JUST MY EXPERIENCE WITH : AU REVOIR SIMONE
It started with chips. Yes, potato chips.
In 2009, I was in New York for a summer course and this isn’t something I can do yearly considering I live so far away in Jakarta. So I was thinking to myself, what can I do here that obviously I can’t do in Jakarta…….. gigs. We have shitty gigs. When NYC can offer 2-3 different kind of bands playing at one day that I couldn’t even decide who to go. And when I decided to go to Au Revoir Simone’s gig, I have to be honest, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan but as I said, lets go to as many gigs I could possibly can!
That day they were playing in Music Hall of Williamsburg, which is no doubt that Williamsburg is the most hipster area in perhaps all NYC….. To my surprise as they started, they caught my attention immediately. Not just the fact that the girls are fucking sexy and awesome, but they were playing most of their third album which I haven’t heard of that year, and it was just more upbeat than their previous ones that I know of. And they were really energetic and friendly!
Midst of their gig during between song break, Erika was saying that they were going to eat some baked potato chips because, “There’s no rules against eating chips on the stage.” I was standing on the front by the left side where Heather passed the bag to me then we started to pass it around to the audience. I remember I returned home very happy and very chippy that night.
About 2 months after their show in Williamsburg, they were playing again at The Bowery Ballroom. It’s no surprise that New York would have much of Au Revoir Simone’s gig because the girls do live in Brooklyn. So without hesitation I went again, this time I left my camera because I wanted to fully enjoy the show.
Since I know myself to be sometimes an attention whore (especially to people I really want for them to notice me), I was considering doing something silly. This time during their halftime break, after Erika was saying her hi to the audience, I shouted, “More chips please!”, then Erika looked at me briefly and said, “Oh hey, you remember!”. Even though it wasn’t much done by me but at least I had some hopes for a reply and I did get a brief one and I was happy.
After the show ended I was hanging out with a friend at the venue. When I was just casually chatting with my friend, someone tapped me from behind on my left shoulder softly, then gave me a light hug and a kiss on the cheek and said, “Hey thanks for coming on both shows!” And I froze, it was Erika and she remembered me! Feeling a little star struck I only responded, “Uh, oh, yes, great show again tonight. Oh my gosh you’re so tall.” Annie sort of joined in the greet and she said thanks too. Apparently they were walking inside the venue greeting fans and saying thanks to them. Unfortunately Heather was nowhere to be seen. I asked them for a photo at the end.
Well, they’re tall alright. I’m an average 5” 4’.
After I left New York by the end of 2009, I was in a constant phase of friendly pestering the girls via Twitter or Facebook for them to come to Jakarta. I’m quite good at catching attention somehow, but the girls were also really nice in responding to my silly demeanours. Example on a photo/event they posted on Facebook I just said, “Can you girls please play live in my bedroom.” They responded, “I don’t know about bedrooms, but kitchen would be a better deal! At least we can get food out of it.” And I’ve got a dear friend in Glasgow whom I introduced Au Revoir Simone’s songs to her, her name is Charis. So I constantly ask the girls to come to Jakarta and Glasgow.
After 5 years of pestering, by March 2014, they finally decided to come. Even when I found out and I still sometimes say just random things to them and they would still respond like this:
Although my biggest question was that how come Jakarta made the cut first instead of Glasgow, so I kinda felt bad for my friend. But I was just super excited to see the girls again. Pre their arrival, I had the opportunity to freelance for Nylon magazine in Indonesia to get access to interview them. I was just dying to talk to the girls again with the biggest question: do you recognise me? I’ve been quite annoying to you girls. Would like to ask that with a positive attitude though. But I realised before their arrival in Jakarta they only just flew from Singapore and they’re only staying in Jakarta for a night and leaving the next noon. So I was kinda worried that they wouldn’t have the time to be properly interviewed because I know they’d be tired, I didn’t want to be obnoxious. When I was at the venue I saw the girls walking around and they all headed to the elevator to their room I think, then I just hit Twitter and asked, “Hi, I’m freelancing for Nylon magazine.. I’m dying to talk to you girls, do you think it’s possible for an interview?” Not long after they replied, “I think there’s a Q&A for that after the show, I don’t see why not!” At least that relieves my worry a little bit.
As I expected for this year they were mostly carrying their fourth album, which I love as much as the third one as well. When they were playing Crazy, I picked up my sketch book and wrote “I love this song” and I could swear I gave Erika and Heather the biggest smile ever. After the show, and again to my expectation, they were mingling with the crowd and saying hi and taking pictures with the fans — We already know they’re super nice and awesome. So I approached Erika first, she thanked me for the note and I said yes, of course, thanks for coming so far to Jakarta! And asked the million dollar question, “Uh, do you remember me?” Unfortunately she didn’t and it’s not that surprising because they’ve done so many concerts meeting tons of fans, so I explained to her that I was at their gig twice in New York and was the girl who asked for more chips. She then reacted to me that that day was coming back to her.
Then it was Annie, again with the same question, this time Annie actually told me that she remembered that night. I showed the picture I took with her and she told me that “Oh fuck I remember this! God, your face is such a baby!” Because it’s true my face hasn’t aged at all since the last 5 years…. Difference is I just got chubbier by then (ugh).
