It’s hard to imagine the raucous but wonderful noise that is Annie Automatic in a fashion that’s less rock ‘n’ roll than what it is. On their 2011 release, Don’t Look Down, the band was anything but bland. On one hand, the album has this wonderful production that didn’t overwork itself. They kept the guitars simple and they didn’t over-produce them. On the other hand the album features music that’s modern and highly comparable to The Killers stylistically. What the band did on Don’t Look Down was inspiring and that’s what makes what they’ve done now so surprising. Annie Automatic has seemingly pulled a 180 by releasing a free acoustic EP entitled, Songs from the Center. Talking with French from the magnetic group, he explained how this acoustic EP came about.
“Basically after this last record release we took a little bit of time and played some shows and let it sit with the audience for a bit,” said that man also known as CM French. “We had a ton of fun with it. While we were doing that, I was in New York last winter for and the people I work with had me playing some solo acoustic shows for radio and things like that. I had been doing a fair amount of writing with other artists and stuff in the pop sense at this time too. But I hadn’t really had a chance to sit down with an acoustic guitar for awhile, which is how I started when I was kid getting into music. Once I did that, new songs just started pouring out. Three of them were written in New York in December and we just kind of started putting them together from there.”
After listening through this EP, it’s acoustic and can be declared as such but there’s a lot more to it than that. There’s French singing and on acoustic guitar but there are all sorts of cool elements on top of that. French wrote these songs with just himself and a guitar. From there they put the songs together. It’s the opposite of what the band did on Don’t Look Down.
“I got to work with the acoustic and strip away everything for a minute and let some really cool songs shine,” explained French. “It’s a totally different deal to not have a huge band to hide behind. There’s nothing between you and the music when it’s you and an acoustic. There’s something so pure about that. It’s completely conducive to the best kind of song writing. This was reverting back kind of process for us for the most part because it was just me with an acoustic guitar and then we pieced it together from there,” he said.
Reverting back the song writing process was a freeing experience for French and the band. It allowed him to connect with the spirit of art and the spirit of the music. That’s the reasoning why the band has released this EP for free on their site in addition to releasing it to iTunes and Amazon.
“I try to take everything just as seriously as I try to not take it too seriously; I try and keep everything in the middle,” said French enlightening us on Annie Automatic’s goals with this EP. “But in general I’ve wanted to loosen it up for people. Things are so crazy out there with the economy in the tank and everything else; I start to feel weird asking people to pay for music. It starts to feel more like we’re trying to sell something than just be who we are. I thought it was just time to loosen that up. We did release it to iTunes and Amazon for people who’d rather get it there. But we also put it out directly from our page with a free download where you can stream them or download them for free directly from us. It was nice to just get it to people however they wanted to get it. I’d rather have people have the music and have it be pure than a business deal.”
Business deals and what’s next for the band couldn’t be further away in the minds of French and Annie Automatic. They’re living in the moment with what they’ve created.
“At the moment we’re really starting to work back in the Don’t Look Down album for the live show as well as trying to infuse this new stuff and figure out how to make things work together within one show. We’re working on rehearsing and we’re always working on new music. I’m not sure what we’re planning on doing with it. We’re taking it easy at the moment and just having fun.”
You can download the EP for free right here, be sure to listen to “Call Me Crazy.”