Who’s in the band: Isaac Kahn, Ignacio Vargas, Nelson Barahona, & Stevie Greenberg
Where they’re from: Los Angeles, California
Current releases: ‘Don’t Please Watch’ EP (2012) & ‘Lounge Lovers on Standby’ LP (2016)
For fans of: The Strokes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Interpol
The Audiots are a refreshing burst of sunny LA indie rock, bringing together garage rock, punk, and indie music in their lively, catchy tracks. From Los Angeles, California, the four piece are made up of Isaac (vocals and guitar), Ignacio (vocals and guitar), Nelson (bass) and Stevie (drums). Upon hearing their tracks, following their June 2016 release of debut LP Lounge Lovers on Standby, I was immediately impressed by the solid rock sound their tracks have. There’s something really gritty and raw about their music, with softly distorted vocals and a typical rock’n’roll guitar sound, but they also embody those melodic LA summery sounds, with a beautifully breezy flow to their music. Take What You Want is a favourite of mine, with quirky guitar riffs embodying a really interesting sound; their riffs and tunes are unconventional and different, with a really uniquely refreshing stand out sound. Wait and See starts with the most beautifully soft, light riff before that heavier bass kicks in, creating such a wonderful sound. What I really liked about the band was how well polished and refined their sound is, whilst maintaining the DIY rawness typical rock music should ultimately have. The way the softly distorted vocals pair with the cutting bass has a wonderful sound too, with steady drumming throughout. Halfway into Wait and See, this ridiculously cutting edge riff kicks in, with a heavily distorted warped undertone to it. Homesick is a great track too, really showcasing the band’s talent. I love the Casablancas-esque sound to this track, with a brilliantly messy amped-up sound to the mic and guitar. To me, the vocals and overall guitar sound are really reminiscent of The Strokes, and a lot of their guitar riffs remind me of music by bands like The Libertines and Bloc Party. The refreshing bite of indie power they have, tying in new wave and garage rock, is supported by a solid set of riffs, messy vocals and brilliantly skilled drumming; for a young band from LA, their promise is unbelievable!
For more on The Audiots, you can read my interview with them below:
Tell me about your group; who’s in it, what do you all play, and how did you guys form as a band?
Isaac: Well we are The Audiots. We are audio idiots literally. No, we’ve been making music for like 6 years. But only recently have we been excited to be a band and feasibly been able to.
Ignacio: So we all don’t repeat ourselves, we’re in our early twenties, me and Isaac both play the guitar and sing, Stevie is the drummer and Nelson plays bass. Me and Nelson went to high school together and Isaac and Stevie have known each other since elementary school. And to tie it all together, me and Isaac are cousins and we’ve been hanging out since we were in diapers. That’s how all of us met later down the road.
Nelson: We’re all just a bunch of young guys that wanna make music. Isaac and Ignacio are family. They started the band just messing around at first and Ignacio later invited me to jam with them. It was fun and it felt right. Stevie, the newest member of the band, was the final piece of the puzzle.
Stevie: I’ve known Isaac my whole life since elementary school. We’ve always had a bond for inside jokes and musical tastes. His cousin Ignacio, I’ve known since 7th grade and he’s known Nelson since high school. I only joined recently when Isaac asked me to. Before then, the band started just as friends making music and being inspired by their favourite musicians.
Being a band based in Los Angeles, what’s the local music scene life for you?
Isaac: Honestly this might sound off but I don’t feel that there’s a strong scene. Or at least I’m unaware of it. It’s like aliens, there could be some out there but I don’t see ’em.
Ignacio: There’s not really a close-knit music scene here that we’ve experienced first hand. There are definitely some cool bands that I’ve heard, so it’s a shame that we’re not all part of a scene. We’re also still pretty new to the scene so maybe there’s some secret club that we’re not aware of yet.
Nelson: The music scene is both diverse but very similar. You hear bands that all sound the same, but out of the blue you’ll hear a very unique band that inspires you to start finding your own voice here in LA.
Stevie: I feel like the music scene is constantly evolving in LA for the better and for the worse. Because of the easy access to social media, there’s not as much mysticism when seeing bands because you can find out all you need to know about them with the click of a button prior to the show. This can be positive though, because people in LA always seem jaded by the same thing over and over, so when something fresh hits their ears, they are eager to go out and see it with friends. Also, everything in LA is so spread out which makes it hard for people to come out to see bands because of distance. With that in mind, we feel like we need to do an extra good job winning over the crowd in order to make people feel like the trip was worth it!
Where did the name The Audiots come from?
Isaac: I was in the lavatory doing some business and thinking “what’s it really all about?” and the name came about.
Ignacio: Isaac came up with the name. We didn’t have a name for our band yet and as soon as he said The Audiots, that was it. It’s a cool play on words.
Nelson: Well to be honest, there’s no deep meaning behind it. It’s just audio and idiots merged together. Cause we feel that that’s what we are. We’re just a couple of really close friends who can have fun and let loose while making music.
Stevie: Isaac has always been very pun-y.
When did you get into music and who have your influences been growing up?
Isaac: My dad is my biggest influence but I listened to lot of Enigma, The Specials, Eminem, AC/DC , Deep Purple, Kraftwerk and so on.
Ignacio: I first got into music as a kid. Through my dad I got really into The Beatles and The Doors. But when I’d go visit my family in Mexico over the summer, my cousins and MTV over there turned me onto bands like Blink 182, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eminem. Those late 90s/early 2000s were a magical time for me. Right before I started high school though, is when I found out about The Strokes and that pretty much changed everything for me. It opened up the world of Indie Rock for me and I found other bands that I love like Arctic Monkeys and Interpol. Another big influence is The Growlers and I got into them during high school.
