Automatic Theory: A product of its environment

Tacoma influence plays key role

By Quincy Henry on June 30, 2012

Automatic Theory is a Tacoma based three-piece outfit made up Dave Hannon (guitar/vocals), Steve Albert (drums/vocals) and Ian Webb (bass/vocals). Hannon is from the gritty streets of Tacoma, Webb hails from the sunshine and palm trees of California and Albert is from New Hampshire. I'm not sure what one would put to describe New Hampshire, but I'm sure it's a great state nevertheless. Either way, this band is a product of its collective environment.

Even with a very distinct pop rock sound and Jimmy Eat World vibe, there's something gritty about the lyrics written by front man Hannon (that'd be the Tacoma influence), and the guys do a great job maintaining that warm and glitzy sunshine feel you'd expect from a pop rock trio (that'd be California influence). While we're talking about warm and glitzy though, can I be honest for a moment? Webb is actually from Ukiah, Calif., which is in Northern California and there isn't much in the way of palm trees in Ukiah, but isn't it second nature to think of palm trees when we think of California? And maybe it's those clean, crisp guitar sustains, but even with all the grit and the glitz, at the same time Automatic Theory has a sound that is expansive and dare I say majestic.

On further research, New Hampshire is known for its mountains, and nothing says expansive and majestic quite like mountains.

Through a brief talk with Hannon came a cool back story on the trio's origins. Aside from the band's previous releases actually being Hannon's solo work with spot performances from Albert (who met Hannon while attending Gonzaga), and the new release being the first in which all three members actually played together, Webb was dating Hannon's cousin before joining the band. Scandalous, I know. On a more serious note, Hannon mentioned how with this project Automatic Theory has its sights set on gaining a presence in the Northwest and to finally make music a full- time gig.

The band's newest CD, "Two Sides," came out in April and is available on its website (www.automatictheory.com). If you find yourself on YouTube, the trio also shot a cool music video for the title track.

It's usually not a pleasure of mine to spew out cliché descriptions that bands use in bios, but this is what you would call a band with a tight, upbeat, in-the-pocket sound that is equal parts Tacoma, California and New Hampshire. Lucky for people in the great state of Washington but sadly for those in California and New Hampshire, Automatic Theory is hitting the road this summer with 11 performance dates from July through to October, including stops in Spokane, Tacoma, Graham and Bonney Lake.