I’m not sure if that’s an appropriate opener for an interview, but I love your cleavage! All this yarn, it’s so clever and so cheeky at the same time! I feel like I have seen this idea somewhere before.
Clare: Isn’t it amazing? This effect, it’s the sewing machine going back and forth. It’s one of my favorite shirts. Our friends Daphne and Vera Correll designed it. They are twins… Wait, they are from Germany, like you! They live in New York now, though.
Oh, maybe that’s why it seems familiar. I guess Berlinomat has some of their pieces. It’s a store that features up and coming German designers. Have you ever been there?
Clare: No, I don’t think so.
You should check it out when you go on your Europe tour! You have a gig at Berliner Frannz Club at the end of March. Are you excited?
Clare: Oh, Berlin! I feel like I could live in Berlin! It has such a deep history and is at the same time one of the most vibrant cities!
One more question about your outfit. You are creating all the merch shirts and the band’s outfit yourself, right? Why is the arrow on your pants pointing to the ground? Isn’t it the wrong message? You career is taking off after all.
Clare: I hope so! But you have to be careful where you are pointing at. You could be easily misinterpreted. Imagine it pointing at my … well. And the arrow, it’s easy. It’s the name of our album.
All right, no more girl talk about clothes, I promise. Olivier is almost yawning. So you guys are a couple?
Clare: It’s true. We’ve been married for eight years.
Oliver: We still make out a lot.
Where did you meet?
Oliver: Berklee College of Music in Boston
Did Clare have a thing for exchange students back then?
Oliver: I wasn’t even the most exotic catch! There have been so many musicians from Latin America and Europe. The student body was so international Clare even felt like a minority as an American.
Clare, you come from a family with a big musical tradition. Your sister is a singer, and your father plays what you describe as an “unclassifiable blend of styles from the first half of the 20th century.” What CDs did you buy as a teenager?
Clare: Good question. I’d love to say that I saved my nickels and dimes for really classy music. But… Who were these really terrible twins? The ones with blonde wigs? Something with vanilla…
Olivier: Vanilla Ice?
Clare: No, no. Ah! Milli Vanilli!
My family was mostly into black music from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s though. I have a strong conection with musicians like Bessie Smith and Ray Charles. Also, my voice is very vintage. Sometimes, I feel as if I died in an airplane crash 1929 and was reborn in a new body.
On the way to your show, I read an interview with Steve Beckett — the manager of Warp Records — about how 20 years ago, he was one hundred percent convinced that acoustic music would die. He thought that everybody who played in a band was an idiot, but in this interview, he confessed that he was completely wrong. He found out that electronic music was lacking something only bands had – human emotion and uniqueness.
Clare: I think that electronic music can be incredibly emotional. It can be transforming and inspiring. But acoustic instruments have been around for thousands of years, they are incredibly well crafted. There are always new things that can be done with old tools. Our new record marries electronica with the ’40s ambience.
Thank you so much! We will leave you celebrating with Nouvelle Vague, it’s their last US show after all, and you have a lot of wine and food backstage to kill. Speaking of food: Could you bite into this 9:30 Club cupcake for a photo?
Clare: Sorry, I don’t eat sugar. I’m very concious about food. Normally, we bring our stove on tour with us, if we can fit it into a plane. Alter Eco sends us organic ingredients. We cook ourselves and live on Lärabars when we travel. It’s not that bad when we tour Europe. Only the UK is pretty tough. But I don’t want to gnaw. I feel so happy that we can combine work and play.