The One Eighties are a North Carolina-based musical duo defying genre norms, but mostly fit somewhere around Americana/folk with flair. We had a chance to chat with Autumn and Daniel recently about their sound, songwriting, and their long-awaited forthcoming debut album, Minefields. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on, so be sure to check out Minefields on August 18th!
MSM: First of all, would you mind briefly explaining your music to any potential new fans?
Autumn: We really wanted to venture into new musical territory with our debut album Minefields. It’s a blend of traditional roots, 80’s synths, and orchestral string arrangements.
Daniel: Yeah. Big, layered strings. Then it’s all held together with this weeping, “space-country” pedal steel guitar—all done with the musical sensibilities of two kids growing up in the 90’s in opposite corners of the country.
MSM: Your music defies easy categorization, blending elements of different genres and styles. How do you approach genre and style when creating a new song?
Daniel: We honestly don’t think too much about genre or style when we’re writing, or formats or where it all might plug in.
Autumn: Yeah, we both have pretty eclectic tastes and just wanted to put all of our favorite things into this sound. It’s a trial and error process, and we sometimes don’t know where a song is going sonically until we get there.
MSM: How do you approach the songwriting process, and where do you draw inspiration?
Autumn: We don’t really have one way of writing, but something that's a constant is we always work together. Sometimes a song will start out with a drum beat Daniel felt inspired to write, a melody I came up with while driving, or even lyrics that have been sitting in an iPhone note for 3 years.
Daniel: Yeah, maybe it’s a guitar riff, or maybe we just hear a production trick on another album and want to figure out how to accomplish it, then one thing leads to another. I’ve even written a song based on something I overheard eavesdropping. There are many paths, and that’s half the fun.
MSM: How do you stay creatively inspired and motivated as a band?
Autumn: It’s pretty hard to stay creative all the time, because once you’ve written all of these songs and called them an album, there’s so much that needs to be done afterwards to get the music out there.
Daniel: It’s not that we stay motivated, necessarily, because that’s impossible. It’s more that we both have minds that won’t turn off, for better or worse. So we spend a lot of time in a state of madness, which can be a creative “zone” if channeled right. We do have to re-focus each other at times, otherwise it can be a struggle to finish anything.
MSM: Your debut album, Minefields, comes out on August 18th. Can you talk about the creative process behind the album, and what themes or messages you were trying to convey through your music?
Daniel: Writing and producing this album was a grueling process of trial and error. Lots of learning and experimentation involved. We even mixed it ourselves, which is a huge feat for songs that have this much going on sonically. As we neared completion, we noticed that behind every song was an internal conflict around some sort of dilemma, or an unwinnable battle that we were in the middle of fighting, where it seemed like no matter where we stepped, we’d set off
a landmine. Lyrically, these songs are full of catch-22’s and things that might blow up in your face, so Minefields seemed like an appropriate title.
Autumn: A few of the songs on Minefields actually started out as what we thought would be for our previous band New Reveille. We didn’t realize at the time they would make it onto a completely different album of a completely different band, but here we are! It just goes to show that nothing is certain, and you surely never know what you’re about to step into in life.
MSM: Do you have a favorite song or lyric from the album?
Autumn: My favorite song on the album is “Trail”. I think there’s just something magical about the way that track ended up sounding. I always picture some kind of cyborg horse galloping through a dystopian western frontier. It feels like a longing for adventure in a far away land that doesn’t exist yet.
Daniel: I guess I don’t really a favorite, but a poignant line that comes to mind in that song “Trail” is in the second verse—“It’s hard to see what’s upright in a world that’s upside down / Oh but doubt could kill you on the chase.” It’s basically saying that, on one hand, you might never know if what you’re doing is the right thing; on the other hand, it’s almost always better to do something rather than nothing. Fear and doubt can keep you from giving chase to anything at all, which ain’t livin’. It’s a theme that plays out across the album.
MSM: What are your goals for your music career, and where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Autumn: In the next few years we definitely see ourselves supporting larger touring acts, and then eventually leading our own tours around the country and beyond. We know there’s a large audience for Americana music in the UK, and would love to head out that way!
MSM: Are there any bands you’d recommend for people to listen to that they might not have heard of?
Autumn and Daniel: Broods and The Dead Tongues.
MSM: Lastly, why should people check out The One Eighties?
Autumn: We hope there’s something in our music that appeals to some part of you. Whether it’s a lyric, a stack of vocal harmonies that hits just right, a pedal steel riff, or even a moment of brief pause or clarity. Our album is a bit of an adventure, and we’d like to take that trip with you.
Daniel: It was written during some tough times, and touches on things we all deal with in life. I also think we've struck on something quite different with the sound. It's hard to place in terms of genre and format, but that's part of what we hope people like about it.
You can pre-save the album here - https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/theoneeighties/minefields
The One Eighties will be playing a special album release party at Kings in Raleigh at 8:00pm on August 25. Tickets are on sale now https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/5269509/the-one-eighties-album-release-show-raleigh-kings
*Photos provided courtesy of The One Eighties