Welsh rockers The Automatic are gearing up to release their third LP Tear The Signs Down from their newly established independent label, Armored Records. We sat down in NYC with vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Paul Mullen (ex Frontman of Yourcodenameis Milo) to see what fans can expect from the upcoming release.
Panic Dots: What is it about Tear Down The Signs that sets it apart from your previous releases?
Paul Mullen: I guess the main difference is it being on our label. It’s has given us total control. Whereas “This Is A Fix” was more an ideas album, filled with nervous energy, “Tear The Signs Down” is a lot more focused. We recorded the whole record in our studio, giving ourselves plenty of time to really explore different ways of song writing and sound recording.
Panic Dots: How do the writing process work for you guys? Do you all contribute to the lyrical content?
Paul Mullen: Lyrics are contributed mainly by me and Rob. Then we all kind of edit, if needs be in the control room. If something doesn’t sit right, all four of us will find a better alternative. The structure and melodies come from us being in the live room and bouncing idea off each other.
Panic Dots: Would you say recording for The Automatic is different or similar than your recording for your old band, Yourcodenameis Milo?
Paul Mullen: We used to work in the same way in Milo. Crawl into the studio at daft o’clock and bash some ideas around till something stuck. Really work on structure then the vocals would normally be the last thing to be added.
Panic Dots: Would you guys say that the location of where an album is recorded is apparent when you actually listen to the songs?
Paul Mullen: We have been in this studio for years on. All the tracks we’ve wrote have started in one way or another in these four walls. What we wanted to say on TTSD would have still happened if we recorded it anywhere in the world. Maybe if we made it in Brazil there would be more cow bell.
Panic Dots: Was the arrangement of the varied lead vocals between Rob and Paul a conscious choice or a happy accident?
Paul Mullen: It just happened really, it never needed to be discussed as to who would sing what. We knew like for example, I’d sing Run and Hide and Rob Interstate. All very natural.
Panic Dots: What was it like working with producer Richard Jackson?
Paul Mullen: Rich is almost a fifth member of the band now. He’s worked on every record we’ve put out and we wouldn’t have wanted to do this album with anyone else. He’ll tells us if something is great, he’ll tell us if something is not. There is a great understanding from day one.
Panic Dots: You guys have a massive tour schedule! When can our readers (Ireland and the states) expect to see you perform?
Hopefully sooner rather than later. We’ll be looking to license the record everywhere. If people want to hear it and see, we’ll make it happen. Another advantage of releasing it ourselves.
Paul Mullen: Really good. Thank fuck. We did 3 London shows and they sold out. Everyone seemed to be really into it. You never know do you? Spend over a year making the record and i forget sometimes that other people will be buying it.
Panic Dots: What events inspired this album?
Paul Mullen: We’ve been through a tough time of late. With falling out with our last record company and leaving us to pick up the pieces. It’s a bit of a nightmare when you spend 2 years of your life putting everything you got into something, only to be taken away from you by a person sitting behind a desk you’ve never met in a building you’ve never been in. But out of that has come this record. It’s optimistic and positive in parts, dark and bitter in others.
Panic Dots: With the new creation of you’re own record label (Armored records) would you say that recording Tear The Signs Down was a new experience than previous albums? and how so?
Paul Mullen: Once we’re in the studio there’s only one objective. To make the best record we can. We’ve given ourselves a lot more time on this album to get it right and there’s been no real outside involvement in the recording process. So it that sense, it’s the most pure Automatic you’ll get.
Panic Dots: How have you guys taken the reactions to your most recent singles? (Interstate and Run and Hide)
Paul Mullen: Live they have gone down great and radio play is picking up to.
Panic Dots: And lastly a bit of a personal question I have to ask: have you guys been keeping up with your old buddies Ash? They’re quite the revolutionaries in the sense of music distribution at the moment.
Paul Mullen: Ash are great! I’ve just been speaking to Tim about the UK shows they are doing in April in the UK. Looking forward to seeing them live again. Bands like Ash and Radiohead really open the possibilities of how you can release your music.