Angelo De Augustine
Recommended this month: a new Sufjan Stevens, live and direct from an LA bathtub!
Angelo De Augustine’s earliest memories involve accompanying his parents to work, which in practice meant hanging out in recording studios. His father, Tony, is a session drummer; his mother, Wendy Fraser, a singer. They split when De Augustine was four, at which point Fraser became her son’s primary source of musical education.
“She was a big influence for me,” says the softspoken 24-year-old from his home in lA. “She mostly sang back up for lots of artists, but she also sang ‘She’s like The Wind’, with Patrick Swayze, for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. You can hear her at the end, and she’s in the video. That was her 15 minutes of fame, I guess, but she wrote her own songs pretty much my whole life. That was the main music I heard.”
The impact of ’80s power ballads on De Augustine’s own music is, as yet, hard to discern. His folkish sound more closely resembles the likes of elliott Smith, José gonzález and his friend, Sufjan Stevens, whose Asthmatic Kitty label are releasing De Augustine's second album, Swim
Inside The Moon.
As a kid, De Augustine was “addicted to soccer. Then, when I was 14, I got a guitar from one of mum’s friends, and I just started writing songs. It was like magic, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Fast forward a few years, and I was working with other people, producers who were interested in my music, but I wasn’t happy with how that turned out. It was a couple of things. I don’t like people to be around when I’m recording, unless it’s someone I trust. Also, I wasn’t ready with material I really believed in. It takes a while to develop as an artist.”
After those false starts, his creative breakthrough came at 21, when he started making home recordings on an old reel-to-reel tape machine. The results became his first album, Spirals Of Silence, released in 2014. The follow-up,
Swim Inside The Moon, is another quietly bewitching collection of sweetly skewed popfolk, dominated by De Augustine’s intricate acoustic guitar figures and whispered vocals. “I recorded this record in the bath tub,” he says. “I thought that sound was really interesting. You can experiment with more sounds in a house, because it’s not a perfect room, there’s lots of eccentricities. Also, I have so much more time, I’m not on the studio clock. And it’s nice. I don’t like to leave my house that much!” He’d already recorded Swim Inside
The Moon when he encountered Stevens. “I met him when I was working at a recording studio in new York. We all listened to the record in its entirety, and he alluded to the possibility of it having a home with Asthmatic Kitty. A few months later I received an email saying they’d love to put it out. I trust him. He’s given me a lot of encouragement and support, and I can’t say enough good things about Asthmatic Kitty. They give me complete creative freedom, and I already know in this industry that’s very rare.” Swim Inside The Moon is released August 18 on Asthmatic Kitty