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A Spotlight Interview With Autorub

A new single from Autorub brings out a bright and vibrant classic rock feel that crosses into alt-pop rock with bendy and fuzztones guitars along with a catchy riff and vocals that just reach out and grab you.

"Oh Marjorie" is a blast from the get-go as it touches on those classic rock vocals and organs but also hits a sort of pop sweet spot that brings to mind bands like Weezer at times and it's all incredibly fun, colorful and addictive.

You get everything right down to a slide guitar solo that fits all too well with the songs pure rock soundscape.

The vocals and lyrical phrasing is also super hooky in itself and you start to get the song stuck in your head after only one listen. But then, that's what good pop music is about.

It's danceable, memorable, and you can jump around to the room or shake your ass in your seat to it.

Autorub has that effect in general. It's a project that really showcases a songwriters love for the craft. There is plenty of heart ion these songs and you can hear that with almost every note.

An obvious love for guitar playing as well and that shines bright.

This was a blast and with the release of such a genuine rock banger, we wanted to touch base with Autorub to find out where this actually came from and what may be next.

Here's what happened.

RAG: Okay so let's start with "Oh Marjorie." This song has a great pop rock feel to it! Where did this single come from?

Thank you! I'm listening back to my phone's voice memos to try to answer that. When I have song ideas, that's where they go. I'll sing or hum them, or occasionally grab a guitar too. So... there's a good portion of a verse here, and a melody I labeled as background vocs which actually became the chorus with some tweaking. I don't know how I came up with this melody, which is a good thing - meaning it wasn't directly inspired by anything I'd heard. But the drum groove was somewhat. It's kind of a funny reference - Tommy Tutone's "Angel Say No" [not his big hit] from 1980. It happens to have a great beat and really nice production ala The Cars, and I occasionally use it in testing out audio gear. So it has crept it's way into the feel of "Oh Marjorie," along with some guitar sounds from that same time period.

RAG: So how did this all begin for you?

Well as for Autorub, it was kind of a product of the pandemic. A bit of an experiment, but also a return to my roots. I bought a vocoder just to check one out during that time period, and the first Autorub EP "America the Sick" is what I made with it. All those songs used vocoder [not "Oh Marjorie" which is a follow-up single], and were about the crazy characters and politicians that got press then, and still do.

The genres I explored varied somewhat, but there was a good deal of alt rock/pop that was like a continuation of the songwriting I did in the band "Heydevils" some years ago. That felt very comfortable, but I missed having some regular non-vocoder vocals in there. So that's what I did with "Oh Marjorie" - I just sang it. I think in the future I might incorporate some vocoder elements, but along with regular singing.

RAG: Who is in all your headphones right now?

My tastes are pretty varied. I also mostly listen to vinyl, so there's lots more older stuff than newer - though granted a lot of new stuff is released on vinyl now. So in no particular order, my most recent listens are Dire Straits, T. Rex, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Daft Punk, Tom Petty, Joan Jett and Oscar Peterson.

RAG: What inspires you to write a song?

It's usually a situation that's coming to a head, or anything that's evoking some emotions - positive or negative. It could be something really big like divisions in the US, or something much smaller. I once had a single, brief phone conversation with someone who I couldn't agree with anything on and wrote an entire song about it right after.

RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this song. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

For "Oh Marjorie," there are influences from probably 3 or 4 different decades of rock. There's some late 70s punk, especially in the rhythm guitars ala The Clash, The Pretenders, and Joe Jackson's first LP "Look Sharp." But when the slide guitar comes in, I've heard people say it reminds them of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Clapton. From the early 80s you've got The Cars and maybe some Squeeze or The Police with the drum sounds, although updated a bit. And into the 90s and 2000s there's Green Day, Weezer, and I've heard Fountains of Wayne.

RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

Dishes...or so it seems like. Besides that, I enjoy spending time with my family - we've got a teenage son. There's always fix-up work to do around the house, which I've gotten a lot better at thanks to help from YouTube videos. I've also got a solid group of friends I've known since grade school, and a bunch of us try to get together a few times a year. We'll go upstate NY for a weekend and hike a bit, throw some frisbee, but we end up playing music too - acoustic guitars etc. Most paths lead back to music, which is fine with me.

RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do?

I'd say it's a pretty big part, but the funny thing is that I haven't played out yet as Autorub. I've been very focused on getting Autorub's songs streaming for the most part so far, and it's been going pretty well as "Oh Marjorie" is nearing 100k streams on Spotify. I have multiple other bands that I play live with regularly, such as Blue Roadhouse Orchestra [BRO]. They're a popular NY based jam band that mixes classic rock covers with some original material as well. But I'd love to do some live performances with Autorub in the near future - maybe working up to some TV appearances on the late night shows. Lofty goals I know, but no reason to aim low!

RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

Autorub will be making a full length video for "Oh Marjorie" very soon. So far I've only posted some video clips of the recording session of "Oh Marjorie" on social media. I'll also be going back into the studio to record more Autorub songs shortly. For now, I'm still quite busy promoting "Oh Marjorie," trying to push it as far as it can go!

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

I want them to know how much it's appreciated when they let us know they're enjoying the music. Sometimes seeing a quick tweet saying we rock can really make your day, or hearing the crowd getting into songs at a live show can really boost your confidence and performance. I've been fortunate enough to have received some really nice praise from both fans and reviewers, and that of course is inspiring to keep on going. While any artist needs to have enough resolve to keep going even in the face of criticism, it's really helpful sometimes just to get a simple pat on the back.

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