Music: CSS’ Luiza Sa: The New Gay Interview
When I was in Texas this fall reviewing the Austin City Limits music festivals, I learned first hand that patience has its rewards. Though I spent hour upon fruitless hour in the press tent hoping to corner Neko Case into speaking with me, the happy side effect of all that waiting around was a surprise interview with Cansei De Ser Sexy‘s guitarist, Luiza Sa.
I already knew that CSS’ name was an acronym and that the 5 member, co-ed band was the hottest thing to come out of Brazil since Blanka. We play their “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” at most TNG parties, and many of you may also recognize “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex” from its ubiquitous iPod ad. What I did not know, however, is that most of the band’s members are queer. Check out the full interview below for Luiza’s thoughts on life as gay rockstar and the boringness of the American gay scene. You can check out a CSS Mixtape as well.
The New Gay Zack: I’ve seen CSS listed as a queer band before but could never find any confirmation…
Luiza Sa: It’s not a queer band! We don’t stand for anything, we just stand for music. We dont want to the responsibility. [The Gossip's] Beth Ditto is a close friend of all of ours and shes totally PC and she’s giving speeches. It’s her culture. We come from a different place. We think that just by living you can make a difference, but we don’t really want to mix too much into our music. So I don’t think we’re comfortable saying we’re a queer band. We’re just a band.
TNG: So you’re a band with queer members?
LS:That’s not the point. It’s not like, oh, we’re a Brazilian band or a girl band with one guy. We dont think those things have to exist.
TNG: But do you have gay members?
LS: We do have gay members.
TNG: Are you gay?
LS: I am gay, but that has nothing to do with our music. We’re just young people trying to make music. We don’t want to be a role model. That has nothing to do with our personal lives.
TNG: Do you try to keep your personal life separ
ate from the band?
LS: No. But from the media? Hell yeah. My personal life and my career are two different things. I like to have freedom to live the way I want to, but everyone else will have nothing to do with that.
TNG: Do you think people hear “queer band” and want something specific from you?
LS: I don’t think so. I think our fans are really open-minded. They don’t care if we’re Brazilian, if we’re gay, if we’re not, if we’re black. That’s the coolest thing about the newer generation. They’re stepping out of those boxes. You can’t tell if they’re gay or not, that doesn’t matter. They’re having fun. We’re doing something together that’s bigger than you and me. I think it’s wonderful to be different anyway.
There’s a lot of different people in the band. [Lead singer] Love Foxx is engaged [to a man.] She loves drag queens, she’s obsessed with Divine right now. Have you noticed that her makeup is going crazy? I think she’s having a drag queen vibe this whole tour. I don’t like when people get so stuck in one scene or one thing. That’s what’s great about my band. We don’t have any community to answer to, just ourselves.
TNG: Is there something about American culture, versus Brazilian culture, that you think makes people compartmentalize like that?
LS: It’s boring. It’s not enough. It’s like what you were describing in Washington when I don’t think it’s positive. It’s OK to have a community. It’s amazing that you build a power and you feel protected.
TNG: What’s it like in Brazil?
LS: It’s more mixed. But it’s funny, Brazil is not a standard for anything. People are like “ I don’t like black people” or “I don’t like gay people,” and then they’re all hanging out together! It doesn’t make any sense. Their speech is so different from the reality. The reality is everything is mixed up. It’s so fun. It’s the one thing I miss in America. There are very specific places with very specific people.
TNG: I’ve noticed that no matter who you are, when you see a CSS show you start dancing. Is that part of your music, the aim of getting people together?
LS: We were trying to do music that we would listen to also. The last album was such a rush, we did it and didn’t think about anything. I think the most recent album is not as young as the first one.
TNG: How old are you?
LS: I’m 25… The second album was a different place. The first was a party, it was a house party. And the second album: We’ve been through so much in three years, ups and downs and crazy stuff and we keep it going. It’s more personal. In the first record writing in English was so funny. It was just noises. We were like ‘Yeah, shit, uh huh…”
TNG: Did you all speak English before the first album?
LS: We did, but not as much. We’re living in London now, but before that I was just like this outside thing from the TV. People were like ‘Your lyrics are so much about sex’ and we’d be like ‘no, they’re not.” And then we were like, maybe it is.
TNG: Are they deeper now? Are you ever going to write serious songs or is CSS just this party?
LS: I think it’s more serous than at first, but shouldn’t be taken that seriously. We just don’t like to do that. . The sound of the second album has way more to do with our live show than our first. we just fucking wrote the first one then we went to the stage.
TNG: How did you meet? How did you decide to start a band?
LS: Nightlife! Daniel had a million bands before. We were all very young. Ana called me and I had a guitar and people called people. We were 8 members at one points and now there are five of us.
TNG: How did Lovefoxx get involved?
LS: Someone just called her. The first rehearsal was the day that I met her. She was supposed to bring something to play and she forgot her guitar, so we were like just sing. She wasn’t planning on singing, and she was kind of shy and she had this Motley Crue shirt on and she was afraid we would ask her to sing something really rock. So we said sing Madonna’s “Holiday,” like you wrote it. She loved that.
TNG: How is it to have started this band a little while ago and now be playing in front of thousands and thousands of people?
LS: It’s crazy. After the first three weeks it was so cool to come and rehearse and drink and have fun. It was an excuse. We all had jobs and we were all crazy and frustrated. Then Daniel scheduled a show as a joke. We were like fuck, now we have to write songs and stuff.
TNG: What about the name? I know what it means, but not where it came from.
LS: We were all emailing each other all the time, and then Lovefoxx was going on her email and got news that said “Beyonce says she’s tired of being sexy.” We thought ‘Oh my god, that’s so ridiculous.” Lovefoxx suggested “tired of being sexy.” No one replied, but we did the show and people went crazy. It was a really small gig in a furniture shop and after that we never had to ask to play anywhere else. People were asking us to play all over Brazil and then we put it on the web, which helped a lot.
…I know one thing: We worked hard. It’s not all just luck. I did five tours in a row, five months touring without making money. I don’t know any bands that did that. We’ve been touring since 2006, but we’ve learned a lot.
TNG: What have you learned?
LS: You have to pay your dues. You also have to take care of your business. You have to be on it. You have to save yourself. To have an energetic show you have to be healthy. Otherwise you go on drugs and you can die or become an addict really easily. It’s a hard lifestyle. It’s not glamorous at all but it’s very rewarding. It’s very extreme. I learned how to live in the now. You’re always saying goodbye to people because you’re constantly leaving.
TNG: Do you ever date on the road?
LA: It’s funny. The first tour everyone was like “yeah, whoo” and I was like “oh no.”I think that dating is not so fantastic. It’s so easy. It’s like being a bartender. Someone is going to come up to you. It might not be the cutest one but it’s someone. I think it’s fun, but it’s not amazing for me. Or for anyone in the band, actually. We don’t do drugs. We don’t act like rockstars. We go back to the bus and watch Project Runway. Then we go to bed. We love to cook and do normal stuff. I think dating is challenging because eventually it’s going to be a long distance thing because you’re always on away. But when you meet them it’s amazing, it’s like a honeymoon. We’re all still young. It’s good and bad. Sometime’s it’s hard, but we’re together. TNG
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