Nick Bernal, Nevado Music
It's no coincidence that three Vancouver musicians chose the German word "Autogramm" as the name of their band. It began as an idea in Berlin, Germany- the city that Mayor Klaus Wowereit called "poor but sexy"- in 2014. Bassist C.C. Voltage and guitarist Jiffy Marx hung out on a canal, where they drank beer and joked about a future band project with a focus on touring to sunny destinations.
This reunion of friends happened while C.C. was living in Berlin playing with Dysnea Boys, a band that also featured former members of Vancouver's Destroyer and seminal first wave hardcore band Social Unrest. Prior to that, he'd also lived in London, where he played with members of The Professionals and Michael Monroe's band in The Loyalties. Marx and Voltage hadn't seen each other in some time, as Marx was living in Brooklyn, New York for several years prior to Voltage moving abroad.
But let's go back a bit here to where it all began - Jiffy Marx and C.C. Voltage met back in the early 90s as teenage skateboarders while playing in punk bands. Voltage moved to Vancouver around this time and started the band The Spitfires who would go on to release records on the Estrus and Junk record labels. He also played for a short time in the Black Halos, but was made to choose between the two bands when the Halos signed to Sub Pop. Around this time Jiffy Marx also moved to Vancouver to attend the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Though not yet seriously active in the local music scene, the first person Marx tried to start a band with was local drummer The Silo. The Silo was attending music school and already very active in local bands. He was half of the duo Jerk With A Bomb, which eventually added members and became Black Mountain.
Like many other scenes, the music scene in Vancouver is fairly incestuous. Thus, it was not unusual that the bass player for Black Mountain was also the singer for the band Marx was playing with, Blood Meridian, and also featured The Silo behind the kit. Though they toured extensively for a year, Blood Meridian dissolved soon after V2- the label they were on at the time- dropped its entire roster. The members of Blood Meridian who weren't also members of Black Mountain started the Marx-led band, Hard Drugs.
After recording their first album with former bandmate Jesse Gander (Japanther, White Lung), Marx relocated the band to Brooklyn, NY with the help of music industry insider David Bason, and produced a second album with Michael "Mama" Tudor (Moby, The Strokes, John Cale). Around the same time The Silo had started his own side project, Lightning Dust, with fellow Black Mountain member Amber Webber. Like Hard Drugs, Lightning Dust over the years would have a revolving door of collaborators from the Vancouver scene. In those years, with hisprolific touring schedule, he would hang out, as well as share stages with, Marx and Voltage and their respective bands.
When Marx moved back to Vancouver, the two friends began working on demos for a future project. Some of these songs became the impetus for when Marx and Voltage decided to finally start a band together. C.C. had also been writing songs with another old friend - Rich Jones from Black Halos and The Loyalties. Some of these songs would also become Autogramm songs. From the old drawing boards to fruition, the power-pop trio was complete when C.C. moved back to Vancouver in 2017.
By this point The Silo had left Black Mountain to play in Destroyer, who's latest critically acclaimed album "Ken" he also produced. While vacationing together in Mexico, Jiffy Marx asked The Silo to play in his new band with C.C. Voltage and as they say, the rest is history. The three began rehearsing the songs as a three piece with Marx simultaneously playing the keyboard and guitar parts while everyone contributed vocals. With their first single released on Denver's Snappy Little Numbers label in early 2018, and an album due this fall on Nevado Music, Autogramm is well on their way to becoming on of Canada's hardest working bands. The band plans to tour America and Europe upon the album's release.
"If you've been hankering after some old-school Tubeway Army style alt-punk, then get an ear full of this," says Dom Daley of London's Uber Rock. "It's the Cars driving Numan around, listening to some real '80s radio before checking out Duncan Reid. It's that catchy."