Photos by Bradley Cheatwood
Brazilian disco-punks CSS are a very charismatic band. They all have hip haircuts, cool tattoos and adorable Portuguese accents. Even if you didn't know who they were and you were sitting by them at a restaurant, you'd eavesdrop on their conversation. That's for sure.
Especially charismatic is lead vocalist Lovefoxxx. She oozes cool. It's almost sickening. And if you're wondering: yeah, that's how she introduces herself. Lovefoxxx.
It might sound ridiculous but she's super intimidating.
Waiting to meet her, watching her put a hand through her pink hair and laughing at something the sound guys says, I'm suddenly horrified that my stupid questions will be patronizing. She walks up a few minutes later and I still haven't thought of a single good backup.
I'm early but Lovefoxxx wants to do the interview right now. She doesn't mind doing it standing up. Ana Rezende, the guitarist, will join us. I nervously mention that my questions are ridiculous and Lovefoxxx assures me that she's done this before. It'll be OK. Fire away.
Gimme Noise: What do you think about the internet?
Lovefoxxx: It's great. It keeps us in touch. I just worry... I'm really glad that I had my teenage years without the internet. I think it was much more fun. Now it's impossible to be without it because, I don't know, it's there, it's part of us. You belong to it. But, I'm glad I had some time in my life without it.
Ana Rezende: Especially when you're on tour, it's good for a lot of stuff. We wake up in different cities and we use it to find stuff like restaurants.
Lovefoxxx: Zaggats! But, I worry that we're not going to have doctors in the future because everyone's going to want to be bloggers. We need to have teachers and dentists. I'm worried about it.
Ana Rezende: I think the government should give more money to offline activities.
Do monkeys live among the people of Brazil?
Ana Rezende: Not in San Paulo.
Lovefoxxx: No, just pigeons.
AR: People in the States think Brazil is a big jungle. It's not, Brazil is as big as the United States. San Paulo is a very grey city. Industrial.
L: There are more trees here than there are there. And I have never seen a monkey on the street.
CSS or Cansei de Ser Sexy translates to "tired of being sexy," which the internet says come from a Beyonce quote. What part of being sexy is the biggest drag?
Lovefoxxx: Ask her! She's the one who said that. I would never say anything like that. It's just like saying, "I'm tired of being successful and rich." That's for her to answer. She carries that with her. Being sexy is not a drag.
The first thing you'll discover on a Google search for CSS is a well maintained German fansite. Why are Germans so CSS crazed?
Lovefoxxx: It's because they like things that are strong and last for a long time.
AR: Like, when they buy a washing machine they save money by buying a really strong one that'll last forever. So that's why they like us.
If the band were stranded in the mountains and desperately hungry, which member would be eaten first?
AR: That's a really tough question because we're all pretty small and there isn't much meat between us.
L: I don't know if any one of us would make a whole meal.
AR: There's a guy that's played with us that isn't on this tour. JR, I'd probably eat him. We'd eat for weeks.
Who would win in a drinking contest, you guys or (the opening band) MEN?
L: Us, for sure.
AR: I think we'd win against pretty much any band. No chance. Especially when we play big cities because then our friends come and it's a big mess.
L: That's a stupid question.
Better dancers: Americans or Brazilians?
L: Brazilians, are you kidding?
AR: Of course Brazilians are better dancers. Of course.
What's the best tattoo in the band?
L: Oh, there's some tough competition there. There'll all very different. Do you mean like good tattoos or bad tattoos that are good because they're bad?
Bad tattoos that are good because they're bad. I noticed you have a tattoo on your bicep that says RIP SHIT.
L: It's a good one. I don't want to say which one is best though.
AR: Your brain is good.
L: Yes, I've got a brain on the palm of my hand, see?
Did that hurt?
L: Less than I was expecting.
Can everyone in the band fit into a queen sized bed?
AR: No, that's not going to happen.
L: It happens sometimes when we want to watch Top Chef or something in the hotel. It's not a sexual thing. It's just our sizes; we can all fit in a bed, yes.
If your new record was a plant, what kind of plant would it be and why?
L: It wouldn't be a weeping willow that's for sure.
AR: What's weeping willow?
L: It's a very sad tree. Can we say if it was a food?
Photo by Bradley Cheatwood
OK, if your new record was a food what kind of food would it be and why?
L: I think it would be something very teenager and trashy. Like a hot dog. A hot dog from Hot Doug's in Chicago. At Hot Doug's they name there spicy hot dogs named after beautiful women. Ours would be called a Penelope Cruz.
AR: Yeah, there's like a Selma Hayek and there's a Keira Knightley.
L: I get the Selma Hayek, but Keira Knightley? It would be like a skinny dog with no taste. A diet dog.
How cool is American television?
L: We like it. We like lots of Bravo shows. Top Chef has been a favorite of ours for a long time.
AR: I really like Millionaire Matchmaker. I'm sad I don't see it as much as I'd like to, but I love it.
L: We love SNL. It's been a part of our lives seriously forever. It helped us learn to speak English along with shows like Seinfeld, Beavis and Butthead and Daria.
So Beavis and Butthead helped you learn the English language? That's awful.
AR: Yes. That's why we talk like this. Can't you tell? What do you think? We studied?
L: Oh, and also, My So Called Life. I used to love it but I watched it again and it's so annoying. I was embarrassed.
AR: You cannot ever watch these things again. You have to stick with your memory. Don't do that.
L: It was horrible.
What do you do when you're bored?
L: We have a pretty good sense of humor and we talk a lot. We invent stuff in our heads.
AR: We like to play a game called would you rather.
L: Here are the rules. It's like, would you rather sleep with this person or this person.
AR: But we complicate it.
L: Like, you have to dress like Avril Lavigne for the rest of your life but you can sleep with this person. Or you have to wear plastic wrap panties and travel 24 hours in an airplane, and you can not shower, but then you can sleep with this person. Got it? This is what keeps us busy. We had a four hour drive in Japan and we spent the whole time playing this.
AR: We also like to come up with restaurants. We go really far thinking about the menus and even the cutlery.
L: To the waitresses outfits. We spend hours doing this.
Tell me about the restaurants.
L: That's easy. It's always a fusion restaurant. Like, an Italian Chinese upscale restaurant and everything's gourmet but it'd be horrible and disturbing for the diners. We think about this all the time.
AR: Right now we have 6 or 7 restaurants.
L: Yesterday we thought or a new one. It's British-Mexican fusion. It's called Victoria Elizabeth Ramirez. It's very avant-garde. I even did the menus.
If CSS was a cocktail what would it be?
AR: Easy. It'd be a dry martini because we're pretty straight forward.
L: And strong. And we don't fuck around.
AR: We do not fuck around. It's straight to the point.
L: Oh, most importantly, it's not for everyone.
To end the interview I'm going to test your American history. Two out of three questions right and you win. Ready?
L: Do we have to?
What year did the Japanese invade Pearl Harbor?
AR: It was either... 1940 something. 1941?
You got it. Good job. What state is Mount Rushmore in?
AR: It's in the north. In the middle. It's up.
L: I don't know any of those states.
AR: I can't remember. At all.
It's South Dakota, sorry. OK, so here's the last one. Jordan, Joey, Jonathan, Dannie and Donnie are members of what seminal '90s pop band?
L: This is not American history, that's not a fair question. Oh, wait. Shit. I know this. Are they American?
L: It's the New Kids On the Block.
L: What do we win?
You get another interview with whoever's after City Pages. Congratulations.
Photo by Bradley Cheatwood
CSS play with MEN tonight, MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, at FIRST AVENUE. 18+. $15. 7:30 p.m.