With a major underground following and heavy mainstream appeal, AutoErotique make dance music that’s endlessly shape-shifting but always exhilarating. One of the first electronic acts signed to Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records, the Toronto-based duo proved the scope of their artistry with a flood of head-turning tracks in the final months of 2015 alone. After joining Armada Deep for “Count on You” (named a “glittering house anthem” by Earmilk), AutoErotique released the deep-house heater “I Get Up” via Dim Mak, then closed out the year by putting out the bass-house smash “They Know” on Diplo’s Mad Decent. And in another venture with Diplo, AutoErotique joined up with Major Lazer for “The Sound,” a bass-pumping and festival-ready track that affirms their power to defy all expectation while delivering massively catchy dance music.
Lifelong friends, Keith Robertson and Dave Henderson formed AutoErotique as a way to channel their fascination with the electronic underground and with game-changing turntablists from the hip-hop world. “I was DJ-ing at an after-hours place, playing a lot of obscure music that people weren’t used to hearing in a club environment,” says Robertson. “After a while Dave and I decided to build off that and bring our own music to the table.” One of their first releases, a remix of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” soon caught the ear of Diplo (who included the track in a 2007 mix for Pitchfork) as well as Aoki (who signed AutoErotique in 2009). That same year, AutoErotique made their official debut with “Gladiator” (a track remixed by DJ AM and The Faint), and in 2011 released their first EP Freak. Smashing the Beatport charts, Freak featured “Turn Up the Volume,” whose video went viral thanks in part to its gorgeously shot exploding cakes.
Over the coming years, AutoErotique continued to gain global acclaim with 2013’s “Play It Again” (a #1 hit on iTunes Dance) and “Asphyxiation" (winner of the 2014 Much Music Award for Dance Video of the Year and MuchFact Video of the Year). Along with putting out their sophomore EP EKG in 2014, the duo landed on the Beatport Top 10 with “Feedback,” a mind-rattling collaboration with Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. Within the first few months of 2015, AutoErotique scored their hugest hit to date with “Badman” (a future-house banger that got the remix treatment on Dim Mak’s four-track Badman (Remixes) EP), only to triumph again in early summer with “LYAOF,” their first single for Kaskade’s Arkade label.
Recently nominated for a 2016 Juno Award for Dance Recording of the Year, AutoErotique are now primed for the release of a new Aoki collaboration called “ILYSM,” as well as forthcoming singles on Mad Decent and OWSLA, plus their latest EP for Dim Mak. AutoErotique have also played some of the biggest music festivals across the globe in the past few years, including Ultra, Electric Zoo, and Tomorrowland. And when they’re off the road, Robertson and Henderson dedicate most of their time to dreaming up new material. “Dave and I are both very visually inspired,” says Robertson of AutoErotique’s creative process. “We’ll observe something and come up with a soundtrack in our heads, and then translate that into music. It’s about finding a rhythm in the world and then just tapping into it.” But while their creativity’s constantly pushing them in unexplored directions and diversifying their sound, AutoErotique’s essential vision has remained the same over the years. “The idea from the beginning was to create something simple and beautiful-sounding and sort of outside the box, where someone could hear something new from us and say, ‘That’s super-weird, but I already know who it is,’” says Robertson. “We really just wanted to be weirdos, and I think we’ve definitely achieved that.”