the AU interview: Amanda Brown of LA Vampires (USA)

LA Vampires are hitting our shores soon for Frankly! It’s a Pop Festival. Kat Mahina caught up with Amanda Brown – founder of Not Not Fun records and half of LA Vampires to find out what it’s all about.

Your band is described as being part of the ‘witch house’ movement, a genre that is yet to take hold in Australia, can you shed some light on what witch house is?

I actually have no idea about witch house. It’s a little bit of a running joke between me and Britt – mainly because it sounds so silly and straightforward. I suppose what they’re referring to is “goth with beats” – ‘witch’ being the gothy aspect of the music, and ‘house’ meaning dance.

I’m certainly not part of the movement, although I think I got lumped in when I recorded my album with Nika of Zola Jesus. Makes sense for that record, although we liked to think of that collab as Goth Dub. Genres can be so ridiculous…

What’s your personal musical background/ influences?

I have almost no musical background. I did play keyboards as a first grader, and clarinet as a fourth grader. I quit both because I was far more interested in writing stories. I went to university for playwriting, and never thought much about playing music. I think it’s because I’ve never had a serious bond with any particular instrument, and I couldn’t quite hack it in choir. I do love performing though – that’s probably what got me into music in my twenties, and initially what kept me there. I’m always influenced by an incredible performer. Grace Jones, Sylvester, Bjork, David Byrne. And currently, Zola Jesus, Gang Gang Dance, Tearist.

Have you ever been to Australia before/are there any parts of the country you’re excited to be visiting?

I’ve never been to Australia. I’m really overwhelmed by the country – so much to see, and I’ll hardly have time for any of it! Mainly I’ve heard wonderful things about Melbourne from my Kiwi friends. I’m a city-woman, so I’m most interested in checking out the art, buildings, and people.
Although I can’t deny I’m curious about catching sight of a koala…

What can Australian audiences expect from an LA Vampires live show?

Come to dance! Come to have fun and be taken away by the music. That’s the hope at least. Britt and Nick will be working the mixer/keys/pedals, rising and falling with the audience, hoping to work off amazing Australian vibes. We’re so over head-bobbing, arms-folding, toe-tapping.
It’s time to let loose.

Your label Not Not Fun is being showcased at Frankly!, part of the Brisbane festival. Are there any other artists you’re looking forward to checking out at the festival?

Always fun to see Shawn and Ryan of Wet Hair. And of course I’m a big fan of Angel Eyes and Blank Realm.

What’s the best live band you’ve seen lately?

Recently I threw a 100% SILK show in Hollywood and Innergaze, SFV ACID, Magic Touch, and Pharaohs played. It was the best night of music I’ve seen this year. They’re all incredible. Carlos Gonzalez of Russian Tsarlag also came through a month or so ago, and he’s always inspiring to see live. He’s so uncompromising with his personal vision, I love that!

What were the last three records you bought?

The House Sound of London 12″
Tropique – ‘Big Business’ 12″
Front Page – ‘Love Insurance 12″

Catch LA Vampires at the following shows

Sept 3 – Mixed Grill’d at Arthouse, Cairns
Sept 6 – The Bakery, Perth
Sept 7 – Emma Soup Gallery, Newcastle
Sept 8 – GoodGod, Sydney
Sept 9 – The Workers Club, Melbourne
Sept 10 – FRANKLY!, Brisbane