Six years after the release of Future Perfect, Autolux is finally back with a new record titled Transit Transit. Faced with various obstacles, the band was slower to release its sophomore album, but they weren’t completely dormant during this period. Aside from various collaborations with other artists over the last six years, Autolux released a single titled Audience No. 2 in May 2008, and two years before that they opened an exhibit entitled ‘Sonic Scenery’ at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. But rejoice! Because not only can you fill your ears with the sweeping, all-enveloping sounds of Transit Transit on your stereo, but you can catch them live at the Black Cat tonight. I was able to briefly catch up with drummer Carla Azar while the band was en route to their show in Toronto last week, and here is what she had to say:
BYT: How was the creative process with this record different from your last one?
CA: I would say it was pretty much the same creative process. We write in very different ways; sometimes we play with the band and write music first and then form vocal parts and lyrics. And then there are other times, like for example when Greg was in Denmark I found a recorded version of music we’d been playing in our rehearsal space. I sent it to him and said, “I think this could be a great song.” And he basically finished it out and wrote the song in Denmark, and then we were back and forth sort of giving ideas across countries. Or I’ll find some music, or a guitar part or something, and I’ll just write an entire sketch of an idea from that. So I think things have always been that way, it’s just that this time around we had some more obstacles off and on all the time.
BYT: So with the whole writing process you were just talking about, is it mostly just constructive criticism that you guys give each other? Or have you ever had any big arguments over something that one of you thinks isn’t working but someone else really likes it?
CA: Yeah, I think that’s part of the creative process to disagree about certain ideas. But we also agree just as much as we disagree, I would say.
BYT: How has the tour been going so far? Have there been any interesting stories to tell yet?
CA: The tour’s been going really well so far. The shows have been really great, really packed. We’ve been pulling off our record really well live, which was something we were concerned about; it’s a much more difficult record to pull off live because there’s much more going on now with samplers and synthesizers, piano, keyboards, things like that. So we’re making the best of it, and we’re starting to finally hit our stride now without thinking so much.
BYT: That’s good to hear! Now this is a question specifically for you: how did you get started drumming?
CA: I was in orchestra in high school, but I really started when a friend of mine who’s a drummer showed me some things. I was always just really fascinated with drums, it was the instrument I was always drawn towards. My ear sort of went to rhythmic aspects of music and songs. But he really was the beginning point of starting me on drum sets; like I said, I was in the orchestra first and I was playing orchestral snare and mallet instruments first.
BYT: Cool. Now are you all still living in LA?
CA: Yes, we all live there.
BYT: But you’re not from there originally, are you?
CA: No, I’m from Alabama.
BYT: Oh wow, that’s a big difference. Do you enjoy living in LA or is it just something that’s more of a convenience thing for you?
CA: I do. Or, I have sort of a love/hate relationship with LA. I wouldn’t say that I love living there, but it’s the place where I do the things I love.
BYT: Understandable. Now, have you been reading anything interesting recently?
CA: I haven’t been reading anything on tour so far, I haven’t had a minute. Any moment that I’ve had recently on the tour has been completely sleeping. So I’ll just be honest and say I haven’t read anything while on tour. But before I left home I was reading Dylan Thomas’ book of collected works of poetry. I read a lot of poetry.
BYT: Cool. Well speaking of being busy on this tour, it might be too soon to ask this question but do you guys have any tentative plans for the future or are you just sort of taking things in stride?
CA: Well after the US tour we’ll go to Mexico, and then when we come back we’re planning on writing a couple of new songs, just keep writing and putting things out. That’s our goal.
BYT: Well we’re super excited to have you guys back in DC soon!
CA: Yeah, we love playing DC! It’s one of my favorites for sure.