Guest Post: Interview with Michael Trew of Autumn Electric

Feature Image Credit: Autumn Electric (Facebook)

Guest author Alex from Prog Sphere has been kind enough to share his interview with progressive rock band Autumn Electric with Crash And Ride Music.

Autumn Electric from Seattle released their fifth studio experimentation in July. Titled “Star Being Earth Child” this new record feels as a new beginning for the band. About this and more, Crash and Ride Music has an opportunity to talk with the band’s singer, flutist, banjoist and guitarist Michael Trew.

Thanks for this interview, Michael. For those that are new to the work you do in Autumn Electric, tell us a little bit about your role in the band and the type of music you play.

Hi! I am one of the two founding members along with Naomi Smith, and am the principle songwriter, tour booker and wear the most capes. We bounce back and forth a lot between thinking of the songs in terms of movements, or parts of a pop structure. We use a lot of rock and world beat rhythms, and a good dose of synths and flute.

So you are currently celebrating and performing in support of your latest release “Star Being Earth Child”. Tell me a little bit about what it’s been like since the album release. How has it been playing the material live?

We toured during Feb-May of this year, about 40 concerts in the US, and covered a lot of ground. It was both a thrill and a labor of love to put on the show. We brought in our own lights and tech person to pull off all the visual stunts of Star Being Earth Child, and I used some costume. It was a bit crazy as we were playing in a lot small club venues.

What was the process of writing and recording “Star Being Earth Child” like?

I began working on some ideas given to me by Chris Barrios (drummer) and Max Steiner (guitar), as well as some of my own. A few of the ideas came to me as far back as the late 90’s. After months of rehearsal, we recorded the basic tracks at London Bridge in one day (!!!). Finally, all of Max’s guitar parts, were written and recorded in his apartment in Berlin, and emailed back to us.

While I’m not a musician, I know that plenty of our readers are. Can you tell me a little bit about your guitar set up for those interested in trying to harness a similar sound?

Both the rhythm and lead guitars were Fender Strats, and the bass was an old, metal-neck Kramer. Max gets most of his guitar-noise ideas from trial and error, playing around. He is the only one I know who uses a Roto pedal.

I’ve never been to United States so how is it being an active progressive rock band there?

It is a two edged sword. On the positive side, we have huge country and market when we tour, and we have done okay, but not on the merit of any real prog scene. There are pockets of people that make it worth it, but I often think of playing in Europe where we seem to sell more things online.

autumn electric
Photo by Prog Sphere

Autumn Electric are from Seattle, which is by many considered a rock city. Do you see a lot of support within your own borders or do you feel like neighbouring states have embraced the scene more? Which of the US states is the best for progressive rock genre?

Since 2013 we have had Seaprog Fest in Seattle, which has really made me aware of few dozen bands in our city. It’s building up a little steam, but I feel is comparable to most of the better prog scene in the US. There are some notable exceptions like Pennsylvania’s RoSfest, or Prog Day. I would also turn people on to some of the more mainstream indie and art rock tests.

Autumn Electric has been part of the scene for years now, and having said that I can say that you are familiar with ins and outs of the industry, touring, etc. How do you see that experience?

I would say the personal connections with other bands and some of the fans is really the important thing. Crowd funding has been very good to us, getting personally sponsored by people who really believe in what we do.

I always love asking about stories from the road or favorite performances. Does anything stand out?

This last tour we towed along an old fashioned Air Stream trailer, which was infinitely fun. We experienced what we like to call “Trailer Groupies”. It was like a lightning rod for retirees, burnt out hippies and the ever-curious. They have a retro space look, which really fit with our tour theme.

What bands out there are you folk in Autumn Electric keen to tour with?

If we could get an opening spot, I think we would go for Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, The Flaming Lips, or Spock’s Beard.

I am curious as to what’s next for Autumn Electric. Can you tell me a little bit about what the next step is in the band’s evolution?

We are taking some needed rest after the big tour, and I have been writing some very new material. Our guitarist Max is moving back to the US, so that will be a nice reunion.

Thank you Michael for taking a moment of your time to chat with us!


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