Sometimes distance can work as an asset. For Austin’s Auto Body, it’s a fact of life. The electro-infused, wildcard duo of Tibaut Bowman and Felix Moreno met in Austin, but they’ve got a second home in Chicago and Moreno spends most of his time in Houston. A potential recipe for creative disaster, but the two see their chaotic schedules as just another part of their perfect storm.
“We’ve definitely learned to maximize the time we get together,” concludes Moreno, the duo’s bassist who’s also a member of Chicago trio Future Rock. “Tibaut’s been doing most of the writing, but we’ll bounce ideas off each other over email and then get together and turn those ideas into songs. If we don’t talk every day, it’s pretty damn close, but we can do massive amounts of work without needing to be in the same room. It’s very location non-specific.”
Formed in 2009 only a few weeks after meeting at an Austin house party, Bowman and Moreno quickly learned that they shared a mutual affection for electro-based music that blends elements of rock and modern disco to form one of the most relentless, high-energy throwdowns this side of the Chemical Brothers.
“I remember the first time we went into Tibaut’s studio,” recounts Moreno.”Music was coming out right off the bat. It wasn’t anything that was ever forced. When we finished our first track,”Knockout,” I was like, ‘Man, this is really something.'”
“That was the first time we started discussing like, ‘Um, we’re gonna need to find a way to do this live and actually make a band,'” remembers Bowman, who serves as the group’s vocalist and sample maestro.”Like, ‘Can we do this – just the two of us – and make it an actual live music thing?'”
The answer is a resounding yes. Combining the incessant pump of Bowman and Moreno’s high-octane dance riot with flashing strobe lights and “face-melting” visuals, the live Auto Body experience is an existential shakedown that’s dropped jaws from Austin to Chicago and all the way up the east coast.
“We want to wow you on every aspect of what can be a show,” insists Moreno. “The quality of a sound, the quality of our performance musically, the quality of what you see on stage: if you’re coming to see a show, you should see a real show. We want people to feel the passion that we feel for our music simultaneously, because we’re just pouring our hearts out every time we get together.”
That outpouring is pressed and packaged in the form of Priest Party, a seven-song mothership connection that’s bound to break a booty or two. A true indicator of Auto Body’s fast beginnings – the duo’s first collaboration “Knockout” is the EP’s fifth track – Priest Party captures that late-night house party atmosphere that first brought the two soul shakers together.
“Priest Party is really our introduction to the world,” says Moreno. “‘Hello, we are Auto Body.’ From the moment that we finished “Knockout,” there was a huge urgency to get this out there. And I think it all came together quite well – even the title. It kind of suggests a quirky little dance album, and the music fits that. It’s a true introduction to Auto Body, and an indication of where we are right now.”
That is to say that Auto Body may not be in the same place for very long. As Bowman suggests, the next Auto Body album – one they’ve already started crafting and hope to release by the end of 2010 – is just as likely to delve deeper into rock and roll as it is to hug the techno curve.
“We’ve changed so much in style since we started,” reveals Bowman. “With Priest Party, we were still developing who we were. I was changing the software I used and switched to Logic. We were just getting into the groove of things, and that’s starting to show up on the new album. The sound is changing so much. The vocals are different. The beats are different.”
Which just means there’s no telling where you might find Auto Body in the coming months.
“The more that Tibaut and I get together and the more we write together, the more we realize that we’re about a lot more than your typical quirky Austin electro deal,” Moreno elaborates. “We’re not steering the ship. The ship steers itself. We’re just along for the Auto Body ride.”