AutumnHill_Press_2014_Photo Credit_Matt Barnes

by Nilabjo Banerjee

The old saying is don’t judge a book by its cover. But you can judge someone by their social media right? After perusing through social feeds of Mike Robins and Tareya Green, the duo that makes up Autumn Hill, this is how I summed them up:

Mike –> Smurf pajamas, Tim Hortons, gummies

Tareya –> coconut water, wet naps and Franks Hot sauce.

Was I right?

“That is pretty accurate”, laughs Calgary native Green. “I am listening back to that”, adds Toronto’s own Robins, “we must be the weirdest band ever”. Don’t know about weird, but definitely a band on the rise. In September 2013, the duo released their debut Favourite Mistake, that spawned 3 chart topping country hits. The album’s crossover appeal, made them the first country artist to chart on pop radio since Shania Twain. Throw in CCMA and Juno nominations; and Autumn Hill should be making a serious dent on your music radar.

The charming twosome, currently on tour with Kira Isabella, twanged their way into my playlist permanently after an impressive show in Toronto last week. See below  as we chatted about tour memories, meeting John Mayer and questions they are tired of answering

Both of you are in close quarters all the time. What are quirks about each other you like?

Mike: This is going to be a funny one. Tareya is very picky and health conscious, and its turning around my eating habits. We will be in a restaurant, and she will be like, “this doesn’t look right. Mike, you need more salad”

What about you, Tareya?

Tareya: Hmm,

M: What do you adore about me? Hahaha

T: Mike is, I don’t know how he does it, he has so much energy all the time. If I wake up, and am feeling a little sluggish or just zoned out, he always tries to amp me up. Its cute, and definitely helps and gets us going on the road

Now, you are a duo of two attractive people of opposite sex. So, what questions are you tired of answering?

M: Hahah, we are not tired of answering any questions. It’s all good.

Then let me ask, you guys dating? What’s it like being a duo on the road?

T: Haha, so Mike, are we a couple?

M: Haha, I don’t know. We are a couple of something.

T: It’s so funny! At one of our shows, I wore this gigantic fake diamond ring on the middle finger of the other hand. And couple of fans came up to me, and they were like “we didn’t know that you were engaged”.

M: And they said to me, “Look at this. This is your blueprint. This is what you should get when you are ready to ask Tareya”

T: Hahaha, that would have been like 25 carats.

M: I think what happens more is people just don’t know us at all. We have been in situations where people are like ‘hey! Its Lady Antebellum’.

T: We are like, ‘Where! Hilary?!’

I am pretty new to country music. And I feel, including myself, people maybe judging the genre wrong. What do you think are some misconceptions about the genre?

T: Hmm. Maybe people think, and there are certainly a lot of songs about tractors and farm and super country stuff. If you really listen to a lot of the current songs, there is a common theme of love and heartbreak. The songs have incredible and intricate storytelling!

M: That’s a perfect response. I just wanna add that people still have this view of country being very traditional. Right now, it’s so exciting. Its perfect time to be listening to country, and open your mind to it because there a lot of bands that will sort of borrow from other genres.

With country music, including your songs, crossing over to pop radio, is there a sense of country being watered down for the masses?

M: Honestly, one of the things that we truly love working about in the Canadian country industry is that it IS such a family. We went to our first CCMA awards, and we were told, that this is more of a family reunion than an awards show. In all sincerity, this is a genre, where everybody from the artist to people working in the industry like in radio and television, and all the way down to the fan listening, we all support each other. I feel everybody is happy that the music crossing over is opening doors to new audiences, pushing country music as far forward as possible.

How has this tour been so far? Any memorable fan interactions? Moments on stage?

M: There has been a ton of those moments. This tour is one of the most exciting things we have done in a while. The energy is always 11. There have been standout shows, like we got to perform in Tareya’s hometown Calgary at this incredible bar ‘Cowboys’, and the crowd was on fire. Winnipeg was awesome.

T: One of the coolest things on stage has been seeing fans sing along to the fans. This is one of the first tours where we have been able to connect with the fans, and just see them singing their hearts out is an incredible feeling.

That’s incredible. My last question is a multiple choice. You have to pick one out of the three:

 Meeting John Mayer (Interview clip)

Singing a duet with childhood idol?

Landing a sponsorship deal with Tim Hortons?

M: I don’t want to pass up meeting John Mayer, but having Tim Hortons and Autumn Hill being synonymous would be ideal

T: This is hard! But, if I could just stand in the same room with Celine Dion, and sing while she sings, unaware of my presence. Doesn’t even have to be a duet. That would be a dream come true for me.