and just played around in the debris, then decided to make a sandstorm! That was quite fun! Ha! We went out on the Friday, filmed all day Saturday and then came back on the Sunday. It was pretty intense, but the results are great.
ILM: You have a string of gigs coming up – what do you look forward to about playing live?
Paul: We just tend to make sure that we are having a good time. Hopefully we just get all of the energy from the stage and transfer it to the audience. We just want to put on the best show possible, whilst making sure we have a laugh. Tonight we're travelling back to London to do a really small show to about 120 people, but then we're playing the main stage at Reading and Leeds festival, which will be to a couple of thousand. Reading is going to be insane. Both of the types of show's are at different ends of the spectrum. They both have different atmospheres.
ILM: What do you guys do to relax when you come off stage - is it straight to bed?
Paul: We drink! After you come off stage, especially from a big show, you can't get to sleep for a couple of hours. Really we just like to wind down having a couple of drinks with our friends. I usually go over the gig a few times in my head, see what has happened and how we can improve. Look at what went wrong and what went right, make it better for the next night.
ILM: From the point of view of a music fan - what’s the best gig you’ve ever been too?
Paul: I saw Rage Against The Machine eight years ago and they were fantastic.
ILM: Ooo awesome choice! Are you going to watch them at Reading/Leeds this year?
Paul: Yeah! We're going to Reading early so that we can catch them on the Friday night!
ILM: If you could change anything about modern society today what would it be?
Paul: I'd get rid of all the bad tattoos and bad tattoists.
ILM: Haha! Have you had a bad experience then?
Paul: Ibiza. Just loads and loads of shitty tatoos. Rubbish. I just couldn't believe it!
ILM: Where do you stand on the whole internet, free download debate? How has this affected you as an artist? I saw that you’re giving away the track 'This is a fix' on your site?
Paul: It's good for new bands to get their music out there. It helps with a new release of a track. We wanted to get a track out there before the record came out. The problem I have with illegal downloads is that it stops record labels. People think that record labels have a lot of money, but they really don't. They are really struggling at the moment. What's happening is that people are downloading a lot of the tracks, therefore the record labels aren't getting enough revenue to afford new, up and coming bands I guess. I have seen so many bands that have nearly been there and then it just hasn't happened. I think the main thing that record labels and bands are saying is that it's always going to happen, people are always going to download albums. But it is a bad thing if it begins to affect the search for new talent.
ILM: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the music industry?
Paul: It is really really hard. You just have to perserve if you really want to do it. I have seen so many bands that are just so close. You just have to have no regrets. It's the same with anything that you really want. I've been in bands for 10 years and then just started writing. Plus you need to stick with your friends. That's always key. As long as the people around me are happy with what I'm doing then I will be too. But yeah, it is really really tough. But, if you want the rewards, you need to crack on!