Seattle prog rockers, Autumn Electric returned this year with their fifth studio album Star Being Earth Child. Singer, guitarist and flutist Michael Trew talks about the band’s beginnings, music, and future.
Tell me about Autumn Electric’s beginnings.
Guitar, Banjo, Keyboards, Bass and three part harmonies. The acoustic music I was writing was joined by friends Jessica Eballar, Naomi Smith, and Gene Hardy who loosely formed the first band and put out Very Soon the Light. Our friend Micah Ellison coninced us to tour shortly thereafter, which led to a lot of things.
What is the idea behind the band’s name?
It’s a reference to the first moment of Fall. The electric air representing to the child the signal of a new year, friends, romance.
Star Being Earth Child is a rock opera album. How did you approach writing and recording bearing that in mind?
It was a bit hard sticking to a theme in ways, but it can be incredibly fun too. I guess it was written very much with the live performance in mind, with visual accompaniment.
What is the lyrical concept of the album?
Star Beings are humans, who wake up one day realizing that they came from another world, explaining their lifelong feeling of displacement here. This is usually accompanied by some realization of power and ability to enact change here or earth or the choice to depart to other (astral?) shores. Rigel is a new Star Visitor to earth, who’s memory is rekindled by witnessing pollution and impending destruction of the earth people. He must be helped by Leaf (the earth child) and his Mother (a longtime Star Being on Earth).
Are you satisfied with reception for Star Being Earth Child? Are your expectations met?
When we raised funds for the recording and stage show equipment, we found a huge amount of support, and the reaction to the live show on the tour was overwhelming. I think by and large folks think Rock Operas are cheese, but it seems like most people are won over by the end of the show or by 2nd listen to the album.
You have already performed the new album live in its entirety. What was the feedback like and how was the whole experience like?
People seemed most surprised that we would come in with lights and outfits and put on full scale rock concerts in tiny venues. It was a lot of work every night. Feedback has been great though. It has been fun to bring out the theater or prog geek in some people. Sometimes we get comlaints that we didn’t inform people to use the bathroom before the show so they wouldn’t miss any scenes.
How would you describe your sound?
Mostly Harmless. It’s very much “Peaks and Valleys” music, with big doses of polyphony and life questioning.
There are lots of folk influences in your music. Which folk albums inspire your work?
Obviously Tom Paxton via John Denver. I’d say a lot of world folk music, be it eastern European, Indian, Celtic or Americana. Artists: Peter Paul and Mary, Nick Drake, Dave Carter.
Are you already working on anything new?
Yes, a few new things.
Where do you see the band in the future?
We have a few festivals planned for 2016, in the US. It would be a dream to go to Canada, Europe or S. America, but we need more connections.