Fort Collins band Autumn Burn creates uplifting rock

Miranda Moses

Fort Collins band Autumn Burn made up of members Mikus Shoemaker, Eric Romero, Matthew Durnil and Joshua Rivera contribute to the Fort Collins music scene by uplifting other bands. Their next show is February 23rd at Hodi’s Half Note. (Jon Price | Collegian)

The Communications Manager at the Fort Collins Music District, a delivery driver for Carrier, a Quality Assurance specialist at NASA, and a New Belgium “Beer Maestro” are the diverse faces that make up Fort Collins-based hardcore band, Autumn Burn.

While their day-to-day jobs may be profoundly different, this tight-knit group of musician’s have at least one thing in common: making music with a unique sound and an uplifting message in a band they love.

Ad

Over the course of over a decade, Autumn Burn‘s music style evolved from a punk band to a hard rock band, bridging on the essence of metal to a sound entirely its own that is influenced by many genres such a soul, blues, punk and hard rock. 

“Part of what makes this band special is the flexibility in the sonic range,” said Mikus Shoemaker, the bass guitarist, backup vocalist and scream vocalist for the band and a daytime delivery driver. “While it does often dive into metal, the sound also has room for lighter and more melodic moments.”

Eric Romero, the lead vocalist and guitar player for Autumn Burn, said fans often point out the edgy band’s sensitive, lighter side. The band’s songs illustrate themes of internal strife and resolution, and according to the songwriter, spreading a positive message will always be something that the band is about. 

“When writing lyrics, I think it is really important to have some sort of different message that is bigger and say, ‘Hey, even though this sucked in your life or this was difficult, you grew,'” Romero said. “My dad always said it best, he said, ‘It is not the fall the defines you, it is how you pick yourself up and dust yourself off.’ So, I have always tied that into the music.”

Shoemaker said he himself experiences the effects of the music while making it. 

“I do think the band’s music helps people process hardships, because I have had it help me in my life, especially last year being quite personally turbulent,” Shoemaker said. 

Autumn Burn tours the country from Chicago to New Mexico, participated in Vans Warped Tour, won the Art Institute of Colorado Battle of the Bands and frequently shows up in the Denver rock scene at venues such as Summit Music Hall. But, according to Romero, although the band loves touring outside of his hometown, the band’s favorite moments are those where they are able to play in Fort Collins. 

 When writing lyrics, I think it is really important to have some sort of different message that is bigger and say, ‘Hey, even though this sucked in your life or this was difficult, you grew.’ My dad always said it best, he said, ‘It is not the fall the defines you, it is how you pick yourself up and dust yourself off.’ So, I have always tied that into the music.” -Eric Romero, lead singer of Autumn Burn 

The Colorado State University alumni grew up in Fort Collins and works as one of the talent buyers for New Belgium Brewing. According the Romero, Autumn Burn is fortunate enough to have built a relationship with venues in the Fort Collins music community so that the band can continue playing where they love to perform, but this is a privilege. The town possesses a large hardcore rock community, but the musician said the amount of venues booking hardcore and punk bands such as Hodi’s Half Note and Surfside 7 is disproportionate the amount of bands trying to play. In continuing the theme of  spreading positivity, Romero attempts to give heavier bands a space at New Belgium. 

“It is amazing how so many bands have nowhere to play,” Romero said. “Because they are not big enough to play Hodi’s, they have maybe gotten their foot in the door at Surfside, but nobody else will book them. So, I am trying to think of ways that I can maybe bring them into the brewery.”

Autumn Burn also makes a point to invite up-and-coming bands to open for them at their shows to use their ability to book gigs to uplift other local artists. 

Ad

“From the simple task of helping bands get on and off the stage to setting up shows for up and coming musicians to perform, Autumn Burn does its best to support local music,” said Matthew Durnil, drummer for Autumn Burn who also works for NASA as well as the Air National Guard. “The music business is a rough business. I think it is important for musicians to learn to share the stage. Nobody can work the music business alone.”

Romero said he is grateful for the efforts of the Fort Collins Music District, FoC0MX, The Downtown Artery and Salt Magazine to open up spaces and give exposure to more and more kinds of artists. The opening of Fort Collin’s new venue Washington’s has made him excited not only for the performing opportunities that it will give his band, but many other bands, as well. 

The musician, who has fostered over 40 foster dogs, said the he is an empath by nature and cannot help his urge to help everyone around him and surrounds himself with people who like to do the same, including the men of Autumn Burn. 

Band guitarist Joshua Rivera is also a member of Fort Collin’s based band I Am The Owl, and works as the Communications Manager at the Fort Collins Music District, and therefore, according to Romero, “eats, breathes, and shits music everyday.” Despite his busy life, the musician, who joined the band in 2014, said the band gives him an opportunity to have fun with his best friends.

The band’s next show in Fort Collins is February 23rd at Hodi’s Half Note at 8pm. This band will be accompanied by Lola Black, Kind Dub and WAKE THE BAT and general admission is $10.

“The great thing about Autumn Burn is that we are all friends first, band mates second,” Rivera said. “I know these guys have my back and actually care about my well being, beyond just wanting to make great music with me. That kind of friendship translates on stage and in the studio.” 

Durnil considers Romero a little brother and has known Shoemaker and Rivera since they were in other bands, and has always admired their effort to support local music.

“For bands to last for over a decade, the need to be family,” Durnil said. “As family, Autumn Burn will always have its ups and downs, but we work through them to achieve greatness with new music and kick ass shows. They are great musicians, and I am grateful to share the stage with them.”

Collegian reporter Miranda Moses can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @mirandasrad.