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THE AUTUMNS

> an interview with Matthew Kelly, vocalist / guitarist for the Autumns

:when / how did you fall in love with music?

::I've been in love with music as long as I can remember. My parents had me taking piano by age three. I had a fixation around that time with Donnie Osmond and Barry Manilow. I wore purple socks, refused to answer to my given name (the pre-school teachers all called me Donnie), and wrote Barry long letters about my thoughts on "Oh Mandy", "Cocacabana", etc.

:outline the progression of the autumns.

::The Autumns began in late 1992. We were seniors in high school. It was a different line-up back then. Frankie, myself, Eric Crissman, and Jon Santana. We were mostly keen on Manchester bands at that time (Stone Roses, Trash Can Sinatras). As we got older, our influences broadened a bit. We got into the Cocteau Twins and a lot of shoegaze stuff. After that, it's hard to trace. We really opened up at that point. These days the influences are so legion that they're not worth listing.

That was the musical progression, I suppose. We've been making records since 1997. Future plans are pretty simple...we just want to improve and make better and better records.

:what do you regret most as a musician?

::I'm sure this is common: I regret not encountering earlier much of the music that had a major impact on me later. I sometimes think that if the band had a greater pallet back in the day, we'd be a lot further along today.

:what do you most hope for as a musician?

::To make a truly great record, I suppose. That's what we're always striving for.

:as far as the lyrics go...is there somewhat of a black and white meaning to them, or are they more for aesthetic purposes?

::It depends. More often that not the lyrics operate on a highly symbolic level. We've never felt particularly comfortable writing in a direct, concrete manner. If something comes out that way, so be it. Usually, though, it's difficult to translate the kinds of emotional experiences that inspire us into normal language.

:how would you describe the more recent autumns releases in comparison to the older ones?

::Well, the early records - Strell Park, Angel Pool, WInter in a Silver Box - were very green, I think. The influences were obvious. To the extent that those records succeeded, they did so on account of songs, as opposed to stylistic ingenuity. Russet Gold marked a significant departure. We decided to approach things in a much more minimal, almost icy manner.

:can you explain further?

::By 'icy' I mean that we'd passed out of the emotional space in which angst and heartbreak are rendered in romantic hues. We 'graduated' to the level of a truly cold, hopeless kind of sadness. That's part of what
bothered some people. The Angel Pool had a sadness to it but it was always coupled with a feeling of comfort. Russet Gold is not a comforting record; it's just miserable.

:where do you think these changes came from?

::Well, I guess it all turns on getting older. You get older, you realize a lot more about what goes on outside your own little world where things like girls or music or whatever determine the emotional environment. You realize that these things might be insignificant -- that the things
to which you've attached so much meaning might mean nothing. You begin to equate the real with the painful and it just gets to a point where there's not much left in the way of a romantic sheen. You can't honestly offer something optimistic in the music without faking it.

:and this bothered people?

::I think that turned some people off because that silver lining is exactly what drew them to the band in the first place. The fact that Russet Gold didn't offer any solutions or comfort -- the fact that it sounded somewhat flat and dull -- the fact that it wasn't particularly dreamy, etc. Some people resented it. Others got into the band who didn't like The Angel Pool. I think it appealed to a completely different set of people. Many people stuck with us; others held their breath and hoped
that The Angel Pool II would soon follow.

:how did these internal changes affect the songwriting?

::It forced us to write in a more fastidious way. Without the big wall-of-sound to keep the less-than-fantastic bits from becoming conspicious, every note has to count.

Russet Gold served as a sort of touchstone for other arenas. We'd wanted to do a 50s-oriented EP for a while, but couldn't pull it off. We actually recorded Le Carillon once before and shelved it. We hadn't learned to write with the kind of precision and intricacy to pull if off. Russet Gold gave us the skills to finally get Le Carillon write. It's ironic, I guess, that those two records are about as divergent as it gets within our catalog.

:what are your top five favorite smiths lyrics?

::1. And now I know how Joan of Arc felt / as the flames rose to her Roman nose and her walkman started to melt
2. You left your girlfriend on the platform / with this really ragged notion that you'd return but she knows / when he goes, he really goes
3. Meat is Murder.
4. But she doesn't even like me / And I know because she said so
5. No, it's NOT like any other love / this one is different / because it's us

:what are you listening to lately?

::Lately, I really like Parlour, Einsturzende Neubauten, Teenage Filmstars, Tortoise, The Pretty Things, Television, Magazine, Nick Cave...
 
:[melissa marie]

Photos by Piper Ferguson.

it's never over...

hung in drapes of palest lace

www.theautumns.com

THE AUTUMNS...
Matthew Kelly - voice, guitar, piano
Frankie Koroshec - guitar, piano
Zinskie - bass
Steve Elkins - drums, percussion