MTV Iggy's Artist of the Week is All Smiles and Sexmusic
Brooklyn’s rising party-makers AVAN LAVA won our Artist of the Week slot, and thank goodness, because they tell us they are sore losers. They might have stormed our offices laden in spandex, mirror pants and an infectious positive outlook, forcing us to get up with the get down to their electro-pop sexytime all day and all night. NOOO! Wait, yes. More please.
We love AVAN LAVA, and their latest EP Flex Fantasy has got the planet falling in love too — with their own bedrooms. (Okay I’m done.) The Prince-phile fivesome has a versatile sound actually, ranging from dancefloor fare to the more pensive electro-pop of their latest single “Sisters.” We chatted with AVAN’s gifted lead singer TC Hennes about being winners, about homophobes who love Freddie Mercury, and about the band’s meteoric rise.
How does it feel to win? Did you discover any other bands you liked during the voting?
To be quite frank, we’re sore losers, and we LOVE to win! So we’re feeling really good right now. It’s just incredible to get recognized by MTV Iggy and also by MTVU which premiered our official video for “Sisters!” Thanks for all the MTV love! We really dig Young Wonder’s music. We had a pretty fierce battle to the finish with them during the contest. There was a moment when we had some doubts that we’d win. So glad we did!!
Tell me about your love of Prince. How has he inspired AVAN LAVA, but also, your lives?
Prince was one of the first artists to use electronic drums in R&B. He also creates the sickest blend of sex and funk, which we’re totally drawn to. He’s prolific and seems to always have a hand in every part of creating his music, with the writing, producing, etc. And his live shows are insane! He always takes it seriously, and always creates unforgettable performances. It’s true, WE LOVE HIM! Also, his music may or may not have inspired our parents to get down.
If you could do one activity with Prince, what would it be?
I’d love to sit down with Prince at his white grand piano to write, sing, have a glass of wine and talk about the future.. (yea, I saw Cribs).
What’s AVAN LAVA mean?
The name AVAN LAVA was inspired by a recurring dream Le Chev kept having in early 2009. In his dream, a man named AVAN falls into an active volcano on a remote island off the coast of Peru. Once he is fully immersed, and presumably dead, he rises from the lava as a spirit in the shape of a bird that protects the island from evil. Inspired by AVAN and his mission, Le Chev believed it was the right name.
You’ve mentioned being tired of that chillwave glo-fi indie sound, and we have to agree. Yet, you guys rub elbows with the Williamsburg fare. Do you have hipster haters? Or is it mostly good times?
We love all types of stuff, we even made that style of music for our first EP, “Vapors,” but now it’s time to party! We aren’t looking to reach an exclusive audience in any way. We just want to make good pop songs that everyone will love and relate to. We’ve seen a lot of people come around to us at the live shows over the past year, people you would never expect to like pop music, and that’s always cool.
It’s so hard to make it as a band in Brooklyn. What makes it worth it to you? What kinds of financial wrangling have you had to do to make it happen?
We’ve definitely lost a bunch of dough in the past, paying to play and what not, but this last year has proven to be quite successful, both artistically and financially. We were so lucky to have been flown to Singapore by W Hotels to perform at their opening alongside Mark Ronson. AVAN LAVA was also fortunate to have headlined a bunch of legendary venues here in NYC. Also, as a band we compose original music for world renowned fashion photographers, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, which has helped tremendously. We’re finally making money, and also making a lot more music. We’re really stoked to be in Brooklyn at this moment.
Tom you’ve mentioned Freddie Mercury being an inspiration to you, as an artist. What does he have to teach us?
That music, talent, and art transcends all. You can see the biggest homophobic pancake singing his little heart out to “We Are The Champions,” and that’s RAD.
I admit that my first thought was “these guys should totally open for the Scissor Sisters!” but then I’d be guilty of pigeonholing. Or not?
We’re honestly just looking for the best opportunities to share our music and perform at all times. We’d kill to open for Scissor Sisters. I’ve been dying to play with Robyn…We love playing out, and can’t wait for what’s in store in 2013.
What’s next for AVAN LAVA?
We’re back in the studio recording our debut full-length record. The group is also making plans to headline NYC again and we will be making the trip back down to Austin for SXSW Festival, so things are heating up for sure!