>Please introduce yourselves, what qualities do you each bring to the band?
David Auton: voice, guitar and programming. David brings a dash and fine tea to rehearsals.
Leon Auton: electric guitar and voice. Leon brings a big pizza board that makes many fine noises.
Tony Auton: keyboards, stylophone and voice. Tony brings a good luck charm.
>For someone exploring Autons for the first time, what one fact about you should they know before they start?
T: Autons are each cut from the same sheet of plastic.
D: We’re all good buddies, and we like drinking together, talking about music, and discussing our plans for Autonomy.
>Are Autons relevant?
T: Autons are not elephants. Elephants are relevant. Autons are relevant because we are here expressing tonnes of different ways of looking at things … some a bit odd maybe, but hey!
D: Yes, boyo
>What inspires you, musically and lyrically?
L: The city and the sea. Coming from Portsmouth, an island city, you have a sense of being trapped by the inner city areas and yet being free through the sea.
T: Anything original, weird and true to the people making the noise … and there is loads of pop or normal things I find inspiring as well as odd things. Odd pop music, that’s Autons… well, sometimes!
D: Anything that makes me sit up and takes me from the main drag.
>Tell us about your live/studio collaboration with Renaldo & The Loaf, how did that come about?
L: Well, we only collaborated with Renaldo. The loaf has gone stale… It was a genuine thrill to be working with someone we’d admired for so long. We just spoke to each other. People should do that simple thing more often: amazing things can happen when you cut out email and texts and go face-to-face.
T: Renaldo had a 20 minute version of The Kinks’ See My Friend which we thought was amazing. It took a long time to track him down and ten minutes to lick it into shape with him over a few glasses of red wine.
>Do you plan to collaborate with others? Any ideal collaborators?
T: No plans at the moment, just searching and off-the-cuff exploration and moments.
L: I think I speak for all of us when I say David Bowie would be the band’s dream collaborator.
D: Jack White… Dolly Parton
>If the musical world was ideal, it would...L: …have lost all its humanity. Ideal = dull.
D: Not let Embrace record the England World Cup song.
T: I maybe don’t like the way things are but I accept them as a reality. If it were any other way our music wouldn’t be coming out the way it is. The searching is part of the expressing.
>Why should people buy ‘Snakes’?
L: Because they’s go well with their ladders… Seriously, though, because it’s a slice of something you haven’t heard before: electro rock ‘n’ roll!
T: Folk should do what they like. The main reason to buy a single like Snakes is to have in your record collection something which says something about YOU.
D: Because I wrote it and it’s great.
>What do you each consider your best achievements in music?
D: The best is yet to come!
T: To have made something as great as Buzzcock’s Spiral Scratch, the greatest of independent record achievements.
L: Having set out to go into the studio and make a classic recording, whether anyone else hears it or not. The bonus is that people are hearing it. Supporting The Magic Band was also the realisation of a dream.
>On an Autons curated festival bill, who would play?
D: White Stripes, the Smiths, Scott Walker, PJ Harvey, the Magic Band
T: Currently: The Pyramids of Mars, The Fall, The White Stripes, Public Enemy, Madonna, Bowie, Iggy, The Good Time Charlies.
>What are your ambitions?D: To make it to the next rehearsal.
T: Have achieved the first one, to make a classic debut single, now want to be involved in making an all time classic debut album.
>What does ‘success’ mean to you?
T: Success as an Auton is folk dancing and expressing themselves. As an individual it is sharing all of this with my two best friends and some of the most beautiful, sexy audiences ever to gather.
D: As a band, see above. As an individual, eating fresh fruit and writing a song
>What makes you cry?
L: If I eat a nut and it triggers my allergy to them. That and the ‘Hurt’ video by Johnny Cash. And, in a coincidental link to the Johnny Cash answer, an instrumental track called ‘A Warm Place’ by Nine Inch Nails. The last one is a great example of how certain chords and certain sounds are instantly associated to a memory. I’m welling up now just thinking of it…
T: How the world let’s things happen to children. No, I’m not auditioning for Ms World, I really mean that.
D: The thought that one day Autons could record the perfect pop song.
>What makes you smile?
D: Peter Cushing
L: My fellow Autons. I’ve never been in a band where the vibe is so good and we are laughing so much!
T: That is much too rude to share with a family audience
>Has a musical event/musician changed your life? If so, how? Or describe a musical epiphany you have had.
T: Snakes at a winter rehearsal … KNOWING we had found a voice.
D: In terms of a musical personality I can’t think of anyone who impacted on me more than John Peel.
>What’s better, singles, LPS or downloads? What would be most useful to Autons right now?
T: 7” singles for me, they just SOUND amazing, fizzes and bips and bops, love all that! I have no idea as to what would be most useful to Autons, I just figure anything good will out.
L: I think every medium is useful to Autons, and there is a place for all of them. They are all the best in their relevant contexts.
D: You can’t whack Vinyl. But downloads are most useful to us at moment.
>What are your future plans for gigs and recordings?
L: Our single is being released by Repeat Records at a launch gig in Cambridge on 20th May. We are arranging some other dates for around this time. Then it’ll be onto the album during summer and hopefully some festival shows.
T: If people want us that is just fantastic, but we will make lots of recordings as best we can for as long as we can keep David Auton locked-up in Autons HQ.
D: To play every country on earth (with the exception, perhaps, of Greenland) and make the perfect recording!
>What, with regards the UK music scene, upsets you?
T: Nothing really. It’s a racket, get over it. For those of us not into rackets there is stuff out there. I don’t share my best friends with the world, so I am not fussed about the rest of the world being into loads of stuff that I just happen to find amazing.
>What, with regards the UK music scene, delights you?
D: Guess what?
L: Does it begin with an ‘A’?
T: Totally selfish answer … being involved in this at the moment, it is truly a delight.
L: If you can be bothered to look then there is some great music out there, and people are involved with the scene who have a passion for something new and independent. Fanzines such as Vanity Project are crucial to this.
>What are you passionate about in life, apart from music?
D: Football, Films, Cult TV
T: Sexiness. Football. I love the noise of the crowd, the not knowing what is going to happen.
L: Life, love, alcohol, football, and a good cuppa.
>What is/was your favourite book, and why?
L: At this point in time it’s ‘Rip It Up and Start Again’ by Simon Reynolds.
T: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee because it so evokes a dreamlike-coming-to-awareness. Because it is sensitive. Because it tells the truth and takes a stand.
D: The Sherlock Holmes Collection, because he’s great and I wanted to be him when I was a kid. Plus, most of them are short stories and only take about five minutes to read.
>Any other words of wisdom?
T: As someone said “Stay Beautiful”.
D: Fresh fruit, exercise, and pray to the Holy One.