2013 Artist Survey: Au Revoir Simone | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2013 Artist Survey: Au Revoir Simone

Heather D'Angelo, Erika Forster, and Annie Hart on First Heartbreaks, First R-rated Movies, Spotify, and More

Feb 07, 2014 Artist Surveys 2013
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For Under the Radar‘s 11th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the important issues of the last year, as well as some quirkier subjects. Check out our next print issue and digital issue for surveys from My Morning Jacket, Foals, Amanda Palmer, Local Natives, Wild Nothing, These New Puritans, Lanterns on the Lake, Xiu Xiu, and Summer Camp.

Here are answers from Heather D’Angelo, Erika Forster, and Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone. Au Revoir Simone’s latest album, Move in Spectrums, is out now on Moshi Moshi and Instant.

Top 10 Albums of 2013

Heather D’Angelo: I kind of stopped listening to new music [in the last] year since we released an album (I’ve been pretty busy), but here are some of my favorite 2013 albums that are on frequent iTunes rotation:

1. Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
2. Kanye West: Yeezus
3. Darkside: Psychic
4. Drake: Nothing Was the Same
5. Mazzy Star: Seasons of Your Day

Annie Hart:

1. Grooms: Infinity CallerThis is the kind of band that would catch on like wildfire if more people knew about them. They have a gritty sound, but catchy like The Kinks, if The Kinks were inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain, and seriously fresh like a band from Williamsburg in 2013, which they are. I unabashedly recommend this record to everyone. It’s the kind of record that feels new and like you’ve loved it since you were 15 all at the same time.
2. Kanye West: YeezusI can’t unabashedly recommend this album to everyone, as it is quite offensive, and lyrically seems a bit lazy at times, but it is the pinnacle of keyboard and drum machine production, as far as I am concerned. The sounds are so punchy and crisp, and his delivery is so heartfelt and emotive, even when he’s rapping stuff that sounds like he probably made it up about five minutes before recording. As far as production and delivery go, this is the kind of record I would love to make. He builds so much tension in “Hold My Liquor” with an insanely beautiful chord progression, and the sample in “Blood on the Leaves” leaves you haunted. I just wish I never saw the video for “Bound 2.” Ugh.
3. We Are Scientists: “Something About You” singleSo catchy! Great production! Love this.
4. Parquet Courts: Light Up Gold-Fun, jangly rock ‘n’ roll.
5. My Bloody Valentine: m b vOur co-producer on Move in Spectrums was obsessing over this record while we were recording ours and we’d listen to it every day while eating lunch. I loved it from the first note.
6. Palma Violets: 180Yes, I am sleeping on their tour bus this week, but it’s not their kind hospitality that drew me to this record.
7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra: IIThere’s some harsh frequencies on this recording that make it a little hard to listen to, but it’s still really good.
8. Drake: Nothing Was the SameYou can listen to my cover of “Started From the Bottom” if you search Soundcloud for “Annie Hart.” I’m pretty obsessed with Drake. He’s so sincere, kind of a dork, smart, and dedicated to music. I really admire him.

Erika Forster:

1. Daft Punk: Random Access MemoriesI was looking forward to this album for a really long time. They chose the perfect collaborators. Nile Rodgers is my top musical hero (his book Le Freak is a must read) and as a synth player, getting Giorgio Moroder in the mix is a total dream. This album is really a work of art and I’m so glad the whole world agreed.
2. Kanye West: YeezusAgreed.
3. Drake: Nothing Was the Same“Hold On, We’re Going Home” is such a great song and makes me feel good, but the video is not so sexy. I hate guns.
4. Delorean: AparBeautiful, joyful album. I got to sing backup on some of the songs and loved hearing this album come together.
5. Kisses: Kids in L.A.Have always loved this band but this album really brought together all their strengths and is so fun to listen to. I played it a lot on tour, in my hotel room winding down or frantic mornings-always makes me feel good!

What was the highlight of 2013, either for you personally or for the band?

Heather: The highlight for me was definitely when we finally released this album! We had been working on it for so long, I didn’t think it would ever be finished.
Annie: I really enjoyed returning to tour and playing live. I’ve really changed since I had my child, and I feel such unbounded joy without reservation now when I play. I love not second-guessing myself. It’s so fun.
Finishing our album. I think it was a big step forward for us.

What was the low point of 2013 for you?

Heather: There honestly wasn’t one.
Annie: Band-wise, definitely our show in Berlin this year. It’s so sad when you try your best and technical problems ruin the night for everyone.
Erika: Driving from Porto to Madrid in the middle of the night after a month-long tour to catch a plane because of a messed-up flight reservation.

What are your hopes and plans for 2014?

Heather: I’m looking forward to continuing to share our music with the world while we’re on tour, while also continuing to work on my other career in microbial ecology. It’s going to be a very busy year. I hope to go back into the field (Malaysia) to do research, and I hope to also play some big summer festivals.
Annie: I want to enjoy touring and keep working to improve my craft.
Erika: I am so excited to open up for Broken Bells in March on their U.S. tour. Being an opening band is an incredible learning experience and I admire them so much. What I’ve heard of their new album After the Disco is beyond, can’t wait to hear it live every night!

What are your thoughts on the passing of Lou Reed? Did his music influence you at all and in what way?

Heather: Very saddened. That’s all.
Annie: I was so sad to hear of his passing. The first song I learned how to play on guitar was “Heroin.” Granted, I was pretty young and didn’t really get the lyrics, but the whole idea of a powerful song being played with such simple chords was really mind-blowing.
Erika: I first heard The Velvet Underground in college. I was almost angry that no one had introduced them to me until then! My first bands covered “Rock and Roll” and “Sweet Jane.” The Velvets were the epitome of coolness, and to me Lou Reed just kind of represents bravery and letting your freak flag fly.

