Chicago Band Autograf On The Past, The Present, And Bacon Cheesecake
By Rachel Dorfner
Autograf is made up of Louis Kha, Mikul Wang and Jake Carpenter. They’ve grown to over 82,000 followers on Soundcloud and have been supported by DJ legends such as Fatboy Slim and Avicii. I caught up with Mikul & Jake after they took over the Communion Music curated stage on the Friday of Electric Forest to talk about their road to success.
Although Mikul played bass in a metal band in high school, the guys didn’t originally pursue music as career choices. Jake said, “Nah, I thought being a musician was bullshit. Metal sculpture, that was it..” while Mikul adds that he began as an artist, opening up a gallery in Chicago where he held basement parties, which initially sparked his interest in the music scene. The guys’ similar musical proclivities eventually lead to their paths converging, via Soundcloud (although Jake claims that it was originally a Craigslist missed connection with Mikul’s mustache and man bun that led to the conception of Autograf). With their backgrounds in art, Autograf envisioned a fusion of art and music to create an unparalleled audiovisual experience for their fans. When producing their tracks, Jake explains, “We usually just shotgun out a whole bunch of stuff and then we’re like, ‘that’s cool, that’s cool, that’s…awful, that’s awful, that’s decent.” He mentions that performing is the easiest part of the job, “Ain’t that some bullshit? This is like the easiest thing we have EVER done. Well, actually performing. Setting yourself up to be a successful musician is probably the hardest thing that any of us have EVER done. So I don’t know how you relate that in terms of extremes, but..from like dealing with it, to actually performing, it’s like, ‘Yup! You performed. That’s it.’ Ya know and you spent two years preparing for that snap. Like that’s it.”
Talking with them about life on the road, the topic of eating healthy with their less than typical lifestyle came up. They say it’s not always easy to keep healthy eating habits while traveling so much, especially when they don’t always see eye to eye on cuisine choices. Mikul loves sushi and has more of a palate for things that won’t clog your arteries, while Jake loves all types of Italian and any food with fast in front of it. “I would eat the shit out of some Wendy’s, but no. We’re eating some quinoa bullshit…I’m sitting there the other night like, ‘Ok, cool. I’m just gonna drink a lot of water so I feel like I’m full.’” When asked about their love of bacon on a scale of 1-10, Mikul admits that he loves it, but doesn’t understand the obsession with it. Jake had a little bit more to say about bacon and describes his ideal 10, “I give it a solid 8. Solid 8… [But] Steak. Steak just fucking destroys bacon. Bacon’s for people that just have no taste. Bacon’s good for carnivores, but they still don’t have any taste. Like a really good steak, you just literally cannot top that. You just can’t top that.” I said that an 8 is still pretty high and he replied, “But I mean you can throw bacon on cheesecake and it would taste delicious. I’ve never had any bacon cheesecake, does anyone have bacon cheesecake? Alright, well I’m still not convinced bacon cheesecake can never break. I asked them “What’s something people wouldn’t know just by looking at you?” Jake says, “We generally like neutral colored clothing. I think that’s the only thing you could take away from just looking at us.” Needing to dig deeper into their fashion color palate selection, I inquired if they wear anything other than black. They were both quick to respond with a “Nooo.” Jake adds” Yeah never ever in my life. No I’m just kidding. I have, but I can’t say it officially…. I will only ever confirm that I’ve only ever worn neutral colored clothing….Black, white, gray, any of it, yepp that’s it. Ever. My entire life.” All Saints is their favorite store.
To end our conversation I asked Mikul and Jake what advice they would give their 15 year old selves. Jake didn’t pause to respond, “Stop fucking up”. Mikul took a moment to think before saying that he would tell himself not to care so much. When asked to describe themselves in three words, Mikul confidently replies, “Leave your Autograf.”