Nylon Music Tour presents:
CSS & IO Echo
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Io Echo is IOANNA GIKA and LEOPOLD ROSS. While MINISTRY OF LOVE will be Io Echo's first official full length release, over the past year the band have already scored the Harmony Korine+James Franco film collaboration ‘Rebel’ for the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles; and, after seeing them perform live, the museum's director Jeffrey Deitch asked the band to curate an audio/visual festival which they named PLAY MOCA and co-curated with their label IAMSOUND. They played alongside Salem, Cults, Zola Jesus, Active Child, and more.
Los Angeles is a polarizing place. You either love it, or you hate it. You're either depressed by it, or you're inspired by it. You either want to leave immediately, or you want to stay forever. São Paulo all-girl quartet CSS had a hell of a night in the City of Angels during October 2011. As a result, that fateful evening served as something of a jumping off point for their fourth full-length album, Planta, translated "Plant."
"We did a sold-out show at the Echoplex in Echo Park," recalls Luiza Sá. "It was crazy. People were moshing. There was black lipstick everywhere. The room had this indescribable energy. Afterwards, I told the girls, 'Let's go to Los Angeles and write music.' They all were like, 'Yes'."
The band—Lovefoxxx [lead vocals], Ana Rezende [guitar/keys], Luiza [guitar/keys/bass], and Carolina Parra [guitar/keys/bass]—had only recorded at home in Brazil prior so the idea proved immediately intriguing. After serendipitously seeing them perform at a London concert, TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek approached the girls about producing. Another total no-brainer, they holed up in Sitek's house for close to two months and made the album together.
"We stayed there with him, his two dogs, and his two cats," laughs Ana. "We'd work all night and then jump in the pool at two in the morning. It's a great creative environment because there are no rules, and spontaneity is encouraged. He had a vision, and he helped us bring these songs to life. By highlighting the best in each of us individually, he brought a lot of harmony to our writing"
Songs like the first single "Hangover" stand emblematic of the enigmatic style they collectively harnessed. Co-written with Rancid's Tim Armstrong, it straddles the lines between pop, dance, and punk, while never losing its edge or cheeky sense of humor with lines equating hangovers and heartbreaks.
"It's about being young and having fun," Ana admits. "We hooked up with Tim, and we talked about how much we love reggae and reggaeton. It doesn't necessarily sound like that, but we came up with something that anybody can move to."
That energy courses through Planta from the shimmying and shaking electro-fied opener "Honey" to the tambourine dream of "Faith in Love." In many ways, the album's boundlessness has been CSS's goal since the beginning. Other stand- outs included "Dynamite" featuring friend and guest Hannah Blilie of The Gossip.
They've continually delivered ever since their debut Cansei de Ser Sexy, translated to "Tired of being sexy"—a quote from Blue Ivy's mom Beyoncé. Not only did the album introduce CSS to the world, it yielded the hit, "Music Is My Hot Hot Sex.” The track, which landed a placement in the coveted iPod commercials, went on to become the highest-charting single by a Brazilian band to date, and the album continues to be one of their best-selling efforts.
However, that was just the beginning for CSS. Things stayed "sexy," no matter who was tired of it. Donkey and La Liberación expanded on their sound yet again and solidified their devout, dedicated worldwide fan base. Still, the CSS phenomenon is going to grow even more with Planta.
"We share a sense of sisterhood and family," concludes Luiza. "I hope you can feel that in the music. We wanted to make a record where every song is part of the whole story. You can relate to the real human emotions of it—like finding your voice or falling in love. We want to do this forever."