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From Goetta to Smashing Guitars; The Griswolds [Interview]

InterviewRebecca PotznerComment

I caught up with The Griswolds. Noooo, not the movie. I'm talking about the crazy fun aussie band. You may recognize them from their popular track "Beware of the Dog" or caught them on tour with Walk The Moon. Now touring with New Politics and Andrew Mcmahon, I sat down with Lachlan West and Tim John after their set in Cincinnati. Did the guys enjoy touring with Cincy natives, Walk The Moon? Have they seen the new Griswolds movie? What can we expect in 2016? Find out below. But first, let’s start off with a goetta taste test with a special guest.  

Eli Maiman of Walk The Moon yells over the booth, “It’s on me! Looks delicious right?” 
LW: We’re getting sent food from Walk The Moon right now… 
TJ: Here we go…
LW: I want to thank Shut Up and Dance for this.
TJ: Wow, I really like that. How is this not everywhere? 
(instructs L to “get the top, please get the top”)
L: Wow!  

CMWhile we’re on the topic of food, have you tried Skyline Chili?
 We did. We have nightmares about it actually. Last time we were here. We played Bogart’s with Walk The Moon and their Tour Manager got almost $200 worth of Skyline delivered to the venue. It was 3 boxes, big boxes, filled with stuff and it was just TOO much. We’ve eaten it and we enjoyed it but it was too much. It’s pretty cheap, so $200 gets you A LOT.  

CM: Do you drink coffee? + how do you take it?
: I think I may be the only coffee drinker in the band and I’m obsessed. I’ll wander off on my own in the mornings, in city, I’ll get on yelp and I’ll find the best coffee there. I do it all the time. Generally, if I’m feeling something sweet and I’m really tired I’ll get a mocha or maybe a cappuccino. Our tour manager told us about the quadruple espresso, so it’s just straight nice it of the coffee. I’m obsessed. I think in every city, I know where to go now. It keeps me sane. A little thing like that, yeah, I love it. and plus, it keeps me awake. It’s the only reason I’m up right now.

CM: Did you all know each other before the band was started?
 We (Tim and Lachlan) go way back. We’ve been playing music together for almost 10 years, since we were teenagers. 
TJ: We didn’t know the other two. Sydney is very small and we met them through friends. Everyone knows everyone. We all just kind of came together. I think it was just frustration. As you keep rolling throughout the years, people don’t want to make music anymore. Generally, they drop off and we were kind of the survivors.
LW: Yeah, we were the only ones dumb enough to stick out. 
TJ: and now we’re in Cincinnati!
LW: Everyone has families and careers...and we get to drink beers in different cities. It’s pretty cool, pretty rad.  

CM: I read that you guys had struggled a bit when trying to finish writing the rest of your album but found inspiration in New York. Do you have an ideal environment for writing music?
 We’ve just got to be away from everyone. This album we’re doing now, we rented out a house kind of in bush in Australia. You just kind of drive as far as you can. Be near society, but get away from everyone. It’s hard to write in a tour van. -  I think that’s the trick, but New York definitely did something for the last album. It was 6 weeks in winter. We had never had an American winter #1. Something special happened in New York. It was amazing.  

CM: What’s the most impressive thing you’ve done?
 I used to be a competitive surfer. I guess. I was never a champion, but I was good. That was a pretty good thing. 
TJ: Wow. I don’t know. This is terrible. What’s the most impressive thing I’ve done? 
LW: You worked in insurance! That’s pretty impressive
Tim: I worked in insurance. The most impressive thing I’ve done is not working in insurance.  

CM: Thoughts on remixes of your songs and do you have a favorite?
: I was opposed, growing up. Now, I think it’s great that someone interprets your song into something totally different. it’s really cool. We get some back that don’t quite work and some that we’re like “Wow, this is better than our version.” 
LW: My favorite has to be the NGHTMRE remix. It was cool with the name, as well. He took it a place I never thought it would go, which was cool.  

