I love Brazilian rock band CSS so much! From the moment I heard their first album the 2005 released Cansei de Ser Sexy I’ve been totally hooked! They’re currently towards the tail end of a North American tour celebrating the release of latest record La Liberacion. I was lucky enough to catch up with CSS’ Luiza Sá (a favourite musician and photographer of mine) to chat about her musical beginnings, creativity, photography, sexism, of a show that opened her mind and her obsession with astrology!
What drew you to first pick up an instrument?
My family, I think. My dad always played the guitar, my mom always sang a lot and my uncle is a great, great musician. So my dad gave me an acoustic guitar when I was young but I never took lessons, and I regret that. Me and my cousin would hang around my uncle’s studio all the time and just play around.
How did you learn to play? You’re self-taught right? Do you use your intuition to play?
I guess I use whatever I have, I don’t know if it’s intuition or just plain trying out, I know I have lots of limitations and many times I get frustrated. The other day I was talking to Janine (Planning to Rock) and she is this amazing classic violin player and she was like telling me she thinks limitations are a good thing, so I guess the grass is always greener.
You play a few different instruments which one do you enjoy playing most?
I play a few ones VERY badly. I really like drums and I love the bass, especially to write, it just feels more simple and ultimately the piano is the most visual amazing instrument, the downside is that you can’t like take a piano everywhere like you can do with a guitar.
When it comes to creating music would you describe yourself as more a ‘thinker’ or a ‘feeler’? Why?
I have no clue. For me creating music sometimes is very rewarding and relaxing and sometimes is awful, sometimes it’s fast and painless and many times you make 20 songs and they all suck. I guess I’m more of a feeler but then you have to step back and look at it again and be the thinker. I guess it should be the feeler before the thinker. Unless you’re so fluent and good that you have the producer mind and I’m not like that at all, so I guess it’s all feeler in the end.
I’ve read you comment in a previous interview that growing up bands like Hole, Bikini Kill and L7 were big inspirations for you and that “seeing girls doing it [playing music]—it had a different level of connection” – please tell me a little bit about this connection you experienced?
Well, the world is still a sexist place, even if it’s so much better than what it used to be, I remember as a kid in Brazil realizing that it was easier to be boys because they didn’t have to wash the dishes, they could just sit and drink beer while the wives would take care of the that boring work and I just could not agree to it so I would not help out sometimes because I thought it was unfair. But then I grew up and I realized I would never want to be a man just because they usually have a more narrow point-of-view on things and also the sexism thing can be really bad for them too because, at least in Brazil, boys can’t really dress up crazy or like hug each other, cry, stuff like that, so I guess I would always love bands with men or women on it but to see a woman being free and doing it felt super inspirational because that’s someone who has to have an extra layer of courage, even if people can disagree with that. Nirvana was amazing and he was a punk and represented something that wasn’t conventional at all but Kurt Cobain was still American, white, blond and beautiful so I feel more connected to Hole, L7 and Bikini Kill at the time, just more identified. And I remember when I discovered Joan Jett!
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