Bamberg, Germany based emotional (post) hardcore band AUTUMN KIDS are releasing their debut LP ‘Letters’ on June 10th, and today we have teamed up to give you an interesting insight on its lyrical context and the philosophy behind the release.
The band sat down with us to talk about what inspired them during the past 2,5 years during the pandemic era, how the Covid-19 pandemic and the anti-vaccination demonstrations effected their local DIY punk scene, how was their writing process explain their backgrounds in the process.
𝑊𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑓𝑢𝑙𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠, 𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑎𝑖𝑟, 𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒.
“Those are only parts of the emotions that we, an emotive hardcore band called ‘Autumn Kids’, express in our songs.” – explains the band. “Based in Bamberg, Germany, our current line-up is composed of Davis Jahn (vocals / sampling), Patrick Miener (guitar), Sebastian Streit (guitar), Adrian Volk (drums) and Marvin Heymann (bass / vocals).”
“Our first LP ‘Letters’ is the manifestation of our own sound and continues the musical journey of Autumn Kids with a dynamic, chaotic, gloomy touch. Intimate and personal live shows, paired with an anti-fascist atittude, a constant self-reflection, metaphysical approaches and dealing openly with emotions and struggles are really important for us so we try our best to put these in our music, our lyrics and in our daily life.”
According to the band, the whole idea behind “Letters” was to create an album which describes the 5 stages of grief, a model by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, that the protagonist is dealing with in his life.
“We deliberately waived to do a strict storyline in order to give the listener enough room for interpretation and to provide an opportunity to identify better with the songs.” – explain AUTUMN KIDS. “The lyrics take personal events and basic human emotions as a foundation to talk about this concept. The title “Letters” represents the lyrics of each song, which are portrayed as letters from the protagonist to a loved one.”
‘Letters’ was recorded at The Rat Studios by Michael Marketsmüller in Ingolstadt and got reamped, mixed and mastered by Georg Cotta of Mix-Ready Drums.
See the full track by track commentary for the album further below.
Asked about their post-pandemic plans and the COVID-19 impact on the DIY-punk scene, the band commented that at the moment they are busy promoting and releasing ‘Letters’ and there’s a release show in the making, which will take place in Bamberg on June 10th this year together with their friends in Oakhands, Coffee Talk and Hollow Path.
“For the end of July we have planned our ‘Letters’ tour which will take place in Germany and Czech Republic between July 20th and July 26th. Apart from that, most of our plans will evolve with the current pandemic situation. We still hope that we can play a tour in autumn, celebrating our 5 year anniversary tho and (of course) working on new material for a next release.”
Many shows that we planned for 2020 and 2021 got cancelled for obvious reasons, but the band seems to manage to maintain their daily lives by working their personal jobs, hanging together and not giving up.
“As a band that is not making a living with music we are very lucky to have our 9 to 5 jobs but it was very hard watching so many venues where we loved to play or attend privately got shut down the last two years.” – they continue.
“We have many friends who worked as promoters which had a very bad financial crisis due to the COVID-19 restrictions in Germany and yet, with nearly no restrictions at all, don’t want to continue their work in the music & art-scene anymore. Another slap in the face was that some of our friends got targeted by far right anti-vaccination demonstrations because they spoke up on social media to get a COVID-19 vaccine and to limit private contacts so we have an earlier way out of the lockdown in Germany.”
“For us it’s really important that people support the current art & music structures which are still under threat. We all know that it’s really hard to build new structures but it is in our need to keep the current structures, venues, promoters, bands alive. Go to concerts, go to art exhibitions, ask existing venues/promoters how you can support them, get in touch with them but most important: do something!” – they conclude.
Some last words, before their dove into track by track explanation: “Fuck Putin. Free Ukraine. Alerta antifascista!”
Track by track commentary:
1. Flightless Birds
The plan behind ‘Flightless Birds’ was to write a straight to your face opener to the album which should describe the feeling of absolute loss of control and the panic-stricken moment of a deep cut in life accompanied by a chaotic sound. The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge were a big influence in the songwriting. The song is about the death of a person that the protagonist once loved and if we take a look at a part of the lyrics ‘blood covered doves are what is left behind’ (the dove is acting as a metaphor for love) and ‘We are trapped inside a heartbeat and I’m sorry but I need to let you down’ it represents the agony and helplessness the protagonist is feeling in the situation of the loss.
