Nate Exx Gradowski – AUTOMATON
Hi, thanks for taking the time to talk to me, can you tell me a little about how AutomatoN, where the idea came from, and how you were influenced?
AutomatoN started in early 2016 and it was originally just a filler project between writing for my other band Isolated Antagonist and my other solo projects. It later turned into an escape from all the crazy frustrations of things that happen as a musician where I could have my own full creative outlet at my own pace and my own standards for example no deadlines and not having to answer to anyone or record labels. By the end of the third album it became my life and one of the most important projects I’ve ever been a part of (the other of course being my very first project Demise and Domination). It wasn’t until the fourth album that my good friend Chris Bollinger created a record label that I actually loved (that being Machine Man Records) because before that, I had sour feelings about record labels, I will not mention any in particular, and decided to sign on with Machine Man. The idea came from the inner sci-fi nerd in me. The whole project is a concept story dealing with robots vs humans but in a more detailed way. While “man vs machine” isn’t anything new, I wrote a story with a twist. It would take a novel to explain it in full but long story short, It’s about robots being mistreated by humans and the robots having enough of it and rebelling, basically the robots having emotions and feelings instead of just being lifeless chunks or metal and wire . Each album has a twist to it that makes the story shine more. There are currently 4 albums out and a four song EP that’s being released in the spring. Those albums are Self-Titled, Human Purge, III: A New Life, Sub Coma, and the EP 1979. I have a new album coming out in the fall. I was influenced by a lot of things ranging from sci-fi movies (robot ones to be specific) to other artist and bands like Gary Numan, Sybreed, Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad, and older Queensryche. Most importantly, I was influenced by emotions from real life stuff.
I can definitely hear some of the influences you mentioned. I can relate to most of the topics you write about.
Being an 70’s kid, I heard and saw a lot of the Sci-Fi films and Programs, it seems that most of the fiction has become reality nowadays.
How far do you think technology will take over in the future?
I totally agree with you there. I feel that technology will replace us as humans as far as labour goes. Do I actually think “robots” will start killing us at free will? No ha-ha. My view on technology is a love/hate thing and here’s why, Technology has made it super easy for myself and other artists to write and record music and to get it out there and not have to deal with record labels however, it’s also made people lazy. Kids nowadays don’t go outside and play with friends instead they play on iPhones and gaming consoles and basically become shut-ins all of their childhood. Technology has also made it impossible for musicians to make any kind of money in this industry thanks to the internet (torrenting), CD reproduction, and file sharing especially for up and coming musicians and bands. Spotify is only paying us .0025 cents (estimated) per play which is total BS. On top of that, it’s very unlikely that any rock or metal musician will ever see a gold or platinum record. So, I’m kind of both ways about it.
I agree with you totally on that point! The music industry is certainly losing a lot of money thanks to modern technology and the likes of streaming websites.
Back to the album Sub Coma, was it a struggle to compose all the elements involved in making the album, or do you find it easier working by yourself?
Oh It’s 100% easier to work by myself, I’ll openly admit that. It’s not a selfish thing, it’s just the way I work and it’s less of a headache. I don’t have to answer to anyone, I can keep my own vision of what I want without anyone trying to one-up each other or alter that vision and that may sound selfish but it’s really not in my eyes because it’s what is more comfortable. While that is all true for me, I’m working with others in other projects too and I’m not saying that I hate working with other people, I just find it easier and more relaxing working by myself on my own projects. Sub Coma was one of the easiest albums I’ve ever written and recorded and the other being the upcoming AutomatoN album which only took less than a month to complete. Even with Sub Coma taking a few months to complete and doing a total re-write of the album, it was still smooth. To prove my point, my other project Isolated Antagonist usually takes several months to complete because it’s not just me in the band, it’s another person too and we have to go back and forth with each other and wait for each other to lay tracks down and go through it over and over again so it’s not as flowing as AutomatoN and my solo projects.
There seems to be an influx of solo projects these days. Does modern technology make things so much easier?
Seeing as we don’t need to have a huge tape machine in our bedrooms and a huge mixing board, I’d say technology has come a long way and made it much easier. We can now do everything digitally on our computers.
That is true, I have reviewed many bands that have recorded their material by themselves in rehearsal rooms.
Will AutomatoN be doing any live shows, or is this project strictly studio only?
Yes, for sure! I’m currently rehearsing the set-list now. I plan to be playing some shows by the summer of this year. It’s funny because this project was originally supposed to be a studio only project but then my friend Chris (Machine Man Records/Varicella) said to me “Just get out there and play by yourself doing guitar and vocals live with the rest being backing tracks, who cares?” And I said to myself, you know he’s right! What do I care if I have some backing tracks, I mean I am a one- man band after all so it wouldn’t make sense for me to have a full band behind me.
That’s a great attitude to have. How does a typical show go down?
I haven’t got that far yet. All I know is that it will be as much visual as it will be music.
I can imagine it would involve an awesome light show, taking on from the Sci-Fi theme?
That’s the plan. Since I’m a one -man band on stage, I have to manage visuals and stage presence with the visuals being the dominant area because it would be kind of boring with me just playing on stage with nothing going on. So yes, there will be fog, lights, and stage props to help with the atmosphere and mood and the entertainment. The way I want it to be is, people seeing the visuals to imagine themselves at the setting of where the story mostly takes place which is in a futuristic setting whether it be on future earth or in space while listening to a soundtrack of the story. Obviously, I can’t afford the big LED screens to have animated visuals, but something is better than nothing for right now and I hope people can appreciate what I’m going for.
Sounds like a challenge, like back to the roots where bands had no money and still made it look like they spent a fortune on stage props. What other plans do you have for the future?
Well yes. I have a new AutomatoN album coming out in late 2018. I also have another solo project called Demise and Domination and a new album for that coming soon. Some live shows here and there. Other than that, that’s all I have scheduled for the rest of the year. After all that, I plan to take a short break and then work on new AutomatoN material in 2019
A very busy year indeed. Thanks very much for taking time out to talk to me. Good luck with everything.
My pleasure thank you!