Again Heather wasn’t really mingling with the crowd. But then it was time for the medias’s private Q&As and all the girls were there. Of course it was for me, ah, finally, Heather.
When I sat down with them, they were so chipper, maybe it was the wines? But it was funny because we started casually chatting instead of me explaining to them that this was an interview, they were asking how is it in Jakarta usually the traffic, at some point I think we were talking about bears. I think. I saw their Instagram accounts and how they enjoyed their hotel in Singapore with all the swimming pool. So I just said, of course at this place has a pool too, then Erika said, “Yes they do, I think it’s on the top floor as well.” Annie was like, “Really?? What time do they close.” Erika said 10, it was around 9.45pm when I was sitting down with them, then Annie just stood off her chair and screamed, “Fuck yeah lets go now!! Just kidding.” It was really fun to see how goofy the girls are. Then Erika said that they never performed on a stage that high before, the venue is at the 53rd floor at a bar/lounge called Skye, she said it was all nice to experience that, and even though it’s tropical the humidity was even nice, then we started talking about weather in general. I started explaining to them that there was a weird thing happened at the southern coast of Java couple of months ago where the ocean just sank about 15m down and couple of hours later the sea level rose and drowned the houses nearby, luckily wasn’t a tsunami. That’s when Heather cuts in, “Wait, is this the interview??” I laughed, “No no no, we were just chatting, okay I’ll start with some quick basic questions then.”
First boring question, why Jakarta. Erika said that they’ve been wanting to come here for a long time because of all the requests and it was until now they finally have a paid flight here. Then I had to rephrase myself of my gratitude of them coming here and explained to them that I have been asking the girls to come both here and Glasgow so many times via Twitter. Annie then asked what’s my Twitter account name, as I mentioned. “It’s, uh, deschanel, with the underscore at the back.” they all just went “OOOOHHHH IT’S YOU.” I was so happy with that reaction, they do recognise me! Especially Erika because I directed on her personal account asking if she can carry few of her solo and collab songs prior to the rarity of them coming here, of course I said if it’s possible and appropriate that is, she replied that they had a bunch of Au Revoir Simone songs going on but thanks for the love! So I requested Shadows and Another Likely Story instead and she responded can do! And they did play those songs because of my request :-) Although they did ask me why deschanel, is it like Zooey Deschanel? I said no,.. my name is Chanel. But I do have a thing for Zooey for sure.
I had my next question explaining that I realise their first two albums were very…. mellow, and then begin from the third to the fourth to be very danceable, it sort of feels it matured in a way. What changed there? Erika only responded with a big smile, “Life!”
So for the last one I directed specifically for the song Crazy, I mentioned that it is their best hit now and I personally love the song as well. I told them that we all know that the video, while amazing and fun as it is, is based from Martin Scorsese’s movie After Hours, so was the whole song based from the movie too? This time Heather, who was the lead vocal for the entire song, responded with a smile, “Aaahh. Well no, because it is true that After Hours is one of our favourite movies but it sort of felt like the song goes with the movie, so we wanted to do that for fun. I played the male part which was played by Griffin Dunne and Erika and Annie wanted to play the female parts.”
***To be completely honest as to why I asked this question, and I am saying this as a dumbass fan girl and a curious person, I’ve had a hunch that it’s just possible that one of the girls is a lesbian. Starting from seeing how active the girls are in supporting LGBT marriage and supporting the LGBT youth community, but it was just a huge “I wish” assumption, I know it doesn’t have always mean that one of them is a lesbian. Annie has an adorable son, and Erika mentioned an ex-boyfriend. And then Crazy came out, with the very vivid lyric saying “you girls you drive me crazy” by then I never ever wanted more that my hunch was true. Knowing that Heather posed as the boy and sang the whole song, I was placing my bets on Heather. But I didn’t ask the question at the end, it didn’t feel appropriate. But Heather did say at the end, “But it’s quite funny that a lot of people got mad that I was dressed as a boy.” Like, seriously, people, are you blind? So I just told her, “That’s ridiculous, you make such a pretty boy!” Heather laughed saying, “Thanks!”
After the interview I told the girls thank you so much for being so nice to me and for being super awesome about everything, and I asked for one last huge but simple favour, in which I asked the girls to write 2 things for me.
First, is a message to my friend Charis who is in Glasgow, I know it’ll make her so happy.
Of course when I showed this photo to my friend she was ecstatic.
Second, I told them that Another Likely Story is a personal favourite of mine and I would like to tattoo it by their handwritings, so each girl would write each word. I was sort of expecting them just to write once of each word, but instead they wrote about 10 times more of each word and Annie told me, “Here, now you have options which one you want to use!” That was so funny and adorable. So yeah at the end is only a photo with all the girls, Heather wasn’t there when I was in New York.
So in conclusion, Au Revoir Simone girls are awesome at every aspect. They’re nice, their music is synthalicious, they’re down to earth, and they even make time for you, those are the only things to make a fan happy. And I am a happy fan.
Hope to see you girls again someday!