Nelson: I got into music from a really early age listening to Motown and classic rock from my father, a lot of early hip hop and jazz rap from my brother, heavy metal and rock from my sister, and folk music from my hometown from my mother. I really enjoy listening to a lot of modern rock bands, a lot of Earth Wind and Fire and Otis Redding.
Stevie: I got into music when I was 13. When I was in music class, I was supposed to play the clarinet and last minute my teacher asked me to play percussion. There were bands that I listened to growing up like the Chili Peppers, Eminem, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Jersey Boys and The Jackson 5.
Who are your favourite current musicians?
Isaac: Julian Casablancas, John Frusciante, Tom Delonge, Sia.
Ignacio: I really like The Growlers, Julian Casablancas+The Voidz and a lot of local bands. There’s The Walters, The Symposium and MTV Ghosts from Chicago. Then there’s The Buttertones which are from Los Angeles and also Conspiracy of Owls but I don’t know where they’re from.
Nelson: My favourite musicians at the moment are this band called Apollo Bebop, they play really cool and innovative music. I also like Alabama Shakes, and The Growlers have been on the top of my list too.
Stevie: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Arctic Monkeys, Kid Cudi and Logic.
What influences your lyrics?
Isaac: Moments and memories.
Ignacio: Girls. I’m kidding. I guess it’s kind of hard to pinpoint it. Past experiences, uncertainty about the future and relationships are big ones. I went through a tough breakup while writing the songs that I wrote on this album so my lyrics are reflective of that.
Nelson: Well I guess emotions. It’s what we experience, see, and feel. Lyrics just fall into place with our songs. When Ignacio and Isaac write a song, the lyrics just come out as the song is being written.
Stevie: I’m the drummer so crossword puzzles.
Given the current political climate in the USA, is that something you’d ever wish to embody in your music?
Isaac: I don’t know. It’s not something that hits me emotionally like other subjects in my music do.
Ignacio: I don’t think that we would force it but I’m not opposed to it. I don’t think that there’d be a whole song dedicated to that but it’d be cool to give a nod to it.
Nelson: Definitely. We are part of that generation. Those things hit us hard and we think being heard is important. But mostly in the sense of like the struggle. We just want people to know that we are all humans and that we go through the same set of feelings and emotions as everyone else.
Stevie: I think musicians can incorporate politics in their music but once they start preaching about it at shows, it becomes pretty obnoxious.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Isaac: Hmmm. Maybe Bob Marley? He counts right?
Ignacio: I would choose The Growlers. I really like the album City Club that they put out. I feel like we would make some pretty catchy and groovy stuff.
Nelson: I would really love to collaborate with Mac DeMarco or maybe something that’s not really our style like Gorillaz. It’s always good to try something that’s out of your comfort zone.
Stevie: I would choose Logic just to see his creative process.
What’s the dream venue/ festival to headline?
Isaac: Well, I’d love to play a massive festival set, like those videos you see from the 90s of bands and sweaty fans crying and jumping and hugging and flash…..yeah.
Ignacio: It would be amazing to headline the Hollywood Bowl. There’ve been so many legends on that stage back in the 60s and 70s like The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. It’s such a surreal and cosy venue that’s tucked into the heart of Hollywood surrounded by hills. I love it. The stacked parking there is a bitch though.
Nelson: FYF would be awesome cause it’s here in the heart of LA, but a festival in another country like T In The Park would be cool. It’s such a different place with a different vibe. The energy would be crazy.
Stevie: Lollapalooza because I’ve been there a few years and the architectural sky line is incomparable. Also, the lineup is incredible every year and of all the festivals, it seems like it has the most people attend.
Tell me about the recording and production of Lounge Lovers on Standby
Isaac: It was a long process and a lot of tweaking the songs and sounds and arguing and laughing. It was fun and not fun and we’re happy with it.
Ignacio: It was all done by us in Isaac’s garage. We had a few decent mics, our laptops, an audio interface, our instruments and ourselves. It was a lot of fun but also pretty stressful at the same time. We wanted every song to be perfect so we spent months writing some of them. There were a few that went through so many changes that we didn’t like them anymore so we’d scrap them and start over from scratch. And others were literally written in like two or three days. It really messes with you when no matter what you do, the song doesn’t sound right. But all of that hard work has paid off cause we’re really satisfied with what we made.
Nelson: It was kinda hectic. We kept adding songs and editing old ones. We rarely played shows because we just wanted to get this album out there. But in the end we all fell in love with the finished product. It was made with a lot of care and love from all of us and we did it as a family in a friend’s garage as opposed to a stranger’s studio.
Stevie: I joined the band after the production of the album. But the band was kind enough to listen to my input for additional tweaks that we could use for live performances. I also had a fun time learning the songs because I enjoy them.
What plans do you guys have in terms of future gigging and recording?
Isaac: We are going to play almost every show we can get forever and want to release another album soon!!!!
Ignacio: We’re trying to book as many shows as possible! We have two shows coming up in the Silverlake area here in LA. We also want to do some local tours soon up and down the coast. We’ve been working on some new material so you can expect a new release soon.
Nelson: We really just want to play shows and get our music out there. We want people to feel our music the same way that we feel the music that inspires us. We want our next album to one-up our last album and be better all around and with each other, we know that we can get a really awesome end product.
Stevie: To play as many shows as we can and to write as many songs as possible to have a good batch to pick from when we do choose for our next album. We want to accumulate experiences from our live shows to help us write better songs. Our goal is to always improve as songwriters. I’m excited to have my creative input on the next album!