In what appears to be a wonderful new wave (no pun intended) of locally strong shows at the 9.30 club, Soft Complex takes the stage of DC’s biggest rock club this Saturday, March 10th, during Infamy.
That it will be fun, we have no doubt.
That they are excited, we were sure.
And so we FINAGLED some magical imagery from Shervin, and sat down with Alexia and Chris from the band to talk about everything from LP plans, to the local music scene to playing for kids one week to playing for all of you this weekend.
All expletives related to pure excitement were left uncensored.
- First things first: Just how excited are you guys (and girl) to take the 9.30 stage this weekend?
Alexia: Well, this is our second time playing the 9:30 club, but we are so excited to come back to the legendary club! It is a great space, superior sound system, and really nice people. We are very happy that we were asked to do this show.
Chris: We’re pretty fucking stoked! It has been a long time. No better club in the land, and getting to partner with INFAMY and BYT? Can’t imagine a better night. We’re looking forward to getting our dance on. And drinking Sparks. Lots of Sparks. They have Sparks at the 9:30 Club, right?
- The band has had its 2 year lineup anniversary this February. But the story begins in 2002. Tell us how it all came about, Richmond to DC to….
Chris: February was our two-year anniversary with this lineup. Shane formed the band in Richmond back in 2002, and played a lot of shows around there. But after a falling out with the band members there, he moved on up to DC and reformed the group with Mike Harbin, who had been out of playing since his days with Burning Airlines. Rich Dejong then joined the group after Shane answered his ad in the CityPaper – he was looking for a new project after leaving Phaser. Shane knew Alexia from back in Richmond, and knew her talents on cello. He invited her to join. Greg Svitil, who now fronts the Antiques, joined the band and helped get a lot of the songs rewritten and off the ground. After he left to go back to the Antiques, I (Chris Connelly) joined the group to fill his spot.
- Among your influences you list everything from The Smiths to Depeche Mode to Roxy Music (we for one, feel more bands should be influenced by Roxy Music, but that is just us). How does it feel to walk that thin line between mope(y) and dance(y)? Do you feel it splits the audiences?
Chris: Personally, we love it. We’re fans of all kinds of music, and it’s been a lot of fun to try and do different things than we’ve done before. None of us have a background in dance music. So it has been challenging for us as musicians, which in turn makes it pretty rewarding. Who doesn’t like to dance? I don’t know that it splits the audiences…I hope it doesn’t. I suppose some people who like indie rock don’t love dance music, and vice versa. But I think there are a lot of similarities in the genres that can really appeal to both crowds.
- The “Barcelona” EP was self released and generated some significant buzz, both with media, the blogs and on the festival circuit. Are you planning to stick with Silverthree Recordings or do you intend to shop the upcoming album to major labels as well?
Chris: The next record will certainly be on Silverthree Recordings. I don’t know that any of us are too concerned with shopping it around. We’ll just wait and see what happens. For now, we want to focus on making the best record we can.
- The EP depended relatively heavily on remixes. Is this a sign of you guys are heading more in the danceable direction, and are there some new developments and collaborations we should know about (videos, remixes)?
Chris: Eventually, we’ll be releasing a remix done by Richard Morel, of Blowoff fame. He did a great, great version of our song, “Wounded Valentine.” Morel is an incredible remixer – he’s done awesome stuff for everybody from Madonna to the Killers. We’re honored to have him involved with that, and it is a straight up dance your ass off version. Which is fun, because we had never heard the song quite that way. I think in the future, we’re always going to be open and looking for people to rework our songs as they hear them and collaborate with us in the studio. It is really fun for us to hear where other people can take our music.
And there is a video in the works…not much news on that for now, but there will be some soon.
- You have played a steady series of shows this last year, both with local indie bands (Georgie James, Middle Distance Runner, Telograph) and during dance nights (Nouveau Riche…). Is there a difference between crowds/experiences/and do you have a preference?
Alexia: I think there is definitely a big overlap, at least in DC with the band/show scene and the dance night scene. Maybe once you get out of DC it would be different, but I think that the kids at the dance nights around here all appreciate the musical scene/background that we’re coming from.
