Artist Interviews 2021
By Julia Siedenburg
Autofunix, a local San Fernando Valley musician with tunes that I think should become the soundtrack to the next A24 film. His latest songs are about to drop and he was so kind to tell us all about it.
His music is a mix of a couple different genres from indie rock to electronic. With some pieces being a bit more experimental than the others, you never know what to expect when hitting play on his next song.
And not only does he let out his creative force in his music but also in his cover art, which is designed and created by Autofunix himself…and who would be better to create the covers than the artist that wrote the songs? Exactly.
So to all my dear readers: Dare it and take a little dive into Autofunix world of tunes and experimental cover art. Maybe it will inspire your next art piece or simply introduce you to one of your new favorite musicians:
Congratulations to releasing new music soon!!! I love that your music is what you can truly describe as very diverse, creative music, with a lot of different themes and styles mixed together.
How would you personally describe it?
Thank you. It’s been a long time coming and I’m excited to finally be sending my babies out into the world. If I was forced to describe the music, it would have the most in common with indie rock, indie hard rock, and electronic chill rock. I guess the basis of everything I do has some sort of rock influence and it’s always going to shine through. You can always expect some dry 70’s style drums and vocal harmonies. Those are the two things I can’t live without.
How do you create your music? Where do the ideas for them come from?
I’ve always been very imaginative and all my teachers would complain about my daydreaming. Much hasn’t changed. So when I put myself in other people's shoes to see things as they do, the stories and characters write themselves. I have fun with it though. I’ll exaggerate the details that I find charming and I’ll imagine where they’re coming from and they’re going. The key is to stay out of your own way and allow your imagination to drive the story.
For one instance at a bar in Austin, TX,. An older woman dressed in a style that drew a lot of attention was having laughs at the bar with two men, each of whom had their own distinct style. Observing closely I could see she was thrilled by the attention these men were giving her. In just a few short moments the inspiration hit to write a song about it which is now called “Wolseley Wizard”. The story includes the lonely widow who smells of saloons and married men because come the snowy winter she’ll be locked away in her cabin until the next thaw. And as the narrator of the story, I sympathize with her struggle and similar struggles other made-up characters are experiencing as they all move through life seeking joy and magic. Was it the truth about the woman and those two men? Not even close. But who cares. This was a story that came to me and I had to write it. All while drawing from real life pains and experiences I was able to relate to or sympathize with.
How long have you been doing music? Your whole life or did you stumble into it later?
My dad bought me a clarinet when I was 12. So that’s the official beginning, but the journey didn’t have much traction until I bought a guitar at 14 and taught myself how to play it in pursuit of performing songs from bands like Green day, Metallica, and Nirvana. Learning covers eventually lead to writing my own material. I was always surrounded by music, though. My grandfather was a mandolin player, and my parents always listened to good music in the house and in the car. My mom especially listened to a wide range of musical styles.
Some artist stick to the same music genre, some change and evolve thru the years. Did you start of with this style of music or did it change over the years?
I did evolve and for the good sake of all of us. When I started writing my own music it was all power-chord rock. Mainly an alternative sound like any skater kid from the San Fernando Valley pushing a Fender Squire guitar through a metal zone boss pedal and any assortment of Guitar center combo amps under $200. Before long it grew into hard rock and metal inspired by Metallica, System of a Down, and Pantera. I loved metal because nothing felt better to listen to as a teenager. The concerts, mosh pits, and rage were exactly what my friends and I needed at the time.
Every song of yours is very unique in its own way. “Together, Rise” and your latest release “Global Admiration” are an example of songs with a strong, meaningful title and even stronger lyrics.
Though they could not be more different. From your new album, the song “to kill a dictator” is a song that you would rarely find in todays mainstream music scene. Do you like to push boundaries, use honesty and controversy as tools in your music?
Do you use your art as an outlet to discuss and tell the listeners important topics of inequality, injustice, dictatorship, control?