What are your thoughts on the U.S. government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate?

Heather: Angry. The shutdown’s effects are projected to continue to negatively impact scientific research for years; how can we ever expect to find a cure for cancer or figure out how to mitigate climate change without the proper funding? There’s barely enough of it as it is, and the shutdown served to only further exacerbate the already financially insecure situation.
Annie: I am beyond annoyed with our government. Granted, I’ve been writing letters to the President since I could write, used to have a zine filled with political commentary on why everyone should hate Newt Gingrich, and am known to read the newspaper with a pen writing things like “unbelievable!” in the margins, but seriously, seriously, things are worse than ever. What is this, kindergarten?
Erika: We were on tour and got back and I was really confused about the whole thing until my cousin from DC explained it to me. I don’t have much hope invested in our federal government so I don’t really have an opinion.

What are your thoughts on Obamacare, now that it’s being implemented?

Heather: My thoughts about this can be summed up via my brother Jonathan’s recent Facebook post: “Obamacare caused my health insurance premiums to drop 50% with a lower deductible, more coverage, and no subsidy.” He has muscular dystrophy and thus has been on the receiving end of discrimination from health insurance companies for years. No more.
Annie: It’s such a waste of an effort, I think. We really need to place price limits on medical procedures and pharmaceuticals, and I really wanted a public option. I wish we had socialized medicine like in Sweden or Germany. Have you ever been to the hospital in Germany? I recommend the experience, though I hope you don’t fall ill.
Erika: I definitely think that it could have been taken further if there wasn’t so much misinformation and scare tactics being thrown around, but I am really happy that it looks like insurance premiums will be cheaper for those of us who solely want insurance for emergencies and don’t want to be involved with mainstream medicine at all.

What is your opinion on the extensive government spying on the world’s Internet/phone usage? Is Edward Snowden a patriot or traitor?

Heather: I think it’s not that surprising, is wildly inappropriate, and Edward Snowden is a patriot.
Annie: I’ve never trusted the government, and I feel like all this spying is just the tip of the iceberg.
Erika: Patriot. It seems like it takes the masses getting together or radical action to get people’s attention.

What are your thoughts on music streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio? Are they good or bad for musicians?

Heather: I mean. I listen to Spotify every single day. I know it’s not good for me, as a musician, or the bands I listen to. I do pay for the premium service, and I do still buy albums on iTunes. The system is obviously very broken. I’m not sure what else to say.
Annie: I don’t know. I do know we sell a lot less CDs than we used to, but I also think CDs are gross and a waste of materials, so what do I care? It’s good that more people can hear us whenever they want to.
Erika: I think it’s good. We are able to reach a lot more people and can find creative ways to make money. As long as the money isn’t going to the Internet startups and not artists.

Who was the first person to break your heart? Whose heart did you first break?

Heather: I’ve broken my own heart several times by trusting it with guys who didn’t really know what to do with it, and I’m afraid a few guys have made similar mistakes with me. Generally, hearts shouldn’t be given out before the age of 25and of course there are many exceptions to that rulebut the worst disappointments were certainly the earliest ones of my life.
Annie: Ricci Lopez broke my heart, several times. He was my first real boyfriend in high school. He stopped me in the hallway on my way to class and said, “Hey, mall girl!” We first made out during a PTA meeting in the faculty bathroom. I still write songs about him. I don’t know if I broke anyone’s heart.
Erika: I’ve broken some hearts but every time I think my own heart took longer to mend! I’m really sensitive and I think in all cases I just knew that it was time to move on before they did.

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

Heather: There were too many to count, and I have excellent powers of repression, so I can’t remember one incident, just a vague cringe-sensation when I think back to those days.
Annie: All the buses used to line up in a circle around our tiny parking lot after school. I was running like a clumsy fool to catch mine at the front of the line when the zipper broke on my heavily-laden backpack and my books fell all over the lot as the whole school looked out their bus windows and laughed and yelled at me.
Erika: Every day of freshman year.

Do bad reviews bother you and which negative review has affected you the most?

Heather: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about Pitchfork reviews. They can be unfair, or generous, or biting and cruelregardless, there is always a thread of truth to themsometimes even more than a threadand so they always sting a little bit.
Annie: I don’t really read them, just the major ones. And Pitchfork gave Bird of Music a pretty mediocre review, but they were spot-on. All the things they disliked were things I disliked as well.
Erika: I like thoughtful writing about music and when it’s about our music, I’m usually flattered that someone gave it a careful listen even if it’s not their thing.

What moment in history do you most wish you could’ve witnessed in person?

Heather: The moment Galileo first tried out his telescope.
Annie: I wish I could have seen the dinosaurs! Or the Roaring ‘20s. Or anything, really, I love history. I also love the present.
Erika: I would have liked to hang on the dance floor at Studio 54 or Area.

What is your favorite word and why?

Heather: “Efficient!” I love that word. I detest inefficiencies.

What was the first R-rated (17+) movie you remember seeing and how old were you?

Heather: Some insane relative let me watch Halloween when I was five years old. I blame this childhood moment for my lifelong gothness.
Erika: My mom’s friend took my sister and I to see Witness in the theater because the kids’ movie was sold out. I was five. The first scene was really scary.

What’s the weirdest/grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Heather: Cui [guinea pig] in Peru. It still had teeth and claws, and tasted like leather. I want to puke just thinking of it.



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