Chris: Both are a lot of fun. The dance nights are great because we like to think we play dance music – so we want people less focused on staring at the stage and more focused on dancing. At the more local indie shows, people are focused in on watching us play, which is an honor and all…but seriously – don’t look at us. Hit the dance floor. Get drunk. Have some fun, party it up. We just want people to have a good time if/when they come to see us play.
- What are your feelings on the current goings on of the DC music scene. We love what we hear, and we sense a significantly higher level of camaraderie and fun group show than before. And its great. Any standout acts you wish to let BYT readers know about? Any Bands you wish to play with soon?
Chris: I feel very, very strongly that the music scene in Washington DC is one of the best in the country. There is SO much brilliant music happening here right now, and all of the bands are so supportive of one another. I think that is on the cusp of spilling over and having the rest of the country take notice, because the stuff coming out of here is just too good. That’s really all I listen to any more – friends’ bands and local musicians. My personal favorites? Middle Distance Runner’s Plane In Flames was my favorite of last year.Cedars is producing some fantastic atmospherics and great pop songs. I think These United Statesis brilliant in a remarkably innovative way – I cannot wait to hear their full length coming out this spring. Georgie James never fails to make me smile. The entirety of the Gypsy Eyes Records catalogue is great – Revival’s “Fog Rolling In” is just heartbreakingly strong. I could go on and on – The Hard Tomorrows, Telograph,Exit Clov, Jette-Ives…not to mention the brilliance of folks like Thievery Corporation, Thunderball and the rest of the ESL crowd. Oh! Go buy the Soccer Team album that Dischord put out last fall. And Aquarium….okay, I’ll stop now.
- Hands down, the most fun you’ve had on stage this last year, and why?
Chris: Though I don’t remember it all that well, the Gypsy Eyes Farm Party was fucking great. Note to self: don’t start drinking at noon when you have to play at show at 10:00. Seriously though, it was a great community of people down there to just enjoy live music outdoors as the summer came to a close.
Alexia: Our CD release show at the Black Cat was so much fun. The audience was there to see us, and there was such great energy. Plus it felt great to finally get the cd out!
- How does it feel to play to parents and young kids one Saturday ( at the rock’n’romp) and then to a gay/straight/omnisexual crowd at the Infamy the next? Do you feel it requires a split (Stage) personality?
Alexia: Playing Rock-n-romp was definitely a unique experience, but it was so much fun! I wish that the people at our other shows would dance as much as those kids did! I don’t really have a problem going between all kinds of scenes- I have always been kind of a chameleon like that. As long as the audience is into the music, I’m happy.
Chris: A little bit. The Rock ‘n’ Romp was a blast, but its definitely kid friendly. The volume levels are down, the energy is much more subdued from the band because we can’t really rock out.
- Alexia is the closest to DC’s answer to Ana Matronic and Shane, we hear, used toPerform as Trixie Delicious in Richmond. Are you planning on continuing right where Scissor Sisters left off this past Sunday at the 9.30?
Chris: You’ll have to come to the show to find out…
Alexia: I’ll take that comparison any day! Thanks! We’ll certainly do our best!
- Here at BYT we like to pose all sorts of Fantasy music league questions so here Are a few:
- If there is 1 song you wish you had written (OR would be able to cover) which one is it and why?
Wish I’d written? At the moment, it’s “Keep the Car Running” by the Arcade Fire. It is perfection. Wish we could cover? “Forever More,” by Moloko.
- Dream Tour Mates / a band you wish you could open for / open for you?
Chris: Any of the bands that we’ve been honored to play with here in DC would be our dream tour mates – we love going out to other cities with other bands from home. Band we wish we could open for? Moloko, though they’re not touring anymore. Open for us? Anybody who can get the dance party started.
Alexia: I’d love to play with Goldfrapp and FischerSpooner. Both are so theatrical and sexy and dancy, yet dark in their own way. I think it would be a perfect lineup.
- Where do you see Soft Complex this time next year?
Hopefully, making music that is pushing us forward creatively and is as exciting for us to write as it is for people to hear. And having a lot of fun doing it.
Wonderful, and thank you so much. And we look forward to seeing this weekend. Smoke machines, historias mas sexy del mundo and all.