Interview with Allen Aucoin
of the Disco Biscuits & DrFameus
Since 2005 Allen Aucoin has assumed the drum throne for the highly acclaimed jamtronica outfit from Philly, the Disco Biscuits (tDB). Allen also mans a larger than life role in his solo electronic venture, DrFameus. Allen spoke with John David Church on several subjects including he Disco Biscuits, Herbie Hancock, his 2015 plans, robots, and much more.
Acclimating to change is never easy and I can only imagine the struggle endured by you and the rest of the band immediately after your addition. I’d say you and the band have adapted remarkably to each others strengths and weaknesses to find a balance. Going back further, I am curious as to when you first heard The Disco Biscuits and what your thoughts were on them at the time?
Allen: I first heard tDB in 2000 or 2001. I was in a band called Skydog Gypsy and the website designer/lighting designer (of then Skydog and now the LD for tDB), Johnny Goode, listened to tDB a bunch. The first time I heard tDB was when they were coming through Auburn, AL at Bodegas. I had rehearsal that night so I didn’t make it but Goode had a few shows he played for us earlier that day. I liked the experimental sound and respected their blending of electronic music with rock or jam music as I was also trying to infuse jungle and break beats with Skydog at the time.
What are some of your biggest musical influences and have they changed as you have become more immersed in the scene to which you are a part of?
Allen: Herbie Hancock and LTJ Bukem are my biggest musical influences. I think of Herbie as the ultimate musician. I’d love to jam with him, be on his level (haha, yeah…), just listen to him, or be a fly on the wall at one of his sessions. He seems to have a never ending amount of creativity and is a virtuoso in all styles of music. LTJ Bukem invented my favorite style of music. Need I say more? haha. I recently opened for LTJ and played drums with him during his set in Denver. That was a dream come true. I’ve listened to him for so long and played along to Bukem albums in the practice room for so many years. Eduardo Pesante, DRIZNO, is also a major influence. Next to Bukem he’s my favorite producer/DJ. DRIZNO brought me into the electronic world, showed me the synths, samplers, computer programs, and different styles. I always gravitate towards drum n bass or some form of jungle and Ed will always have this flavorful secret track I’ve never heard to keep me rounded.
Even if you have played it a million times, you’ve got to have a favorite song to play. What is yours?
Allen: Save the Robots. That one was easy.
Some people are calling Colorado “The Promised Land.” What would you say is the most appealing thing about the state that you now call home?
Allen: The beautiful scenery. That’s always attracted me to Colorado from the very first time I visited for my aunt’s 40th birthday when I was 10 or so. The music scene is equally amazing. There is always an awesome show to see, amazing musicians to jam with, and the venues out here are all the coolest and pro. I just played with LTJ Bukem, had 3 awesome sold out shows at The Ogden with tDB, saw Primus and Danny Carey, and saw The Cure, all in about the same week! And that’s only what I did. There is so much music all the time here in Colorado. If there’s something you want to see it’ll be here soon.
On the topic of comparing you to some sort of robot… if you are a robot (and I’m not saying you aren’t) who would you more identify with, Johnny 5 (inquisitive and always trying to improve himself) or The Terminator (From Judgement Day- Machine designed to kill it constantly)?
Allen: HAHA! I love the machine comparisons. I told my dad while I was in college I wanted to sound like a human computer on the drums, half man half drum machine. How about a mix of both? An inquisitive machine designed to kill it constantly always trying to improve itself. That works for me. 🙂
Most of us have gotten used to idea that The Disco Biscuits are not going to be doing any extensive touring in the foreseeable future but as 2014 starts to wane, what sort of goals or hopes do you have for 2015 which is just around the bend?
Allen: Man, I am hoping for a Disco Biscuits tour in 2015! We just confirmed I’m a machine designed to crush. Let’s crush. For tDB I am looking forward to Camp Bisco next year. A tour would be awesome but I think 2014 has been pretty amazing. Just a few weeks ago we were jamming with Billy and Mickey! For next year I personally am looking forward to a DrFameus EP, hoping to continue to work with LTJ Bukem (Maybe Danny needs some drums in the studio?), a collaboration EP with DRIZNO, and I am putting together a live electronic band. Something still in the improv/jam realm but more on the electronic side, less jam, more groove, and a little more bite.
Everyone needs a hobby. In addition to music, which is clearly your passion, how do you pass the time when you aren’t on stage?
Allen: I hang with my lovely wife, Sandra and awesome pets. I love throwing the ball and walking with the dogs while scoping out the mountains or a good sunset. I also like to take things apart and put them back together. It helps if it’s already broken, haha. A good project is always fun, like building something I can use around the house. Who doesn’t love a good project you can wrap your hands around?
After it was all said and done, I feel like I know a man whom I have a great deal of respect for just a little bit better. That and… he didn’t confirm or deny the robot thing…