The young and up-and-coming indie rock band, Autonomous State, is taking the local music scene by storm. 

What once started as an idealistic fantasy between some school friends to start a band turned into a reality in Portsmouth in the Summer of 2022, when ‘Autonomous State was born - inspired by big names which can only be described as your classic ‘dad music’: Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, Stereophonics, and so on. Today, they are working on developing their first EP - due for release in July - whilst continuing to enjoy themselves as a band, jamming together and writing new music.

I spoke to lead singer Hugh Willing to find out more about the band, and their plans for the future.

What inspired the name ‘Autonomous State’?

Wasn't actually my idea, it was Evan Kelly who came up with it. Autonomous state is a period where you are 'free willed' which best describes our band as a whole as we wanted to steer away from ur bang average school band vibe.

What are the different roles in the band?

Well I am lead vocals and play the guitar here and there, Denton, 17, is our lead guitarist, Andrew, 18, is our bass man, Ben, 16,  is our rhythm guitarist, J Dog, 17, is the drum man and of course we have our manager, Matt, 18, who makes this all possible.

How did you start?

Autonomous State started in the summer of 2022 when Andrew and I stared talking about starting a band, then near the end of summer we met denton who played guitar; I asked him if he wanted to be a part of the band and he said "I'm so f*****g keen", then we started sixth form and jammed out in the music room on Monday lunchtimes and I guess the rest is history 

What sets you apart from other bands?

To be honest, the talent we have in Andrew and Ben sort of blessed us, but I feel that the mass time we all spent together and the similarities in interests built up our chemistry.

What are your plans for the future, and do you have any upcoming projects?

Plans are to keep writing our own songs and hopefully have an EP out by July this year, also to keep performing live and to enjoy ourselves, then see where the road takes us. We have some live events planned very soon, such as Rec Fest by LMS on the 18th of May, but the main goal is to create our own material.

What is your dream festival to perform at?

I think it has to be the main stage at Reading Festival as this was most of our first festivals and I feel being able to share the stage with the best from the past is a massive honour.

As Autonomous State embarks into their future, their unique blend of indie rock and spirit sets them apart. From forming in 2022 to the expected release of their debut EP in July, the band's trajectory echoes a harmonious fusion of talent, friendship, and a shared love for music. Keep an eye on Autonomous State as they continue to carve their path, delivering a promising soundtrack to Hampshire’s vibrant music landscape.

For more information on upcoming events and releases, follow @autonomousstateband on Instagram and Facebook.

  • This article was written by Issy Morris, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter scheme.