How did Autumn Brigade first come together? Was this your first project?
Well, I guess Autumn Brigade came from a lot of different things. Primarily it was from the music I was listening to around that time. Stuff like Current 93 and King Dude mostly. I guess the other factor that led me to forming Autumn Brigade was a response to what was going on around me at the time, politically speaking. The world is in a state of struggle and change, and I hope Autumn Brigade can have a positive impact on that change in order to help it be for the better!
In terms of Autumn Brigade? No, It was not my first project. Before starting Autumn Brigade I had a project called “STAGGH,” which combined elements of harsh noise, black metal, and drone. STAGGH was the first official named release I had on the Self Loathing Records label. Autumn Brigade came shortly after that, but it certainly won’t be the last project I ever work on!
What is the songwriting process like? What instruments do you use?
Most of the time songs usually come to me gradually over a period of time, gradually being shaped, improved and hammered out. Other songs come more quickly than that, but usually I take my time and make sure I’ve completely mastered a song before I sit down and record them. Everything that has been recorded by me has always been DIY, although when I was recording STAGGH, I did get help from some friends of mine in order to record it. With Autumn Brigade however, it’s just me recording my guitar into a music program and going from there, cleaning up the audio, adding samples and whatnot!
Does your music have a Marxist influence? How does that inform your work?
In general terms yes, but there are certainly other influences on the aesthetic and subject matter of Autumn Brigade as well. Marxism, as well as other different “isms” on the left have certainly influenced me, although primarily the works of Leon Trotsky and Edward Said. In terms of Trotskyism, The Russian Revolution is possibly one of the most important events in human history, we live in a world shaped by what happened during 1917. However, the bureaucracy came and decades of tyranny followed. Autumn Brigade; just like Trotsky, comes from that tradition of “neither Moscow nor Washington.” Several songs that are going to appear on the upcoming album are influenced by a number of struggles. That’s where Edward Said comes in, particularly his idea of Orientalism, and how Western civilization tends to pin the Orient as a place of barbarism and savagery. Songs on the upcoming album deal with a number of struggles, including the anticolonial movements in Northern Ireland and Palestine, and the failed Hungarian Revolution in the 50’s.
Of course, I would be lying if I said my Marxism is the only influence on Autumn Brigade. There is of course, the military aesthetic, which comes from more of a fetish standpoint than anything. In my eyes, there’s something sexy and seductive about people in uniform. Going off of that there’s also influences of the LGBTQIA+ and Kink communities which have influenced some of the lyrical content of my songs. Autumn Brigade is an expression of those things, as well as a way of flaunting my sexuality in a tasteful and interesting manner in front of others. The profits from the Split EP Lodge of Research and I did recently, go towards both the Baltimore Sex Worker Outreach Project, and the Trevor Project, since those are both causes Lodge of Research and I are deeply passionate about. The last influence on Autumn Brigade would of course be nature, I mean just look at the name of it! Autumn is the prettiest season nature has given us. I grew up going on hikes and camping in the woods and in mountains. Nature’s majesty has always blessed me in the most beautiful way possible. Even now when I’m bored I tend to go for long walks out in her domain!
What is Self Loathing Records?
Self Loathing Records is my own independent label. All of my solo work is uploaded there (except for of course the song Lodge of Research contributed for the split EP). It’s mostly because I want to have the rights and profits to my own music. If I venture off and start a traditional band, maybe demos and rarities would be uploaded to SLR, but other albums I did as part of another group would be either uploaded independently or on a different label.
How do you define your sound?
That’s an interesting question. I really haven’t put much thought into how I define the Autumn Brigade sound. I guess it comes from whatever I think sounds right. Hopefully in the future I’ll have access to more instruments beyond a guitar, which could compliment my skills nicely.
Why do you think its important to stand up to fascists in the neofolk scene?
Trotsky once said it better than I ever could, “If you cannot convince a fascist, acquaint his head with the pavement.” In all seriousness though, underground music scenes of all sorts have been seen as a refuge for fascists of all stripes. You cannot negotiate with people who want to see you dead based something as arbitrary as your religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and preference. The underground offers them a place where they can market their ideas to alienated youth and apolitical people. It’s our duty as members of an open society to prevent jingoistic bigots from being able to have a platform of any kind! Especially when people like our president are empowering them.
What Artists Had the Biggest Influence On You?
Autumn Brigade has been influenced by King Dude, Chelsea Wolfe, Zola Jesus, , Current 93,, and labor songs from around the world. A lot of the symbolism and aesthetics of Autumn Brigade are sort of a parody of Douglas P’s whole getup, the logo being something I fooled with and made into something Antifascist.
What’s coming up for you?
Like I said previously, there’s an album that’s coming soon! I had to take a hiatus from working on it for a bit since I was sick for a period of time, and that was affecting the recording of vocals since I sounded like I was dying of the plague. I’ve since gotten better, and I’m hard at work on the album!
Check out these tracks from Autumn Brigade Below, and the split they recently did with our friend at Lodge of Research. Unfortunately they are not on Spotify yet, but check out our Antifascist Neofolk Playlist on Spotify for other great bands.