Autograf On New Music & Art Project “Running,” Collabs, Electric Forest [Exclusive Interview]
Chicago-based live electronic trio Autograf have impacted the EDM scene with a unique sound and an interesting live setup. Showing the Vibraphone (see it in action in the interview below) some love for the first time in EDM has become a signature and anticipated aspect of their set. Following up their “Waiting For Love” Remix and “For The Love” Remix, the guys got a chance to sit down with us and discuss their upcoming multifaceted project, “Running”, along with a new collaboration, and their vision of the future of the project. They also shout out Electric Forest and Woogie Weekend with some crazy stories from their visits.
Read The Full Interview:
Love the Odesza “All We Need” Remix. How did it come about and what kind of relationship do you guys have with them?
At the time we had never met the guys but we had always been admiring their music for a while and then just randomly they hit us up on Twitter – totally awesome, you can totally do that to find remixes – to ask us to do a remix and we were like “fuck yea” and actually that remix took 24 hours to make…They normally don’t come like that but sometimes once in a blue moon it just happens really fast…for the “Dream” remixes we decided let’s just do the same thing and reach out [via Twitter].
Could you tell us about your live set with the Vibraphone, how you came up with that setup, and any inspiration behind it?
We started Autograf maybe a year or 2 ago and prior to that I’ve known Jake for 5+ years. We’ve each had different music projects. Maybe a year into Autograf we were trying to do the whole art installation meets boiler room dance party. One day me and Jake were talking and I knew he played piano and drums, but then one day he just told me he played the vibraphone and I was like “what, are you serious?!?” So the very next day we got one and started incorporating that into our live sets. I just thought it was a really unique instrument.
Does anybody else play that on stage?
I haven’t seen anyone else but our good buddy Felix Jaehn just got one. He saw our videos and was like “yea that’s really cool” and asked us about it so I don’t think he’s started playing out with it yet but he’s got one so he’s probably eventually going to…It’s an electric vibraphone so it’s a midi-mounted instrument so you can pretty much make it do any sounds you want but the keys are set up like a vibraphone.
What do you have in the works now? Any EPs, songs, or remixes coming out?
We’ve been trying to force ourselves back into making art because that’s the reason we started the group. But then the music kind of took off and there was so much demand for people wanting us to make remixes and stuff so we kind of stopped making art. Just very recently we forced ourselves to make a new piece called “Running” and we’re making a song in conjunction with it. So that’s going to be our next song release and also release an original work of art at the same time. So I think all our originals from here on out, we’re going to do that just to force ourselves to make art.
What kind of art?
Uhh, kind of like with music I don’t like putting genres on music because it kind of gives people a certain perception of what it is.
Is it 3D or is it on paper?
It’s on a wood board so yea it’s 2-dimensional but it uses blage/blague, screen printing techniques, and obviously painting. So the goal is to eventually do a gallery showing with all the works of art that coincide with all the original music because we’re making an album at the same time as we’re making those artworks so it’s kind of a big project. The “Running” one should come out soon. The song and the artwork are pretty much almost done.
Any collaborations with any other artists?
We went on tour with Klingande so we just sent them a bunch of stems and we’re getting started so we’re excited to see what he does with it.
Have you had any chance to explore New York, go to any art exhibitions?
Walking around SoHo and Chinatown and Little Italy area is kind of where we drew….’cause we’ve been to New York a bunch this year and just all the street art is super wicked because in Chicago you don’t have that because most of it is illegal and you can’t even have spray cans in the city limits. So to have such a vibrant street art scene just walking around gave us a lot of inspiration to start making art again. That’s actually kind of the reason why we started again.
How was your experience on and off the stage at Electric Forest this year?
I had never been before, it was actually the first time for all of us and we just heard a billion stories from friends and we got there it was like the most surreal playground ever and right after Electric Forest is when we did the GRiZ remix so that remix was heavily influenced by that vibe, definitely brought out the funk in that remix….would love to go back [next year]. That was probably definitely the highlight of our career so far. That was like the best set…We played in The Observatory – smack in the middle of the Forest…it’s like the best stage at Electric Forest and it had that whole oriental building.
Did it draw a pretty big crowd?
Dude, it was huge. It was like the biggest crowd they saw there the whole weekend. When we got there to start setting up there was nobody there. I had checked it out the night before and there was nobody there. So I’m thinking “aw man, I hope people come.” And when we went on like the whole place was packed out. It’s moments like that that are really reassuring in terms of all the hard work you put into the project, to know that things are paying off and people are hearing your music and liking it so that was really gratifying.
Speaking of the Oriental vibes, I saw that Singapore is on your tour schedule coming up in November. Have you ever been there before?
I’ve never played there. I think I went on vacation there one time but this is actually called “It’s The Ship.” It’s basically the Asian version of Holy Ship! but on a much bigger cruise line. They have all these crazy activities that they’re going to do with the artist. So they asked us if we want to engage with any bands doing it. They have like rock climbing. Fans can win a chance to play basketball with us or mini golf or a scavenger hunt so there’s just going to be tons of activities and super fun and then we’ll end up at a beach somewhere in like Malaysia or Indonesia I forget.
What’s the coolest place you’ve performed at so far?
I’d say the craziest set we’ve had all Summer was definitely at Woogie Weekend out in Southern California. The day before we played at Northern Nights in the middle of the Red Woods and we were like “This is the best set ever!” and then the very next day we totally topped it because right in the middle of our set Southern California was hit with like the biggest storm its seen in like 100 years. It started pouring down during our set and the whole stage got flooded out, chairs were floating away. But while this was going on, everyone was going crazy and we went pretty heavy with the music too; it just seemed warranted, like having this crazy rain dance.
All our equipment and gear got completely soaked. If it wasn’t for the epic set, we would’ve been super pissed off but it was like an awesome set where like Port a Potties were like almost floating away, swept by the rain. They saved it!….that was a scary moment lol….
Where would you like to perform anywhere in the world?
If you asked Jake he would say Ibiza. If you ask me I would pick like the exotic locations like Rio de Janeiro or even like in Asia. We’re actually playing in Shanghai and Brazil coming up so I’m super excited about that. But our bucket list was Electric Forest but we just did that so I think we need to start making a new bucket list, start dreaming big.
If you had to describe a direction that you’re looking to take your sound or any new sounds you’re trying to experiment with, how would you see the Autograf project moving forward in the future?
We’ve never been good at like mimicking other sounds. Like if someone says make a deep house track or make a melodic house track….you know if we hear something that’s really dope, if we want to recreate it then we really can’t so we sort of just draw on inspirations from wherever we can and people we meet. A lot of stuff he does is break beats but its not obvious that its break beats so I think that’s kind of the sound we’re pushing.