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The Gregory Brothers, Creators of 'Auto-Tune the News' (INTERVIEW)

— October 21, 2009 — Pop Culture
The Gregory Brothers are a family band made up of brothers Evan, Andrew and Michael Gregory, as well as Evan’s wife Sarah. The group took to Youtube with 'Auto-Tune the News' and quickly became an Internet sensation with their manipulated news reports.

The news has never sounded so good, and certainly never so funny. We talked with Evan Gregory about the role trend spotting plays in Auto Tune the News.

12 Questions with The Gregory Brothers

1. How did you get involved with 'Auto-Tune the News' and what motivates you to continue?

Auto-Tune the News evolved out of some videos Michael was making during the election season.  You can check out his debate videos on the YouTube channel (youtube.com/schmoyoho) and watch the evolution of the concept - from just songs about the debate to what eventually became Auto-Tuned duets with the candidates.  You can track that over the course of the debate videos.  The town hall debate was a real watershed. 

Then more recently, Auto-Tune the News was borne out of a desire to serialize that same idea and keep it current and funny. We keep working on the videos primarily because they give us a kick, but also because the audience demands it! 

2. How significant are the topics of cool hunting and trend spotting to what you do?

We don’t ever bother to try to predict what will be cool.  But we do try to decipher how trends or ideas are communicated, especially online, because that helps us connect with our audience more effectively.

3. How do you define a trend?

It’s very important to us to be on top of the latest trends; that’s why we do whatever Oprah tells us.

4. How do you define cool?

We don’t like cool when it means being aloof and disinterested.  We like cool when it means engaged and dynamic.  And funny.

5. Do you need a culture of innovation to create something that is cool?

A “culture of innovation” is not a bad way to restate “being creative”, but it smacks of corporate initiatives.  If you run a business and are having trouble getting your cubicle-bound employees to come up with new ideas, perhaps you should introduce a…culture of innovation.

6. What is the best way to create an infectious idea, product or service?

Half of it is the idea, the other half is getting it noticed.  To stretch a somewhat squirm-inducing analogy, you can’t be infectious if you can’t get your germs into your target host organism.  Mostly, make sure your idea carries the stamp of yourself.  People respond to ideas or brands that are genuine and reflect a real personality, rather than a replica of somebody else’s style.

7. What is the key to innovation?

Most innovation comes from taking ideas that are already out there and putting them together.  Don’t feel compelled to come up with an idea that is completely and utterly brand-new-under-the-sun…those ideas rarely exist.  It’s more about taking existing ideas, rethinking and combining them in new ways.

8. What is the most important trend you see in your industry?

The democratizing of creativity via the Internet. You don’t need a studio budget to produce good content, just good ideas.

9. What are your ambitions for Auto-Tune the News?

To get Joe Biden a record contract.

10. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

We know that if we set aside enough time and isolate ourselves from distractions, we can create.  For us, being creative is not about having a flashbulb go off in your own little black box, it’s about collaboration and bouncing ideas off of each other.  That’s how you get things moving.

11. Professionally, what do you want to be doing in 10 years?

Running for Congress backed up by a disco band.

12. What are your most important hobbies?

Frolicking in the park, a welcome island of green amidst a concrete jungle.  Playing and writing music.
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