Kyle J Wilson (vocals) from Auger
The Darkwave duo AUGER was founded by singer and producer Kyle J Wilson and guitarist Kieran Thornton in the industrialised north of England. AUGER’s sound combines heavy guitars with melodic synth elements and some influences from the eighties. Or, as they describe themselves on their Facebook page: AUGER is “a hyper melodic, dynamic Dark Rock duo, fusing Electro Industrial & Metal”.
Until now Kyle and Kieran released three albums: ‘The Awakening’ (2018), ‘From Now On I’ (2019) and ‘Insurgence’ (2020). The new record, ‘Nighthawks’, is announced for 1st April 2022. I had the chance to do an interview with Kyle via Skype and we talked about their lyrics, life during the pandemic and starting to play live again. A few days after we did the interview AUGER revealed one more detail about the new record: Chris Harms, singer of the band LORD OF THE LOST, joined them on their next single ‘Hold On’ (release day: 11th March 2022).
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: All three of your albums so far take the listeners on a different journey. On ‘The Awakening’ it’s a journey of self-discovery, mourning, and regret, as you describe it, ‘From Now On I’ tells deeply emotional tales of the great human experience and its resulting feelings of promise and distrust, of hopes and fears, of bullying suffered and strength ultimately gained. ‘Insurgence’ contains, as you say, tails of loss, destruction, alliance and overcoming. What inspires you to your lyrics?
Kyle: It always depends on the different places and personal situations we are in. If you look at the lyrics, they are always very personal. Even if I try to write a specific story it becomes very personal about me. When Kieran writes songs it’s quite the same. Very often the lyrics are written freestyle, and then comes the melody. So, it’s really an organic way, it’s funny what comes from a few words in the beginning. The new album is written the same way, and it includes very personal reflections.
RoD: You just announced your 4th album, ‘Nighthawk’. What can you tell us about it?
Kyle: The new album is a really interesting piece. The music is very much influenced by bands that I love like TEARS FOR FEARS and SUPERTRAMP, and also by heavier stuff that Kieran likes. It all comes together finally and it is a really nice package. And it is very visual. I’ve always been a fan of mellow music and I’ve always liked how ambient music can paint a scene in your head. When I wrote the first songs for this album and played it to our manager he said “this is giving me a story. There is artificial light, a vibe like in America…” - and strangely that was exactly my inspiration, that was what I had in my head, too. It reminded him on a painting called ‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hopper. And that was what I had in my head, but I didn’t know that it was the painting called ‘Nighthawks’. That’s why we named the album like this. It’s an incredible piece of artwork. The album is a great blend of styles, acoustic guitar and electronic stuff, it’s really cool.
RoD: Where did you record it?
Kyle: We recorded it at home, I have my own studio. A few parts were recorded in Chicago, where I am at the moment with my girlfriend, so it also inspired by the landscape here.
RoD: How do you and Kieran split up your work? Does one if you write the lyrics and the other one creates the music? Or do you both give your influences in both ways in it?
Kyle: It depends on the songs and what we are doing. Kieran has been in the studio with me and we developed a few things together, I came along with some drums, he came with guitar and we created a great song. Other songs were written and finished by me, and then in the end Kieran put some guitar on it. So, we both ad on our ideas.
RoD: How did you as musicians developed from the first to the fourth album?
Kyle: All the music we make is inspired by the music we listen to ourselves. And we listen to more and more music, so we got more and more different approaches to our own music. For example, I love the album ‘Songs From The Big Chair’ by TEARS FOR FEARS, I love the drums on it and I wanted to learn and achieve that. The same with guitars. So, both Kieran and me always improved our skills by listening to more and more music.
RoD: What kind of music did you grow up with, which bands or artists influenced you?
Kyle: TEARS FOR FEARS are on top of my list, but actually all sorts of music. My mum and my dad listened to goth music, so I liked MESH very much for example, but also Punk music like SEX PISTOLS and STRANGLERS. From there I went to OZZY OSBOURNE and heavier stuff. But the most important thing is that you like a song. Then it shouldn’t matter what it is. If it’s a good song it’s a good song. I also listened to DESTINY’S CHILD and RAMMSTEIN.
RoD: Has music always been an important part of your life?
Kyle: Yes, definitely. When I was twelve and the others went outside and played, I was always in my studio making music. I was nine when I wrote a song on my PlayStation.
RoD: What does music mean to you?
Kyle: For me it’s particularly the support of our fans, and that came with our music. We have a big community, and when we post something on social media, there are about 60 people who tell their stories and take part in it. And musically I like telling a story, wherever I am, being on the road. For me music is storytelling and sharing stories. Even Pop music tells stories, the experiences of someone. I like that.
RoD: How and when did you both meet, and how did it come that you founded AUGER together?
Kyle: We went to the same school, but we hadn’t known each other for many years! That is quite strange. Later I joined a band where Kieran was in. And he was so surprised when he found out that I knew band like SISTERS OF MERCY and FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, because not many people around us in our age know those bands. Then we wrote music together and it sounded good. So, one thing followed the other and we started AUGER.
RoD: In the meantime, you have given up your permanent job as a graphic designer to make music only. How did your life change?
Kyle: My colleagues were so understanding and helpful when I was touring and needed time to make music. But then it went further, and now after five years I thought it is is good time, a round number. I knew it was very difficult, it still is very difficult without a nice regular wage. But I do AUGER full time and worked full time, so it felt like I worked 100 hours per week. But now I can focus on my music. It was a big step, it was a bit scary, but it felt really right.
RoD: How did you experience the long time during the pandemic without live gigs? How much did you miss being on stage?
Kyle: We missed the gigs a lot, but then we did livestreams and so we were able to give the community something to look forward to - and also for me it was something to look forward to. And I did a lot of writing. I wrote a lot and really enjoyed that. I kept myself occupied with a lot of things. Time has flown by. And it was good to realise that you cannot take everything for granted.
RoD: You will perform at the Festival Stella Nomine (https://www.stella-nomine-festival.com) in August this year, after you couldn’t be there last year. How much are you looking forward to it?
Kyle: I cannot put it into words! I was so upset when we had to cancel our gig there last year because we had never done something like that before. And then we couldn`t be there and we had to watch it from the distance knowing that we could have been on that stage. I am so grateful that they invited us again, they are so nice and the organiser is so friendly. It looks like such a great festival and we are really looking forward to it. We will make the most of it!
Promo picture by Jay Clapp / Live pictures by Coast to Coast Image Works