"Alcohol is about an ex friend, someone who Lovefoxx (the singer) hated for a week, but now she loves her again. Still, in that week she used her feelings and wrote a song."
Incendiary interview with CSS
Out we went to the wilds of Amsterdam West to interview CSS, who have been creating a stir in media circles with their debut LP. Luckily Incendiary also likes the LP, Cansei De Ser Sexy so we couldn't get too cynical. In fact it's refreshing and intriguing slacker pop, something we feel is hard to come by in these straightened times.
The band CSS (all of them) have been interviewed and photographed all day in various combinations, by enthusiastic meeja people sporting those odious half-mast jeans. By the time I get a chance to sit down with them they are bewildered and wilting visibly. Still, a swift half in the hotel bar perks Carolina Parra, Ana Rezende & Ira Trevisan up enough to allow for a very pleasant half hour.
IN: Your LP is a blast, a lot of fun. Is it an LP that was brewing up inside of you for a while?
CSS (in entirety): No! It was completely accidental!
Ira: Yeah we only decided at the end of 2003 to form a band.
Ana: It was like a drunk conversation like let's form a band, and we pretty much rehearsed and did a lot of shows in Brazil... Somehow we got a deal and we just tried to get to get together all the music we had been performing, and that was the LP, nothing more!
IN: How did you get it together so quickly then?
Ana: It was a big surprise and it happened really fast. We wanted people to hang out with rather than musicians.
Ira: We have to have fun, and if we didn't we would be completely crazy by now. We're half way through a 5 month tour, so if we were playing with people who weren't our friends...
IN: Your LP sounds very American, very Tom Tom Club, and a bit Jonathan Richman in spirit. The lyrical observations were very direct like Richman, you state your preferences for things very clearly.
Ana: I think that everything we do comes out very naturally, in that we love making music about things we love and things we hate. We love to hate things that we hate, and vice versa.
Ira: We have some characters in our songs that are real people and we love talking shit about them all day, but we make them into cartoon characters. She's a half Japanese girl, but she's really the most mediocre person ever and she spends her life talking shit about us, so we gave her a cartoon life...
IN: So you create cartoon characters from your real life subjects?
Ana: Yeah, Fuckoff (is not the only thing you have to show) is like that. Alcohol is about an ex friend, someone who Lovefoxx (the singer) hated for a week, but now she loves her again. Still, in that week she used her feelings and wrote a song.
IN: That's how records should be; it should be about the moment.
Ana: But it is also the case in a live show. When we play the songs on stage, all the songs are very different now because they keep on growing and becoming something else. They aren't really like the LP versions.
Ira: Technology helps us all the time, and it helps us keep the songs fresh, we do a lot of recording on laptops between gigs, we keep things as fresh as possible. We like to take recordings of the shows, clan them up and put them on YouTube, whatever, its amazing the angles you see in your own music. You sometimes don't notice it on stage.
IN: I'm very sketchy on Brazilian music. The only thing I have as reference is the David Byrne compilation (Rei Momo) You are being pushed as being a very different proposition from a country that hasn't been noted for rock music. Is that a fair thing to say?
Ana: We are very different. In Brazil it's either really shitty bands who are huge, or people who make amazing music, but only do it at the weekend. We are in the middle, I mean we started off as a fun band, but as time wore on and we got noticed by Sub Pop, things changed. We won't ever get huge in Brazil, because there are no venues for us
Ira: Its either 60 people or 3,000 people, you don't have space for independent music.
Ana: Most of the underground bands sing in English like us, but they just cover stuff like Britpop. There is also Brazilian music, but that is nothing to do with us. We grew up listening to English music in particular, and I feel that we are much more of a universal pop band than a Brazilian band anyway.
Ira: There is Brazilian music, we like that but we like Brazilian music but we don't feel we have Bossanova in our background... maybe it's because we are from Sao Paulo, which is more cosmopolitan, more full of immigrants, almost all of us have different backgrounds...
Ana: We hated all the records our parents listened to anyway, so we rebelled against it. It's only now that we would listen to traditional Brazilian music.
IN: My fave band played Brazil, Echo & the Bunnymen
Ira: They play all the time I Brazil, and I didn't go to their show... We like New Order, we are really big New Order fans and we can't see them, they are in Brazil and we are here...
Ana: Its like that film, 24 Hour Party People, we love those bands, we can't believe that guy, Mick Hucknee? (sic)
IN: Mick Hucknall
Ana: Yeah him, we can't believe he was in that film! Our Manchester gig was crazy by the way, crazy nice people jumping up and down...
Words: Richard Foster.