Mariecar Mendoza

Autolux is luscious. The Los Angeles trio (DMZ Records) floats like a breeze with gorgeous, soft melodies, densely textured backgrounds and smooth, reverberating voCarlals. And they hold up live – during their Dec. 17 show in the Rec Center, they may well have put several thousand sweaty, masCarlara-streaked goths into a stupor. (Nine Inch Nails later incited them, though, by referring to the venue as “possibly the weirdest place we’ve ever played.”)

The Art Beat talked backstage with Autolux that night, before the young art-rockers headed onwards to San Francisco’s “Not So Silent Night” blowout.

Despite screeching explosions and rude roadies, the irreverent rockers still managed to wax on about avant-garde art, bionic elbows and the joy of 10,000 lobsters.

Art Beat (AB): So what’s in the near future for you guys?

Carla Azar (drums, vocals): We’re playing with Queens of the Stone Age at the Wiltern in L.A. two nights in a row – we’re opening for them. And we’re doing this piece of music for the Natural History Museum. It’s called ‘Sonic Scenery’ – they’re taking all the different rooms, like the dinosaurs and prehistoric aquatic rooms. Matmos, Madlib, Nels Kline and us, we pick a room and write for it. People will go through the museum listening to the music set to each exhibit. That’s opening Feb. 3.

AB: I’ve never heard of anything like that.

Carla: Yeah, it’s a new thing they’re doing. They’re sort of combining prehistoric and future – you’re looking at dinosaurs in the past, and using modern technology. It’s trying to do something different and eclectic. It’s the artists’ perceptions, sonically, of what the room is.

AB: What room did you do?

Carla: American History.

Eugene Goreshter (vocals, bass): Industrial Revolution.

Greg Edwards (guitar,vocals): Turn of the century.

Eugene: The nice thing about museums is that it’s quiet, generally. A kid will yell, a shoe will squeak, but that’s it. We wanted something that would be constructed to almost disappear into the room. So we picked something emotional, that matched the frequency of the room. It’s all one note – it has a course it takes, but it changes. It doesn’t distract you.

AB: That’s really cool. You’re also covering a Joy Division song for an upcoming movie, right?

Eugene: Oh yeah, we’re excited.

AB: Which song?

Greg: We’ll tell you off the record. Ian Curtis’ ghost might come back.

AB: Are you guys big Joy Division fans?

Carla: Yeah, we love them.

AB: Has a musician’s death ever really affected you? This week was actually the anniversary of John Lennon’s death.

Carla: Yeah, we realized that. I cried when Patsy Cline died.

AB: What about you, Greg?

Greg: Oh. Who died?

AB: A lot of people.

Greg: Well, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain.

AB: I cried when George Harrison died.

Greg: Oh yeah! That was sad.

Eugene: I’ll cry when Paul McCartney dies.

Greg: If he ever does.

AB: So any crazy experiences on this tour? Any rock star moments?

Eugene: You’d be surprised how little of what people perceive of that actually happens. It’s really mellow, down-to-earth.

Carla: Wait a minute, there were rock star moments, on the Queens (of the Stone Age) tour! What about that girl? The lobster room!

AB: A lobster room?

Carla: Let’s just leave it at that. They’ll know what I’m talking about.

Greg: At one point, it was part of their rider that they would have thousands of live lobsters in a room, crawling all over each other.

Carla: No, no. The security would bring back girls, but they couldn’t get girls in the back.

Greg: So the opening band, which was us, was forced to walk through the lobsters.

AB: So you’re saying you waded through live lobsters.

Greg: No, I’m kidding.

AB: I was hoping you weren’t. I would’ve gone with it.

Greg: I should’ve.

AB: Let’s change the subject, then. You guys are often described as ambient, shoegazer, etc. What do you think of that?

Carla: Not only do I not wear shoes onstage, I look for a shoe, and I Carlan’t. I wish I could find a shoe to gaze at.

Eugene: Me too. I’m too busy looking at my fingers, trying to get the right notes.

Carla: We’re fingergazers.

Eugene: That’s funny, because I know what you’re talking about, but I don’t know where that came from. I think it’s a conjecture, a journalistic thing that started a long time ago. And people tried to craft that image.

Carla: There are influences here and there, and it’s dense sonically, so I can see that. But texturally, I don’t think it fits that description.

Greg: The truth is, if you really analyze it, it’s really just polka slowed down and straightened out.

Carla: Polka?

[Greg moans to demonstrate what, apparently, lethargic polka sounds like.]

AB: Sorry, I can’t take you seriously after the lobster thing.

Carla: (laughs) Good, don’t listen to that guy.

AB: OK, I’m sorry I have to ask, but I heard a rumor that your elbow was shattered during a show.

Carla: Yeah! You want to see?

[Carla rolls up her jacket, revealing a scar several inches long. Everyone, even her bandmates, groan.]

AB: Wow. Did you just – fall?

Carla: It was at the Kodak Theatre in L.A. The stage was really tall. I jumped down and just flew onto concrete. They took part of my hip and put it in my elbow. This part [gestures upwards] broke off and moved up an inch. Part of it was crushed. So they rebuilt part of it, but most was broken into pieces and they had to screw it back together.

AB: Wow.

Eugene: There are also rumors that Greg had a face transplant.

AB: Hmm. That true, Greg?

Greg: Yeah, I tried to kill myself and my dog ate my face off. You know about that story?

AB: No. But hey, it happens. So you guys are recording a new album, right?

Carla: We will be, yeah. It will be something new. It’s very top-secret.

Eugene: It’s navel-gazing.

Stacey Anderson is a journalism and music senior and KCPR DJ. Catch her Sundays 7 to 8 p.m. and Thursdays 3 to 5 p.m. on 91.3 FM or e-mail her at standers@calpoly.edu.St

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