What is your name and role within the band?
Steve Lane is my name. This is my first album as just ‘Steve Lane’ and on it I play guitar and sing (I also dabble with synths, a trombone and even a theremin). I wrote the songs and recorded them at my studio ‘Troubled Waters’ in Emu Creek, Victoria. Some of the lyrics were written with my good mate and author/poet John Holton. This is my third album … the first two were ‘Steve Lane And The Autocrats’
How did the band start?
Steve Lane And The Autocrats started as a studio project. I had a bunch of songs and invited some mates to play on them. We then decided to play some gigs. Those mates included Paul Kelly and The Dots maestro Jimmy Williams on guitar and the awesome Augie March Rhythm section of drummer Davis Williams and bassist Edmondo Ammendola. Over the years, the line-up has changed as per people’s availability. The one constant has been drummer David Williams, who has played on all three of my records. The core band for this album was David, the ultra-talented Jacob McGuffie on guitar and my son and bassist Kai Lane U’Ren who was understudy to Edmondo in the early years!
Where are you based?
I’m based in a little place called Emu Creek, south of Bendigo on the way to Castlemaine.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
For me, it’s about setting a time some space. A reason to write is always helpful, like an album or a soundtrack. Because my work is about facilitating song writing, I find I have to blank out some space in the diary for myself. I see the well of creativity like a water tank… every now and then you’ve got to let it out or it overflows.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m pretty flat out running song writing/video production workshops in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. I’m pretty lucky that way. I’m also putting a band and some shows together to support the release of my new album ‘The Revenge of the Lawn’
How did you find the recording process?
I love the recording process, I love being creative that way. Stories from recording/writing? There’s a song on this album called Cocoon. At the time of writing this song, my Dad had been in a ‘cocoon’ like state … bedridden, shrinking and unable to communicate for many years after a massive stroke at just 59. My dad finally passed away (17 years later) in 2015. When I recorded Cocoon, I felt compelled to keep playing …I was grabbing instruments and throwing down my emotions … there was no thinking involved… it was all stream of consciousness… at one stage I grabbed my phone and recorded an ABC talkback show. I built this soundscape, I thought, as an attempt to be inside my father’s head, lying day by day, year by year, unable to communicate. After my father passed, I was listening to this song with a friend who wanted to hear it and was playing it over and over… it made me feel physically sick… it was too raw. For me know, that soundscape ending is his leaving.
What is your gear setup?
Pretty basic at the moment. My Fender Jazzmaster through an old Peavey Classic 30 seems to do it. At the moment my go to pedals are a Roland Space echo and Crowther Hot Cake
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
There is my work, I mentioned before in the NT… it’s music tho isn’t it. Interestingly enough, I never write my own music out there … the music I’m involved in stays out in the community, although I reckon this album is very influenced by the space of places like the Central desert. Outside of music, I like to travel with my family.
How would you describe your music genre?
It’s been described as Americana, although exactly what that is confuses me. People often remark that they hear Wilco, Elvis Costello and The Attractions and The Go Betweens in my music.
Do you know any music theory?
I do know a little, but I tend to be more instinctive in the way I produce music.
What are your plans for the future?
I showcased at Canadian Music Week in 2015 and am working to head back for the summer festival circuit in 2018.
How did you get into music?
I was encouraged to as a young-un by my folks, but it didn’t make sense to me until a science class in year 9 where I mentioned to a mate that I wanted to play an electric guitar and he said why not bass.. we need a bassist … I went to a rehearsal that night in a school portable, they put a bass around my neck… that’s how it started.
What are you listening to at the moment?
It ranges from Kurt Vile, The Peep Tempel to revisiting artists like Television.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
I’m a big fan of Wilco (particularly around the Summerteeth/Yankee Hotel Foxtrot/Ghost is Born era) and Mogwai. I was very influenced by the Church in my younger years and these days I love what The Drones do.
When are you playing next?
Currently finalizing some shows on the back of my upcoming album launch. Bendigo, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and a couple of shows as a duo around Briso are in the works. Stay tuned.