LURCHING into life in August of last year, Autobahn 86 have actively absconded from the traditional conduct that comes with launching a musical act. Emerging from behind an impenetrable wall of electronics and pulsing live instrumentation, this shadowy collective have evaded the light for their entire 9-month gestation period. Instead, opting to only emerge in the wee hours at Glasgow’s most infamous venue for a fleeting set before disappearing into the abyss once more.
Now, the group find themselves bracing for continued exposure. On the eve of their emphatic and fittingly timed debut single ‘National Health Service’ hitting streaming services, we spoke to the group about the track’s construction, the reflexive ethos that governs their material and much more.
Your debut single under the Autobahn86 moniker elebrates one of our nation’s most beloved and regularly taken-for-granted institutions. Was this always the plan or did the ongoing pandemic hasten the arrival of the track in direct response to everything that’s going on?
“The pandemic definitely hastened the arrival of the track, as the message of solidarity is reverberating with people even more now. It is a wake up call for those that’d forgotten how much the NHS had given them. The song focuses on the topic that people in power are allowed to auction it off like it’s a rundown house for the buyer to make profit. The pandemic has opened people’s minds and reminded them of just how bad it would be if that was to happen. We’re in this together. Support the national health service going forward.”
The track’s combative and invigorating brand of electronica makes it almost a singular entity within Scotland’s music scene. With that in mind, how do your influences within the Autobahn86 project differ from the basis that any of you had worked off in previous musical guises?
The track has a mixed genre feel to it. This is also partly down to the fact that we’re a collective that brings a range of different influences from many different backgrounds together. There will be no boundaries to what can create. The sound can and will change depending on what and where the song needs to go. I think for all of us that are involved, it’s something completely different, which always makes going into the studio exciting and productive.
‘National Health Service’ was brought to life at 7 West studios alongside Johnny Madden and Jamie Holmes. Based on your experience, was it clear to see why they’ve become one of the preeminent studios for new talent in Scotland in recent years?
7 West Studios is unique in a lot of ways. For a start, the studio environment makes you feel like you’ve known each other forever from the second you walk in the door. That feeling is part of the reason why it’s so productive. Johnny is hugely involved in the project as a collaborator, as well as a producer, this is partly what makes the music different with our backgrounds and ideas all merging into one melting pot.
Same with Jamie, the work he’s done to make the track big is massive and Marshall did some job mastering it. I can totally understand why 7 West Studios is at the heart of new music in Scotland, which has filtered its way down south and further afield.
After Baby Strange’s ‘Bad Man In Prague’, ‘National Health Service’ marks the second emphatic spoken word performance from Jokey. What made him the perfect man to deliver this impassioned monologue?
The delivery of the speech. It’s all about how Jokey delivers the words, with passion and authority. He’s got such a powerful tone, which for this, was perfect. We want you to think of a trade unionist speaking to people on a soapbox, rallying the masses.
In the material that’s surrounded Autobahn 86, it’s been described as ‘unity’ as well as ‘ever-evolving.’ Based on what we’ve heard to date, is it safe to assume that part of the ethos is to infuse the political and socio-economic with the danceable?
We’re commenting on how we are feeling just now and taking influence from that. The music along with the lyrics are a feeling. As such, the nature or influence could be anything, it just so happens that here, it’s got a political background to the narrative due to the NHS being taken for granted. Our songs will always have a feeling and if we have something to say, we won’t be shy.
Defined as ‘music to sweat to’, what can listeners expect from the Autobahn 86 live show when we’re eventually permitted to return to music venues?
High energy, sweaty, mayhem. A mixture between what you’d expect to find at the Berkeley Suite to what takes place at The Priory. Whether it’s a 100 cap or a 1000 cap venue, that’s what we plan to bring.
Finally, if “National Health Service” and its oration could reach the ears of one person and allow them to challenge their own thinking, who would you want it to be?
It can’t be just one person, that’s the point we’re trying to get across. For change to be made, we need to challenge multiple people to think. If we were to say Boris for this answer- fuck Boris. Look how quickly he changed his tune when everyone in the country remembered just how important the National Health Service is. The real answer would be the general public, because we’re the ones that can vote any government in and out of power.