Autoheart (née The Gadsdens) released one of 2009’s best singles, The Sailor Song. They then took some time off to write and record their debut album with Coldplay producer, Danton Supple. The as-yet-untitled long-player will be released later on this year and will also include the critically-acclaimed current single, Control.
Kicking off what promises to be an exciting year for the London five-piece is a live show at Barfly in Camden this coming Wednesday. Here, front-man Jody Gadsden not only (patiently!) answers some of our probings but also gives us (and you, lucky folk) an exclusive listen to Edit, a new Autoheart track, never previously released.
Where was the first London venue you played live and what are your memories from that experience?
The first venue I played in London was the Bedford when it was in Baker Street — I think it’s in Balham now. I was 20 years old and it was just me and my guitar in this underground cave-like venue with odd UV lighting. My mother and best friend were in the crowd and I was petrified. The audience were very sweet and clapped politely but I sang all 3 songs about 2 feet away from the mic so they probably only heard some muffled grunting alongside some terrible guitar playing. I like to think I’ve improved since then.
Do you have a favourite London venue to see shows at?
I like the Scala in King’s Cross. It’s large enough to get lost in but somehow manages to retain that level of intimacy you get from much smaller venues. I’ve seen some wonderful acts there and have a lot of fond memories of the place. I also love the Union Chapel in Islington – I think when you mix the old age history and beauty of church interiors in general with contemporary music it can be quite a magical partnership. When we supported the Hidden Cameras at St. Leonards Church in Shoreditch a few years back it was especially surreal; looking at the audience sitting on pews and seeing all the religious iconology of centuries before adorned on the walls. Equal parts odd and equal parts lovely.
What’s your ‘local’?
I have two, The Nelsons Head off Hackney Road and The Elderfield in Clapton. Nelsons because they have a great, eclectic jukebox and lots of my friends go there – it has that home from home vibe about it and it’s very dog friendly – I love dogs. The Elderfield is really relaxed and a little off the beaten track – I had a great New Year’s there once and the staff are always very warm and friendly.
You live in Hackney. Name the best thing and the worst thing about where you live.
The best thing about Hackney is that It attracts people not only from other countries but from around the UK and London and the constant flux and interaction of the different cultures and experiences ensure it’s a dynamic and exciting place to live. There’s always something to be inspired by in Hackney but while there are many creative people in the area, its lack of small-mindedness makes it difficult to get too self-involved or pretentious.
Worst thing – The downside of its ‘creative’ reputation is that it does attract some who are only interested in being in the place they think is ‘currently’ happening. They have no real interest in Hackney as a place or as a community. The riots last year exposed some of those attitudes, as people who moved to the area for the cultural cache started demanding the kids they live alongside be shot in the street.
If you could afford to live anywhere in London where would it be and why?
I would stay East definitely. I was born in Dagenham and grew up in Upminster so I’ve always lived in or around the eastbound District line. But if I could afford anywhere – perhaps De Beauvoir or Canonbury although that’s veering into N1 postcode territory. There are some lovely properties around there and the new overground links mean it’s easy to get around in the area.
Is there a London club you can guarantee you’d have a great night out at?
Oh My God I Miss You put on some great nights at the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club. Grind A Go-Go plays Sixties Garage, the night is like Rosemary’s Baby meets Valley of the Dolls. And Jailhouse Jam is unabashed rock and roll and great fun. I’m more of a pub than a club person but I’ve always had a lot of fun at these nights and recommend them whole-heartedly.
Boris bikes — a sensible way to tone up the buns or “no thanks, I’ll take the tube”?
I love riding bikes but not in London — I’m too accident prone, I’d probably die within minutes if I took to the streets during rush hour, sadly. I give much kudos to those who do it daily to and from work. And their legs and bums would certainly benefit from the exercise. But I skip in my spare time, no joke, so my legs and bum are just fine without the cycling. I thought after visiting Barcelona years ago that London should adopt a similar scheme so I’m glad that the idea has finally been actualised.
Where would you take visitors from out of town to eat in London?
There a couple of nice Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road which are fairly reasonable in price and very tasty as well as the infamous Indian cuisine on Brick Lane. Dim Sum at Shanghai is always good. Dalston also has some of the best Turkish restaurants in London so I’d take them there as well. Some of the Pubs around Victoria Park like The Britannia and The Hemmingway do great traditional Sunday roasts too.
Are you looking forward to the Olympics or are you not bothered?
I am and I’m not. I live literally 400 meters away from the Stadium so come summer time it’s going to be absolutely hell getting to and from my home. But I’m sure there will be a real buzz in the air when the Olympics are in full swing. I’m just deeply concerned with how our transport infrastructure is going to cope with the massive influx of people. I don’t envy the current Secretary of State for Transport, and I hope she has some pretty hefty contingency plans up her sleeves!
What can fans and new Autoheart listeners expect from your forthcoming Barfly gig?
We’re showcasing tracks from our debut album. So, new songs and of course a couple of old ones. We’ve been rehearsing the album meticulously over the past few months in preparation for the year ahead. I’m going on shopping trip on Sunday for a gig outfit, so you’ll have that unveil to look forward to at the Barfly gig. The red shirt or the white shirt? The black boob-tube or the brown leather waistcoat – what’ll it be? You’ll have to turn up to see!
You can get tickets for Autoheart’s Barfly show on 1st of Feb here. And below is an exclusive stream of brand new Autoheart track, Edit.