I am here today with a band that has been making their way through the rock and roll fist pumping years trying to make it to the top. With the polished image, the incredible vocals, the professional song writing, and the instruments that are behind them, this band deserves to get to wherever they want to go. I am here today with an awesome talent in Autumn’s Descent.
Where did you guys all meet?
Robby (our guitarist) and I met through an ad he placed at Cornerstone Festival in 1996. He was looking to join a project. I had a project. We had overlapping music tastes. It worked.
Omar lived 3 blocks from Robby and joined in 2007. Vaapour and I ran into each other a couple times at concerts in 2002 and 2003 and he joined on as sound engineer shortly thereafter. He played bass for the band from 07-09 and is now back on the soundboard. Trampas has been a long-time acquaintance of both Robby and me and has just joined to play bass as of March of 2009.
How long have you been together?
I started Autumn’s Descent in October of 1995 as a solo project. I was a sophomore in college at the time.
All the original members?
Autumn’s Descent is a lot like Nine Inch Nails where it’s primarily Trent and a revolving door of musicians. AD has been a “band” a few times over yet I am the constant. There are different eras of the project for sure. The most current lineup is the longest running and probably the most fun I’ve had yet.
What is the largest crowd you have played for?
Several thousand people at festivals.
I think two or three people at clubs here in Indianapolis. We seem to be bigger everywhere except Indianapolis.
When did you realize that you wanted to make a run at this incredibly competitive market?
Are you talking about Indianapolis or the music business in general? Indianapolis we’ve tried and given up on a handful of times over the years. Still not quite ready to totally throw in the towel on the market yet, though. Still waiting for a really nice all ages venue to open in this town.
As for the music business as a whole I was 13 when I decided to make a go of it. Here I am twenty years later and still at it. Although, the rules have changed and my ambitions have changed. At the current state of the record industry, we’re not exactly sure a record label could do for us what we’re not already doing for ourselves. It used to be that you needed a Label for three things: money to record a high quality album, distribution channels to get that album into stores, and then money for promotion. These days, everyone has a studio and getting a high quality product isn’t near as costly anymore. Companies like CDBaby have made global retail and digital distribution fully accessible to everyone. So all that’s left is promotion. And when you’ve got Clear Channel radio keeping the playlist exactly the same as it was in 1994, traditional radio is pretty much not an option (even if your music is very radio friendly). So artists have to get creative to market their music. Money for promotion is the big issue. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. So whoever successfully makes the most noise (or press) in this industry gets the most attention. We would very much like to grab more and more of that attention. Do we need a big record label to do that? Maybe; maybe not. It’s all in whom you know. As a group though, we have decided to be a professional caliber band regardless of whether or not a major label is involved. And we’ve decided to enjoy the ride. We consider our peers to be that of Metallica, Rob Zombie, NIN. The only real difference between them and us is they’ve been doing this a little longer and have a lot more promotion behind them.
Coke or Pepsi?
Coca-Cola all the way. I’ll be looking for that endorsement check in the mail from Coke for the props.
What is your favorite venue to play?
I don’t think we have a favorite. The one we’ve played the most frequently as of late is the Nite Lite in Chicago. We really like the people there and they seem to like us.
If you could live anywhere else where would you go?
As a band, we have no idea. Autumn’s Descent called New York home in the mid to late 90’s. Out there we were another fish in a very big pond. Out here in the Midwest, the pond is a little smaller and we tend to stick out a little more.
Do you guys have jobs or is music it?
We all have day jobs. Even some of the artists on major labels have day jobs anymore. The number of new artists that get a promotional push from the labels are fewer and fewer these days. And what is promoted gets pirated off the Internet and from people burning CDs so artists are losing major money. Licensing music has been the way a lot of artists are trying to make more cash. We’ve had our music in MTV shows (Next, Pimp My Ride, Cribs), on TV shows on the major networks, and in movies in the past few years. It’s nice to get some of that income, but it’s nothing close to even paying off band debt for pressing an album or ordering T-shirts and merchandise to sell. Every little bit helps though.
Who are some of your inspirations?
It’s all over the map. Mostly classic rock and industrial artists from the 60’s on through today. There’s way too many to name. We’ve most often been described as a radio-friendly blending of Metallica, Rob Zombie, NIN, Stabbing Westward, Skid Row, and Depeche Mode.
Tell me about Character Assassination.