You can see ‘Sleep’ as ‘Flightless Birds 2’ because both songs are kind of connected to each other. The story continues with the protagonist being in the first stages of grief. Denial, anger and nostalgia are overwhelming his life after the loss and he is stuck in old memories. ‘I’m trapped in old polaroids because I’m not able to forget’ is exactly what describes the desire of wanting the memories to become reality and the hard realization that they will never come back.
The song is about depression and the incapability of talking about mental health. You can see ‘1997’ as a conversation between the protagonist vs. himself from times of stable mental health. It’s a back and forth of asking questions about the sense of life and the disappointment to see the protagonist’s life is hitting rock bottom. A quote of Bukowski’s poem ‘The Bluebird’ rounds up the construct of acting tough instead of dealing with your emotions.
‘Monument’ is an ode to obsession and acceptance. Falling in love can sometimes lead into an extremely unhealthy and toxic construct without noticing it for a long time. You get so obsessed with the social definition of ‘love’ and the implausible idea of a conflict-free relationship between 2 persons that you totally forget that this sort of pressure is hurting your partner. The ‘art of letting go’ is something that we all need to learn at some point.
5. Written Letters
‘Written Letters’ is the result of us trying to make a generic Melodic-Hardcoreish pop song. We were not quite sure if it would fit on the album but we think that it’s a great addition to the rest of the songs due to its catchy chorus. Lyric-wise, the song talks about insecurity and to be afraid of change.
6. Our Bridges Will Burn
This is a farewell song to our dead friends. The lyrics talk about the basic human fear of what comes after life and about dealing with grief. The protagonist tries everything to get the silhouette and the name of the lost loved one out of his head and talks about how death had a big impact in his everyday life. This is probably one of our most personal songs on ‘Letters’ that’s why we have some german lyrics in it which is pretty rare for autumn kids. ‘Alles was ich immer wollte ist nun weit entfernt; mein Kopf so voll, die Welt so leer; All diese Erinnerungen verbleiben, aber du bist nicht mehr zu sehen’ describes how the protagonists mind is full of memories and how lonely he feels in this world. Charles Bukowski’s poem ‘If I never see you again’ was a big influence for this one.
7. My Confession
In ‘My Confession’ the protagonist finds himself in a conflict that has hurt a beloved person, to which he is the center of the dispute but not the trigger. In vain, the protagonist tries to put back together the broken pieces caused by the conflict, going through a process of realization that reveals years of lies and a broken family. Despite the conscience that he is incapable of guilt, he falls into a deep hole and his life has been in a downward spiral since then. Bands like La Dispute and Deftones were a big influence in the songwriting process. We tried to display the feeling of being a walking shadow in our music video. give it a shot!
8. Blinded By Fireflies
The song is a spoken word skit that works as a bridge between ‘My Confession’ and ‘Constellations’ because both songs are connected to each other.
9. Constellations (Feat. Jonas Reistel)
‘Constellations’ talks about the breakup with a family and the following process of dealing with disappointment and sadness. It’s clear that nobody’s perfect. There are parents who don’t deserve their children’s love but there are also children who choose to move on, set some distance, and leave a painful silence in a confused and devastated family. This is a complicated issue. Being a mother or a father or a son or daughter is hard. Jonas Reistel is the vocalist of Coburg, Germany-based Melodic Hardcore band ‘White Fields’ (2010-2019) and a passionate tattoo artist. ‘White Fields’ is one of the reasons why we started making music together and we had our first show with them back in 2017. Jonas was the best fitting person for this song and we are so glad that he did the only feature on ‘Letters’.
‘Coma’ is a very personal love song and is about the acceptance of not being perfect but to still try everything to be loveable. ‘I silently accept that these shadows will stay with me, because I know you’ll walk this way with me’ describes exactly that. ‘I tried to hide from myself for so many years but If I could be someone you used to know It would mean everything to me’ describes the fear of not being good enough. ‘The Temptation That Is You’ by ‘The Saddest Landscape’ was a big influence for the lyrics of this song.