Interview: AutoVaughn — Outerspace Blues, "Three Ninjas," and Led Zeppelin
Mon, 14 Jun 2010 12:46:41
AutoVaughn bring the blues into outer space on their brand new album, Science of Our Time.
The Nashville quartet crank out an intergalactic mix of ethereal instrumental textures and a classic rock bravado that's simply out of this world. There's a dark sensitivity to tracks like "A Million to One" and "Time" that the band channels flawlessly on stage too. Of course, they've got the requisite Southern swagger, but they bring it to another realm on Science of Our Time. This is sonic alchemy at its best and bluesiest!
AutoVaughn—Darren Edwards, Stephen Wilson, Ben Graham and Andrew Grooms—sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about their own brand of Science, the movies and records that inspire them and their hook for the ladies…
Also download "A Million to One" for free on ARTISTdirect here!
Where does the story of Science of Our Time begin?
Darren: The album actually has been a process. The first two records were more like demos. We'd start recording something and someone would be like, "Yeah, that sounds good!" We'd add a few more songs, and the next thing you know, we'd have an album. We never really had a time to build the songs as an album before. For Science though, we actually sat down and constructed a complete thought. There are some themes that run through it. We got to spend time getting the tones and forming it into a project versus songs simply being thrown together.
Stephen: There are a lot of scientific themes and a little bit of politics here and there—humanity in general, evolution, UFO's, life death, metaphysics—all kinds of topics are addressed across the spectrum of the album.
Ben: A little bit of love…
Darren: We need to include love so the ladies will buy the record.
Ben: Ladies like love [Laughs]!
Does the blues lend itself to those spacey tones you utilize and that instrumental experimentation?
Darren: It seemed to! "Fortress" leads into "Handshake Smile," and that's definitely a bluesy track. It felt natural—especially between the two songs. We tried to tie all of the songs together.
Stephen: On this album, that bluesy side probably came out more. I started listening to more blues guitar playing, and that focus is more apparent than in the past. A lot of my guitar heroes are blues players too. Ben likes jazz and blues. The futuristic, space sound of the music mixed with those blues elements is what led to The Science of Our Time. Mr. David Gilmour [Laughs].
If you were to compare The Science of Our Time to a movie, what would you compare it to?
Darren: Maybe Fight Club, Basquiat, Magnolia or something like that…When writing lyrics, there are certain things that resonate within each of us such as Fight Club or Basquiat which deal with some of those topics we've been singing about. Sometimes when you're writing a song, you can picture a certain director using it. I'll think, "I could see Tarantino using this!" What do you guys think?
Stephen: Robocop meets Armaggedon meets Independence Day meets The Rock. Anything Michael Bay…
Ben: Visually, maybe Fantasia 2000…
Darren: That was intense shit!
Andy: I think Flight of the Navigator or Space Camp.
Ben: Or Three Ninjas [Laughs].
Darren: I can't name one movie, but I could behind some science channel or Discovery Channel shows. Maybe if there were using it for Stephen Hawking's new End of the Universe, I could get behind that.
What's the story behind "Hold On Release?" That really stands out.
Stephen: It's about things going wrong in the world in a particular situation. People grasp onto things so long and eventually just let go. Hence, "Hold On Release." It's cyclical. There are elements of life and death—questioning your life, your God and other things. There's one part where we reference UFO's. It's one of those things that people question all the time. "The Phoenix Lights" is probably one of the largest UFO sightings of all time. They estimated that about 10,000 people saw it. You can only question things for so long, eventually you've got to let go of it. You've got to live your life.
What about "Time"?
Darren: It really follows the same principle. It's about questioning things and searching. There's a lot of shit out there that we need to investigate before we claim that things are definitely one way. Open-mindedness would be a good phrase, tolerance, experience and perspective.
Ben: Being skeptical can be a good thing. That's how you get to know yourself. You find what you really think of an issue. That can teach you about yourself.
Do you feel like science permeates everything thematically?
Darren: There's science and philosophy. When we first started the band, Stephen and I would watch the Science Channel all the time. They were playing Carl Sagan's Cosmos on repeat!
Ben: There's a new show coming out narrated by Morgan Freeman called Into the Wormhole.
Darren: He's the shit!
What records and bands do you always come back to?
Darren: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other old stuff.
Ben: I love disc 1 of The White Album. I'd say The White Album has a whole, but disc 1 has all of my favorites on it.
Stephen: In Utero by Nirvana. I got into that back in my teen years when I was learning guitar.
Darren: Pearl Jam's Yield. The first album that really got me excited about music in general was Prince's Purple Rain just because of the fucking grooves. There was something sexy about it. That's what first made me want to play drums, which I played before guitar. Plus, he played The Super Bowl in rain in high heels [Laughs].
Ben: Who does that?!?
Darren: That's one motherfucker who does have it figured out—Prince!
Download "A Million to One" for free now! Click here!
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