Detroit-based rock trio Autumn Kings recently released their single/music video, “Sleep When I’m Dead,” an assertion of pure resolve to do whatever it takes to hit the target. “Sleep When I’m Dead” is a rallying cry for anybody who doesn’t want to be told the odds.
Not long ago, the Autumn Kings were stocking the shelves in a grocery store and dreaming of rock stardom. Tireless work, ingenuity, and genuine camaraderie put them on the path to success, and their recent achievements are impressive. They’ve brought their piledriver sound to Japan, South Korea, and Guam and built a local reputation for fierce and fearless performances. XS Noize spoke with guitarist Jake Diab to learn more about what makes Autumn Kings tick and the inspiration for “Sleep When I’m Dead.”
What inspired your new single/music video, “Sleep When I’m Dead?”
We did a few headline shows in Japan in the summer of 2023 and were inspired by the Japanese people’s love for Anime. Joe is a huge Anime fan, and our fans have already shown us how much they love hearing our music paired with their favourite Anime Scenes, so it was a no-brainer for us to do an Anime video for ‘Sleep When I’m Dead.’
‘Sleep When I’m Dead,’ as a song, is an intense energy ball written to be the soundtrack to all of the hustlers’ and grinders’ day-to-day conquests, whether in sports, video games, school, work, or elsewhere…. Simply put, we wanted to metaphorically punch people in the face, wake them up, and motivate them to crush it. These tend to be our favourite types of songs to write and the songs that come easy to us because the whole band has an intense drive to win and succeed.
Who directed the video?
He is Justin Everest - a Canadian fellow out of Montréal who we discovered online and built a rapport with. He does incredible work and knocked this video out of the park. Like us, he is highly detail-oriented, which made us gel well.
What do you want people to take away from the single/video?
I would want people to leave with a permanent motivation and realisation that virtually any issue or negative perception can be overcome with the right mental attitude. I want them to win at whatever they are trying to do. Empowerment, above anything else, is the goal.
How, when, and where did Autumn Kings get together?
Joe and I met while working in a grocery store in 2013. We talked shop in the break room one day, and a few years later, when I was in university and looking to drop out/start a band, I dug up my old Blackberry, found his number, put it on my iPhone, called him, we jammed in my parent’s basement, and… the rest is history.
Who is in the band, and which instrument do they play?
Joe Coccimiglio – Vocals, Jake Diab – Vocals, guitar, Troy Dawdy – Drums.
How did you get started in music?
‘Guitar Hero III’ at the age of 12. ‘Prayer of the Refugee’ by Rise Against, ‘Lay Down’ by Priestess, and ‘One’ by Metallica were all songs found within the game that helped curate my music taste. I became addicted to that game and got concernedly good, but thankfully, God gave me the good sense to drop the game and pick up a real guitar. The first song I learned was ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC, and then ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica shortly after. I took lessons for a few months and then figured out the rest. Because I had awkward tendencies in grade school, music was my escape. It was the one thing that didn’t care about my social status. I realised I wanted to start a band when I abandoned a game of hide-and-seek at a buddy’s house to play on his brother’s drum kit. I stayed on that kit for 3 hours and knew I needed a drum kit. After begging my parents incessantly for a drum kit for my 12th birthday, they agreed on the condition I learn the guitar. I’m glad they demanded I learn guitar because I now spend most of my musical time on it.
Which singers/musicians influenced your sound?
Billy Talent, Linkin Park, Three Days Grace, System of a Down, and countless more… These artists all possessed a heavy edge yet greatly emphasised writing memorable vocal melodies. System of a Down is one of the quirkiest bands, yet everything sounds as hooky as a pop song. We always try to maintain both the musical proficiency in our songs and the one-listen memorability when you hear Autumn Kings.
What would you say if you had to describe your sound to the uninitiated?
Linkin Park and Fall Out Boy made a baby. Arena Rock with hooks and balls.
Why do you make music?
Because we love it and can express our emotions and messages more effectively than other communication mediums, it is the most fun thing in the world.
What can you share about your writing process?
It usually starts with a guitar/piano, and me mumbling some gibberish, accidentally tripping on a cool word, Joe playing the role of ‘cringe detector,’ helping to guide the lyrics. We then share it with our producer, and he tells us if it’s good, great, or terrible and what may need to be refined to get an idea to ‘great,’ then we hone the song and production tirelessly from there until we get it right.
Which artists, in your opinion, are killing it right now?
NF, Russ, New Medicine, Nic D, Blue Stones, Blink 182. These Artists are not only excellent songwriters, musicians, and producers, but most of the aforementioned are DIY, independent pioneers, and we commend that spirit. The entrepreneurial efforts of these artists inspire us - not that we are ruling out the possibility of getting with a major label. Still, we are big believers in having a rock-solid, self-sufficient ecosystem built around the music we make. These artists emulate that spirit.
How do you define success?
They are simply doing what you love to do uncompromisingly while being able to support yourself and your family financially.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Live gigs? Music videos?
A TON of new music…. And don’t be surprised if you see us in a city near you.