CM: So, do they send you the remix and then you approve it?
LW: Yeah, because sometimes you have to ask the people to do it. They need the audio to produce it. It happens in a lot of different ways. We did a Walk The Moon remix that hasn’t come out yet but I’m really excited for it to come out. It’s great to get those files and pick apart your friends songs. 

CM: New music coming in 2016 - Same upbeat vibe or will we hear something different?
 It sounds like The Griswolds, so that’s good. It’s probably changed a little bit. 
TJ: I can’t really pin point what it sounds like. It’s got a lot of electronic stuff kind of mixed in. Maybe a bit more of that. I think there’s less guitars which is kinda cool but we still want to make it so we can play it live. Pretty boring if you’ve got a lot of things that aren’t guitars and we’ve got 3 guitarists in the band. 
LW: It doesn’t sound too different. It sounds like The Griswolds but a little cooler, I like to think.  

CM: What was your favorite part of touring with Walk The Moon?
LW: Yeah, I mean hanging out. It’s still going on now. Like, we’ve been on a lot of tours but we’ve never felt welcomed. We just cliqued. It’s pretty special
TJ: We’re definitely a big family. It’s so nice 

CM: Do you have a favorite Walk The Moon song?
: Mine is Aquaman
TJ: Ah, Portugal. I love Portugal 

CM: Did you guys watch the new Griswolds movie? 
LW: Noo! I have no interest in it. 
TJ: They’re remaking all these movies like Ghostbusters. It might be good, but I don’t know.
LW: I love Chevy Chase. He’s one of the funniest dudes on earth. He was that movie and that movie was him. 
TJ: I haven’t seen the original in years! But you’re right, they shouldn’t have touched it. Let it be.  

CM: Do you name your instruments?
 I like to think that everything I have, I’ll name Eric. Everything is Eric. Eric’s a good name. It’s a strong name
TJ: Excellent. I don’t think we do name our instruments. No. I think we should start though
LW: We’re not really a band that LOVES our instruments.
TJ: That’s terrible.
LW: Basically, we tolerate them to be able to play live. 
TJ: It’s merely a medium to get music across to people. I wish I knew more about my guitar because if something breaks, I’m doomed. 
LW: We like to get old stuff. That’s cool. It’s cool to think that the drum kit is like 60 years old and it’s had a whole life before you had it.  

CM: Any advice for those unsure of chasing their dreams.
 It’s funny because we’re kind of chasing our dreams, I guess. But it doesn't feel like it because we don’t know how to do anything else. I don’t know how to not be in a band. If i’m not in a band, I’m looking for a band to be in. We’re kind of lucky that we’ve never had to make the decision to pursue music. That’s all we know how to do.
TJ: I think it’s just a passion. There’s probably many times throughout the years where we could’ve quit. We just kept going.
LW: If people want to see and hear what we do, that’s some cool shit especially when it takes us to the other side of the world. 
TJ: I never thought we’d be touring America, let alone touring. It’s insanity.  

CM: Favorite tour memory?
 I do, but it’s extremely blurry. It’s a fond memory. I have fond feelings looking back on tours but i don’t really remember anything because each day melts into the next. And we’re drinking a lot so that doesn’t help. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling you get. there are memories, just not specific. 
TJ: It all melts in so much, it’s terrible. If I had one memory with Walk The Moon, it’s just the whole tour. I don’t know what night something amazing happened. I was there, I think. 
LW: The last night of that tour was fun because Eli smashed that guitar. We gave him a guitar as a gift that we decorated and then Eli smashed it that night. Which was the coolest thing! 
TJ: It was ceremonial. 

Future Innovators: Get to know the guys of Autograf [Interview]

InterviewRebecca PotznerComment

“It's about leaving your mark on the world. It's about leaving your Autograf.”

