AUTOBAHN Interview: “Loyalty Is So Important To Us.”

autobahn interview

Debut Album Dissemble  Out Now Via Tough Love Records.

When I think of Leeds I think of a woefully under performing football team and industry. I imagine it is grey, and perhaps a bit drab in places. It is also the hometown of oppressive post punk five piece AUTOBAHN. On their debut album Dissemble, these lads certainly do not under perform, and are as industrious and efficient as their name sake. It is also never a drab listen, as it grabs the listener from the word go and never loosens its grip.

Craig Johnson, singer and guitarist with the group, recently took some time out to talk to Overblown. We discussed everything from equal rights to DIY punk to the group’s record label, Tough Love. Good times! Read on!

Overblown: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Overblown. AUTOBAHN is also the name of the classic Kraftwerk album. Any love for the German electronica pioneers?

Craig Johnson: Yeah I was listening to a lot Kraftwerk, Neu! and Can when we started up. It was a reference to the repetitive drums we were going for at the time. I have a lot of time for those incredible German groups.

O: You guys hail from Leeds which has a very healthy DIY punk scene at the moment. How important is the DIY ethos to you?

CJ: Our practice space is part of a great Leeds DIY venue which is located in old industrial warehouses to the south of Leeds centre. We wouldn’t consider ourselves a DIY band, we have a team behind us releasing this record. We do look do to things ourselves where we can, it’s sometimes better you know. We did a great photo shoot the other day for some promo, we wanted to capture two children with balloons smiling in front of a hearse, with an undertaker driving and AUTOBAHN flowers on top. We managed to do it for next to nothing.

O: The growth and development of Leeds is closely linked to the Industrial Revolution. How does your background in Leeds influence your music?

CJ: I don’t think our backgrounds had much to do with it. I think the environment you make music really effects your end output. Been surrounded by these dirty tight walls, hardcore shows in the next room and dim light you get a picture of why the record turned out like it did. You can tell when a bands from Leeds though yeah, that Sisters of Mercy ting.

O: Your debut album, Dissemble, is out on August 21st. You recorded the album with Matt Peel. There’s rumours that the recorded process was obsessive. Is this true? What did it entail?

CJ: Yeah it was pretty intense. That track ‘Dissemble’ on the record was pretty obsessive, the whole song is a reversed version of another song with vocals over the top. The drums are recorded with a jumper over the snare then reversed again. I think Matt hated me for a bit editing all that, if he didn’t hate me enough already.

O: The album is coming out on Tough Love. They’ve been releasing some stellar music at the moment by the likes of Yung, Girls Names, and Cruising. Is that why you decided to release your record through them?

CJ: You forgot that great Communions EP too and that amazing Yvette album last year. Tough Love came to us at the beginning. We didn’t approach anyone else in EU to release this record. Loyalty is so important to us and there was no other option there. It’s a real indie record label putting out music they love.

O: Over the last two years you have released two EPs called: AUTOBAHN 1. and AUTOBAHN 2. How have you developed as a band since the release of these EPs?

CJ: Sonically we understand dynamics more, everything doesn’t need to be at 100% all the time until you die. Lyrically it’s just got better, the albums content means something and has become much more poetic.

O: I find that your music can be claustrophobic and oppressive. Is this intentional?

CJ: Thanks. I think it’s just the surroundings we’ve been making music that causes that.

O: Your vocalist Craig Johnston has said, “This song (‘Society’) encapsulates a longing for a complete society, a society where people won’t be judged, where people can have faith in humanity. We don’t live in that place now, especially with this government, but we can change this.” What do you feel could be a viable alternative to the current Tory government? What do you think of Jeremy Corbyn?

CJ: We believe in equal rights for everyone. Until I hear politicians talking policies which effect every person in this country, I’ll start listening. So much bullshit goes on, people are just there to try win face a lot of the time, you get the same from people campaigning for them. I’m distanced from politics at the minute for that reason, so I couldn’t comment. The song is about losing the ability to look after yourself and having no one to fall back on. It feels like some people out there don’t have options for support.

O: What Leeds’ bands should Overblown readers be checking out?

CJ: Perspex Flesh, Sievehead (Sheffield), GUNDOGS. Thanks for the chat, goodnight.

AUTOBAHN Tour Dates:

10 Sep – Gulivers, Manchester
11 Sep – Fruit, Hull
12 Sep – Glasgow, Audio
13 Sep – Head of Steam, Newcastle

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