Getting Honest With Autograf
Few things are more entertaining than laughing and joking around with your buddies. When a complete stranger is facilitating and encouraging said jokes, it can open the door for some hilariously honest commentary. On New Year’s Eve, we got to sit down with a trio from Chicago named Autograf at Reaction NYE festival. We talked about how they got together and what they would like to achieve, with a few laughs and a mention of a pretty infamous mustache somewhere in the middle. Check it out.
Not sure if you remember, but I’ve met you guys before. A couple years ago at Spring Awakening 2014, I interviewed you as Midnight Conspiracy. You guys were doing something completely different at that point in time. What changed since then?
Louis: That previous route we started doing indie dance, indie electro but then it got progressively heavier and heavier and heavier. I think that was just the progression of the music scene at that time. It got to a point where we got tired of what was going on in the music scene. We loved the music we were doing but we were a heavy bass act and we didn’t want to be one forever. It was fine at the time but we wanted to do something different. So it made sense to start a new project. We always wanted to start a project with this guy. He was in a group called the Chaotic Good, and we’ve known him forever so we wanted to start a new art project.
Jake: I was doing heavier shit, too. And one day me and Louis were walking around downtown Chicago getting some pizza and ruminating on the Midwestern music scene, discussing the future of the rave and dubstep scene and thought that 2007/2008 indie house scene was awesome. We were also talking about the fan base so we decided that what we were doing was going stagnant. So we immediately scaled down our other projects and started a new thing. It took us 2 months to make one song, and it took a while to figure out a name and it didn’t seem like we had a group until we found a name.
So where did the name Autograf come from?
Jake: We have an art background, Mikul used to have a gallery here in Chicago, I went to art school for sculpture. We were really into art parties and art installations and things like that, a mixed media sort of thing. We were thinking about what we could do to leave our mark on the scene, what we could do to be memorable and impress others and ourselves. So we were thinking “What do you do to leave a mark?” and I was mowing my lawn thinking about this and “signature” came to mind then “autograph.” And I thought there has to be a ton of bands with that name but we looked it up and there was only one old defunct Russian metal band called Autograph.
Louis: Which, by the way, is our Spotify profile. Their bio is stuck with us, somehow. The bio of an old Russian rock band.
Jake: As soon as I called both of the guys it all came through – once we realized we could actually have social media with that name.
Mikul: It’s funny, Jake is the one that named the group and that is the last thing that he’s named since then.
One trick pony?
Jake: Louis and Mikul do all the songs, albums, tour names – anything.
So, what DO you contribute at that point?
Jake: Just working on music and the live set. I’m not good at logistics and I’m not good at marketing, media or other names. Sometimes you just get that spark, I guess.
Gotta be good at something. [To Mikul:] I’ve noticed that you haven’t gotten rid of the mustache. Is that a signature thing?
Jake: That’s never going away.
As a girl, sometimes I prefer to have longer or shorter hair. Sometimes people have a “thing,” is that yours? I’ve noticed it has gotten smaller since the last time we spoke, but it’s still there.
Mikul: When we originally started Autograf I was going to shave it, but then I didn’t
You thought, “Screw Midnight Conspiracy, it’s coming off!”
Mikul: But it stuck around.
Louis: We want him to shave it, but I think he can’t, he’s attached. He doesn’t like change.
Mikul: I’m two years in now.
Jake: I’ve got a photo of him without it, let me show you. (pulls up Facebook)
Can you send that to me? It would be a great addition to the piece.
Louis: I started DJing with him without the mustache.
Do you feel as though his musical ability has changed since he’s had the mustache?
Louis: Well, I think initially it gave him super powers.
Then he shouldn’t get rid of it!
Louis: But his super powers are wearing out, so maybe shaving it off will bring them back.
Understandable. (The previously mentioned Facebook photo finally loads) You look like a baby! Please send that to me.
Louis: The reason I started DJing with Mikul is because when he looked like that he looks like the guy from Justice. I love Justice.
Musical ability out the window, if you look like Justice, you’re in. So now that you have this great thing going, what has been your biggest accomplishment as Autograf?
Mikul: Everything we do just kind of builds off of something, so it’s hard to pick out one particular moment. We played this show, it feels amazing to be back at in Chicago playing in like our home town. But then we put out Metaphysical a couple months ago, put out our first song “Dream” and had a song placed in a movie so everything feels like a big accomplishment at the time and it just keeps building.
Jake: It’s different in terms of personal accomplishment vs public.
So what do you feel is yours on a personal level?
Jake: I think for us as a group was finding a sound. That was very hard coming from this dubstep, electro, hardcore group. And it took us two months to make the first song, and that was a bootleg remix of “Magic Stick” by 50 Cent.
Louis: A chilled-out, deep house version.
Do you still play that?
Louis: Sometimes, the problem is that we have so many songs we can’t fit them all in our sets anymore.
That’s a good thing. It’s better than having only ten songs, gives more variety for your sets. I’ve seen that before, artists who don’t have anything else.
Jake: That’s kind of our thing we’re more of a mass content kind of group. We don’t necessarily have those ear worm hits, we put out a song almost every month, right?
Mikul: Yeah, and even now we’ve been playing newer stuff off of the EP and we don’t really have room for the older stuff.
Jake: We’re sitting on a 10 track album right now that we might split up into EPs or singles.
Are you planning on putting out a full album anytime soon?
Louis: We’re going to release an EP in the New Year.
When can your fans expect it?
Jake: Beginning of February
Louis: It’s going to coincide with our tour.
What are you excited for most in 2016?
Mikul: I think this tour we’ve got going on. It’ll be the first time we’re touring as a trio.
How many stops?
Mikul: We’ll be ending up at BUKU in New Orleans
Hopefully I’ll see you guys there! Thanks for chatting.