Before Autolux’s show in Vancouver on May 28th, we had the chance to chat with drummer Carla Azar:
Autolux, the Los Angeles-based experimental rock trio, make no strides for quantity. Instead, the group has chosen a six year cycle between albums and accompanying tours; a routine they have followed twice-over. In 2004 came Future Perfect, in 2010 Transit Transit, and now Pussy’s Dead, out last month on 30th Century Records. In conversation, drummer Carla Azar offered insight into the album, it’s inspirations, and the workings of Autolux.
The exchange began on logistical terms. Speaking about the subversive album title, Azar revealed that Pussy’s Dead is a reference to “a Charles Dickens book called The Mystery of Edwin Drood, one of his last books.” Rather than being an influence on the product itself, “the record was pretty much on its path… before [Autolux] decided to attach [the name] to the album. The conversation turned next to the band’s schedule, including the breaks between albums. For Azar, the gap between Transit Transit and Pussy’s Dead included “a record and a tour with Jack White,” the death of her mother, and the 2014 film, Frank, in which Azar acted as the drummer of a fictional band. After “getting into writing… BOOTS came on board.” Recounting how BOOTS, the producer of Pussy’s Dead alongside works by Beyonce and FKA Twigs, and the band came to work together, Azar remembers, “he ended up calling us and contacting us and I got to know him a little bit and he’s a huge fan of ours. She was quick to praise his work, saying “he really shaped what the album ended up being,” and further, “he’s amazing, you can’t really categorize him as a musician or an artist, which he is on top of being a great producer.”
Like Autolux’s records, Azar was at points unyielding and intense. When the question of influence was broached, the drummer retorted “we don’t aspire to be any style, we don’t look to something and go, ‘I want to be that genre’… in our minds we are trying to make completely fresh music that has nothing to do with that stuff.” Distancing herself from the work of others, Azar further added “some artists you can label, they actually attempt a sound, they go for an exact genre… and they should have a label of pure shit.” She softened to conclude, “our surroundings and what’s going on, on the planet, are always going to inspire, definitely going to inspire the work… and there’s a lot of dark stuff going on.”
On the subject of the band’s live show, Azar sarcastically promised “lots of bells and whistles… and some really great music, hopefully.” As the conversation concluded she admitted her affection for the city, saying “I love Vancouver, it’s one of the most beautiful cities.” That love will hopefully be returned when Autolux plays the Venue Nightclub on May 28th.