The super-cool electro rockers are back with a third album and some Aussie gigs next week, so we got ourselves a Brazilian…
I can vividly remember the first time I heard CSS. It was 2006 and I was living in London. I was driving home late one night, trying not to fall asleep at the wheel, when suddenly the track “Alala” came on the radio. It was infectious, sublimely subversive and filled with crazy accents and even crazier lyrics. I loved it so much I had to stop the car and write down their name in case I forgot it before I got home.
It turns out I needn’t have bothered. Soon enough this unassuming five-piece hailing from SÃ¤o Paulo were the darlings of the music press, adorning magazine covers wherever I looked. While that year’s self-titled debut album from Cansei de Ser Sexy (which loosely translates, incidentally, as “I’ve grown tired of being sexy”), didn’t quite set the charts on fire, several indie magazines named it one of the records of the year, while singer Lovefoxxx made it to a podium place on the NME‘s annual cool list.
The years aren’t always kind to bands of the moment, however, especially ones like CSS that toured so relentlessly, and their follow-up album, 2008’s Donkey, was widely slammed. Luckily, whether it was due to exhaustion from the road or a desire for a return to form, the band took some time out to chill in Brazil for a year, recording third album La LiberaciÃ³n in the process. The resulting record, out earlier this year, is proof that it was a good call.
“Being back in Brazil was important,” CSS’s guitarist Ana Rezende told TNT on a scratchy phone between gigs on a month-long European tour. “It was really good because we were touring really a lot. We just had to stop and rest.”
But thankfully, now that they’re fully rested, and with fresh tunes under their belts, they’re getting back to doing what they do best, playing live.
“It’s not really hard getting motivated for shows,” says Ana, “because it’s like an hour and 20 minutes in a day. In every 24 hours we spend our time getting to a show, doing soundchecks and whatever. Everything revolves around that show, so for us it’s the best hour of the day. I think maybe that’s why people like to see our shows.”
Indeed it’s clear that CSS, initially a side project for a bunch of mates earning their keep through graphic design, art and film, are still loving the ride. “Getting into music was kind of an accident,” explains Ana in her bubbly and amused but rapid-fire Portuguese English.
“We were in Brazil for starters. Carol and Luiza went to art school, I went to film school, stuff like that. So we had those jobs and plans and then on the side we just thought, ‘let’s have a band’ and in Brazil that just means you have a band, it doesn’t go anywhere. So that’s what we did and it didn’t go anywhere. But then suddenly it did and became this and we live out of this so it’s pretty cool. But it was all an accident, a big happy accident. It was just like, let’s have a retarded band with a stupid name and play a show!”
So is she fed up yet of having a bizarre band name taken from a reported BeyoncÃ© quote? “Ha,” replies Ana. “It was just really the stupidest name we could ever get. We weren’t trying to be serious. Actually our goal was to go out at night and have free beers, that was the main thing. It worked out because now we get a whole lot of free beers!”
And free beers is something they’re likely to be seeing a bit more of in the near future, as CSS arrive Down Under next week. “We’re really looking forward to Falls Festival,” enthuses Ana. “There’s a lot of cool bands we really like that are playing, like Fleet Foxes and Metronomy, plus we actually have a lot of friends in Australia so we’re looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve with them.”
But more importantly, will Lovefoxxx have a new catsuit to wow Aussie crowds with from her legendary wardrobe? “Ah, she’s actually just stopped that now, but she has a whole crazy new thing which you’ll see in our shows.”
CSS are playing Falls Festival in Tasmania and Victoria (Dec 29-Jan 1), plus gigs in Sydney (Jan 3) and Melbourne (Jan 5). For info, see http://www.frontiertouring.com/CSS[www.frontiertouring.com/CSS]