If you haven't heard of Au Revoir Simone yet, just wait. The angelic, grass-between-your-toes trio from Brooklyn has already toured alongside Camera Obscura, Peter Bjorn & John, and Voxtrot. This summer finds the band touring through Japan, Europe and the UK, after which they'll return to the US for thirty more gigs with Oh No! Oh My! and Modest Mouse. The all-keyboard trio came up with their ethereal synth pop blueprint while riding together on a Manhattan bound locomotive; since then Au Revoir Simone has been in constant motion. Before heading to Japan, band member Annie Hart had a little time to chat with IMPOSE about the band, its work with David Lynch, and how its name is inspired by a line from Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
How would you describe the Au Revoir Simone sound to folks who haven't heard you yet?
Annie: Dreamy electronic lo-fi keyboard pop.
Many of your tracks accomplish blending cold, machine generated sounds with very warm, celestial voices. Is that juxtaposition purely for aural aesthetics or is there a deeper reasons for your selection of instrumentation?
Annie: We try to keep the sound in its entirety as warm as possible and bring a sense of air and space and vibrancy down to even the synthesizers we use. The warm, live vocals are a part of that as well.
When you formed the band, was there a sound you set out to capture? Was having an all female line up essential to capturing that sound?
Annie: I originally thought of this band in a very different light than we are today. I expected us to be even more lo-fi and sparse, but we have grown into a much thicker sound. As for our gender, I think that the sound of music is created by the influences and taste of the player, not the gender.
What is the song writing process like in the band? Does everyone contribute lyrics and music?
Annie: Yes, we all bring in lots of ideas and flesh out songs together. We only bring a song to the public if we have all worked on it and are happy with it.
The album contains a mix of slower, sleepy, almost hypnotic songs along side some seriously danceable pop tunes. Do you prefer one to the other, or do they all have places in your hearts?
Annie: I love most types of music, and hearing the different styles changes my attitude, rather than my attitude affecting how I feel about the song. Except sometimes when I have a headache.
I've seen two music videos for this album and both seem very fitting for your sound and look. How involved were you with the creation of the videos? Did you find that process fun or difficult?
Annie: We worked on both videos with our friends from Disposable Television. The first time we had lots and lots of meetings and emails to get down what we wanted right, and then for “Sad Song” we just went with their concept without having to tell how we wanted to appear and look and do because at that point we trusted them entirely and understood that they got our aesthetic. They are the best! We had so much fun working with them on both shoots.
In photos of the band there seems to be a kind of pixie thing going on with your image. Are you indeed strange maidens from mythical forests? How hard is it to maintain that image outside the forest in the human world?
Annie: I am a former hardcore kid who did a zine. I wear what I like and do what I feel is appropriate. If people want to think I'm a pixie thats fine.
Could you tell me about your connection to David Lynch? How did he come to hear your music? Is there more collaboration with him for the future?
Annie: We were invited by a amazing curator at a bookstore in New York to play an event there where musicians play music and authors read from their books. We did that with him for his new book, Catching the Big Fish and it was great. Thankfully, he really took a liking to us and has been such a fantastic, warm presence in our lives since then. We would love to work professionally with him in the future. That would be lovely.
Speaking of Hollywood, are you excited for Pee Wee Herman's comeback? I hear rumors of a new Pee Wee film.
Annie: awesome. I assume total responsibility.
Do you think Paul Rubens deserved the harsh exile he got?
Annie: Oh, he hardly got an exile, he has been in so many films. I think he is doing very well career wise.
The band formed a few years ago and already you seem to be having amazing success. Is this all setting in yet or has it been kind of a whirlwind? I imagine ARS now takes up a lot more of everyones time then it did before. Is that okay with everyone? Was that part of the plan when you started or was playing music with friends more important?
Annie: Well, we are hardly huge in the least right now, but the popularity we have was completely unexpected. We always just had fun playing music and enjoying our creations with each other, and playing in front of an audience is still a thrill and blessing.
You have been on some serious world tours already and are about to embark on another one that stops in Japan, the UK, Europe and some places I never even heard of. What is touring like for you? Any place you are really looking forward to seeing on this tour?
Annie: Touring is great and we are so pleased to have the opportunity to travel the world. It is a pleasant surprise and one we are very thankful for. I think we look forward to each place individually. When you are touring so much it can be very tiring so you have to take each day as it is and enjoy it for what it brings you.
Are you guys out there causing trouble like The GoGo's did or is it lights out at 10pm?
Annie: Lights at 10 for sure!
How many hearts have you broken around the planet? How many will you be adding on this tour?
Annie: One- my own. I miss my house and my cats and my husband, but it is worth it since this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.