Article published in The Kentish Independent (23/12/1981)
Mic composes by courtesy of the Post Office
Postal delays caused by Christmas are more of a nuisance to Plumstead guitarist Mic Woods than they are to most of us. Mic, from Barnfield Gardens, is a member of the Scunthorpe-based band The Instant Automatons. He exchanges musical ideas for new songs with the band by sending and receiving cassettes through the post.
"If it's a song they've written they send a cassette complete with the bass, drums and vocals parts and I add the guitar ," he says. "The songs can need a bit of alteration at either end so the cassette can end up going back and forth to Scunthorpe quite a few times."
Once the song is complete the band meet in Scunthorpe to rehearse. Mic says that there are ways round the time delay involved with their postal system. "I've hummed an idea to them over the phone before now," he says.
Recently the exchange of cassettes between Mic and the Automatons' bass player Martin Neish and vocalist Mark Lancaster has been quite hectic. They have been preparing themselves for a nationwide tour with fellow alternative bands Zounds that starts on 8 January. Zounds come from Hackney and the two bands got together out of necessity. Mic says: "We've got a P.A. and no van and they've got a van but no P.A. so we decided to share." The Instant Automatons are also lined up for a tour of Europe and are to be featured in a tour of British bands to New Zealand. "I suppose that'll mean more cassettes through the post," says Mic.
The postal link between Mic and the Scunthorpe pair began following an advertisement in Melody Maker. The pair offered to record their songs for anyone who sent them a blank tape through the post. Considering they are still a relatively unknown band the Automatons have released quite a few records. They started two years ago by being featured as one of four bands on an E.P. Further E.P.'s followed and they were also on a compilation album called "We Couldn't Agree on a Title." Their next venture on to vinyl is to be on an album that will feature themselves and two other bands.
Until then Mic and his two Scunthorpe colleagues say they will be trying to get the most from their post.