Artist Interview: AURAGRAPH

todayMarch 17, 2023 93 3 5

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By: Andrea Moor
Music Journalist

29-year-old Laredoan Carlos Ramirez, otherwise known as Auragraph, is a creative that’s made wide strides in their respective fields. Initially playing guitar in most of the bands they worked with in their adolescence, their encounters with music would change drastically when they moved up north for their undergrad. Having studied at UT Austin for film, Ramirez had nothing but pleasantries to claim about their time living in the capital.

“I really liked my experience at UT. When I was there, there was a lot of collaboration. In my film courses, everyone was so creative and a lot of them are now out here in L.A., like me. I still see a lot of them from time to time. I’ve been able to apply what I learned during those years, to working in film on the music side. The projects I’m working on have really become the best of both worlds.”

Auragraph staring at the camera while sitting on the floor
Auragraph staring at the camera while sitting on the floor | Image Credit: Alex Kacha

Is Austin truly as great as it claims to be?

“I miss Austin a lot. It was mostly experimental, and I had to build myself from the ground up. Its changed a lot but every 10 years or so, I feel people say the whole, ‘Oh, you missed it in its prime’, to feel special. I remember there’d be $3 shows on Thursdays for students at Spiderhouse. Swan Dive also did things like that. Whenever that happens, it’s always cool. When there’s a stream of new stuff in the DIY space, there’s constant innovation. I was able to find my voice there.”

Still have the same number from the valley?

“I still have the same # from high school, which is both a good and bad thing. Everyone knows where to reach me, but the trade-off is that I’ll just get spam calls from a random 956 number on a Tuesday at 9 a.m.”

I argue that if it falls under the ‘956’ area code, it’s the valley. Do you consider Laredo the valley? 

“People from Laredo don’t claim the valley. I guess since we’re so dispositioned from a place like McCallen, it doesn’t count. So, I’ll be taking a strong stance on the ‘no’. If I said it was, I’d get canceled. Someone from McCallen would just be like, ‘What the hell?!’”

Any spot from there that stands out?

“Last time I was in Laredo, I drove down for the holidays. For Mexicans, Toño’s is my parents’ spot. Every time I go down there, we’re at Toño’s. It’s a great, no-frills type of place.”

You’ve lived in Texas, you’re now in California. How would you describe the two?

“I associate Texas with a very experimental scene. It’s super big land-wise. You have deserts, mountains and fragments of the sea. California is like that also but condensed. I think since both states are so vast and occupied with such different people, it’s obvious what sounds are from where. I think geographically, certain places have certain sounds…If I had to showcase Texas to someone, I wouldn’t know where to bring them. Do I show them the nature, the arts, the culture?”

Auragraph looking down on a keyboard with their hands placed on the keys
Auragraph looking down on a keyboard | Image Credit: Alex Kacha

You’ve worked with different labels, how was each like?

“Finished my record for Auragraph with Hiraeth Records. Before this, it was ambiance. This was faster, denser bpm. I’ve worked with 猫 シ Corp (Japanese for Cat System Corp), and they were big on supporting even though they’re more of the Vaporwave sound. Did tapes with Midwest Collective, and now I’m with Dais Record after reconnecting.”

How has it been like working with George Clanton’s and Neggy Gemmy’s label, 100% Electronica?

“They’re an amazing label and collective. Especially during the lockdown, they were being prolific in their stuff at a time no one really was. We were doing 3D videos, live streams with tons of visuals and I released Metamerism with them. Their dog Jacob is cool, too.”

Is there a certain sound you strive for on Auragraph?

“I don’t like genres since it’s like a pigeonhole. A very broad sense of what I am is an experimental, electronic mask.”

How’s your process of curating Auragraph?

“I feel like I try to make every project different. I’ve done some with a more industrial, darker tint, and some with more of an acidhouse or dancier-type tint. Whenever I finish a record, it’s surreal because you’re nearly done. I don’t give in to doing all of the mini-changes. It’s sort of my philosophy. I love releasing, I love mixtapes. Once it’s out, I’ll sort of forget it, blackout and just move on. I pass through, and it’s like a love-hate relationship. It definitely winds me up to keep on making.”

: Auragraph listening on headphones while tampering with equipment
Auragraph listening on headphones while tampering with equipment | Image Credit: Alex Kacha

Best way to listen to Auragraph?

“Getting into a sort of a meditative trance, it can be outside in nature, free of distractions and just allow the music to take you wherever. I know that I enjoy listening to records that take me beyond my initial state.”

You’ve worked on film projects such as Into the Ether, is it true that a bobcat was spotted during filming? 

“That was my friend Marc’s project and I played a minor role behind the scenes taking photos, so I did not know that. Growing up, I was a part of the skate culture, so I’ve always been taking photos of my friends. Nowadays, I’m able to apply that and take headshots for Auragraph or take pics for shows. Still, I’ll need to text him to confirm that.”

Do you know that our school mascot’s the bobcat? I’m getting the inkling that everything’s connected.

“Sounds familiar. I do recall having this band with a guy who went to Texas State. We’d take turns commuting back and forth and staying at each other’s houses for rehearsals and shows. San Marcos is a cool spot.”

I know you’ve worked on different projects regarding screen and film, can you tell me about how you started it out?

“I started out with Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein back in 2018 or 2019 on Valley of the Boom. I’ve learned a lot from working for them. Working in picture and film, I want my work to be cinematic in a sense since there are no words. It’s crazy knowing that all this stuff has mingled into my day-to-day life.”

Auragraph facing away from the computer, looking towards a computer
Auragraph facing away from the computer, looking towards a computer | Image Credit: Alex Kacha

Working since season 3, you’re a score-mixing engineer for Stranger Things.

“Yes, it’s a big project. Typically, we work on it for nearly a year. Season 5’s on the way and it’s so busy, and we’re all working simultaneously to piece this project so there’s no time to really look back on it and have time to really think. The whole experience really is a gift.”

Any New Year Resolutions you’ve stuck to?

“My first resolution was no sugar, got into at least 20-25 days, think I broke it on a pastry. It goes back to wanting an overall healthier lifestyle that can help my mental health. This year, I’m really open to many experiences and opportunities. If a friend wants to approach me with a show opportunity, I want to say yes more and see where these types of experiences can take me.”

Auragraph standing and facing the camera, illuminated by orange lighting
Auragraph standing and facing the camera, illuminated by orange lighting | Image Credit: Alex Kacha

When should we expect you to tour Texas?

“Maybe in the summer or, better yet, in September when everyone’s back for school. Perhaps I can set some dates aside to hit a couple of spots in California and come down to Texas, or even to San Marcos.”

Featured Image from Alex Kacha

Written by: Amaya Lewis

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