Oct 09, 2014

Fresh off of a booming remix of Lorde’s “Team,” Chicago-based trio Autograf share exclusive insight about how designing art installations brought them together, their motivation as a reaction towards the EDM scene, and their ultimate goals. Most importantly, the boys reveal the true secret behind their mantra of “future” everything.

Lorde - Team (Autograf Remix)
LessThan3: How did you guys meet each other and get your start?
Louis: : We met each other while working on building some large installations for shows and underground parties in Chicago, which included things like giant pyramids with lights, and we knew Cecil (Jake) had an awesome background in welding and built an eight-foot robot… and that’s how it all started. Then we happened to put music out and people really grabbed onto it so we just kept doing it.

This particular project is just a creative outlet for us to do what we want to do without any restrictions of genres or any intention of trying to be like some huge artist or anything like that. It started out with just us wanting to do cool sh*t and be creative.

Jake: : First and foremost we all have backgrounds in art and got involved with the music scene through art. So that’s like our big thing, is we want to incorporate as much of a visual side to music as possible. That’s basically what Autograf is about–we want to have an immersive audiovisual experience.
LessThan3: Each of you have your own independent artist careers–did you have to make adjustments as a group?
Mikul: : It was us taking a whole new sound and doing something completely different than our past projects. Creating something completely new in that sense.
Louis: : We felt that electronic music was getting away from the sexiness, the class, the musical elements, and that’s why we wanted to start this project. On a personal level, that’s what we enjoyed.
LessThan3: Where did you get the inspiration for your original sound and what makes it unique?
Mikul: : I think it was a reaction to what was going on in the whole EDM scene. We wanted to do something that was counterculture to that, that was more artistic and had all these different elements of art, fashion, music, rather than “How many bottles can you sell?” or “How hard can you make a drop?”
Louis: : We wanted clubs to be more about dancing–it wasn’t about dancing anymore. It was about jumping up and down and raging. We wanted to bring the dancefloor back, basically.
LessThan3: Where did the name “Autograf” come from?
Jake: : I was mowing my lawn, thinking of cool sh**, and I was thinking about the concept of making your mark on any kind of genre or any kind of scene. What is required of an act to make their mark? The literal way would be to, you know, sign it, so it’s your autograph.
Louis: : Basically how do we take that further, how do we leave our mark on the world? I think there’s a whole obsession with leaving your legacy, and we just want people to think about that.
Jake: : On second thought, maybe leave the whole mowing the lawn thing out of there.
LessThan3: You guys seem to really go with this whole theme of “future” everything. Please describe this concept.
Louis: : I think this group in particular has a constant obsession with the future. For us, it means the possibilities are completely limitless. That’s why people are always thinking about the future. You may be upset about your past or what’s going on in the present, but you can do anything you want in the future.

We wanted to create a “house” that didn’t have any boundaries, because now deep house has kind of turned into future bass, garage, and all these other things. When you listen to our music, it’s not deep house, but it does have those deep, chill elements to it. The whole future concept also ties into the art, the music, everything–just about leaving your mark on the world because the future is limitless. Whatever you envision in your mind, creatively, can happen in the future. It’s a mantra. It’s a lifestyle.

Mikul: : It’s about not setting boundaries for yourself and continuing with what you want to do.
LessThan3: Where do you see controllerism heading in the next two years and is there any standout hardware we should be aware of?
Jake: : The cool thing about DJing is that it’s very easy to do, but that means you’re limited in your creative manipulation of what it is you’re doing up there. So you can play other people’s songs and that’s fine, that’s cool. But really the frontier is taking your own original songs and being able to manipulate them live like what bands used to do, and that is really what I think is going to separate this new wave of talent that’s coming out now. Because there’s a lot of great talent out there but not a lot of people know how to perform, how to play actual instruments, and that’s something that we know how to do.

I think the cool new frontier with all this great MIDI technology is that we can make our own instruments and perform like a live band. So you’re going to be hearing all this clubby dance-y stuff, but you’re going to see people controlling that sound. In terms of people, aside from ourselves, I think that’s something that everyone’s going to see more of, is people coming to shows and venues with cool new controller setups. It’s something fresh and allows for creative expression for live shows.

LessThan3: You’ve produced brilliant remixes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye–what makes them so successful in the blog world?
Mikul: : We love the old soul sound and putting our future twist on that. Even for our originals in the future we’re going to want to work with people with a more soul-type voice and bring it to our house-type realm.
Louis: : Our breakout track was definitely the Marvin Gaye remix. I think that hit like #1 on Hype Machine. That was the 3rd song we put out.
LessThan3: What do you guys have coming up in the next couple months?
Louis: : The last release before our (hear above) was a Swedish House Mafia cover. We also have some originals waiting this fall.
LessThan3: Originals, ooh! Tell us more.
Louis: : We have one that’s called Gravity, and it’s actually two parts: Gravity Part One: Future Summer, and then Gravity Part Two: Future Nights. So you can imagine for yourself what that’s going to be like. And we recorded vocals with a really awesome band out of Australia called Atlas Genius, and they’re doing vocals on another original.
LessThan3: What is your long-term goal and vision for Autograf?
Mikul: : I think it’s to create our live show for one, and have that as the focal point of us touring, and also to continue to push the music-art relationship that we have going.
LessThan3: If you could tour with a music legend from the past, who would it be?
Jake: : Mozart. He was a baller.
Mikul: : Pink Floyd.
Louis: : I can’t say Pink Floyd because he just said it, but honestly they are my favorite band.
LessThan3: If the world was ending in LessThan3 minutes and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Mikul: : Something really relaxing, take it all in and meditate to, like Weightless by Marconi Union, or maybe The Final Countdown.
Jake: : Let Down by Radiohead.
Louis: : If the world was going to end, I think there deserves to be a moment of silence.
Jake: : Whoa, that was deep.
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