Character Assassination is Autumn’s Descent’s newest full-length album. 13 tracks. Started working on the album in 2003 with plans for a 2004 release. It came out in August 2008 instead. Took a little longer than expected but very pleased with the end result though. And the fans seem to like it.
I love your album artwork. Who did that?
Thank you! There were no fewer than about 20 album cover concepts I came up with for “CHASS.” As I dialed in on the one that would eventually become the cover, I asked professional photographer and graphic artist extraordinaire to help me get the pictures taken and edited. From there, I did the layout and design work myself. They same guys who duplicate Bob & Tom’s stuff duplicated Character Assassination and they did an outstanding job.
Who produced that?
I engineered, produced, and mixed the album myself at my home studio, Windblown Digital. I’ve logged more than 100,000 hours of studio time since 1995 and I feel like I’m just starting to get the hang of this whole recording thing. If we could have afforded it, we would have loved to have had Grant Mohrman (Rob Zombie, Filter, Marilyn Manson, Celldweller), who worked with Autumn’s Descent on our 2005 EP “Primer”, mix Character Assassination. There just wasn’t time or money though. So I had to make do with what I could do on my own. I’ve had a lot of fans say they like the end results though, which is encouraging.”
This is your first full-length album in quite a while (6 years). What was the process like for you guys?
The process for Character Assassination was probably the most difficult of all of AD’s releases. The album was written, demoed, scrapped, re-written, re-demoed, re-scrapped and so and so forth about four times before it actually was finished. There were three major band lineup changes in the interim, which slowed the process down too.
We’re hoping our next album (tentatively a self-title) will take a little less time and actually come out in 2009!
Where can I get a copy of Character Assassination?
Character Assassination is available digitally through iTunes (which is where most of our sales come from), Napster, Yahoo Music, Rhapsody, Amazon.com, Target, and even Wal-Mart online. If you would like to buy the physical CD, that can be ordered online at CDBaby.com, Amazon.com, and even Target.com. You can also purchase the CD from the band at shows.
Any thoughts of a major tour to support the album?
Nothing major. We’re planning on staying regional for the time being. We’re all in our mid to late 30’s now. We have families, kids, and jobs. Doing a full-on tour would be difficult to do. Not impossible though if the right opportunity presented itself. We’re really enjoying playing the area from Bloomington, Indiana through I-65 up to Chicago. Our fan base is starting to really re-grow along that corridor.
What is one song you play in every set?
Our most popular song is “Disillusioned,” which is from the 2002 DEADLETTERS album and has been licensed more than any of our songs. A new version of the song will appear on the next album. The song is a staple in every set list.
Tell me something about your record label.
What is it like working with them? Well I think they are wonderful. Mostly because I own the label (laughs). Again, it’s along the lines of “what can a major do for us that we aren’t already doing for ourselves?” The answer: more promotion. Windblown Media Recordings (my label) is a dinky little Limited Liability Company that handles my work in the studio for AD and other artists and has just a handful of releases. Very glad to have my friends in other areas of the business for distribution though.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Closing in on 40. Don’t remind me of how old I’m getting. One thing will always be for sure: we will be playing and having fun no matter how big or small the audience or demand for our music.
PC or Mac?
You guys have played in New England. Is that your only international dates?
Ricky, thank you. I laughed way too hard when reading that question. New England is New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Washington DC, and a handful of other Northeastern States. We’ve never played shows overseas. Although it is my understanding that our music has become somewhat popular (even on the radio) in England, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
How did you get over there in the first place?
Our music has been picked up by new fans through our previous touring with bigger artists here in the States and also from the internet word-of-mouth recommendations. We’re really quite flattered at the response we’re getting overseas.
Is MySpace good or bad for musicians?
According to Randy Spencer of Pitch Music in Los Angeles, there are over 8 million bands on MySpace. Given more than half of those groups are kids in their first band and who need to spend a lot more time in the garage, the more professional artists get lost in the shuffle. Again, it boils down to promotion and making the most noise to get noticed. From there, word-of-mouth is the most productive form of advertising.
What are you drinking on stage?
What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?
I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
I’ll leave you with a quote I discovered just about three years ago. It’s really been an inspiration to us and relates to how we view life in general: “People are always blaming circumstances for what and who they are. Well I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up, go out, and look for the circumstances they want. And if they can’t find them, they make them.”- George Bernard Shaw, 1893.
Thanks again for the interest in us, Ricky!