All kinds of favorite things. Interview with XNY


by Matt Caprioli

Pam Autuori’s voice is the love child of Ani DiFrano and Amanda Palmer. Here’s the proof: XNY, the Brooklyn-based duo of Autuori and Jacob Schreiber (drums) had Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione produce their second album, Orange, released August 13th. Autuori opened for Ani DiFranco in her high school days, when the goddess passed through her hometown of Hartford, CT.

The duo have since moved beyond their musical ancestors to produce a distinct sound that stirs a beautiful voice, thoughtful lyrics, and catchy melodies together.

Matt Caprioli: So you guys know each other because you shared a wall in an apartment in Boston. Could you tell me about the first time you actually met?

Pam Autuori: The other half of the story which people don’t know is that Jacob was stealing my Internet then knocked on my door to tell me that he was, in fact, stealing my Internet and that’s why it was slowing down so much, and he would make me pasta every month if he was allowed to use it.

MC: That’s a good deal

PA: It’s a horrible deal

MC: Well, okay it is pretty bad.

PA: But I was very hungry and I didn’t know how to cook at the time.

Jacob Schreiber: Yeah, she’s pretty awful.

MC: Why is it called Orange?

JS: It’s kind of a weird story, but when Pam and I were getting to know each other we started playing “the favorite” game, and Pam has this thing where she can’t answer questions like she can’t give a single answer. So after every question I was getting so annoyed because she’d be like well this was my favorite band at this age, this was my favorite band at this age—finally, I was like okay: I’m going to give you the most basic question, you can’t fumble around with this one: what’s your favorite colour.

MC: Simple enough.

JS: Yes, but she was like, ‘WELL, I really like the colour purple, but I like the word orange, so if the colour purple was the word orange, it would probably be that.’ At that point I was finished with the game.

PA: Months and months later Jacob was working for an artist as her assistant when we moved to New York, and he brought me home this card he made with the word orange but it was in the colour purple. It was the nicest, most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me. I said, we are naming our album this.

MC: What’s the best concert you’ve seen recently?

JS: Pam and I saw St. Vincent recently, and we were really blown away. We also so tUnE-yArDs. She’s out there and playing drums and looping. Pam and I are in the audience thinking, holy crap, this one person is doing both of our jobs better.

MC: You have a show in a couple hours. Any pre-show rituals?

PA: Jacob and I used to have this horrible habit of freaking each other out, saying “Everyone is going to hate us”, just this very self-deprecating point of view. And honestly, just in the last couple of months, we’ve switched our way of thinking about each show. We just wanted to have fun. We want people to enjoy themselves and we want to enjoy ourselves. We both work day jobs and this is what we love to do, this is what we want to do. And when you have the chance to play a show it’s like, Why not just be in the moment and play the show as best you can. And if you fuck up you fuck up, nobody will know.

JS: So basically our pre-show ritual is to tell the other one to relax.

MC: If I looked through the last ten songs on your iPod, what would I see?

PA: Oh man, mine is really embarrassing. Well, I never usually listen to rap, but I have to tell you, I’ve been really into Jay-Z. I think every song is Jay-Z….Then I’ve been listening to The Doors. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m obviously very confused.

JS: Mine are probably Eminem, Kayne’s new album, Daft Punk, Miles Davis, The Strokes—I think that’s it.

PA: Oh I listened to Fiona Apple the other day. I love her!

MC: What was your first memory? In general.

PA:  I have this weird thing where I was 4 years old then I woke up and was 12. But I think my first memory was diving into a ball pit in McDonalds and thinking wow this is great. But now I’m thinking wow, that’s really dangerous.

JS: I remember my dad throwing me in the air and catching me when I was little.

PA: Oh I thought you were going to say he beat you.

JS: No not like throwing me across the room and beating the crap out of me. But you know, you’ve seen parents throw their kids up in the air and catching them?

PA:  Haha. Sure.

Photo courtesy of XNY.