LADIES’ NIGHT: While it’s easy to discredit Au Revoir Simone’s shtick—three doe-eyed girls playing dreamy synth pop—it’s hard to ignore their presence. When the ladies passed through Santa Barbara last summer in support of their then-recently released Still Night, Still Light, they brought with them a killer set list and a casual grace that echoed long after they’d left the Velvet Jones stage.
Since forming in 2003, the three-piece (collectively vocalist/keyboardist Annie Hart, vocalist/keyboardist Erika Forster, and vocalist/keyboardist/drum-machine triggerer Heather D’Angelo) has gone from pet project to veritable success story. They’ve toured the world, scored nods of approval from trendsetters like David Lynch, played alongside illustrious French electronic duo Air, and worked out all the kinks that come along with playing live. “We’re pretty much a sound engineer’s nightmare,” laughed D’Angelo.
This Friday, the trio returns to Velvet as part of a short West Coast tour to help plug their new collection of remixes, titled Night Light. The 15-track album boasts retoolings and tinkerings of all the tracks off of Still Night by folks ranging from Jens Lekman and Neon Indian to Clock Opera.
“Whenever we’ve put out an album, people send us remixes, whether we ask them to or not,” laughed D’Angelo. “We got a lot of great remixes and we have a lot of musician friends who kind of wanted to try their hand at one of the songs, so those came in. Then Steven Bass at our British record label Moshi Moshi is really into remixes, so once we got a few from our friends that we liked, he started soliciting them, as well.”
While D’Angelo insists that the creation of Night Light was a relatively hands-off process for the band, she also explains that they wouldn’t have it any other way. “It really comes down to whether or not they find the song inspiring,” she explained. “I really love all of the tracks, but my mind is blown the most by Jens Lekman’s. I wasn’t even sure if it was our song. I thought it was the most incredible and imaginative reworking. It really just seemed to be a launching-off pad for him to do something else. I loved it.”
And though the Night Light tracks have yet to alter Au Revoir’s live set, the impact that the project has had on the band is a substantial one. “We’re always reworking our songs, but given our setup, it’s kind of difficult to do too much,” said D’Angelo. “Hearing remixes definitely opens your mind to what is possible with our music. We just played this show with Air in Paris, and they’re electronic and they use a lot of keyboards, but Nico[las Godin] plays bass, and they always have a drummer. That stuff is definitely really inspiring and makes you think about songwriting in a different way. I can’t say that we’d ever get rid of our drum machine, but I’m definitely really interested in traditional drumming these days.”
With the end of their current tour schedule in sight (they finish up in Denmark in August), it stands to reason that some of that inspiration may see its way into the band’s newer material. But D’Angelo is the first to quell any rumors surrounding the next Au Revoir record. “Well, we’re kind of on a little hiatus,” she asserted. “Annie is five months pregnant, so she’s going to be having a baby in October, and I’m going to be returning to school in September to finish my degree. But I think once we both kind of settle into our new routines—her as a mother and myself as a full-time student—it will become easier to figure out how the band fits into that. But it seems like we’re always inspired to write music together, which is definitely a gift.”
Au Revoir Simone play Velvet Jones (423 State St.) Friday, July 9, at 8 p.m. with openers Threadspinner and Alexa Wilding. Call 965-8676 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets.