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- Posted on Feb 5th 2010 5:00PM by Melissa Harrison
Describe your sound.
It's a combination of emotional intimacy and musical ambition. That's the balance we're always trying to find with every new song. The songs are simple acoustic guitar arrangements to begin with, then we deconstruct -- first experimenting with the structures, then trying to create an unusual and suitable sonic backdrop for the lyrics.
How did Autumn Owls form?
We formed in September 2006, although the current lineup has changed significantly since then. We were all friends from a very young age, with most of us living practically on the same street. We played gigs around Dublin as teens for awhile. After about a two-year break of not playing,we re-formed and decided to take it seriously. We converted a shed into a recording space and began writing and recording.
Where did the name come from?
I'm not really sure! There was a shared admiration and respect by all of us for the owl, so we thought we would go with an owl theme. After that, it was just a case of finding a suitable word that would go with it.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Elliott Smith has had a big influence on the way I play, and Nick Drake on the way I tune the guitar. Neil Young and Jim O'Rourke continue to inspire the sound and the writing.
Prior to SXSW, you're going on a mini U.S. tour. Any must-see cities or attractions along the way?
I have never been to the States before, so the whole experience is going to be very exciting. Cities like New York and Chicago are major attractions in themselves. The very thought of playing shows in some of my favorite music cities in the world is thrilling.
What other bands are you most looking forward to seeing at SXSW?
Califone has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. I love everything they do but have never had the opportunity to see them live. Also, Cymbals Eat Guitars. I saw them in Dublin not so long ago. They released their debut album last year and I think it's one of the best releases of 2009.
What's in your festival survival kit?
A hip flask.
What else is in store for the band this year?
Our main focus for 2010 is getting our new album out, so it will be straight back to recording when we return [to Dublin]. The aim is to complete a final batch of demos for the album by early summer. There's no official release date as of yet, but if all goes to plan, it looks like it might be in August or September. We're also playing at NXNE Festival in Toronto in June, which should be cool. It will be our first time playing shows in Canada, so we're really looking forward to it.
What's an album that Autumn Owls can agree is one of the best of all-time? And who is the band's musical guilty pleasure?
'Kid A' by Radiohead might just tick the box for all of us, I'd say. It's about as perfect as an album gets. We've got a few guilty pleasures, too – like anything from the 'Top Gun' soundtrack. Or 'Yes: The Greatest Hits.' 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' is a particular favorite.
Beatles or Stones? Wilco or Radiohead?
Beatles. That's a no-brainer for me; best band of all-time. Radiohead versus Wilco is much more of an inner conflict. The head says Radiohead but the heart says Wilco.So, Wilco it is.
Craziest thing you've seen while on tour?
A Donkey Derby in the hills of rural Ireland.
Beer of choice?
I'm going to give the predictable Irish answer and say Guinness.
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