Erika Forster, Annie Hart, and Heather D’Angelo comprise Au Revoir Simone, a sweet but mighty choral of harmonies, keys, and enviable bangs. They’ve also got a fresh new album, Still Light, Still Bright, and good vibes to spare. On their way crossing the West Texas desert to Los Angeles, we spoke with Erika on the phone—who made sure her companions weighed in on important matters like coconut water and waveforms in physics. This interview by Daiana Feuer.
If you put together a time capsule, what would be in there to represent your experience right now?
Erika Forster (keyboards/vocals) [Consults the girls in van]: The Antlers, our new best friends and tour-mates. Water from Barton Springs in Austin. It’s super healing and so refreshing. Definitely the full moon over the desert. What’s our favorite Indian food? Oh these hair brushes and Grace misting spray from the drugstore in Paris. Coconut water from wherever, the best hangover cure. Monoprix, the chain of drug stores in Paris. They have these brushes like the Mason Pearson ones that cost hundreds of dollars but they cost 6 euros. Definitely a good find for girls with straight hair. A stray cat from our producer Thom Monahan’s back yard in Sherman Oaks. Some leaves from upstate New York. We work on a lot of projects up there so it’s a special place. Radio Helsinki from Finland. It’s one of the best radio stations we ever visited. They play awesome songs from all over the world.
So, coconut water is good for a hangover?
Yeah, it’s really good for a hangover and it’s super hydrating and refreshing. It’s one of our favorite things.
You drink it or do you rub it on or something?
Yeah, you drink it! The best ones are obviously from a coconut tree in Hawaii but the second best are on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, in our neighborhood. They just cut a coconut open and put a straw in and it’s very refreshing. I can’t believe you aren’t partaking in this in L.A. You guys are always the healthier version of New York. I was in Hawaii this year with my mom who was living on this farm and we were having it in the mornings and it’s the best drink. There’s got to be a place to get it in L.A.
If I start a coconut cart, will you play a show there?
If you start one, give us the info, and we will come by and support you. Actually we just did this funny thing for a magazine called Tracer in Cincinnati. We did an acoustic set inside an ice cream truck and gave out ice cream while singing songs.
How do you serve ice cream and play the keyboard at the same time?
Well, I was playing the keyboard, Annie was tinkering, and we were all singing, and Heather was handing out popsicles.
How did you resolve your recent broken keyboard fiasco?
Thom lent us his MT-70. It was a fiasco. It was sad to play every night with the wrong sounds.
How does that work, with keyboards? Every board has its own tones, right?
It’s interesting because a lot of what we do isn’t about being classically trained pianists or rock and roll players. What we do is about creating those sounds and finding the wave forms that relate to each other beautifully. Other bands that have drums and guitars as well as keyboards can maybe create their textures and can have the keyboard be interchangeable. But for us, so much of our songs are about the wave forms interacting and the different octaves and tones, and whether things are low pitched or high pitched or interfering with the vocals. For us, it’s all about the keyboard sounds so that’s why we felt crippled by our broken keyboard!
What are your thoughts on wave forms in terms of physics or quantum ideas?
[Consults others…Annie Hart takes phone]: Hi, this is Annie. My answer is complicated. The whole world is made up of textures and wave forms combining whether they’re atoms or sound or light, just different things that we experience, even other people, and I think that the keyboard sounds are maybe a direct or visceral or easy to understand way of creating wave forms into an object even though that object is a song, it’s not a physical object—it’s an object made out of waves, much like everything is. How are you, by the way?
Yeah, how are you? Hello! I am Annie! There’s traffic and I’m driving, so here is Erika again.
What spirit animal corresponds to each of your instruments?
Erika [Consults girls]: Annie’s casio is a morning dove and her synth is a chimpanzee. Heather’s micro-korg, because it does a lot of sub-bass, would be an elephant. My nord is a crane. The drum machine is programmed to sound like a chorus of woodpeckers. Hmm, my synth is much more aggressive than the other keyboards. It’s a tiger.
AU REVOIR SIMONE WITH THE ANTLERS AND PRINCETON AND FINDLAY BROWN ON THUR., JUNE 11, AT THE EL REY THEATRE, 5515 WILSHIRE BLVD., LOS ANGELES. DOORS AT 7 PM / $15 / ALL AGES. GOLDENVOICE.COM. AU REVOIR SIMONE’S STILL NIGHT, STILL LIGHT IS OUT NOW ON OUR SECRET RECORD COMPANY. VISIT AU REVOIR SIMONE AT MYSPACE.COM/AUREVOIRSIMONE AND AUREVOIRSIMONE.COM.