Interview: In the studio with Auctioneer’s Craig Hendrix (playing Kung Fu Necktie 10/19)
As seasons change so does the soundtrack, and Auctioneer’s low-lit guitar riffs, cavernous vocals and daze-dream drums are a blistering replacement for the surf rock sounds of summer. Today we’re in the studio with frontman Craig Hendrix (who has played with Aderbat, Mammals of Paradise, Birdie Busch, John Francis and more), and we’re talking about the birth of his four-piece art-rock outfit, its October Shaking Through episode and the sophomore album we’ll be wrapping our mittens around come winter.
The Key: First, can you give me some background on Auctioneer?
Craig Hendrix: Auctioneer started performing a little over a year ago, but I’ve been playing with Todd Erk [bass] since high school. Our high school band was called Tub, it was a pretty bad jam band. Todd Schied [drums] and I played in Aderbat together, which turned into Mammal of Paradise. I think it’s mostly because of Doylestown that we all knew each other and saw each other play. Jesse Moore [keys/ vocals] I met in 2008. He used to work at Rocket Cat Cafe and one day he was playing some music from his high school band and I heard his voice, it was amazing.
TK: What made you decide to move to Philly from Doylestown?
CH: I went to school in Boston and I lived in New York for a while. I moved back to Doylestown kind of waiting for a place like this where I could have a studio in my house and be able to play music where I lived and also to be more involved in a music scene and an arts culture. Doylestown is great but it’s limited.
TK: What was your first thought when you were approached to do this month’s Shaking Through episode?
CH: I was pumped because Miner Street is an amazing studio and we had carte blanche pretty much for this tune. The song (called “Future Faces”) is a larger scale piece, kind of like a production number, so I was excited that we had the facility to do it.
TK: Your lyrics sound like they come from specific experiences, could you describe your songwriting process?
CH: Sometimes I’ll sketch out an entire arrangement before I even know what the chorus is going to be or what the song is going to be about. In the past, the stuff on the EP, it’s not really personal with a few exceptions. I like fiction and I like writing characters into songs. The new record we’re working on is base more on actual experiences.
TK: Tell me about the new record.
CH: It’s going to be a little more rock than the EP, this one could be a little more amped up. In playing shows for a year that’s the stuff we’ve been playing more often, it just makes for a better show. Most of the songs have been written in the last year and a half so they’ve been written based on experiences I’ve had living here or influenced by experiences or people I’ve known through living here.
TK: So you’re taking your experience playing live and the audience reaction and working it into a record?
CH: Yeah, when we finish this record and when we go out to play behind it the songs that people are going to know are going be good live. It’s important to us that we’re not just a good live band or just a good recording band. Some bands are amazing recorded and they kind of just fall flat on stage and vice versa. Some bands that you see live you go nuts to and then you listen to the record and you can’t freak out in the same way. We want to be both.
Auctioneer plays Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 North Front Street, Friday October 19, with Believers and Romantic States. The 21+ show begins at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $10, more information at the venue’s website.