Girl Power! part four – Au Revoir Simone
by: Diego Martínez
August 7, 2012
Groups fronted by women go a long way. Ever since our mothers dreamt about gangsta lovers a-la The Shangrilas or when they stared at themselves in the mirror, comb in hand, extending their arm to plea a stop sign in the name of love, just like Diana Ross and her Supreme pals Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. Even during the ‘jazz age’ and the first 50 years of the 20th Century there were young females who sang through our darkest hours. And there we were, clapping along. Oh, those were the good old days of dames singing catchy tunes, taking orders and putting out a happy face for the world to see.
Nowadays, however, things have taken a turn. Like their contemporary men peers, women are in charge of their creative destiny, proving each and every time how credible and authentic they can really be. Most all-female bands are now self produced; they write their own songs, play their own instruments and figure out their dance moves if they have to. In the spirit of our just-released WOMAN issue, The WILD has searched far and wide and gathered the opinion of four girl groups. Four different approaches to the fact that women still run the show in their own sweet way: The Pipettes, Girl In A Coma, Stone Darling and Au Revoir Simone.
Part four, Au Revoir Simone
It’s been a while since we last heard from you. What are you all up to lately?
Annie Hart: We’re hard at work in the studio writing new songs. We’ve been being really productive and are getting completely lost in the sounds and beats.
After working actively as a unit for many years, has the band’s dynamic changed a bit or do you still feel it’s comfortable to work together?
Annie: I think the longer you know people the easier it is to work together. You understand each others’ communication styles and you know what people mean when they speak. We always had a sort of psychic musical connection, but now it’s morphed into a thick psychic wall.
How do you juggle your personal and professional ventures and at the same time, maintain your loyalty to Au Revoir Simone?
Annie: Heather was thinking about being a scientist (she’s studying biology up at Columbia) versus being a musician, and her conclusion was that one was empty without the other. I think that was such an apt observation. To me a good metaphor of how I get everything done might be that different aspects of life are like colors: I don’t have a favorite, but there are some I just gravitate to, and others that I avoid. So I guess music is like the color of Lake Michigan on a sunny fall day, and housekeeping must be like chartreuse.
Do you feel the same about your music today as you did way back when it was all about ‘verses of comfort, assurance and salvation’?
Annie: I mean, listening back, obviously now we know so much more about keyboards and music and beat creation then when were just learning, but the feeling I get when we play is exactly the same. There’s a pure, unbridled joy that is almost like being hypnotized by the keyboard sounds, it’s fantastic, and it’s what keeps us together and making music.
What themes do you usually come back to in your lyrics?
Annie: Love, sadness, discovery, and magic.
Tell us about your female influences
Annie: You mean like people or things who influence me to be female as opposed to male? Most women might say “the moon,” but I guess I’d say my Mom, because almost everyone learns about womanhood from her mother, at least at first. It’s a very enduring schema.
Did you ever feel pressured or intimidated from your male peers or it’s all fair game?
Annie: You mean like to do drugs or something? I never get invited to those kinds of parties.
What’s the best thing about being in an all-girl band?
Annie: In every group I’ve been in that’s just women, the communication is spot-on, hands down. Every group I’ve been in with men is more like “less talk, more rock,” which really bums me out. Au Revoir Simone works as strong collective; we all have input and give extraordinary feedback to each other about the songs. It’s a much more satisfying way of composing and playing.
Does the future hold something for Au Revoir Simone?
Annie: The future holds something for everyone. I think ours holds magic and world travel. Hopefully on a cushy bus with lots of time for sleeping.
Finally, what’s the group’s WILD wish?
Annie: World peace and the reversal of global warming.