Thursday, 08 June 2017 09:46

Ready For Takeoff: Mix of formal training, self-taught savvy fuels rising act The Autumnatic

Written by  Eric Mitts
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The Autumnatic The Autumnatic A PAIGE PHOTOGRAPHY

At 24 years old, The Autumnatic’s Nick Arthur might seem young to some, but he’s an old-soul veteran when it comes to the local music scene. 

Currently the founder, lead vocalist and rhythm/lead guitarist for one of Grand Rapids’ newest and most exciting bands, Arthur grew up on the tried and true grit of Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Neil Young. Taking a cue from such self-made legends, the Cascade native started writing his own songs at a young age and by 16 got his first break when he performed on television. 

Throughout his teens, he played in several area bands before deciding to attend the revered Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2013. There he studied guitar and vocal performance and songwriting, then gigged under the name Nick Arthur & the Habitat. Upon returning to Grand Rapids two years ago, Arthur assembled a new band with a clearer vision and some refined skills.

“I had been in bands within the Grand Rapids scene for years and was always impressed by how it kept developing,” Arthur said. “The scene here was amazing before I left and got even better by the time I came back. We are all so blessed to be in a scene where there is so much appreciation for the arts. We all help each other out and are truly stoked for any opportunity our fellow musicians get.”

With a batch of songs under his belt from his time in Boston, Arthur quickly teamed up with drummer Scott Tabor, now 20. Born and raised in Byron Center, Tabor brought a pop-punk punch to Arthur’s rich, R&B-influenced vocals and bluesy, singer-songwriter sound.

The duo then auditioned two dozen different bassists before teaming with Chicago native Caleb Denman, who Arthur had actually met more than five years earlier through longtime friend and fellow Grand Rapids musician Jesse Ray (of Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfish).

“Caleb probably has the most diverse taste of just about anyone I’ve ever met,” Arthur said, citing a recent playlist of Denman’s that included the likes of Chance The Rapper, The 1975, U2, Fleetwood Mac and Blink-182.

Throughout the rest of 2015, the three-piece toured as Nick Arthur & the Habitat, with Denman eventually recording the band’s debut EP. 

Still, Arthur felt something missing from the band’s songwriting hooks, and they continued to audition more than 45 guitarists before meeting Aladin Kadic last year.

Born in Bosnia, Kadic has classical training as a violinist, but was equally raised by the “gods of rock ‘n’ roll” – bands like Guns N Roses, AC/DC and Muse. At 35, he’s the oldest member of the band, bringing his two decades of playing experience to the unique lead guitar work in The Autumnatic.

“We were originally calling our genre a ‘bastardized blend of pop-rock, blues and R&B’ because we all draw influence from so many different artists,” Arthur said. “All of our musical influences somehow seem to mesh together really well and give us a ‘different’ kind of sound that we’re so grateful people have been digging.”

With all four members now contributing to the songwriting, the band decided to change its name last year and start a new adventure.

“As soon as we started writing songs together, I had a mini panic-attack and wanted to get my name off of the (band),” Arthur said. “We were bouncing a ton of possible band names off of each other and were having no luck. We had just got back from a couple shows we had on Mackinac Island … when Scott suggested something with the word ‘autumn.’ I then thought of the name ‘The Autumn Attic,’ because my favorite season is autumn, and I lived in an attic space at the time. I believe it was Aladin who then melded the words together and made it the play-on-words that it is now.”

Earlier this year, The Autumnatic released its first single, “Taking Flight,” which has already lifted the band onto the airwaves, compliments of community radio station 88.1 WYCE-FM, and brought Arthur back onto TV, via WZZM13, who invited the band to perform this spring.

“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have some awesome opportunities in the 10 months we’ve been a full band,” Arthur said of all the buzz that’s already surrounding The Autumnatic.

Most recently, The Autumnatic performed at the Orbit Room as part of this year’s Jake’s Music Festival. The band also has plans to record an EP at StoneHouse Recordings later this year.

“We’re currently working on preproduction, as well as nailing down a week to spend at the StoneHouse tracking,” Arthur said. “Our goal is to never lose momentum and work toward making our dreams a reality.”


The Autumnatic wsg. The 10X, Miss Atomic, Lydia Kelly 

The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

June 16, 8 p.m., $10-12, (616) 272-3758

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