The Roadmender, Northampton
The long and winding road has seen Welsh band The Automatic travel to a point where they are now storytelling musicians.
The quartet of James Frost, Rob Hawkins, Iwan Griffiths and Paul Mullen are gearing up for the release of their third album next month entitled Tear the Signs Down.
The band will be out on the road backing up the release of the album with a full UK tour which brings them to The Roadmender on March 11.
Musically The Automatic have continued to develop since they released the single Recover in November 2005.
They have secured top 40 hits with Raoul, Monster, Steve McQueen and their latest Interstate in December 2009.
The group have released three studio albums with Not Accepted Anywhere in 2006, This is a Fix in 2008 and the soon to be Tear the Signs Down.
To find out how far The Automatic have come Bedfordshire on Sunday caught up with the group’s lead singer Rob Hawkins.
“We have come a long way,” said Rob ahead of the tour.
“When we recorded our first album I couldn’t sing and we have learnt to play our instruments better.
“This has allowed us to express ourselves better so I would say we have travelled a good distance.
“By becoming better musicians it has allowed ourselves to express our creative side.
“The way we write the songs is we jam in a room so it is spontaneous.
“We do this until we get something good so what grows out of this is organic.
“Nothing is written down until people are happy with what we have got.
“Then we want to get into the studio and let our creativity loose.”
Rob said the new album Tear the Signs Down is more straight forward than the previous two albums.
He felt the second album was bursting with 20 ideas on each song whereas this time it is a lot clearer with what is going on.
Rob added: “This time you get one idea with each song rather than getting everything at once.”
Recording the album was something which took the band right up to the wire.
They wrote the last song a few days before they finished all the recordings.
Explaining the differences between the group’s three albums, Rob said: “The first album was very personal while the second was all about world events as it was taken from the news as we were on tour.
“The third, the new album, is a lot more like story telling.
“There are a lot of ideas which we have come up which are common threads in people’s lives.
“It gave us the freedom to come up with a good line and build a song around it. I always thought if you did not understand the subject you should stay away from it but musically I have now changed.”
The singer said no matter how much the group had changed they were still a rock band.
Lots of people might instantly recognise them from the Monster but they are a bit better than being pigeon-holed thanks to one single.
Rob doesn’t resent the success the song Monster gave them but felt ‘there are songs which are over played and this is what happened to their number four hit.
The lads still enjoy playing it live and it always goes down well.
And for Rob being in The Automatic is a dream come true.
He has been in the band since it got together when he was in his early teens.
He stated: “It is my life; it is all I have ever wanted to do.
“It is my social life, my passion; it is everything all at once.”