First of all, the group consists of 6 people, there are only three of you here. Why is that?
This is to keep the costs in hand. To get six guys over to Europe costs a lot of money. Therefore three of us could come and we were the lucky three.
Nobody has heard of Automato in Holland. Please introduce yourselves.
Ben: You take this one Jesse..
Jesse: We are Automato, we have a new album coming out on April 5th. The album is produced by DFA. We have been together for 5 years. We play live hip-hop with synthesizers.
Are you on stage a lot?
Nick: At the moment we’re not playing too much, we are more in the practice studio. We’re going to be touring from the beginning of April. The 17th of April we’ll be on stage in Rotterdam.
Do you prefer being on stage or in the studio?
Jesse: We love being in the studio because we do it to get our album out. We’ve been waiting for that a long time so it feels good to be in the studio. On the other hand being on stage gives instant gratification and an adrenaline rush which is really good too.
How hard is to break through as a live hip-hop band in New York. Isn’t the scene all about computer beats, bling bling and fancy videos?
Jesse: We’ll be able to tell more about breaking through as soon as the album is out. So far we didn’t have too much trouble, if you make good music you will get recognition automatically.
Nick: Our goal is to keep the sound real hiphop like. A lot of pop is influenced by hiphop nowadays while we work the other way around. Our songs are fundamentally hiphop and have pop influences.
How about your audience, what kind of people come to you show?
Jesse: The audience depends on the location, mostly our audience is the same as other hiphop crowds, but we also perform for crowds that consists of rock lovers.
Are there more live bands like you in New York? How does the hiphop scene deal with it?
Ben: There are a few live hiphop groups in New York. The ones we know are the more traditional hiphop crews like the Roots.
We incorporate a different instrumentation, we have different influences than the other live bands who play more traditional hiphop.
Nick: A lot of live hiphop bands play live hiphop for the sound of it being live. We play hiphop and it sounds live. Our goal is to make our live music sound like it was made with a sampler while the other bands are more trying to sound like their music was made with instruments.
The Beastie Boys are mentioned in your biography, because you think that media will compare you with them anyway. Why do you think you’ll be compared to them?
Jesse: First of all we like the Beastie Boys and have a lot of respect for them. We’ll probably be compared to them because they’re also a hiphop group which consists of white boys. It’s probably more because of the looks then because of the sound that we will be compared to them.
Nick: It won’t hurt us to be compared to them but it’s not something that we’re looking for. Being compared to them will keep our standards high.
The last song Hope is upbeat and contains a breakbeat and some drum&bass influences. What’s the song about and how do people react to it when you perform it live?
Jesse: Live it’s one of our favorite songs, it’s a total freakout, it’s real driving and intense. The number doesn’t stop for as long as it’s working the crowd and the crowd responds to it in a good way. We were a bit scared to record the song on the album, because it’s a real live song and it’s hard to catch the same vibe on the album as on the stage.
Nick: For the album we got rid of the regular drums and the DFA guys really helped us catch the live vibe. It is still very different live, but we are definitely satisfied with the album result.
Ben: When we wrote the song we were at the end of a dry period of writing. The song has a couple of themes; writing music, things coming together and maybe even death.
A song called Hope has Death as a theme?
Ben: This is because death is looming, it is about not cheating death but being aware of its presence and moving forward. And doing what you can do underneath the looming cloud of death.
Your release is scheduled for the 5th of April. What are your plans after the release?
Nick: Hopefully to be on stage right after, we have a few shows; in London, Manchester, Paris and Rotterdam for instance. We will mostly be touring around in Europe and on the east coast of the US.
Jesse: We’re really looking forward to promoting the album on stage. Doing interviews is fun as well, because we know that the album is coming and we’re doing this for the album. We’ve been playing for 4,5 or 5 years but always in New York. We’re really looking forward to touring in Europe.
Nick: We were happily surprised to find a big understanding of underground American hiphop in Europe. It almost seems as if Europe knows more about the American underground then the Americans do.
Why do you think that is?
Nick: We don’t know but maybe because in Europe you would really have to do effort to gather knowledge, while if you’re in America, you take it for granted which maybe makes it less interesting.
The title of your album is self titled. Why?
Ben: The album has been in the making for such a long time and this album is basically the combination of 4 years of work. It basically is the band up until this far.
Jesse: It just made sense to name it self titled because of this.
Your website does not contain a lot of information. Is this because you do not see internet as serious way of promoting yourselves or is there a different reason?
Jesse: The website was just created by a manager of our label to make sure people could download our mp3’s. We’ll change the website as soon as possible, because it is getting ridiculous. Before it was ok, but now that the album is coming out we really need a new website.
Hiphop bands with live music instead of computer beats are usually better on stage then on CD. What’s your opinion on this thesis?
Nick: I would hope that we’re better on stage then on the album. I also hope the album is as good as we are on stage.
Ben: Playing hiphop live is really hard. We’ve been at it for a while.
Jesse: I think we were more heavily weight on the live side then on the studio side. Over the years we did get better in the studio. A lot of live bands try to come as close to the album as possible when they’re on stage. Our music is just different live then on album, which is a in our opinion a good thing. It also keeps the crowd ‘on their toes.’
Meer info: http://www.automato.net