What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
François : When I first heared Mogwai more than 20 years ago, I was blown away but I thought, how can stuff apparently so simple sound so great ? I had to grab a guitar and see by myself, inspired by the simplicity and the melodies. It’s our love for that band that made us start together, with 3 out of the 4 of us having played for quite some time in another project, Lovely Girls are Blind. Etienne was playing in Silent Whale Becomes a Dream and joined us in 2018 for a new venture, and that’s how Autómata came to be.
Etienne : I was listening to a lot of progressive rock and post-rock when I was a student, and I came to realize there were so many different ways to imagine and develop my own musical world with a guitar.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
F : it’s our first album as Autómata, with songs we crafted the 4 of us between 2018 and 2020. It’s 5 instrumental rock tracks, that we spent quite some time refining and pushing so that each song develops into its own style: Verdik is the heavy one, very metal-oriented , Tanger comes closer to 70s’ prog rock, and Church would be the single, a try at something more pop and catchy. 3×3+5 may well be our most typical post-rock tune, but using the beat and the tempo to try and break things apart. And Automate is the record’s bravura, 9 minutes with different moods and the triumphant brass at the end.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
F : Frankly, I try to empty my head when writing music, trying hard not to sound like something I’ve been listening to – which is actually not possible at all, but that’s what I’m aiming for nonetheless. I’m listening to a lot music, everyday, and I feel it helps me come with melodies and ambiances that bridge and blend my influences, creating something original. So, I’m not sure if it translates into what we do, but lately I’ve been listening a lot to Teeth of the Sea, all the instrumentals by Stephen Jones aka Babybird (who to me is a pop genius), Maxence Cyrin and Max Richter.
E : I’m passionate about movies, so I write my melodies just as if they were soundtracks. Actually I often play the guitar while watching movies.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
F : Those who’ve loved post-rock in the beginnings but got bored because it became so predictable, maybe they should give a try to Autómata. That might sound pretentious, but I think that’s what our songs convey…
E : I somewhat agree with François, but given my previous bands I can’t say I’m reluctant to playing post-rock music. I’m still quite attached to that genre.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
F : Violator by Depeche Mode, Everything I Long For by Hayden and Pornography by The Cure. Blindness by José Saramago, If This Is a Man by Primo Levi, and Lord of the Barnyard by Tristan Egolf. Terminator by James Cameron, Alien by Ridley Scott and Jaws by Steven Spielberg. All you need to party !
E : Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Agætis Byrjun by Sigur Ros, Going Blank Again by Ride (if only for the track « Leave Them All Behind »). Animal Farm by George Orwell, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson. Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, Interstellar by Christopher Nolan, Ready Player One by Steven Spielberg. It seems we’re getting closer and closer to this dreaded future!
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
F : It’s in the studio that I’m getting the first chills from the very powerful emotions radiating from the songs. It’s absolutely unique. We’ve had good live experiences in the past, but not a deep connection with the audience. Maybe this will come when Autómata will be able to perform live !
E : I’m more fond of the rehearsal, when we get together as a band to write down the music – that’s were the songs are born, before we eventually record them in the studio.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
F : Back in 2003 or 2004, our current drummer David contacted us (myself and JB our bassist) to answer an ad we had posted to find a drummer ; but by then we already had found one (who then played the drums with us for 15 years) and so David joined as a guitar player. But then our drummer left, Etienne came in, and David switched back to the drums, I guess a dream came true 15 years later.
E : Late in the evening, François calls me, they needed a guitar played to join the band. I had followed their previous band from the start, so it was an easy decision – I had never thought they would draft me in someday !
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
F : The song I’m the most proud of would be « Church ». I just love the intro with the huge beat and the Mongolian voices in the background, We had never sounded like that before !
E : It has to be « Verdik » for me, I would never have thought I’d play something sounding so metal.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
F : We’re thinking of recording an EP in the coming months, as we have some new tracks almost done, that we believe add up to the album with some surprises mixed in.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Autómata: