Au Revoir Simone, taken in 1964
ANNIE: BUT EVERY TIME I TRIED THAT I'D GET ALL CRAZY JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. IT'S CLEARLY IN MY MIND I KNOW NOTHING IS GOING TO EAT ME AFFECTIVELY. I CAN'T EVEN GO SWIMMING IN THE HOTEL POOL IF I'M ALONE.
Over the past five years we have seen the maturing of the three Brooklyn girls who wanted to capture hearts with a quirky keyboard band, named after Pee-Wee’s gal. Three albums later, SUPERSWEET didn’t even recognise the once shy Erika Forster, now a tall blonde beauty tapping away on her Apple Mac in Pure Groove Records waiting to reunite with fellow band members of Au Revoir Simone. When the band does come together, like a pack of mother hens they chat incessantly, predominately worried about mistaken set schedule and importantly concerned for the waiting fans who whisper astonishment when they see the girls walking around. SS got to grips with the successful trio and their wising on all things brilliantly geeky, even grandma underwear.
SS: It’s been five years since you started, have you any touring wounds?
Annie: That’s funny because I was talking about that to my tour manager today, how I used to be so naïve and excited and now we’re are sort of like, “Wow, this is happening,” and going through the motions. But I’m still naïve in the sense where I still get really excited when anyone’s has heard of our band or you come to a show and there’s anybody there, it still mystifies me.
Heather: I was thinking today with London we’ve always stayed at our label owner’s house, Stephen Bass of Moshi Moshi and I was trying to remember the history of us staying here, because he’s moved. And I remembered that I had all these amazing fond memories in that living room that had this carpet, and we used to have all of our sleeping bags and we’d stay up all night watching Cath & Kim with other bands and giggling. Annie would start cooking in the kitchen…
Annie: I was always cooking... I cooked all these HUGE meals
Heather: So I was thinking why is it so different now? Is it because Stephen’s moved?
Erika: Now we just wanna go to bed…
Heather: And also there is no real centre, there is kind of a living room, its cold, no carpet. It’s different, and I finally put my finger on why.
Erika: It’s the carpet!
Heather: Yeah! There’s something nice about wooden floors…but just put a rug down ha!
SS: Any moments that you always remember? Have you ever collected anything on tour?
Heather: There’s so many! We were on tour with We Are Scientists when we were first getting to know those guys so we became instant best friends. One time we all piled into Keith’s bunk!
Heather: Six foot by two foot coffin sizes bunks.
Annie: We were in the bunks and somebody farted, and Erika did her classic Erika quote - “Someone made a bad smell”.
Erika: I don’t like the word fart! It’s not polite.
ANNIE:HEATHER: I THINK THE LYRIC WAS, "I'M NOT FUCKIN' AROUND WHN I SAY I LOVE YOU," AND I WAS LIKE "OH..."
SS: You once called yourselves dorky, dorky enough to watch Weird Science? We are currently doing a feature on Kelly LeBrock, the “perfect” woman who’s actually ended up looking like a toad…
Erika: We were talking actually about that, we were watching the movie The Fly and Geena Davies was on it. She was the height of female sexual desirableness then but now the ideal woman has changed.
Annie: We were watching this film called Ski School
Erika: The same era as The Revenge of the Nerds.
Annie: There’s a guy peeping on this woman, and she’s in her underwear, and it would go down from here up to here (stands up points to her thighs to her mid-waist) and her bra would be really flat and ugly. Proper grandma bra and we were like this is so unattractive!
Heather: Like watching your grandma in her underwear.
SS: If you could create the perfect person what qualities must they have?
Heather: Ooo definitely.
Erika: Guys with really vintage taste.
Heather: Maybe Nick Cave-ish. Someone really tall and really wiry.
Annie: Benicio Del Toro.
Heather: Ohhh eww.
Annie: Wait! That’s not the one I’m thinking of, really dark...
Heather: That can’t be the one you are thinking of?
Annie: Gael Garcia Bernal! You don’t need a machine for him, he just exists.
SS: Would he be perfect if he met you!?
Annie: No I’m married, If I met him I think it would be a disaster!
SS: Your music has appeared in Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty, what show would you love to have your music associated with?
Erika: Anything with Sofia Coppola.
Annie: Or Wes Anderson.
Erika: Set in Paris in the 60s.
Heather: That’s perfect!
SS: What does it take for you girls to be shocked by?
Annie: I’m the worst, I read the newspaper and I start crying or screaming.
SS: Have you ever felt freedom of expression limited personally, in writing lyrics for music?
Annie: They took out the word fuck in a song when it wasn’t allowed.
Erika: Not by society, by us!
Heather: I think the lyric was, “I’m not fuckin’ around when I say I love you” and I was like “Oh…” (girls laugh)
Erika: It wasn’t fuck because it was a bad word, it was the apostrophe.
Heather: I totally agree! Fucking with an apostrophe, is it kind of like...
Annie: What’s another word that’s commonly abbreviated, like swingin’?
Erika: Messin’ around.
Heather: We like G’s.
SS: Annie, you revealed that you don’t like dark water! Do you have any other fears that you could share with us and what tips could you give to fans with the same phobias?
Annie: I hope no crazy fan finds me and tries to torture me and put me in a lake at night. I heard from a friend who was afraid of flying, that if you lie in a very comfortable place, then you image yourself in the situation. But every time I tried that I’d get all (flails about) crazy just thinking about it. It’s clearly in my mind; I know nothing is going to eat me affectively. Maybe I should talk to someone about it…I can’t even go swimming in a hotel pool if I’m alone.
Erika: I don’t like it when people fake strangle me, hands around my neck, dunking my head in a swimming pool. Those are the things people kid around but it’s just not funny!
ANNIE: THERE'S A GUY PEEPING ON THIS WOMAN AND SHE'S IN HER UNDERWEAR, AND IT WOULD GO DOWN FROM HERE UP TO HERE...
SS: In your new album, the track ‘Tell Me’ contains lyrics “If we can see / ?Everything that we could be noticing / And really see we can wake / From the scenes we're all dreaming” – Do wish to see your dreams in reality?
Erika: It’s not that you wanna see the scenes that you are dreaming it’s more of a spiritual idea, wake from the scenes of daily life, like snapping out of bad cycles of routines. It’s a little vague, hard to understand.
Heather: It’s open to interpretation!
Erika: Not a sleeping dream, more about a dream of life. Our lyrics are a lot about that; sometimes you are kind of sleep-walking while other times you are really awake. You are conscious about life and making changes to yourself, where other times you are not paying attention. And that’s natural; you have to go through those cycles.
SS: Heather, when you were in high school you used to be straightedge, what corrupted you?
Heather: College, like most people! I was straightedge by default. I didn’t have any particularly political views when I was in high school and I really just didn’t like the kids who drank a lot. I was really into having fun and being drug-free! I liked all the ideals of straightedge, but I wasn’t super crazy about it.
SS: Annie, you are in another band called Uninhabitable Mansions, is this for fun?
Annie: Two of the other guys are in Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah! and they are quite busy, so I think that the point of it is just have fun while we were around. We really like the same music, we all pretty much idolize Pixies, Modest Mouse. We might do some stuff as Heather is going back to school in the spring. We are almost done with the record now though.
Heather: It’s been like forever!
SS: Heather, what are you studying at school then?
Heather: Going back to Columbia and majoring in Astrophysics.
Erika: Funnily enough, there’s a solar eclipse tonight.
Heather: Oh yeah it’s a major solar eclipse but it was only viewable in Fiji or something.
Erika: It’s going to affect our planetary scenario: “Intense solar eclipse happening tomorrow, very transformative for a couple of days that will reverberate for months”.
Annie: I saw one when I was in band class (hold hands in cone shape) I probably completely damaged my eyes…which probably why I have to wear glasses!
SS: What can Au Revoir Simone expect for the future?
Annie: Either that or intense global warming. Definitely an eclipse. Meteor showers in August.
Words: Gemma Dempster
Photography: Elinor Jones