Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2009
Things could easily have gone the wrong way when Russell Crank and David Cox of electro duo Autokratz first met.
“I was stumbling around outside a club, violently and uncontrollably sick,” recalls Crank by email from London. “Unfortunately, through my drunken haze, I realized that it was all over this man’s shoes, and that man was David. He was probably about to beat the shit out of me when he noticed my Devo T-shirt—probably saving my life. We started to talk about music, and our tastes were strangely identical.”
While Cox thought Crank an “arrogant drunken idiot,” he managed to look past his ruined shoes to their mutual taste in music. The result was Autokratz, which debuted on key French electro label Kitsune last year with the acclaimed mini-album Down & Out In Paris & London.
“The name holds a dual meaning for us,” says Crank, “combining a shared fascination with the future as seen by Orwell with the idea of a musical autocracy. The name is about the world we live in, where every modern society is an autocracy.”
Judging by the pummeling beats and chainsaw synths of Autokratz’ recent full-length debut Animal, elder rave statesmen The Prodigy will have their work cut out for them if they want to top the duo at their Warrior’s Dance Fest at Makuhari Messe.
“We still love the driving dancefloor stuff, but Animal does much more,” Cox says. “This record is much more song-based, and the focus is more on us as people and our lives. It’s a much more personal record, with lots and lots of variation. There are still aggressive and driving moments, but we have certainly moved forward from that mini-album.”
Crank says much the same thing when discussing standout track “Can’t Get Enough.” “It’s an aggressive and impassioned album track that shows the variety and depth of Animal,” he says, “and a type of track we hadn’t tried before. David’s vocal delivery is direct and urgent, whilst the sounds are forceful yet melodic.”
Having recently played Glastonbury in the UK and Solidays in Paris, Autokratz are, despite their relative youth, no strangers to big stages. “When we play live, I sing, play guitar and break machines,” promises Cox about next week’s Makuhari gig. “An Autokratz show will be a full-on rock and roll show of driving electronics. I love Japan so much… and can’t wait for the chance to play to our fans out there.”
“We love playing live so much,” adds Crank, “and we love that opportunity to convey the energy of the music with our performance. It’s certainly going to be an amazing gig.”
UK electronic trio The Prodigy with Hadouken!, Autokratz and others. Sep 20, 7pm, ¥8,500. Makuhari Messe, Chiba. Tel: Creativeman 03-3462-6969.