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Last week we met the post-punk trio, Automatic, in Highland Park, as they hosted a listening party for their debut album release Signal. Comprised of Lola Dompè (drums and vocals), Izzy Glaudini (synth and vocals), and Halle Saxon Gaines (bass and vocals), the now LA-based band formed in 2017 after meeting in the Angeleno DIY music scene. Since signing to Stones Throw Records back in January, they’ve garnered a huge buzz around their music and have been performing non-stop.  As they gear up for their European and North American tours, we discussed their early beginnings, what they are most excited about for this upcoming run, and the process of making their debut album Signal.

Starting a band is a very unique process, describe to me that moment where you all looked at each other and knew that this what the right move to make?

Lola Dompè: Halle and I wanted to start a band with bass, drums, and synth. I don’t know if it ever would have happened if we didn’t meet Izzy. We all decided to get into the practice space one day and since then its been like a cactus in the corner that just keeps growing and growing on its own.

Izzy Glaudini:  Right away the energy was very open. I’ve “‘jammed” a lot, but I really enjoyed it with Lola and Halle. I think a large part of it was that we all began at the same skill level. Lola hadn’t played drums in years, I hadn’t ever played synth, and Halle was new to bass. I feel like it’s rare to experience that if you’re not a teenager haha. There’s a lot of freedom when there’s nowhere to go but up!

Touring is a big part of self-discovery and seeing the reaction your music gets, what have been some of the highlights of the past year in terms of the fan reaction as well as personal growth within yourselves?

LD: Our residency at the Echo in August was so special. It was right before our album was coming out and people got to come see us for free every week that month. I was surprised at how many people showed up and I think I’ll never stop being surprised by that. 

IG: I agree, so far the residency was the biggest marker of our growth as a band.  It’s the first time I realized we had actual fans besides Lola’s extended family haha.  It’s still hard to wrap my head around. Also being played on KCRW is a huge deal to me. 

You are getting ready for another tour, this time going to several states in Europe and North America, do you all have any places you are excited to play/visit for the first time?

LD: I’m excited to play London! Rock and Roll and Punk are still super alive there so I think it’ll be a fun show.

IG: Berlin is a city I’ve been obsessed with since I was a teenager, but I’ve yet to go.  There’s so much history there that I’m in love with. I hear it’s still a city that takes partying very seriously. I guess we’ll find out!

HSG: I’m also obsessed with Berlin and so excited to go back. I have a few awesome friends in Paris I’m excited to see too.

You all DJ as well, talk to me about those two dynamics and how they relate to the music you all make. This is obviously a common theme amongst people in the entertainment world. Why do you think it is so valuable to learn how to DJ?

LD: Halle is the force behind this. I have a love/ hate relationship with Djing. But I do think its another way (besides playing shows) to meet people who like music and have a fun night. 

IG: I also have a love/hate thing with DJ’ing. I’ll play something at the wrong speed and get kinda stressed out. I’m not very good at it. That being said, having to rapidly select vinyl keeps you sharp. It forces you to engage with new and unfamiliar music. I can get pretty lazy sometimes and listen to the same few records, so it’s good to be forced out of my comfort zone.  

HSG: Learning about DJ’ing has totally affected the way I think about music. Not that I’m super good at it either but it made me think about the song placement on our own record and was also the main reason I was super excited for our first release to be a 7”. Our cover of “Mind Your Own Business” is only available on the 7” and was inspired by the idea that’s so romantic to me of a DJ looking for 7”s to spin at the bar or whatever and maybe she’s familiar with Delta 5, and so this is the perfect thing for her to get on the cheap and bring to her set.

Talk to me about Signal. This is your debut project. How long did it take to create? How was the process? Who are some of your favorite people to work with when making the project? 

LD: Making Signal was a very organic process. We started recording a few songs in January 2019 and after signing with Stonesthrow, we finished the album by summer. The studio is right down the street from me, I would scooter down sometimes. I def miss being in the studio!

IG: One of our best budds, Joo-Joo Ashworth, produced the album.  He’s a really fun person to be around, and a really talented producer and musician. I’m pretty sure this was the first record he produced, and we have grown together as a creative team. There was a lot of goofing around, a lot of tequila consumed. 

Be sure to check them out on their European and North American Tour dates.

Stay tuned to Milk for more music moments.

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