Had the pleasure of interviewing Izzy Glaudini from the fantastic three-piece band Automatic. Their new record, Excess, is out now on Stones Throw Records. Exclusive pics by Ambar Navarro for Synth History.
Synth History: Recently saw the Automatic vid with the Moog Sub 25 - super cool! What is it about that synth that separates it from the rest?
Izzy: I like to try out newer models of synthesizers because it feels fresh to be first generation on something. My synth playing is pretty simplistic, so I appreciate how easy going it is as a bass synth. Most of my musical purchases have been spontaneous and intuitive, with not much research or thought involved, and I've yet to regret any of them. I also really appreciate a compact synth, and this Moog is very travel friendly. I guess it was just what I was looking for at the time.
Synth History: Top three favorite synths of all time?
Izzy: Korg MS-20. I'm a sucker for a punk looking synth and this one has the aesthetic down. The MS-20 is an iconic analogue queen, I'm always pleased to run into it in the studio. It's capable of such cool tones that sit really well in the mix - the filters make everything sound unique. It is totally idiotic that I don't personally own one. It's a really useful synth.
Yamaha CS-80. This is the Blade Runner, lonely alien planet vibe synth. It is melancholic, evocative and definitely out of my price range. If I win the lottery I'll pick one up.
MiniMoog. I love small synths that have big sounds. It's the og Moog, used by Kraftwork, Devo, Gary Numan, and about a billion nerds in the 70s. I'm not surprised because it sounds like a beast.
Synth History: What is a personal song-writing tip you can share?
Izzy: I think it's important to be supportive of yourself when writing. This can be hard, and women are especially programmed to self-doubt and criticize, in my opinion that is the worst for creativity. Not giving a fuck is the first step towards doing anything interesting! The worst feeling is when you show something you're making to another person, feel embarrassed and kill it. At the end of the day you have to make that shit for yourself. I also think it's important to have a consistent relationship with art and such that inspires you, to keep up with your muse. Feeding your brain allows music to come out much more effortlessly.
Synth History: Your band Automatic is a three piece - what is the best part about collaboration?
Izzy: Music is collaborative by nature, and we are true communists in our process, it is very egalitarian. Because the kind of music we make isn't necessarily confessional and is more about concepts and characters outside of ourselves, we have an easy time giving space for each other to contribute musical ideas. I love to be suprised by choices they make, it keeps the creative process very alive! We recently recorded a song with the band Sextile, we just had the barebones of a song demo'd, and they totally transformed it with their own flavor. Working with other people is my favorite part of being creative.
Synth History: What records were you listening to growing up, how do they differ from what you're listening to now?
Izzy: My mom would play eclectic music around the house growing up, I loved The B-52’s, Selena, Joy Division, Lauren Hill, the Velvet Underground. I don't think my taste has changed much, perhaps my knowledge has expanded a bit. When it hits, it hits. It is good to keep your taste diverse.
Synth History: Fads always change in terms of music and fashion. The 90s are in, and then the 80s, etc. What decade do you think will be "in" next?
Izzy: Trends behave so spastically today, post-internet. They arrange and reform in faster and more chaotic cycles every year. I try not to pay attention to them, mainly because 'fads' are about keeping consumers engaged, creating new demand to mindlessly sell products and I find that kind of depressing. I will say I'm a sucker for feelings of nostalgia, which is usually the driving force behind a throwback trend. I predict the next big thing will be something girly and emo-like Tumblr 2009 pastel-goth, and happy indie-festival music will be back. Random!
Synth History: What are some of your biggest inspirations outside of music?
Izzy: I love Carl Jung, we have a bit of a fetish for him in our band. We talk about dreams and psychic-intuition and synchronicity a lot on tour... I mean it is very LA to love that kind of cosmic language, but we're not airheads. Jung was very inspired by Nietzsche, another freak that has comforted and inspired me through my life. I'm drawn to the existential, the weird, the janky. I've also had a life-long obsession with silent movies. Charlie Chaplin, GW Pabst, Fritz Lang, Murnau, a lot of Germans I guess. Silent Film is very expressive and elegant, I think in some ways it's a visual parallel to music.
Synth History Exclusive. Photos by Ambar Navarro.