Autarkic - aka Nadav Spiegal- has been on a roll of late. Alongside his remixes for Moscoman's Disco Halal series (some of which will now set you back a hefty stack of notes), he's recently put the finishing touches to his own LP Can You Pass the Knife. A six tracker that finds Autarkic forcing wheezing, degraded hardware to spit out sinuous lo-fi grooves, Can You Pass the Knife is excellent from start to finish, joining the dots between abrasive 80s post punk and current Berlin techno with an seemingly effortless touch. After hearing has amazing Monday is OK mixtape, featuring some of the weirdest funk a Monday can take, we got Autarkic to Skype us and tell us what's up with his new LP...
What language is the first track on the new LP sung in? We've been trying to work it out with no joy...
It’s gibberish. It has a story behind it- me and my ex-girlfriend, we had a huge fight a few months ago, I left her and went to my studio and on the way this car almost ran over me. I was so pissed off I just started writing some very aggressive music, and I wanted to say something but I couldn’t because I was so overwhelmed, so I just recorded this language, it didn’t mean anything. I did it in one go, there was no second take. Later I thought maybe I’d translate it into lyrics, but then it sounded right, and already it was a hit in the small clubs in Tel Aviv, so that gave me support to know that it was good, that it wasn’t just some kind of weird track, and that it was worth putting on a record.
So when you perform that record now do you have to get yourself worked up into a really angry state?
No I know the lines by heart now. It’s a sense of rage, but I remember it, I play with it a bit, not doing it quite the same, but the line is part of me for the last 6 months.
The music has such an 80s synthwave sound to it, was that conscious?
Yeah, I like the old stuff, not all of it but a lot of it. The machine that I’m using makes the sound a bit rough, not so bright. As a kid I listened to 70s-80s punk and new wave stuff and I still listen. I grew up in a very confusing time, in the 90s and early 2000s in Israel trance was huge and clubbing was huge, and I used to go clubbing but after a while I dropped it and started listening to The Cure and Depeche Mode and some more obscure stuff. Then a few years ago I started getting back to that new wave sound, stuff like Talking Heads, Robert Wyatt, a lot of English stuff. I Iike how the stuff from England sounded edgy. I was also listening to Israeli new wave stuff from the 80s. The most famous band are Minimal Compact, later they were produced by Colin Newman from Wire. They had some success in Europe.
And now you’re living in Europe, you’re in Berlin
Yeah, but I’m moving back to Tel Aviv. There’s quite a big difference between the two. I first moved to Berlin for love – I had a German girlfriend for three years- but also to have a better shot at making music. Life in Israel is pretty tough in so many aspects and economically you have to work a lot to make it through the month. Berlin is a lot cheaper, you can get a studio here for next to nothing. There’s also a huge load of second hand gear here- I got loads of stuff for really cheap. Over the last two years I’ve made a lot that’s going to be released, there’s the Disco Halal stuff and I’m going to release something on Turbo. It’s going to be harder when I move back to Tel Aviv but I’m gonna doing it anyway. But I have to get a dayjob again. It’s depressing but there it is. And also Tel Aviv is part of me – if you can relate this music to anywhere, it’s to Tel Aviv. Also I’m Israeli- I feel much more a part of there than here. It was the rational call to move back.
So finally, what’s you’re favourite track on the LP?
That’s hard, I guess The Misorientation of Autarkic, that blends everything that I like now, it’s pushy and it’s groovy and also I like the lyrics that I wrote, they mean something. If you ask me tomorrow maybe I’d say something else.
Autarkic - Can you Pass the Knife is out early May. Pre-order here.
Enjoy this article? Want more?
You can support Ransom Note and independent journalism through our Patreon campaign now.
Become a friend of Ransom Note