Interview: autoKratz

autoKratz, despite the name, are not German. autoKratz, despite being signed to ber-hip French label Kitsuné, are not French.

Rather, David Cox and Russell Crank are EastEnders. Cockney sparras. London boys. Three single releases, live shows with Digitalism and remixes for Fischerspooner, Headman, Underworld and Make Model have put the duo firmly on the radar.

musicOMH caught up with them for a quickfire round of Q&As…

What’s the story behind the name autoKratz?
David: The name was given to us by the ancients of mu mu…. via The KLF of course.
Russell: That and a shared fascination with Orwell, autocracy and a thorough love for having a name you need to explain again and again.

Tell us how two East London boys ended up signing with Kitsuné. Howheavily influenced are you by French electronic music?
David: We used to sweep their chimneys and we were always whistling away and the nice Kitsuné chaps thought we’d make a smashing addition to their roster. Our whistling was very much influenced by the French scene, it kinda chimed a note in our cockney hearts.
Russell: We’ve both been making music together in London for a while now, and having decided on the direction we both wanted to move in, we knew that our music would fit best with Kitsuné. French music and culture do influence us but we still want to make music that isdecidedly English, and dispel the myth that only the Europeans can do electronic music, cos we do have such a rich heritage here. We made some demos and got them off to Gildas who loved them and took us onstraight away.

Your tracks It’s On and Pardon Garon have become club mainstays, andyou’ve been receiving great critical reception as well. Are yousurprised by your rising popularity?
David: I try not to think too much about it really. If you start paying any attention to what people are saying it will interfere with what you are doing.Though the warm reception is very very lovely and makes you feel like youre on the right track.
Russell: We both were confident from the outset that we could make this project work well, but its obviously ace to see people getting into your stuff.

How are things progressing on the album? Is there an overall theme ormessage behind the project?
David: The album is coming along really well… But no overall theme. If you tread the road of concept you may well find yourself on Bat Out Of Hell corner. Which is more of a junction. With all the signs facing in wrong directions. And the scent of a fat man with breasts wafting in the breeze.

You recently headlined a club night at London’s KOKO. What was it like playingyour biggest UK show to date? Do you prefer playing massive outdoorfestivals or being tucked away in the corner of small dingy clubs?
David: KOKO was amazing. Such a fantastic gig. We’ve played bigger gigs in France but to do this in your hometown, in such a beautiful venue and that it was sold out was very, very special to us. I like a mixture of small and large gigs. If the audience are into it then it doesn’t matter.
Russell: I like playing shows where you are breathing on the crowd… where you can bounce off them and get a real vibe going between you and them. But saying that, KOKO was a really great experience… to get a reception like that in your home town with all of the people that are close to you there just felt amazing.

As artists who are affiliated with a fashion label, do you feel thatthere is an expectation on you to be more fashion-forward than othermusicians? Does your image play an important part in the developmentof your musical identity and if so, how have you incorporated thatinto your music?
David: Clothes are important in expressing yourself visually but should never be a factor in how or what you write or you become Menswear.
Russell: I like to think about my clothes but I think its doesn’t really have any baring at all on the music, its not like punk where clothes became part of an overall attitude or lifestyle that was reflected in the music.

autoKratz: Reaktor
You recently remixed Fischerspooner‘s The Best Revenge. What struckyou about the track and how did you end up with something so differentfrom the source material?
David: A really great pop song. When you remix you usually hear certain parts that lead you off on a tangent that forms the base of the remix. It was really good fun to do and we kinda got carried away with it…. in a good way.

You’ve been compared to acts such as Underworld, Daft Punk and TheChemical Brothers. What do you think about these comparisons?
David: It’s flattering but then you have to draw a line under such comparisons or it’ll cloud your judgement for what you want to express.
Russell: We are obviously influenced by these people (as well as many more) but we honestly strive to make something different, because it is uniqueness that made all those acts so special.

You once mentioned that seeing autoKratz play live engages theaudience on an emotional level which far surpasses merely making themwant to dance. What emotions are you trying to capture and how do yougo about conveying them to a bunch of drunk partygoers?
Russell: The songs have their own meanings but explaining them isn’t what it’s about. We just feel that this idea that electronic music can’t have the same value as rock and roll is really outdated. We want to get a range of different levels across, and let people read their own interpretation into our ideas. When we play we play with energy and ardor, and hope that through this people can see there’s a little more to it than some of our contemporaries.

“If you tread the road of concept you may well find yourself on Bat Out Of Hell corner. Which is more of a junction. With all the signs facing in wrong directions. And the scent of a fat man with breasts wafting in the breeze.” – David Cox of autoKratz is not a fan of concept albums

Who holds more autocratic power: the two of you or the recording industry?
Russell: We want to release records and play shows and don’t really care for the power of the recording industry. All we can do is what we love doing and hope the machine works in our favour.

Gildas from Kitsuné mentioned that it isn’t necessarily a bad thingfor music to be “commercial” or “poppy”. Do you agree? Is quirkoverrated?
David: Agree 100%. People tend to be too snobbish about successful bands, but if they are doing it with integrity then whats the problem. Look at what Chemical Brothers are doing. Making great pop music that isn’t doused in the scent from an X-Factor brothel.
Russell: We don’t see any point in making music that isn’t accessible to people. We wont compromise on quality, but we want to make records that can reach people, and make a difference to them.

Who are you liking at the moment?
David: 80 Kidz who are from Tokyo are making some great electro, The Pegassus, also from Tokyo, are making great electro pop not a million miles from Cut Copy. David E Sugar is fantastic. Alex Metric is toptoo.
Russell: Alex Gopher is making consistently fantastic tracks and remixes. The new Cut Copy record is great, really like the direction they have taken that. Streetlife DJs are making really fun records for the dancefloor and Sportsday Megaphone on Sunday Best writes lovely songs.

What’s next on the agenda? Can we expect to see you at any festivals this year?
David: Yeah, we’re talking to quite a few festivals right now. So you should be able to catch us all over Europe and possibly Japan.

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More on autoKratz
autoKratz – Self Help For Beginners
Interview: autoKratz