If you’re not already familiar with Avec Sans, now is most certainly the time to delve in to the UK-based duo’s dazzling back catalogue which has just been super-sized thanks to the arrival of the music video for their HUGE new single All Of Time; a pristine slice of soaring, ethereal electropop that, like last year’s Shiver, warrants your full and immediate attention.
The track is currently available as a free download over at Avec Sans’ Facebook page but is scheduled to be released as part of a five song remix bundle on 15 September. Chart Shaker caught up with Alice Fox and Jack St James to have a chat about what kind of music you’ll find them listening to, and the sounds that have influenced their lives up until now.
What kind of music could we expect to hear playing on your iPods?
Alice: I’m listening to the core of things I always come back to, things like Sufjan Stevens, Everything Everything, Purity Ring, Arcade Fire, Passion Pit and things like Flume and RAC etc and then some new finds like Young Wonder, Mesita and Låpsley.
Jack: At the moment I’m really into my nu disco / funk / happy electro stuff. So Oliver Nelson, Louis La Roche. Chromeo, Fred Falke, Alex Metric, RAC, Todd Terje… It’s Summertime which makes their music feel all the more euphoric.
Are there any specific songs that you associate with your early years, and what memories do you associate with them?
Alice: It was listening to Sandy Shaw’s Puppet on a String and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted on some nostalgic radio station as a kid and thinking they were great. Probably Sandy’s because it was about a puppet. And I was a kid. And liked puppets.
Jack: I’m not sure if it’s my earliest memory (I’m not even certain what I did yesterday) but I do have vivid memories of my parents play Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Crosby Stills & Nash, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath etc… All bands which I love and still listen to today. My Dad is fanatical about the music he listens to and always used to play me stuff and introduce me to bands he liked. I can also vividly remember the first times I heard bands like Nirvana, Green Day, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers. Moments when your life just feels like everything has changed and you are totally blown away by what’s coming out the speakers.
With that in mind, a lot of people think your school and college years are the most influential. What songs soundtracked those times?
Alice: I developed a taste in music that reached beyond pop from quite a young age, I remember being fascinated by Eels in primary school after seeing that performance on Top of the Pops where they played the tiny instruments and then smashed them up. I thought they were mesmerising.
Jack: I never liked the music my friends did for the first half of my school life. I was the first to really feel like music mattered and I did everything to seek it out. I was very snobby about avoiding the mainstream and got a fair bit of stick for being the odd one out. I was in to a lot of loud punk bands either playing guitar or the drums. Then the music I liked came into fashion and everyone jumped on board. I’m a lot less snobby now… to the point that I get stick for some of the incredibly mainstream pop I love.
What was the first record you bought?
Alice: Oh lordy, I can’t even remember what this was, I think it was Radiohead’s The Bends, but that I came to after it had been out for quite a long time. I know that that was one of the only CDs I had when I had my first CD player and that I pretty much wore a hole in it.
Jack: I had been bought CDs as presents before but I remember the first time I saved up and bought my own. I was going through my brother’s CD collection and he had a writable CD full of music he’d stolen / ripped from a room mate. I wrote down two track numbers, found out who they were by and the next weekend I bought The Prodigy’s Music For The Jilted Generation and Green Day’s Dookie and Smoothed Out Slappy Hours.
Are there any songs you grew up with that you identify with your early experiences of love?
Alice: I used to really indulge in music when I got my heart broken. I once met this American boy at a festival when I was about 14, we spent several weeks together after that and then wrote and called each other for quite a while when he went back to the States. I remember him turning up a couple of years later in England unannounced and by then I was seeing someone who was wildly inappropriately older than me. He tried to kiss me on New Year’s Eve. I was really sad about it. He’s built like a tank now and is actually in the US Army, I don’t think it would have worked out. We’re Facebook friends. Facebook takes all the mystery and romance out of the world.
Jack: For the most part growing up I never really had all that much interest in relationships. I was always in bands, spending every lunch hour and after school rehearsing or doing something music related. I’m not sure I could be with someone who doesn’t have a good ear for music which is probably why all my ex’s are either singers, DJs or dancers. I need someone with the same passion that I have.
Alice: At the end of summer when my American teenage crush headed back to South Carolina I seem to remember listening a lot to a Smash Hits compilation tape of indie artists who’ve all since disappeared into the mists of time.
Jack: I’ve never really been one to listen to lyrics much. I’m always too preoccupied with what the sounds are doing and the production, so I tend to listen to music where the aesthetic matches my mood. Two Points For Honesty by Guster has always connected with me when I’m sad for some reason but more than likely I’ll go for something more angry and aggressive like Four Year Strong or Sleigh Bells.
What one song do you wish you had recorded?
Alice: The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows. It’s perfect. So other worldly.
Jack: Bombay Bicycle Club’s Shuffle. I want this song to be on the end credits of my life.
What tracks remind you of cutting loose with your friends?
Alice: This is the best cutting loose song. LCD Soundsystem’s Drunk Girls, directed by the wonderful Spike Jonze. That and My Sharona, which I’ll often play on loop for a shamefully long amount of time.
Jack: El Hornet DJ’d at my university before they had released Hold Your Colour and become the massive group they are today. My best friend at uni introduced them to me and we went to see the set. There were only about 50 – 100 of us there and it was absolutely incredible. We lost touch with reality and really went for it. Amazing times.
Are there any tracks that you shouldn’t you admit to having on your iPods?
Alice: Probably My Sharona. But I don’t give a shit, it’s brilliant.
Jack: Pendulum’s Slam.
Which song from your own back catalogue are you most proud of being involved in making?
Alice: I think Heartbreak Hi, I love a good retro Aussie TV series word play tie-in song so that was possibly my proudest moment.
Jack: For me Heartbreak Hi was definitely one of our proudest achievements, not only because we persevered writing that song for a year (really) but because we came out of it knowing exactly what sort of music we wanted to make. Our cover of Perth is also very special to me since that’s what kicked off this whole crazy journey. I’m so pleased we’ve managed to get every single taste of music we love into our songs, no matter the genre.
Avec Sans’ All of Time EP will be released to iTunes on 15 September. Preorder your download on iTunes now.