Canadian band Autopilot takes their ambient rock to the road

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“Searching for what we hope to find. We’re just crooked lines,” sings Canadian band Autopilot on their latest release, Hurricane.

Based in Saskatoon, Saskachewan, the band, composed of guitarist and singer Marlon Harder, bassist Colton Fehr and drummer Jose A. Fuenzalida, are about to wrap up an extensive North American tour that has taken them all the way from Baltimore to Los Angeles. For Autopilot, being on tour can be strenuous but also rewarding, as Harder points out.

“The whole thing is that you get up and you have to make long drives all the time. When you tour Canada, nothing’s close for the most part,” Harder says. “Even in the States, we’re only getting maybe three to five hours of driving but we’ll be on an eight-hour day in the van and that gets really tiring real quick.”

Harder is quick to point out, however, that touring is one of the most worthwhile experiences a band can have, saying that it’s the best feeling ever when you play a show and get to meet different bands in addition to new people.

It seems the idea of the road or escape is one of the motifs that the band is becoming known for, as the cover for their previous album ‘Desert Dreams’ features a bus on a lone road in the middle of nowhere.

Being on tour gives the band time to escape the cold climate of Saskatoon, which Harder points out is actually conducive to perfecting their craft.

“The climate we come from is pretty cold, so we spend more time playing because there’s not a whole lot to do when it’s minus-40 outside. So you spend more time writing and recording and rehearsing, trying to progress a little on what we’re doing,” Harder says.

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The band’s sound has progressed extensively, from being aggressive, initially, and reminiscent of emo, to become ambient and melancholy.

As of late,  the band has been utilizing a new technique for distortions – a bow on the guitar..

“To progress our sound more, we came up with new sounds on guitar and new effects,” Harder says. “The two songs that came out were kind of close, kind of styled together, but we have quite a bit of other songs we’re working on and I think there’s a whole new sound. We’re still called Autopilot, but it sounds a bit different from other stuff we’ve done.”

Their tour concluded on November 26th in Saskatoon, and afterwards, the band has plans to sit down in the bitter cold and release their latest album, which they are currently writing on the road.

“As soon as we get back, we’ll be doing vocals for December and possibly part of January. Then, we’ll be planning the next two tours and the exact release date of the album,” Harder says. “It’s all I do all day, just focus on this. It’s a lot of fun. It’s better than going to a shitty day job.”

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