2005_06_artsaurevoirsimone.jpgAu Revoir Simone creates an airy synth pop that'll make you levitate above the dancefloor. Most bands conjure up a handful of comparisons to other bands they sound like...this band tends to drum up images of seasons, stormclouds and sirens. With whispers set to synthesizers these lo-fi lovelies aren't to missed, recorded or live. And seriously, do you really want to miss out on a band who takes their photo in the Sears Portrait Studio?

Au Revoir Simone are Heather D'Angelo (vocals, drum machines, keyboard), Erika Forster (vocals, keyboard), Annie Hart (vocals, keyboard).

Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate?
[Annie] Our name comes from a Tim Burton movie in which one of the minor characters decides to leave her crappy job as a waitress, her crappy jealous boyfriend and a pretty not-so-crappy dinosaur park and head to Paris. Her name is Simone.

[Heather] Well, first let me say that the necessity of having to pick a band name at all is a pretty embarrassing exercise of ego...I'm not sure how it is for other bands, but I think that for us the resolution of the problem came about as a result of exhaustion and frustration clarified in one dizzy and hysterical moment when we all decided that referencing a character from a Pee Wee Herman movie (albeit the best one) was a brilliant idea. Not that I regret it, but I don't think its as funny anymore, and its hard for most people to pronounce. However, I learned later from a Frenchman, that its a colloquial term for 'shut up,' which has actually endeared me to the phrase again.

What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
[A] The first day I moved to New York I was moving into the dorms at Hunter College at age 18. I had met these cool punk girls at our summer orientation and was quietly wandering around the empty halls in this big, industrial, friendless, linoleum-filled building, hoping to catch sight of them and make friends, and when I saw them in the lobby, I ducked into the mail room out of sight and nervously checked my mailbox for the fifteenth time. Later that night I crossed paths with one of them again, and by this time I had no fingernails left. We compared our puny record collections. We're best friends to this day. I don't think I ever told her that story.

[E] I remember the day I moved to Brooklyn from where I had been staying for a few months at my great aunt & uncle’s apartment on the Upper East Side. It was October 1st and I took a car service early in the morning with an enormous duffel bag full of everything I needed. Mostly clothes. I remember the light that day was so perfect & warm. The trees looked amazing, the rooftops in Greenpoint from the BQE were totally enchanting, especially because they would soon be my new familial everyday landscape. Everything about that day was magical, but I have to say that it wasn't just because everything was new. There’s something about NY. I still have days like that all the time.

[H] Conscious memory? As opposed to all the unconscious ones? I’d rather talk about the unconscious memories. I had a great dream when I first moved here that we were in the dawn of the apocalypse...the buildings were crumbling, and all the planets had aligned in the heavens...space ships (the common disk shaped ones) were filling the skies and aliens were floating (yes floating) through the streets, capturing people, and turning them into their slaves. It was one of those epic, vivid dreams that I wish I had more of.

What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
[H] I had the opportunity of seeing David Bowie in a very small intimate concert...there were only about 40 people there. He sang 'Wild is the Wind'... and it went on and on, but was beautiful and moving...like when the diva plavalaguna sings opera in 'the Fifth Element' ...but before it turns into a cheesy nightclub remix.

[E] Just recently our producer Rod Sherwood and I both miraculously won a contest for a free bike for Bike Month NYC. After picking them up, we went to central park and rode around for hours, had a picnic, played backgammon in the Sheeps Meadow, made our way in rush hour down 5th Avenue & finally back over the Williamsburg Bridge.

[A] I'm pretty much happy and euphoric all the time, so I can't even BEGIN to rank a good memory as I am just filled to the brim with them. And I refuse to reveal my least favorite memory involving New York. WAY too embarrassing.

What is your favorite place to drink in NYC, and what's the best night to go out?
[H] My backyard, on a Thursday night

[A] I really enjoy the water in the cold-water half of my bathroom faucet. Way better than the kitchen one. Blech! My favorite night to go out is Friday, one because we have band practice which is the highlight of my week, but also because if you go out after practice is over and still wake up early on Saturday, it makes your weekend feel like a long vacation.

[E] I usually go out to see music so that pretty much dictates when and where but I like the Cake Shop on Ludlow and also East River Bar has good Monday nights with bands. Also, I like sake so my favorite places in Williamsburg are Bozu and Snacky on Grand Street, and Supercore on Bedford

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York?
[A] My favorite thing about playing shows in New York is the very nice community of people who generally comprise the audience at our shows. My very least favorite thing in general and at shows is people who are only interested in other people if they are famous or otherwise worth their while. That's pretty lame. People are amazing, no matter who they are.

[E] Yeah, there is such an awesome community of really talented people here who all support each other. My least favorite thing is that I hear in many cities bands get paid really well for playing shows, or at least enough to cover expenses. In New York, you definitely don’t!

Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
[A] Shows in Manhattan usually run an hour late. Shows in Brooklyn run two hours late.

[H] I like playing in Brooklyn more because I feel at home and therefore, less nervous.

[E] Brooklyn sound systems are typically not as good, but we do like playing closer to our practice space because it’s easier to get our gear there and our friends are more likely to come out.

Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
[A] No. I think our music could have happened on a farm in Kansas if we had the right CD collection growing up.
[H] Answering that would require more of an objective perspective than I could give....I don’t know.
[E] I don't think I would have met such talented and wonderful girls as Heather & Annie had I not come to NY.

Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action

“You know you’ve made it when…”
[A] You can work a part time job and do music all the rest of the time. Sigh, enter daydream here.

[H] You stop asking yourself why people like your music...hopefully it becomes more evident. That’s not to say that I don’t like my music, I love my music, and I say that with as little conceit as possible, but I also love cheese and pickle sandwiches with hot chocolate, and it’s surprising when you find other people that have the same 'weird' taste as you do. Kind of like when the bee girl finds her dancing bee-brethren.

“It’ll be time to pack up the gear for good when…”
[H] I’m too senile to remember my songs (cause no one wants to hear anyone Christopher Columbusing through a song.)
[A] We don't like playing music.
[E] Annie’s prophecy comes true that I'm a lounge singer somewhere bizarre ala Lost in Translation

“I’ll never forget the first time I…”

[A] Ate at Dodo’s.
[H] Woke up in the middle of the night because I had to write down a song that I had been playing in a dream...creative urges are a strange thing to experience because its just such a cliché to find yourself at 4am with a pencil and a keyboard thinking, “what the hell am I doing right now? Who the hell do I think I am, john Lennon?”

“I’ll never forget the first time [insert another band member’s name here]…”
[A] Heather was like, "I made up this song," and she and Erika sang Through the Backyards and blew my fucking mind. I was just like, “holy cow, this is the real deal.”
[H] Erika and Annie simultaneously communicated with me telepathically...and I didn't have to explain how the song I was writing sounded in my head, they just knew how to play it...they've done it a million times since then, which is useful considering that I have difficulty with formally articulating how a piece should sound. They've gotten used to me singing entire rhythm and bass parts in a series of 'duh duhs' and 'bom bums'...or whatever forms of scatting or onomatopoeia or whatever the hell you call it can translate a sound for me at the time.
[E] Annie & Heather had a practice without me because I was out of town and I felt so robbed. Like there was no where in the world I would rather be than playing music with them.

And finally, let's have some fun with word association. Give us your immediate feelings on the following (if you’ve got no discernable feelings, make something up that won’t embarrass you in the morning)

Yankees
[A] Really mean fans
[H] what
[E] Yankee Stadium is awesome

Mets
[A] Blue Collar
[H] huh
[E] hats?

Britney
[A] Tiffany
[H] needs pants
[E] yahoos! Most popular entertainment searches

Pitchfork
[A] Neptune
[H] hoedown
[E] never read it

Bridge & Tunnel
[A] Long Island
[H] glow sticks
[E] N. 6th St.

Times Square
[A] Wider sidewalks, please!!!
[H] hot dog
[E] Ethiopian food

Bloomberg
[A] Manhattan Waterfront Greenway
[H] hot dog
[E] stadium

Questions inspired by movies...

If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma (in less than 10 words). (Reality Bites)
[A] If I knew what ontological meant, I might be able to help you out.

What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)
[A] Misery
[H] The heartbeat, the music.
[E]Misery

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
[A] Whew! Kori from Mates of State with the keyboard player from Electrelane, Carrie from Sleater Kinney and Chris Walla from DCFC on guitar, Doug Marvin from Dirty on Purpose on drums, Allison from Discount would play wild hand percussion instruments including lots of hand claps, and sing with everyone else. Since I don't know too many bassists, I'd probably put Tre Cool from Green Day or Paul McCartney in there, but some wild punk bassist is probably more in the style of this crazy supergroup who really pound out some crazy loud songs with layer upon layer of intertwining keyboard, guitar and vocal melodies and counter-melodies. Everyone would be flailing around the stage, Carrie doing her rockstar kicks, and making insanely awesome music. This sounds so cool. Maybe I should write each of them and tell them this. Except Doug, I would just tell him because I live with him and it would be easier than writing a note.

[H] Very drugged out Brian Wilson (any age past pet sounds), with very young Bjork (sugar cube days) with a very young David Byrne and a very old (Desert Rose) Sting, and sometimes Jim O'Rourke comes in for shits and giggles. I'm getting all giddy thinking about it.

[E] To go along with the theme of all keyboard bands, id like to see a collaboration between verity of Electrelane, Mira of white magic, Brandon from the secret machines, Julia Guther, Greg Peterson, Arthur Russell, Brian Silas, Eluvium & a bit of Broadcast in the mix.

What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
[A] I bought Sleater Kinney All Hands on the Bad One on the release date. I think that's it. I'm a little behind the times when it comes to these things.

[E] I’ve never really paid attention to album release dates, but I’ve often heard songs on the radio or through friends or shows where I feel an incredible sense of urgency to get the songs. In the past couple of years that list has included Guther, Electrelane, Diamond Nights, Quixotic, Secret Machines, Vetiver, Stars, Ms. John Soda, Karen Ann, & Ponies in the Surf.

[H] I'm far too lazy for that kind of fanaticism.

And finally...If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked your band to perform on his tv show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers and the Walkmen recently have) would you?
[A] Of course. That sounds like fun.

[H] Only if erika could have a bit part as Marissa's evil nemesis.

Au Revoir Simone plays at Southpaw [125 5th Ave Park Slope] tonight. They go on at 9pm and and are followed by Beeps and Cut the Wire. Check out some mp3's here.