And that is exactly what the Chicago trio Autograf is doing. From the timeless remixes they're releasing left and right to the launch of their new tour, Autograf is quickly making an impact on electronic music. It comes at an opportune time where electronic music is in need of creativity and has began branching into strong sub-genres that are taking it down a notch, but in a good way. Autograf contributes to the smooth change and almost hypnotizes listeners with their 'chill future vibe'.

Type their name into Google and you wont find much on them except their music on SoundCloud, where some  tracks have racked up a staggering 500K+ plays. All the reasons above are why we couldn't help but want to know more about the mysterious trio from Chi-town who had been placing on the Hype Machine charts and taking over our headphones.

This past week we were lucky enough to talk with the guys smack dab in the middle of their new tour to talk early influences, the new tour, and the future. Here's what they had to say

How did you come together to form Autograf?

We started the project initially to make art. Jake went to college for sculpture and painting, Mikul did street art and I just wanted to learn how to screen print and build some rad stuff. Autograf essentially was started as our creative outlet. At some point the music came and it was so well received, it kind of just took over. Sometimes you just take what life gives you. - Louis

Were any of you involved with any other music projects before Autograf?

Does high school band count?

Tropical and Future House give off a very chill vibe. Do you think this is where electronic music is headed?

I’m not sure but this is where we’re headed. I guess you could say people are getting tired of all the overly aggressive heavy music being played at clubs and festivals with the same builds and the same drops where everyone loses their shit and jumps up and down to the same formula over and over for hours. So yeah, I think people are looking for something different. And what we’re doing happens to be one of things. We just want to bring a dance floor back.

Do you feed off of each others energy and inspiration when creating or performing? Does three ever seem like a crowd?

Three gives us more choice, more possibilities, more room to experiment especially in a more live setting. First we added a marimba to the performance, then added a djembe. Now we want to build our own electric djembe and electric steel drum with lights we can control ourselves. Once you add the visual to the audio, the possibilities double.

You guys just Kicked off your tour just a few weeks ago, how’s it going so far?

We’ve been so sleep deprived for a lot of it, so it all seems like a blur, but the crowds have been great and it’s really awesome to see crowds get down to this music. And I’ve even noticed when you do play something heavier, they don’t get down as much. So they really do want these chill future vibes. That’s a great sign.

How would you describe the environment at a Future/ Tropical House show compared to say, a Progressive House show? How do you keep the energy up?

I’d say it’s more about taking the crowd on a journey with intricate ebbs and flows while all maintaining good feeling vibes and energy. Everything is much more subtle. You have to really watch the crowd to make sure they’re having a good time because it’s not as evident as a Progressive House show as you mention where you just need to see people jumping and going crazy. Dance moves are much more subtle, so everyone can be dancing and having a good time, but if you’re only used to gauging people having fun by a mosh pit of flailing hands then you might loose sight of that.

I imagine a Progressive House show goes something like this.. play a mainstream pop vocal, crowd goes crazy, layer it with a massive build, everyone gets their hands in the air, insert Lil Jon vocal sample, drop hits and everyone starts jumping up and down like pogo sticks. Rinse. Repeat.

Your recent Dirty South remix took a bit of a different approach than most of your work.

Yeah that was the first song in our “Future Nites” series which is our darker, perhaps more serious club music. It uses more organic instrumentation and is in contrast to our “Future Tropical” series, which is the more daytime summer feeling, chillin by the pool, jammin on some tropical instruments thing. One of our upcoming debut originals actually has 2 versions along these lines.

Who have been the top 3 artists to influence your ‘future/tropical’ sound?

Flume because he was doing some pretty revolutionary stuff at the time, Odesza, and I have to mention Satin Jackets because we were listening to them a lot when we wanted to start doing this music.

In the past you guys have remixed some pretty unconventional tracks (i.e. Stevie Wonder - Superstition, and Marvin Gaye - Grapevine’) - What motivates you to remix these type of songs?

Sometimes you just hear a classic vocal and completely new take on it starts playing in your head. Then the challenge is to get it from your head onto your computer.

This was originally posted on Throwed Magazine.