If you were to make a list of the musical genres that Ear to the Ground covers, indie electro would have a difficult time cracking the top fifty. The closest we may come is the upcoming banjo free Mumford and Sons album. However, sometimes there are musical narratives so rich that they practically beg for us to tell them. Case in point, South Central Los Angeles’ Autumn in June. Growing up around gang violence and a deep reverence for rap music, he used the environment around him to create something unique and compelling. Mixing electronic beats with deep soul, while never abandoning any hip-hop confidence, they named him Autumn in June as a way of deeming him as something that didn’t belong. Embracing the outsider mindset, he has been on the rise recently thanks to energetic live shows and media attention from the likes of NME.
Towards the end of 2014, Autumn in June released a fantastic debut EP that I challenge any skeptic to listen to without enjoying. “Hey Arnold!” and “Weeks” are two of the grooviest, soulful, and melodic tunes I have heard so far this year. Check them out below, and while you are enjoying that, check out the quick interview I got to do with Autumn in June about his extraordinary background and influences:
What was the first exposure to music that you can remember?
My Dad and older sister used to play in a band for the local church and I used to think that this was really cool. That was probably the first time I ever noticed people playing instruments live and I guess I’ve been pretty hooked on it ever since.
What were some of your favorite albums growing up and how has that shaped what you are doing musically today?
My favorite album growing up was definitely The Chronic 2001 by Dr. Dre. This was when I really started to notice instrumentation and all the cool synths that can be used. I also had the Marshal Mathers EP by Eminem and All Eyes On My by 2Pac on repeat at all times growing up haha. The one that really changed it all for me though was Time by ELO as it really inspired to find so many other cool bands and types of music out there.
Coming from South Central, and being a musician, have you ever felt the pressure to sound a certain way or maybe that you had to fit a certain genre?
When I was growing up most of my friends were in gangs and only listened to gangster rap. So when I first started making music I started making rap music without even thinking about it because that’s what we listened to most of the time. When I started to discover other types of music and began to experiment it definitely became a little tough for me to get people to check me out. It was at this time that the people in my hood gave me the name of Autumn In June as they said that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I love the story of how you received your name Autumn in June, and how you embraced not fitting in. How has your background influence your writing and creativity?
Well my background is the root of everything I do. I have experienced things in the hood that influence the type of things I talk about in my songs, but as I also make indie pop I always have to make it catchy and melodic and that usually makes those messages come through in a different way.
What are you currently listening to that inspires you to create?
At the moment I honestly listen to everything that’s out there and I’m always on the hunt for new music. I like finding new, upcoming artists and just listen to every layer of their songs. I generally find inspiration from everything and everyone though.
What do you want people to feel after listening to your music?
I just want people to really vibe with my songs; if it stirs any kind of emotion then I’m cool with that. I put a lot of feeling into the sounds I create so there’s nothing doper then when people connect with my songs.
What are you currently doing/working on that you are excited about?
I’ve been working on new music so I’m definitely really excited to start releasing new songs. I feel like I really stepped it up with all my new stuff and I cant wait for people to hear it! I’m also working on my live shows, as I really want to bring it with every performance I have. Expect to see some cool new stage art that will hopefully make my shows really unique!