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Santos Party House was packed to the brim with music lovers and foodies alike last night to celebrate the official first season of "Dinner with the Band" with chef Sam Mason on IFC. Hosted by Mr. Santos himself (and DWTB guest), Andrew WK, the night featured live performances by Gators!, Bad Brilliance and CX Kidtronik as well as DJ sets by beloved Brooklyn acts VEGA and Au Revoir Simone.
Niteside chatted with Annie Hart and Erika Forster of Au Revoir Simone about tacos, dive bars and French disco after their set.
How has it been being back in New York after your last tour?
Erika: We toured from April until November and then we had some time off so it's real nice to be back in New York, just getting settled and stuff. We haven't had a winter in New York in, like, so many years -- just being here the whole time. This winter was really rough. It was really cold and it just felt like it lasted forever. It's been good. I mean, everything with the new album just exceeded our expectations.
How did you first get hooked up with "Dinner with the Band"?
Erika: So the brothers, Greg and Darin [Bresnitz], do a podcast called Snacky Tunes and it's out of Roberta's, in back of the pizzeria in Bushwick, so we were guests on that and then they were like, 'You guys should be on "Dinner with the Band."' That's how we got acquainted with them, and we had such a nice time on their show and it was so nice because as a musician you don't ever really get to do that sort of thing. It was just really fun seeing what goes into making a TV show, especially with people who are doing it their own way -- obviously with the network it was incredibly professional but it seems that they're staying true to their indie roots.
Annie: Greg and Darin are also doing a remix for one of our songs called "Only You Can Make You Happy," which I think is going to come out on our remix album in a couple of months. They just sort of knew who we were and it turns out that they're friends of friends so when they interviewed us for Snacky Tunes they were just so nice and we had such a good time with our little in studio session with one little keyboard. We just really like them so when they invited us to do the show we had even more fun, if you can believe it. I don't have cable but I'm a big fan of the show, which is saying a lot. We're really honored to be part of it.
Did you learn anything from chef Sam Mason when you were on the show?
A: I did! I cook a lot so I always end up flipping things in the pan with my hand -- not a good idea. The second we got done with the show I went out and bought a set of tongs. He's all about the tongs, so I had to get some … and I haven't looked back. I love my tongs.
E: He's amazing! He's just so charismatic and the food was so amazing. We made this beet sangria, or actually, he made a beet sangria cocktail that was so delicious -- I've been trying to recreate it ever since. Everything that he did was really innovative. We poached an egg in soy sauce instead of water, which I never would of thought you could do. Just watching him, he was just very graceful in the kitchen. I think we all learned a lot. Heather and Annie are better cooks than me. I'm more of a health food store and take-out kind of girl.
So how does Au Revoir Simone the band translate into a DJ set?
E: Well, we've been sort of DJing because our last show in New York was in January and we haven't taken a break from playing live shows for a couple of months so DJing has just been a way to stay involved and do events and stuff around New York, which is really fun. It's a lot lower maintenance because you don't have to trek all of your gear -- it's a little bit more low key. I dunno, it's really fun. I think it's just sort of fun to play with the room. I feel like if I just sort of trust my instincts and play something, I don't really care if anyone else loves it but if I love a song so much that it ends up being a song that everyone reacts to and loves. It's funny DJing with other people because I feel like a lot of what you have to do is listen and concentrate, rather than just tuning out and playing whatever you want. We've done a lot of the DJ stuff this spring and the winter a little bit. We did this thing at Top Shop, we did a lot of holiday fashion parties and stuff. If's fun and just a good way to keep in touch with what's going on with other bands. I do this thing on Wednesdays, just me, DJing at Manhattan Inn and that's every week.
When you're not at the Wednesday night party, where can we find you gals hanging out?
E: Well, I do a meditation class every week on Broadway and do yoga. I dunno I guess I spend a lot of time in Williamsburg. I'm not like one of those people that's like, 'This is my thing.' I go to Bedford almost every morning to get a fresh coconut water, like straight out of the coconut. Like, that's one of my routines. That and the Endless Summer Taco Truck -- my friend and I have become like completely obsessed. I guess coconuts and tacos are like my Brooklyn staples. Places to hang in the city are tough because I'm such a fickle partier. I DJed at Baddies the other night and that place is really fun.
A: I can't really think of one place that I love so much because I always end up liking really dive-y places. Oh I have to mention, because I just found out about it, there's this Thai restaurant called East Village Thai and it's right in Cooper Union and it's so small -- I don't even think they have a bathroom you can use, it's just like four crummy tables. The food is like $11 a plate or whatever but the Thai curries are so good, and so rich and flavorful. I haven't had Thai food like that in New York, ever. I'm really a homebody but I guess I usually end up at The Levee in Williamsburg. I mean, they have cheese puffs and Connect Four -- you can't go wrong.
What are some of your favorite tracks you guys played tonight?
E: I actually played two tracks by The Drums tonight. I'm just really in love with their EP. It's just perfect getting ready for the summer. I'm into a lot of old stuff. I'm going through a Giorgio Marauder/Olivia Newton-John kind of phase. The Wednesday night party is a lot of French pop and disco from the 80s and 70s.
When you're out on tour is there anything you really miss about New York?
A: I have a garden with vegetables and I cook them all the time. Maybe that's why I love "Dinner with the Band" so much because I like cooking so much. When I get home I just do the dishes and cook and cook and cook. It's funny because when people think about being on tour, they think it's so glamorous but you don't really have much control over what you're eating, what you're doing, where you're sleeping so it's real nice to just go home and sleep as long as you want, cook whatever you want, hang out with whoever you want, stay up as late as you want, go to sleep as early as you want -- you just have so much more control over your life, which is just the most fun. It's really relaxing and really inspiring to just enjoy the city.
What's next for Au Revoir Simone?
A: Well, so the remix album is coming out. Heather's in school right now so we're not really practicing but we're all writing songs together, and then we're touring Europe twice in the summer and then we're doing some New York shows. Hopefully then this time next year we'll have some material to play for you. We'll see what happens, nothing in the music business ever happens on time, and if it does it's probably bad.
New episodes of "Dinner with the Band" start Tues., April 27 at 10:30 p.m. EST on IFC.