Picture bright lights, lasers and an 8-foot tall Andy Warhol-inspired sculpture of a soup can sitting atop a music stage. That’s just the kind of quirky, out-of-the-box visual art production you can expect from Chicago-based music group Autograf.
The band, comprising members Jake Carpenter, Louis Kha and Mikul Wing, originally formed as an art project before evolving into an electronic music group that plays live instruments. From 8-foot soup cans to Brillo boxes, Autograf still heavily incorporates some of their art installations into their performances. The band just wrapped up their North American tour with electronic musician Goldroom to promote their latest EP release, “Future Sauce.”
We had the chance to interview Jake Carpenter, one of the members of the Autograf trio, to learn about how the group first got its start and their experience using Sony’s MDR-XB650BT EXTRA BASS headphones while on tour.
Q: How long have you been creating music?
Carpenter: I started playing music when I was 5 years old, and I’ve been creating music since I was a teenager. Piano lessons were forced on me from a young age. I resented it at the time, but now I’m so glad my mom signed me up.
Q: How did the three of you meet, and how did Autograf come together?
Carpenter: The three of us met while playing shows together in Chicago. We all grew up in the same scene. After playing at the same events together for years, we finally broke down and decided to create a group together. Our old groups died down so we used them as fertilizer for Autograf, and here we are now!
Q: How would you describe your music?
Carpenter: I would describe our music as “live electronica.” We produce almost exclusively with computers, but we love using organic, live instruments because of our various musical backgrounds. It’s kind of like existing at the crossroads of being DJs and a full live band.
Q: How have you evolved as musicians since the beginning of your career?
Carpenter: Our musical tastes have definitely evolved. We used to love really heavy, hard dance music; then we went super chill, and now we’re starting to get more into hype music again. We're a bit bipolar in that regard. That’s actually one of my favorite things about our group — our ability to release a wide variety of music and have people recognize our stamp on it.
Q: What you can tell us about your North American tour and new music?
Carpenter: We just wrapped up a six week co-headline bus tour with Goldroom. The tour zig-zagged all over North America, so it was a pretty cool way to see the country.
Q: Do headphones play a part in your music writing process? How did the EXTRA BASS headphones impact your listening experience?
Carpenter: Yes! Being touring musicians means we’re on the road for the majority of the year, so headphones are essential if you ever want to release music.
The MDR-XB650BT EXTRA BASS headphones are great for doing quick edits on the road or general use. I would definitely find space in my travel bag to bring them along. They make edits quick and easy, especially when we were on the tour bus.
Q: What were some of your favorite features of the headphones?
Carpenter: They’re very light, and I absolutely love working wirelessly! That was a pleasant and unexpected surprise because I’ve never been much of a fan of wireless devices. Not having to mess with cables was a great benefit.
Q: What was your overall experience using the MDR-XB650BT headphones?
Carpenter: These are great headphones for mobile use. Wireless pairing was a bit complicated, but once that was set, I was shocked at how convenient it was to work wirelessly. The headphones are also very comfortable — so comfortable that I quickly forgot I was wearing them, especially because they are wireless and so light.
Q: Would you recommend these headphones to friends or other musicians?
Carpenter: They travel well, are light and have a long charge. The wireless pairing process could be more intuitive, but all that aside, they are extremely useful headphones that I would recommend to anyone who is constantly on-the-go, especially touring musicians.