CSS - Not Tired Of Being Sexy...
Monday, 10 March 2008
“We don’t try to do Brazilian music, we go for something totally universal,” bassist Iracema “Ira” Trevisan proffers in her thick Portuguese Brazilian accent.
When the group formed in 2003, it was as much an opportunity for them to socialise as to experiment. The art school kids – from Brazil’s oft-discounted middle-class – claimed to not even know how to play their instruments, CSS’s sole male, thirty-something drummer Adriano Cintra, the exception.
The pals came up with the name Cansei de Ser Sexy, meaning “tired of being sexy,” on a whim. Reputedly Beyonce Knowles, frustrated by her bootylicious status, uttered the throwaway line in interview.
With Lovefoxxx as lead singer, the six-piece developed a style encompassing electro, rock, pop culture references and, naturally, arty flamboyance.
CSS dropped their self-titled album to little fanfare in Brazil three years ago.
The next year the band, with Diplo’s patronage, signed to Sub Pop, the US label largely responsible for grunge. CSS are now bigger stars outside their homeland.
“It’s funny because we were never really big in Brazil,” Ira affirms. “We were really an alternative underground band here. Then, when things started happening outside, we got a lot of press talking about how big we were outside.”
Since then, CSS have been constantly on the road. Lovefoxxx is engaged to Klaxons’ Simon Taylor. However, the band have lately returned to the studio.
They’ll have “at least” five songs to preview on their upcoming Australian dates, with a second album due for the European summer. “The new songs are definitely a step forward from the last album ’cause what happened with the last album was that everything was really unexpected.
“It’s kind of an old album, if you think about it. It was released in 2005 in Brazil, so by now we’re really tired of all the songs – especially the way they are on the record, ’cause they sound really different from what we are doing live.
“Now, with the new songs, we are trying to record things closer to the way that we do them in our live sets. We’ll have more guitars and the drums more present and everything with more balls maybe! It’s a step forward.”
CSS continue to enjoy success with their debut. Music Is My Hot Hot Sex, memorably used in a TV ad for the iPod Touch, was belatedly issued as a single last year and crossed over in the US.
And, in 2008, CSS are spearheading Brazil’s new wave. Indeed, the future of their compatriots Bonde do Role is in doubt following Marina Ribatski’s dramatic exit. Ira was “sad” to hear of her quitting. “We are all close friends,” she says.
The remaining Bonde members have auditioned for a replacement, apparently adding two chicks. “They’ll move on – it’s OK,” Ira says.
Above all, she understands how tensions can erupt on tour.
CSS have learnt the importance of recognising each other’s space. “I think we’re in a good position right now,” Ira says. “We really know exactly what we want and why we are working for it. It makes things easier ’cause everyone has the same goal.”
WHAT: Play V Festival, Centennial Park / Metro Theatre
WHEN: Saturday 29 March / Tuesday 1 April