Friday, 7 September 2007

AUTOBODY : An interview with Graeme McInnis by Christine Leonard-Cripps

Heavy Metal Shop

Calgary's Autobody likes it fast and furious

Emerging Calgary hardcore-meets-heavy-metal artists Autobody have weathered highs and lows on the road to rock ’n’ roll glory, and they have the experience and the scars to prove it. Claiming a musical heritage that stretches back to a prog-rock ensemble known as theR.A.C.E., this unholy trio of tried and true friends have succeeded in blazing their own trail.    

 “In the beginning, we ran our own label and put out our own records,“ says guitarist Graeme McInnis. “We spent five to seven years working on the last record for our previous band theR.A.C.E. It was a very progressive concept album. We had a great vision that required a complex recording process to accompany the tremendous industrial nature of the performance. Ultimately, it was cheaper to buy a studio than to pay to record in one, and that’s how our label, Trace Records, got started. We recorded some projects for other bands to offset the expense, but it all comes down to percentages and our style is just not “mainstream.” It became apparent that we were leaning more towards art than commerce. I wouldn’t advise young musicians just starting out to try and start their own label; we’ve learned how difficult it can be when you’re trying to do everything yourself.”     

Eventually, the strain was too much, and, as McInnis puts it, things soon “self-imploded.” Still, the members of Autobody endured and eventually emerged from the ashes of their former incarnation. McInnis further cemented his collaboration with vocalist-bassist Jerrod Maxwell-Lyster and the two joined forces with drummer Rob Shawcross to form a powerful three-piece. The group has left behind the disappointment and dissolution to focus on the future.  

With the advent of their explosive full-length debut, The Mean Length of Daylight, released on the band’s own label, Autobody have dedicated themselves to creating shredding guitar riffs and pummelling percussion arrangements so tight there’s no room left for personality conflicts.     

“I don’t think we’ve taken a step back by going down to a three-piece,” McInnis explains. “I think we’re much more accessible. It’s a much simpler project in terms of merging egos, finances and commitments. We just try to keep it simple; we’ve learned over the years that too many members means too many issues. I think that our wide dynamic range sets us apart. As a trio we are strong enough musicians and songwriters that we can perform original compositions in any style within the genres of rock and metal. We’re a steamroller full of determination!”    

Making the most of their new, sleeker lineup, the lads in Autobody have been generating plenty of buzz on the local scene and beyond. They’ve been performing at metal festivals, appearing on globally broadcast radio program “Megawatt Mayhem” and, most recently, embarking on a whirlwind tour of their old stomping grounds in Southern California.     

“The reason we chose to return to the L.A. scene is that there is such a huge number of venues concentrated in an area the size of southern Alberta.” McInnis reasons. “We do all of our own booking and it’s way easier to hit a large segment of the population down there. It was definitely a learning experience, and we did our best to take advantage of it by playing with bands down there that were of interest to us. We had a great time. It’s a lot of hard work, though, and that’s part of the whole problem; as the band is getting to be more popular, all of the little tasks that we were doing ourselves are becoming full-time jobs. That’s when you know you need a professional team — when all of the ‘detail work’ gets to be too much to handle.”

~Christine Leonard

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