April 5th, 2007 | Interviews

aaron farley

Anavan came from Alaska, where they liked disco, or so the story goes. They famously covered themselves in many pounds of hot macaroni and cheese and let newspapers print the photos. They meet over wine in their van outside Pehrspace.

When was the last time those helmets saved your life?
Aaron (drums/vocals): At every show, they endanger mine.
Bretavan (bass): He says this isn’t true, but I think they keep the heat trapped in his head—the two major points that heat leaves your body are your feet and your head, and he’s trapping the heat and getting all loopy.
Are you worried about long-term effects?
B: It’s making the shows better.
Molly (synth/vocals): We could fry eggs in there.
A: I’m serving two purposes—rhythm and food. That’s our genre.
Is macaroni still a big part of your life?
B: I don’t rub it on my dick. I just eat it.
I didn’t really expect that answer.
B: Well, I’ve been asked.
What would Anavan sound like without Devo?
B: I think the things about us that might sound Devo-esque are actually more circus-y. Like whenever you see something circus- or clown-related in a horror movie, there’s always this off-kilter atonal calliope in the background. Anything I’ve heard compared to Devo that we do I tend to think is more a demented calliope.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space?
B: I think it’s subconscious. We never set out to have the Killer Klown vibe. I’ve only heard those two Hardcore Devo CDs once. I found them tough going as casual listening.
That’s how they’re supposed to be.
A: That’s what I thought immediately—people aren’t going to be able to listen to this.
B: And then of course in like seven years they morphed into this MTV-friendly quirky thing, instead of this misogynist horrific protoplasmic goo sound.
What could Can have learned from the Bee Gees?
B: To just let go a little bit! To relax a little bit!
What did Anavan learn from the Bee Gees?
A: I don’t know—they make me so happy. They’re one of my main muses.
How about Abba?
A: Yeah, I love Abba. But a few years ago I got really obsessed by the Bee Gees and gobbled up all the records at the thrift store.
Five-dollar investment?
A: Seven!
B: As a child I was more into Abba than the Bee Gees because almost every single song featured a breakdown where it would go into a minor-chord progression—and as a child, that produced this sugary childgasm in your brain. That moment when they hit that minor-chord thing—you’d instantly fall to your knees and pray to Bjorn. I don’t know—it’s hard to explain. As a kid, things filter through your brain and you can’t explain them until decades later, when you try and tell your bandmates what you want to accomplish and then find yourself struggling for words.
What would kindergartners think of Anavan?
B: I don’t know, but my grandmother wanted to hear it, and she’s got balls—not only does she have balls, but she has balls from the ‘40s, when they made balls really well! This grandma’s got balls of steel when balls were made in the U.S.A. and not China. And she doesn’t like anything—she doesn’t even like to eat! She told me. Instead of tea, she drinks hot water.
M: Simpler times!
B: ‘I don’t like to eat—I eat because I have to!’ And she fucking liked our CD! She said it was really quite pleasant, and I said, ‘No, it isn’t.’ But I guess if that’s what she hears…
How do you feel about being known as a “dance” band?
A: Dancing is the best thing you can do for yourself.
B: We never admonish people to dance, but it’s great when they do—don’t you hate when a band tells people to dance? I myself never dance at shows.
M: Because you have a stick up your ass?
B: Yes, I have a stick up my ass, and it prevents me from moving my legs in a rhythmic one-two step fashion.
M: Back in ’84 when you sat on that plunger.
B: When I go see a band that has dance-y material, I can appreciate it without dancing. I know other people feel the same. That’s why I never admonish people to dance.
Do you ever dance?
A: I’ve seen it a few times.
B: It just takes copious amounts of alcohol.
A: I think it’s perfectly alright to be categorized. It’s just bad if a band gets trapped by a category. We make dance music now but we might be completely undanceable tomorrow.
B: We also don’t wanna be slaves to the beat—like bands that started out completely avant garde and morphed into nothing but dance music. Like the Rapture, who are now fodder for vomit. They went from being on Gravity and being part of a lineage of arty punk bands to being goddamn KC and the Sunshine Band. Which you may like, and I do like on occasion, but I don’t want to see the Dead Boys turn into KC and the Sunshine Band.
I’d love to see that.
B: Well, I wouldn’t want to see Antioch Arrow turn into KC and the Sunshine Band.
Have you been to the Space Is The Place roller disco?
A: We haven’t been yet.
You can see girls roller skate to Can.
B: Oh shit.
A: Are you serious?
B: Sean Carnage said he recently ran into someone who was a regular patron of the Eagle, which was the really infamous leather bar in San Francisco in the ‘70s, and he said the guy told him they had a collection of like thirty or forty thousand LPs, and they’d play Can and Amon Duul 2 at the Eagle.
How are you reprogramming Pehrspace?
B: The best of the stuff we’ve seen in the last few years. Like Macka—a cross between Depeche Mode and a Dario Argento movie.
What pulls it all together?
B: Fun.
A: Everyone is fun. We try to stay on the fun side of life. Isn’t life fun, Molly?
M: Sometimes.
What would happen if I mixed thirty milligrams of Anavan with alcohol?
M: Anavan causes anal leakage.