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Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Autogramm - Music That Humans Can Play

Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Autogramm is a quartet featuring Jiffy Marx - vocals, synths, guitars; The Silo - vocals, drums, synths, guitars; CC Voltage - vocals, bass, guitars and Lars Von Seattle - guitars and vocals

The band is playing some very catchy early 80's music in the vein of The Cars, Devo, Gary Numan and a bit of David Bowie's Berlin era Stuff."Hey Allie" is catchy as hell and will stay in your head for days and days.

Their latest album, Music That Humans Can Play, is released in Europe on BELUGA records and comes in 2 different colors (blue or pink) with lyrics and liner notes.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about your musical background to introduce Autogramm? Can you also introduce all the members of the band who participated in the recordings?

Jiffy Marx: I currently play synth and sing in Autogramm and play bass and sing in a band called Night Court. I’ve also played guitar in a bunch of bands and used to also play guitar in Autogramm but doing three things at once proved to be a challenge so we recruited our friend Lars to take over which seems to have been a totally worthwhile decision!

The Silo: I play the drums, sing a bit and put effects on everything! I operate a little recording studio called The Mango Pit  in Chicago, when I’m not playing with Autogramm or some of the other bands I play with. 

Lars Von Seattle: I do the guitaring in Autogramm & have played in some Seattle rock groups over the years.

CC Voltage: I play bass in the band, and I’ve also played in Berlin’s Dysnea Boys, London’s Loyalties, and Vancouver’s Black Halos and Spitfires.

2) About your latest full length album "Music That Humans Can Play", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

The Silo: Both! We tracked the basics live at a big studio called Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, then afterward we overdubbed extra vocals and synths and guitars and tambourines and bleeps and bloops at little studios: The Balloon Factory in Vancouver and The Mango Pit in Chicago.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios? Have you recorded all your records in the same way or are there any changes in the recording process lately?

The Silo: We use the digital stuff as the recording medium because that’s what we can afford — we’ve made all of our records ourselves. No outside producers or mixers. I have some nice preamps and a summing mixer to add analog tone to the proceedings. No tape though. Would love that but we also don’t have the money! The only real change between this album and the last two: this is the first time we recorded anything in a big studio, and we had an assistant engineer to help with the bedtracks in that studio. The first two were done completely in my own small project studios.

4) How would you describe the music you are playing? If I were to call it "new wave" (as it was called between 1977 and 1983), would you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that? 

Jiffy Marx: Definitely not against calling it new wave but also proud that there is more than that. I think we each bring something a bit different to the band- CC is the Rock’n’roll guy, I’m the power pop / punk guy, The Silo brings the pop and Lars has also brought some jangle into the mix. I think the result, although we all still worship The Ramones, is a unique amalgamation of all of our different tastes.

Lars Von Seattle: I think new wave is a fine term, even though it was later used by more hardcore punks to describe trend-chasers or poseurs. I like most bands that are described as new wave, so I’m fine with it. 

CC Voltage: I think you hit the nail on the head. We’re huge fans of that era of music, so it’s a big compliment to hear people say we’ve succeeded in making something sound authentic. 

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write the lyrics to a new song?

Jiffy Marx: Unfortunately I would have to say anxiety and depression but I try to put a positive spin on it by normalizing mental health issues.

The Silo: I’m not a prolific lyric writer, but judging from what I’ve written so far, it seems that it’s mostly about dancing!

CC Voltage: I generally just say things until they fit along with the music. Then I go back and try to make those words actually sound like they have some kind of meaning. It’s kind of like creating a stream of consciousness story. There’s rarely any significant meaning to mine unfortunately. 

6) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the newly released LP?? 

CC Voltage: We have 3 videos from the new LP. I would encourage you to check out “Born Losers”, seeing as we went on a skiing trip and partied with a sasquatch!


7) What can concert goers expect at an Autogramm gig? Are you playin' any famous cover songs during the concert? 

Jiffy Marx: We do like to throw a cover in as an encore if the vibe is right!

The Silo: Hopefully we’ll make you dance — without a doubt we’ll put you in a very good mood. We have a few covers that we’ve tried to make our own. Some possibly unrecognizable. Come to a show and find out!

Lars Von Seattle: I like it when shows are called concerts. Like it’s at a huge venue or there’s classical recital involved somehow!

CC Voltage: I’d say you can expect to have fun and hopefully dance the night away! 

8) Are there any bands  today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

Jiffy Marx: There are lots of punk bands with synths, ones like The Spits who dig skateboarding and The Ramones and other ones like Uranium Club who seem to have some Devo worship going on, and there’s lots of post punk bands these days but even tho we love all those things i wouldn’t say we sound like any of them.

The Silo: We probably have more in common with old US bands and current Australian ones…lots to like in all parts of the world currently tho. I’d say we share more of a spirit than a sound with bands like The Rubs, The Reflectors, The Dumpies, The Whiffs, Sextile etc all of which I like. 

Lars Von Seattle: I think we probably like plenty of US bands doing punk, new wave, or power pop styles, but I can’t think of any that feel similar to Autogramm.

CC Voltage: Obviously we consider ourselves musically close to a lot of classic new wave and power pop bands, but there’s not too many current bands doing what we do. I like the Mind Spiders, they’re very cool. 

9) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

The Silo: The Cure, XTC, The Police

Lars Von Seattle: When I was a kid, I listened to rap cassettes my friends gave me and told me about. Growing up in Seattle, the “grunge” phenomenon just took over everything, regardless of how one felt about it— it was inescapable but bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney, 7 Year Bitch, and Bikini Kill led me to older punk bands like Black Flag, X-Ray Spex, Devo, the Stooges, etc.

CC Voltage: My teens went from liking contemporary pop music like Aha and Howard Jones, to getting into punk like The Circle Jerks, Death Sentence and Spermbirds, then to liking stuff like Mudhoney and Nirvana when that was just starting. I think I still write music from a punk/rock perspective though, and bands like the Ramones, AC/DC and The Sex Pistols probably influence how I actually create music. Then it gets run through the Autogramm blender and somehow comes out sounding new wave! Haha. 

10) What are the plans for 2024 as far as Autogramm is concerned? Do you guys plan to come over to Europe to promote the new record?

The Silo: Europe in March 2024, Eastern US and Canada in Summer 2024!

Lars Von Seattle: Yes, Europe!

CC Voltage: Can’t wait to be in Europe!

11) Anything you wanna add?

The Silo: Thank you for listening to and supporting independent, diy music! Go to shows, not just ours! Buy your favorite bands’ records so that they keep doing it! We’re all teetering on the edge of being able to actually do anything at all as broke ass musicians, so never forget that fans make all the difference!

CC Voltage: Thanks for having us!









March 22 DE - BOCHUM – WAGENI 



March 25 DE - LEIPZIG – NBL




March 29 HOLLAND - TBA