Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Exclusive: Interview with Automatic Loveletter

(Juliet Simms, Myself)

So what happens when the tour bus (or trailer in this case) of a band on tour blows a tire on the road and is then stuck in four hours of traffic and doesn't arrive for their 6:30 show until 9:45? The audience clears out. Unfortunately for them, such was the case for Paramore/Flyleaf crossbreed band Automatic Loveletter at their headlining show at the Crocodile Rock Café in Allentown, Pennsylvania tonight on March 19th. What this did mean, however, was that the 13 die hard fans that would not give up hope and stayed at the venue would be treated to one of the most intimate rock shows of their lives. After playing an hour long set, lead singer Juliet Simms sat down with me to dish on the band and her hopes for their future.

AN: So what was it like playing to such a ridiculously tiny crowd tonight?
JS: I loved it. The more intimate the funner I think. I know funner is not a word but I just made it one. I like to make up words (laughs).

AN: Haha, it’s okay we all do that. How did you come up with the name for your band, Automatic Loveletter?
JS: I came up with the name because for a while most of my lyrics were like love letters, and automatic is because it’s through a song, coming through a stereo and coming through speakers, so I just thought it was cool. It’s kind of like a non visual love letter.

AN: The band has gone through quite a few changes in terms of various members dropping in and out over the years. Having always been the front woman, tell me about how and when the band was started, as well as the inspiration behind it's creation?
JS: I started writing when I was really young, when I was 12. I wrote a bunch of songs and started playing them on a guitar and started playing a lot of shows locally until the age of 15 when I went out to California and got signed by an indie label around 16. They suggested that I put a band together, so I started doing that when I was 17 after already recording an EP. Then I would just go through members because certain members weren’t right or certain members were just filling in because they were friends, and finally these are the right guys. I love it but it’s taken like five years, (laughs).

AN: This year you’re going to make the transition from exclusively playing small venue shows to huge concerts at landmark events such as the Bamboozle festival and Warped Tour. Are you ready for this change and do you think it’ll affect the intimate feel of your music?
JS: No I don’t think it will. After playing as many of these little shows as we have, I don’t think we could be ready at all unless we had done this. I think this is a really good base and a really good ground to grow and maintain your integrity, intimacy and a great show. I just feel really, really prepared now.

AN: In October of last year you released your first EP, “Recover.” Are you working on a full length album? If so, are the same songs from the EP going to make an appearance on it?
JS: Yes, we’re finishing up the album in May and releasing it at the end of the summer. I believe a few of the songs from the EP will be on it, like “Parker” and a few others the fans know of plus some new ones.

AN: Your lyrics are very vivid, strong, honest, and expository. Not to mention, your songs have an extremely wide range of emotions. “Shut Your Mouth” for example is a rather angry rock song, while “Make Up Smeared Eyes” is one of the most genuinely heartfelt acoustic songs of sorrow I think I’ve ever heard. Overall, however, your songs all seem to tell stories. Do you write them from life experience or from fiction?
JS: Life experience. I have to be inspired. I need a muse or something to inspire me to write lyrics. I can’t just sit there and poop out good lyrics. The good thing is I can get inspired really easily, so I’m constantly writing everyday.

AN: Really? So then what inspired you to write the first song you ever wrote?
JS: The first song? A boy, definitely a boy.

AN: When you were twelve?
JS: Yep, when I was twelve. I think the chorus was even like “I need you now, I want you, you’re the light of my life.” Something corny like that. They were really cheesy, dumb lyrics, but you know, I was twelve what can I say (laughs).

AN: You have an absolutely stunning and very different voice compared to mainstream music. Did you have to take lessons or train it to sound that way or is that truly your natural instrument?
JS: I just have been singing my entire life. Ever since I was three years old singing every Disney movie, I mean I could sing every Disney song you could think of, plus I was in plays when I was growing up. I’ve only recently in the last year started doing warm ups everyday for about an hour and building just a stronger range and a stronger bridge, but other than that no, I don’t take lessons.

AN: Many fan reviews I’ve stumbled across online have cited your music as a “life saver.” How does that make you feel, and what is your main goal as a musician?
JS: That’s my main goal – touching people and helping them. Helping kids, or whoever, grown ups, feel better. I like them to think of my music as a Band-Aid, or some sort of ointment cream that massages your scar and makes it go away (laughs). No, but seriously all I want is people to feel safe by my music.

AN: You’ve already collaborated with artists such as All Time Low and Cartel. If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry, dead or alive, who would it be?
JS: John Lennon, hands down. Come on, that’s an easy one (laughs).

AN: When you look at all the amazing changes that have happened for your band in the past year and with everything you have to look forward to, where do you see Automatic Loveletter being a year from now?
JS: I am a dreamer. I hope to see us playing for 30,000 people. I want to get on great tours, I don’t want to stop, and I want Automatic Loveletter to become a household name.

AN: Well thank you so much, that’s all I have for you. Good luck with your trailer and the next coming months!
JS: Thank you, I appreciate it. Hope to see you at our next show around here!
AN: I will be there!
JS: Awesome, goodnight!

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