Auto-auto is a multi-art project from Gothenburg, Sweden. Born in 2004, the primary members of the project are Erik Frankel and Johan Hellqvist but they work together with various other talents to fulfill their visions. Among others, Philip Linné and Mattias Rost.
“auto-auto is and will be a project which main purpose is to try to change and encourage change in your local community, thus from small changes ultimately making the world a better place for all of us to live in” (auto-auto manifesto)
The music they make range from a wide variety of electro and what could be called synthpop to darker EBM, hip-hop inspired beats, industrial themes and much more. They accompany much of their work and live performances with videoart and uncommon methods of getting their message through, often accompanied by dark humor and critical comments on world politics, religion and fashion ideals.
Erik and Johan were living togheter. Out of plain boredom they both sat down one night and said to each other “Hey, let’s make a song”. The song turned out quite nice and the two young men sat down a few other nights and made more songs. Initially they didn’t release anything, and that was never the goal either. However, some songs where shared with a few friends and the newly founded record label Substream got hold of a couple of them. Substream found the music interesting and told Erik and Johan that they wanted to release their music as first act on their label.
It was time to take a stand, in the autumn the boys of auto-auto teamed up with Philip Linné at a cafe in their hometown, Gothenburg. For a long time, Philip had nurtured plans to start a multi-art project where art and media collaborated with an idea of trying to change the local community into something better. They began to collaborate their plans and the multi-art project auto-auto was officially born.
The band began< the work with their debut album, “Sounds of a new generator”. The music that the band originally played was set in the domain of “synth pop” but it eventually took a more experimental turn. Inspired by everything from punk and goth to pop, EBM, rock and hip-hop the band started to break down musical conventions.
The band’s first album was released in May 2005. It consists of 12 tracks. The sound of the album has been described among other things as “Belgian darkness like early Front 242, clearly twisted into a modern soundtrack - if not for a new generator -
at least for a coming generation” (Magnus Johansson, Lokalpressen). A big and well attended releaseparty was held at the Hard Rock Café in Gothenburg.
The album was very well received by most of the press around Europe including other parts of the world. Along with this the band started to do gigs around Sweden. On stage the band uses various set ups of synthesizers and drumpads. In Katrineholm, where the band did a gig, a paper described the show as “Clear melodies and a sad darkness. That’s two important ingredients in most of Sweden’s high-class pop music. This is also two ingredients that auto-auto, a duo from Gothenburg, have in abundance. Furthermore, their music is both heavy and danceable at the same time, plus the fact that they are using the videoscreen well with complimentary videoclips. Auto-auto administrates the heritage from giants such as Covenant in a convincing way” (Urban Ahammar, Katrineholms Kuriren).
In the summer auto-auto arranged a small festival entitled “grill-britt” where they played as well as fellow Moulds room. The festival was held in the woods near their homelocation in gothenburg and was a great success. Besides the music a fireshow was held and the party went on through the night.
In the late 2005 auto-auto made their second release with new songs. An EP entitled “Totem” which featured 5 tracks in varied style and fashion. This release was the first to be released under the new Swedish Creative Commons License. This means that it’s entirely free to spread and modify as long as you do it under the CC-license. The EP is still available as a free download from the band’s homepage. Additionally, the band released remix-kits for every song so that people can learn more about how auto-auto works and do their own remixes. The band also released graphical packages with different interpretations of the songs. Coinciding with the release of this EP the band also started a remix competition with one of Sweden’s
largest music magazines, Musikermagasinet.
The band kicked off 2006 with a number of live shows and the start of the aforementioned remix competition. The competition generated about 50 songs which where all listened to and judged. The winners, was in June put on the “Totem Remixed”
EP and released under Creative Commons at the band’s website. Remixers included are among others Joakim Jennefors, Infinite Beat and Johannes Ahlberg.
For the Swedish Alternative Music Awards (Sama) in 2006 the band was nominated for best newcomer and best album but unfortunately they didn’t win.
But the band found success on national radio in Sweden when the listeners of the program Sizer picked “Dog” as the best song of 2005.
In the summer of 2006 the bands debut album, Sounds of a new generator was released in the US by DSBP records. The new American edition of the album has an extra 6 tracks (4 entirely new tracks and 2 remixes) which sums up to an impressive 18 tracks and 73 minutes. For this occasion the band filmed a small video documentary “A day in the life of auto-auto” together with Mattias Rost. The video documentary was released on the band’s homepage.
Parallel with this, the band played numerous gigs, worked on new material (some 30 songs where written during late 2005 and the rest of 2006)
and worked on stickers, video art and various other collaborations with artists and other musicians.
In the late-late 2006 (namely Christmas eve) the video “Zombies on MTV” was released as a Christmas gift for the fans. The song was recorded together with Malin Solinger and the video was made by videolords Mattias Rost and Davor Radic. With a budget of just 50$ and 14 straight hours the result is somewhat in the area of B-horror movie.
The final single from “Sounds of a New Generator” was released. Due to distribution and various other issues just months before the next auto-auto album will be released. The new album is entitled “Celeste” and will contain some 10 to 12 tracks of pop, weirdness and various stuff. In 2007 auto-auto will also start a gallery in their hometown of Gothenburg. The gallery will display different artists and host live gigs with great musicians and DJ:s.
The band signed with german label out of line. They released their second full-lenght album “Celste” produced by John Fryer. In the autumn they went on the Out Of Line-festival tour alongside bands like Die Form, Ashbudy Heights and Agonize.
The band will go on tour togheter with Combichrist and astethic perfection.