Before becoming the first South American band signed to American indie music institution Sub Pop Records, even before the sharp-eared Brazilian label Trama released their record at home, Cansei De Ser Sexy (Tired Of Being Sexy)—known to fans worldwide via the acronym CSS—already had a devoted following thanks to the Internet. The proof was in the turnout to their early shows in Brazil. This six-piece, electro dance-rock outfit from Sao Paulo was selling out venues, though they had yet to release an album. Lead singer and lyricist Lovefoxxx remembers one particular night in Belo Horizonte where a line of people waiting to hear them play snaked around the club.
“They could sing all the songs,” Lovefoxxx says, still in awe while on the phone from a Cleveland hotel room. “We were as amazed as we are when we go to places like Groningham and people are singing our lyrics.”
CSS was originally formed in 2003, by Luisa Matsushita, a.k.a. Lovefoxxx, Carolina Parra and Luiza Sa (all former art school students), film and fashion design students Ana Rezende and Iracema Trevisian, and Ariano Cintra. They knew they had a band name after hearing Beyoncé Knowles complain to Brazilian television that she was “tired of being sexy.”
After independently releasing two EPs, CSS became huge enough on the Brazilian music site www.TramVitual.com.br to merit an invitation to perform in 2004’s TIM Festival in Sao Paulo. Soon, the band’s manager sent records to different labels, and a few responded. “But then Sub Pop got in the business and they were like ‘No! We want to release CSS for all over the world’,” Lovefoxxx says. By the time CSS’s self-titled debut hit U.S. stores in July, the band’s ebulliently deconstructed disco-pop beats and taut guitars had generated enough buzz to warrant a world tour that’s scheduled to last well into 2007.
While CSS’s Stateside shows have lived up to the band’s irreverent attitudes—their decadent lyrics inspire underwear-throwing and stage diving—Lovefoxxx thinks that their most fervent fans are in the UK. “In Manchester when we were playing last month, that was maybe one of the craziest gigs,” she recalls. “The venue was not that big, but it was very packed and people in the UK drink more than people in the U.S. and they’re more loose in some kind of way...We ended our show and then we went backstage and came back for an encore, and when it was over we went back to the backstage again and people were screaming like CSS! CSS! And then we went back for another encore, so we did two in one night and it was very sweaty, everybody was very sweaty, like the walls were sweaty and I lost a dress in that show, but I had something else.”
The band has a cunning ability to come up with the kind of biting anti-anthems that appeal to indie music fans, while simultaneously embracing American pop culture. Critics have been amused by the fact that the female band members had no previous musical experience. In fact—with drummer/guitarist/producer Adriano Cintra the only male and the sole exception—they started the band (in true punk rock fashion) just as they were learning how to play their instruments.
With songs like “Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above” (a reference to super-hip punk band Death From Above 1979) and “Meeting Paris Hilton,” CSS consummated an unlikely marriage between mainstream pop disposability and avant-garde edge. In an interview with Elle Girl, bassist Iracema Trevisian (a.k.a. Ira) declared that the band’s preoccupation with pop culture was the glue that held it together: “One [of us] may be listening to Bob Dylan on their iPod, the other one, Au Pairs. Later on, everybody dances to Mariah Carey together. We love pinkisthenewblog.com, we love E! Entertainment television, we love all of it!”
“It’s not like we approach the subject to criticize,” says Lovefoxx of their fixation with celebrity culture. “It’s just somethin