I don’t try to get political and I’m definitely not qualified to educate my listeners on political affairs. I’m more of a ‘live and let live’ kind of guy, so when I see something like the media constantly pushing stories to divide the people, I write “together, rise”. It’s a sad reality so a soulful ballad was the way to go, musically.
When I write my songs I get super personal with it. I don’t hold back my impulses, even if it’s not politically correct. I feel like it’s my chance to speak directly to the listener. Like how people are pinned down by dictatorial oligarchs- I write “to kill a dictator”. Like watching a movie where the nasty villain gets crushed in a meat grinder at the end. How good does that feel? Now imagine a real life dictator sucking his people's lives for their own financial gains. It can invoke some strong emotions. Here I use heavier music to give way for the rage, and the lyrics guide the story. Death to all scumbags like that, I hope their people rise and eat them alive.
Then there’s the complete opposite like “Global admiration” which was basically a meditation song I wrote for myself.
Life is not monotone, so why should my songs be. Explore the spectrum, I say.
I saw you made a playlist on Spottily of songs that should be used in movies. I myself could see your music being used in movies and television. Is that one of your goals?
That’s, of course, a great bonus if and when it happens. Who wouldn’t want their music synced to a beautiful visual accompaniment? My main goal is to connect with listeners and share that bond.
You had told me before you create the covers for you songs yourself. Please describe your process?
Yeah. All my thoughts and creations have visuals in my mind. I almost always have a scene and setting that pops into my mind when I write songs.
Inspired by the music alone and sometimes inspired by the lyrics. So when I need to make artwork for a single, I draw from those visuals that are already living in my head and as my skills get
better on digital media platforms like illustrator, I can relay them to my audience better.
Who are your biggest musical and cover art influences?
Musical influences can go on for days. Since I started music on the clarinet, I played in the school jazz band and swing band. Then onto the motown and world music influences I got from my parents’ music. Also as a kid one of my favorites was R&B. I could probably still sing the entire Boyz2Men II album front to back. They had the best harmonies. I’ve always had some Armenian folk influences from our cultural music. All this was circumstantial until I found metal which is when I started choosing the music I listened to.
When it comes to cover art, there has always been only one cover that held the benchmark for me and it was Green Day’s Dookie cover. Greatest album cover of all time, hands down.
Is animated art besides music the only form of art you do? Or do you try out other art types as well?
I can’t remember ever being bored. I just like to keep busy. I’ve always been a big believer, so when imagination hits, I pursue it.
With that said I allow myself to enjoy many expressions of art, although I'm not as proficient in them as I’d like to be. I enjoy sketching
quite a bit and working on getting images out of my mind and onto paper the best I can. Although, they aren't very good yet.
Recently, I built a giant 7-foot tall rotating stop motion animation set in an attempt to create a Stop-mo music video for one of my songs.
I love the art of stop-mo but this is a hard bit. I might’ve found some talent to help carry it to the end now. Let’s see if we can make it something good enough to share.
I have already mentioned that you are dropping new music but tell us more about the new songs you will be releasing soon. What’s the idea and feeling behind it. And what’s next after that?
Thanks for asking. The songs I have coming out were initially planned to be an album. But I realized that was an easier method of release for me rather than a good method for listeners to consume. So I have a series of about 6 more finished songs that will be coming out before spring of 2022. I’m really excited to share a couple of heavy songs on there called “Cold Case” and “to kill a dictator”. I have a song coming out on there called “Lazy and Late” which has been one of my favorites for some time. It’s a cool nerd-rock kinda song, sorta like a Weezer meets Cake. I even have a ‘summer vibe’ song on there called “Paradise” which I wrote while laying on a beach in Punta Cana with my wife. Again, always drawing from the experiences and doing my best to accurately paint the picture of the setting and feel for my listeners. My followers can expect a ton more material. Since I started focusing my time into Autofunix just last year, I'm tracking and producing songs from a list of about forty or fifty songs I’ve written and I intend to share the best ones with my listeners. The best place to find them is on my Spotify. Just follow Autofunix and I do my best to keep my followers updated.