The main problem with the Warped Tour doesnt stem from the stifling heat or enormous crowdsit comes from sheer volume of bands. And we dont mean volume in a loud way. With over 100 different groups playing on up to 12 stages, its nearly impossible to settle down and concentrate on one band at any given moment.
So heres a little tip: When youre roaming the grounds, seek out The Automatic Automatic, a Welsh hard rock group thats hoping to replicate their Top 10 success in the U.K. over here. The A2s debut record, Not Accepted Anywhere, possesses the grandness and melodic sense (and cheekiness) of its U.K. rock peers, while leaning more toward an American-ized metal soundthink Faith No More, with hints of Janes Addiction and At the Drive-In seeping in.
The groups singer, Robin Hawkins, talked about the bands attempt to conquer America, growing up in the land of afternoon tea and why sex offenders now have an Automatic Automatic song as their anthem.
Seriouslywhy are you called The Automatic everywhere else and The Automatic Automatic over here? I always think its a typo.
Some band was already operating here under that name. But we like the word automatic anyway, so we had no problems using it twice. Im happy with itand everyone calls us The Automatic anyway.
You guys grew up in a town called Cowbridge, then moved to Cardiff. I heard you actually all met as kids
Yeah, we did. All grew up in Cowbridgeits sort of what Id call a gift shop place, where they have afternoon teas. Its quiet and very middle-class and gentile. We got sick of it [Laughs], so we moved to Cardiff, the closest town. But Ive known the guitarist since I was four, the drummer since I was 10 and even [keyboardist Alex] Pennie, who joined later, we knew from school. Theyre good mates
I think if we got sick of each other, it would have happened by now.
Does your area actually have a music scene?
Well, in our town we were it, but thats because there were only 6,000 people there. Theres more now, hopefully thanks to us and the rise of indie labels over in the U.K. But Cardifftheres a huge scene, really influenced by the screamo scene in the U.S. We took some of that heaviness, but I think we walked our own path. I mean, it wasnt competitive; I remember playing one gig there, it was six bands, everyone else was screaming and masturbating guitars everywhere [Laughs]. We come out, completely different, and we got a great reaction.
Your stage shows are kind of intense: Lots of jumping around, stage-diving, climbing on bars, running around the crowd. Is that intentional?
Well, the energy level is inherent in the songs. But more importantly, back in the day between school and going to university, we had this management deal. Our manager never wanted us to play gigshed just want us to practice and write songs. So when we did play, wed explode. It was like not having sex for ages.
I hear Monster has become a football chant in England. What was the song really about?
Pennie hates thathe doesnt like football[but] the rest of us are pretty indifferent. Actually, its happened to a couple of our songs: this security guard at a gig in Scotland last year told me [that] when he was working at a prison, some of the prisoners would sing the chorus Whats that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? every time a sex offender entered the jail. So thats something. [Laughs]
How did you pick Kanye Wests Gold Digger as a cover?
We were doing this radio show where you have to pick one song of your own to perform acoustically and then one contemporary pop song to cover. So it was either that or Nelly Furtados Maneater
it was rather arbitrary. No offense to Kanye Westwe like our version better.
Why the Automatic Automatic (yes, twice) is our tour favorite
The Automatic Automatic