FOR OVER a decade now, Fit For An Autopsy has garnered serious critical praise and built a devoted audience around the world. The band, led by prominent producer and engineer Will Putney, has released four full-length albums and two EPs since 2011 and continues to tour around the world - often on bills with some of the biggest bands in metal and rock.
Now, they’re coming to AURA Fest on Feb. 16 as one of the festival’s headliners, and we spoke to guitarist Pat Sheridan ahead of the show to learn more about their history and their signature sound.
How did this band get started, and what was your background musically prior to this all happening?
Sheridan: We started in 2007, and wrote a few songs. It was a little more leisurely, and at the time I was in a hardcore band that Will was in as well. Fast forward, and that band falls apart. Then I was in this weird doom metal and rock and roll band, and [then-vocalist] Nate Johnson was singing for Since the Flood but they were coming to an end. So I jokingly said, "Join my band." And he did.
So we started again with a very notable singer, and started writing a more progressive style than what we’d done before. It just evolved - Nate left, we got a new singer, the typical band thing. And here we are.
It seems like the rise of this band, while it has progressed gradually, sort of happened when after it hit at some point and then took off from there. Do you feel like you noticed that at some point? Was there a point where you realized this was your career?
Sheridan: It grew organically in a way where you play a certain area enough and you start bringing more of a crowd, which is the natural progression. But then bands like Trivium and Hatebreed took us out. A lot of bigger bands have shown interest in touring with us, which is a blessing. You don't really expect bands that you looked up to for so long to pay attention.
There’s that, and then getting signed to a bigger label and making better music - it’s been a culmination of a million different things. As far as it being a career, it still doesn’t feel like one. I still feel like a 16-year-old kid disobeying his mother and going out to play shows instead of having a real job.
Who were some musical heroes?
Sheridan: It's funny, because we're going on tour with some of them - Obituary and the Cro-Mags. Of course, there are the staples like Metallica and Slayer. And then I started getting into different thrash metal bands. I like Converge, I like Human Remains, I like everything. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what bands were the most influential, but I can say that there's been a lot of changes for me musically over the years.
It seems like that's the best way to be. The lines between a lot of these genres are very thin, which is why you end up seeing so many bands who sort of cross stylistic boundaries. Nowadays, when you guys go to make a record, do you have a formula? Or do you leave yourselves open to evolving things in the studio?
Sherdian: Well, Will Putney is in my band and he's a genius. He's extremely good at writing music, so he's the main contributor. He kind of took the early sound of Fit For An Autopsy, where we were working a little more closely together on things, and he evolved it to where it's evolved to now. There's always one guy in the band who's sort of the main contributor to the sound, and that'd be Will.
When we come in, we throw some riffs in a hat and talk about what direction we want to head in and what we want to do. Being on tour with these bigger bands, you see their early career being much more chaotic. As they grow, they start writing in a way that’s much better for the live show. So we’ve learned from that.