Exclusive Interview: Autopipe's Sights are Set

Updated: Sep 15

The up and coming shock rockers have carved a name for themselves in the local scene by going against the grain and bringing something new to the table. When it comes to Autopipe's live performances, clothes are optional.

(From left to right: Arjun, Oliver, Nick (The homie), Liam, Hank )

Autopipe has taken the SLO DIY scene by storm these past two years with their wildly entertaining stage antics and energetic tunes.

The boys started recording material back in 2018 with the premiere of their single "Koala Dreams" and have dropped a few projects along the way. Vocalist Oliver Tawney, drummer Liam Graham, and guitarist Arjun Urbonas met each other during their freshman year at Cal Poly. Making waves ever since, their current lineup featuring bassist Hank McKay came together during the fall of 2019. Watch out for their full-length album. It's expected to release on all streaming platforms April 4th, 2020.

Embracing the spirit of cult classics like Iggy Pop and GG Allin, Tawney knows how to amuse a crowd while the rest of the group plays along. Clothes usually scatter the floor about halfway through their set as Tawney shreds his guitar, wearing only his boxers or possibly a leotard, similarly to the one found in the film, Borat.

In turn, these gimmicks make the crowd go bananas. Common living room shows morph into a chaotic pit where everyone's grooving around trying to get a quick look at the performers. It's a memorable experience and people spread the word like a wildfire. No doubt about that. Within these past few months, people have come out of the woodworks to jam-pack local houses or backyards whenever Autopipe sets up a local gig.

The local scene is blossoming as we know it and Autopipe has proven to be one of the heavy hitters. Letting their freak flags wave high, these guys know how to throw a show. I'm sure a banger of a set is in store once everything in the world settles down and we can all enjoy live music again. Until then, keep on rocking in the "free world" of your home shelter.

Curious to learn more? I had the chance to catch up with the band right before their set at the Orcutt House on Jan. 17th, 2020.

Here's what they had to say:

Q: (Danny) 2020’s looking to be a beautiful year. Essentially, what’s on Autopipe’s goal radar for this year?

A: (Liam)  Well, right now we have some stuff scheduled to record. Mostly, our main goal is to get some songs recorded.

(Oliver) To get a full album out. 

(Liam) Yea, we’ve been slacking on that. We have a live recorded set from the local radio station and hopefully we’ll be getting that out soon, but yeah expect some new recordings to be out soon too... 

(Oliver) and play more shows, always play more shows. 

Q: (Spenser) So your first recordings came out in 2018, did you start playing shows around this time or later in 2019?

A: (Oliver) We actually played our first show a year ago from tomorrow. So when we played our first show, it was just us three (Liam, Oliver, and Arjun) and then our buddy Chad hopped on for one song. He played with us throughout the rest of 2019 until Hank here joined us in the fall of 2019. 

Q: (Spenser) How have you seen the progression of the local scene while you’ve been here?

A: (Arjun) Honestly, it seems like it’s blowing up. Like, I came here maybe one or two times as a freshman, so shout out to SLO DIY on Instagram for putting out show dates... (someone walks into the room) this guy’s looking for a white Ford Fusion but that’s not my car. 

It’s just great seeing the scene popping up, ya know. Seeing so many people tonight, so many supportive people, I mean I’m excited to be a part of it like these guys are. 

Q: (Danny) In terms of playing a full live set on KCPR, how did that feel as a group?

A: (Hank) It was super cool. I’ve been playing music for a really long time and that was my first time doing that, so it was rad. It was kinda messy at times, but I thought it was a really great performance and we had a lot of people listening to it. People will see me around school and be like, “that was sick”, so that’s cool. 

( Arjun) It’s really nice when other people record you. I’m so used to doing all the work, so when I get to just show up and play, ooh. 

Q: (Spenser) When you’re playing live, you guys seem to have made a name for you