Automatic Pilot was once known as Friend of a Friend, a widely embraced modern rock band that made a big splash in the NW Indiana area from 2001-2002. Automatic Pilot was conceived shortly thereafter as a whole new project that cultivates every musical genre from a predilection of all kinds of different styles. The project primarily consists of James Eric Laczkowski, who composes electronic, ambient, pop soundscapes, with hints of alternative rock, in a singer/songwriter acoustic environment.
Although James is the primary songwriter, he hopes of collaborating with several other musicians this fall to record a new album that is currently in the works. Right now the lineup is changing, and the band is constantly evolving. The other two committed members to the project at the present time are Josh Childs and Dan Frailich, who were previously seen in Friend of a Friend exhibiting their fine talents. The only instrument James doesn't play fluently is the drums, and has been playing guitar since he was 10. Between the world of pop punk rock and ambient electronica will emerge an exciting brand new sound!
Back in 1992, James became a multi-instrumentalist for such bands as Cheesy Couch Treasures, Einstein's Creation, and Bad Shakespeare, before coming into his own with the great Indiana band Midian Rose. After Midian Rose went its separate ways after high school graduation, James continued to pursue a solo career, recording hundreds of 4-track demos that later became the highly acclaimed experiment, Libbets. James' CD, "Turn Off The TV, and Listen To This," later went on to sell 200 copies of the CD through Mp3.com due to the great write-up in the Illinois Entertainer. Acoustic gigs followed and more CDs were sold. But it wasn't until the year 2000 that the breakthrough shoegazer pop punk band Friend of A Friend gave James an even bigger following and a chance to take charge of the rock band front man status he's known for today.
Originally, much like Libbets, Friend of a Friend was the brain child of James, with the members simply there to perform his work live. Love of live performance then forced the group to come together and begin to work collectively. In the year 2001, they released their Pixies-esque debut "El Amigo," which allowed them to play a wide variety of venues ranging from established clubs to coffeehouses in Evanston, Lansing, and even Tower Records in Chicago, IL.
Eventually their last show would be Uncommon Ground in Chicago, a venue in which Jeff Buckley played regularly and would cater to several acts such as Train and The Smashing Pumpkins. It was in the summer of 2002 that Friend of a Friend drummer Nate Bohanan then decided to pursue other endeavors, while James refused to stop recording, writing, and expressing to the world his abiding love for music. The remaining Friend of a Friend members still collaborate with James and hope to become an essential rhythmic part in making Automatic Pilot a bigger, louder reality once a new drummer has joined the group by 2003.
Right now, James is promoting his name across the country by working on a new website, playing solo acoustic gigs, and handing out free demos of the new, promotional release of Automatic Pilot so the people can get a sample of what's yet to come from this amazingly diverse talent who has been a staple in Chicago publications since 1999. Echoing Badly Drawn Boy, Matthew Sweet, Superdrag, and Bright Eyes, this is an artist to be reckoned with. Although the recent demos are currently comprised of looped drum tracks, the glaring emotion and impeccable songwriting skills are still prevalent. James' knack for a catchy hook, experimental instrumentation, and refined chord structure is heard in every song.