Autograf Open Up About Their Love For Shambhala, New Tour & Their Future
What began as an art collective comprised of three multi-faceted artists with eclectic backgrounds, Autograf has evolved into one of the most exciting names in the world of electronic music. The trio’s fresh and diverse sound has contributed to the group’s meteoric rise, however that isn’t the only mitigating factor to their success. Autograf is a truly modern and cutting-edge example of what it means to be an artist in today’s musical landscape. The group take a DIY approach to everything they do, building their instruments and stage installations by hand. Few artists can match the organic style and holistic approach that Autograf have towards their music.
While on tour with fellow rising star Goldroom and his live band, the tantalizing trifecta from Chicago was good enough to answer a few of our questions about their many inspirations, hands on approach and a love for Shambhala.
Sensible Reason: When you guys first got together in Chicago what did you envision Autograf would be?
Autograf: Originally, Autograf was an art collective — we started making installations together and throwing parties. Inevitably we started playing music at these art parties and that took off. So really we originally envisioned Autograf to be a visual art group — however, we naturally evolved to become more music focused.
SR: Art is clearly a huge part of the Autograf project. Why is it so important for you all to express yourself through multiple mediums beyond music?
AG: We’re all very creative people and our creative energy extends far beyond just music. To ignore that talent and passion would be a disservice to our sense of expression and we’d be letting ourselves down by not doing it.
SR: For those who don’t know you guys build your own stage installations and instruments as well. Does that DIY approach enhance your live performances?
AG: Absolutely — we custom build everything to match our music perfectly. We enjoy having creative control over all aspects of our show, and we think that aesthetic [enhances the live performance].
SR: Like your trio, your music is very diverse. What are some inspirations that you draw from to create such eclectic sounds?
AG: We take a lot of inspiration from real instruments, however, we don’t necessarily want our music to sound like any specific instrument. We’ll record a guitar for example and effect it to where it sounds just enough ‘off’ from the real thing so it doesn’t register in the same way aurally. We also take a lot of inspiration from movie soundtracks and French House. So yeah, eclectic is right. Hope that makes sense.
SR: You guys have some huge remixes ranging from classics like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” to new tunes like Odesza’s “All We Need.” What do you look for in a track that inspires you to re-imagine it?
AG: Every track we remix needs to have that ‘special sauce’ that excites our minds. Sometimes we get sent offers to remix songs from huge artists that made absolute sense but we never get that ‘spark’ from it and have to turn it down. That initial spark is so important. For us if we don’t immediately hear something in our heads the song just isn’t going to work out. It’s a very mysterious thing that we don’t really understand ourselves.
SR: Can you tell us how this tour with you and Goldroom came to fruition?
AG: It seems like a match made in heaven. We’ve played a bunch of shows with Josh in the past and always had a good time — seemingly always on the water. We played Groove Cruise with him and several other yacht parties and it just made sense to take the party to dry land. We’re really excited to be touring with Goldroom and we think our styles mesh great together.
SR: You guys were one of my favorite sets at Shambhala this summer. Can you share with me how you enjoyed that festival and what it was like performing there?
AG: Shambhala was probably our favorite festival that we played all year. The vibe there is unlike any other really — I highly recommend it to any festival goer. Not only were the staff and security incredibly friendly, the sound is just next level. I’ve never heard outdoor stages sound so good so that was really cool to play for such a huge crowd with incredible sound.
SR: With so much negativity going on in the country — and also considering the fact that you guys hail from Chicago, a city that is undergoing its own hardship — do you think it is important for your music to have a positive message?
AG: We hold the belief that all forms of expression are positive as long as its message doesn’t cause direct harm to another human being. To ignore our negative side would be to ignore a huge part of what it means to be human. A great way to release negative energy is through creative expression, and we believe that to be a very positive thing indeed.
SR: What do you guys have planned after this tour comes to an end?
AG: Well I’m sure we’d like to sleep a lot when the tour is over but we have a very long list of things we still would like to accomplish before 2017 comes flying in. We have a full album’s worth of music that we have to go through and decide how to release, along with more potential touring so definitely no rest for us.
SR: At the end of the day what mark do you guys ultimately want to leave?
AG: We want to inspire others. We want others to get excited about creating — whether it’s art, music, babies, whatever. Creative expression is — in our belief — the ultimate thing that separates us from animals and we owe it to everyone to show the world what we’re capable of. The possibilities are endless.