chaos chaos
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chaos chaos

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Duo Pop Alternative

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"Noisey"

Remember Smoosh? The Seattle-founded, now New York-based sister duo, made up of Asya and Chloe Saavedra, started singing and playing keys and drums (respectively) before they were even in double digits. By 2007, when Asy was 15 and Chloe was 13, they’d already released four records, performed on Jimmy Kimmel, sung about PJs on Yo Gabba Gabba, and opened for Pearl Jam, Death Cab For Cutie, Sufjan Stevens, Sleater-Kinney, and Cat Power, among others. Pretty ridiculous. Their other sister Maia also joined the band for a while, which made them look even more like Hanson’s sisters, except without the equivalent to that the older gawky looking one (Isaac). Their music started off as plinkety piano pop and nearly a decade later—after a stint in Sweden where their mom is originally from—Smoosh started sounding more indie-synth sweet. But then Snooki came along and killed them, the cow. Smoosh had been around for a decade by the time the Jersey Shore midget came along and sullied their namesake so that it’s now associated with dirty, drunken sex and not perky pop.

Nevertheless, Asya and Chloe are back as Chaos Chaos. They’ve got a new slinky synth pop sound and they’ve grown up to be total babes. We talked to them about their Hanson obsession, fashion, and talking like their Swedish grandmother.



Noisey: Was there a specific band or music that made you want to start playing music?
Chloe: Well actually two things. One is not very embarrassing: no shame about being obsessed with Hanson. We loved Hanson. We were also tomboys, so we didn’t want to be the girl version of Hanson, we wanted to be Hanson. I was Zac and I see you, Asy, as Taylor.

Asya: We looked like them too when we were young.


Smoosh versus Hanson. Totally related looking.

Chloe: Yeah we totally did. I would always hang a low ponytail like Zac and he had these yellow sweats that he’d wear sometimes and I bought some yellow sweats that looked just like that. Then I guess what made us kind of start our band as Smoosh was the soundtrack for the movie Shrek. There’s that “All Stars” song by Smash Mouth…

Asya: It didn’t make us start though, we were already playing music. It kind of influenced our music in a funny way. Smash Mouth was how we thought of our band name.

Chloe: We changed to Chaos Chaos. Mostly because Snooki stole our name. There's a South Park episode about it that basically destroyed Smoosh. They even have a song called “Snooki Wants Smoosh Smoosh” on Spotify, so Snooki people were coming over to Smoosh’s site and commenting like, “Oh I’d smoosh that.” They were obviously not Smoosh fans. They got confused and we definitely don’t want people to be confused, or to be at all associated with Snooki.



So when did you stop being tomboys and dressing like Hanson and start getting into vintage clothes?
Chloe: Actually I still feel like we're tomboys. When we were kids I cared about the clothes I wore, but I wanted to make sure that they were really boyish.

Asya: It's funny because when we were in elementary school, we were playing with people like Cat Power, who has a really cool fashion sense. So we’d be influenced by people like that and then we’d go to school and everyone was wearing Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, and we had like boots and riot grrrl outfits. People were just confused by us. We were friends with normal kids though. We weren’t like those weird kids that just wore really weird clothes.

Chloe: We got into fashion kinda early because of the music stuff. It was hard to find kid clothes that were cool, so we had to go to some vintage stores.



So Death Cab For Cutie’s drummer Jason McGerr was your drum teacher, which explains a little bit how you ended up rolling with all of these insanely sweet bands…
Asya: It didn’t seem too crazy at the time because we didn’t know who they were. It was just like, “Oh we have another show after school.” Like, it was almost a hobby: “Oh we should practice for the Sleater-Kinney show.” At the time I really didn’t know what we were doing. We just had fun with it. I think they just really wanted to support us. And once we started playing with some bands, other bands found out—the Seattle music scene is so interconnected. KEXP, the radio station, really helped us out. We just had some people who were really throwing us bones and that was great.

How did you manage to fit in touring with school?
Chloe: We didn’t really fit it in. When we got in middle school our classes were more serious and we came into the first day of school and we already had to get absent sheets for our tour that was starting in a couple of days. From that day, they were like, “That’s it. We can’t pass you guys if you are going to be gone that much.” So we had to stop going to school. When we were really busy, we would just be homeschooled and then I would miss my friends and go back to school.

So you moved to Sweden when you were still recording as Smoosh. How did that impact the band?
Chloe: It was a more quiet time for us. We just disconnected with what was happening in the US. In retrospect, I think it was a good break. We got this transition to Chaos Chaos. In this transition we were like, “If we’re going to start up again, we won’t have any limitations, like school or whatever.” So when we graduated we got started with all the Chaos Chaos stuff and it’s been nice to be able to dedicate all of our time to it.

How was learning Swedish?
Asya: When we lived in Seattle we would speak Swedish a little bit. It was kind of like our code language. Our grandmother was fully Swedish and she was the one who taught us. So when we moved to Sweden, we went to Swedish speaking schools and we actually spoke like grandmas!

Chloe: Because the language there is very progressive and it changes a lot, there's a lot of young people slang. Old people and young people talk pretty different.

Did living in Sweden affect the music you were making? It feels like there's much more of an electronic influence in Chaos Chaos.
Chloe: Actually, thinking about it, some of it has to do with the electronic kind of pop stuff that we were listening to in Sweden: Fever Ray, Lykke Li, and Little Dragon.

Asya: Yeah, so many great electronic pop bands. We wanted to try something really different. Like producing all the songs a lot more, making them easier for people to listen to. So we were listening to people like Timberland too.



Chloe: It’s so weird though. People ask us, what’s your style, or what is your philosophy about music? I feel like it’s just always changing because we started putting out music when we were super young. It’s just going parallel with our growth as people. Everything changes so much. I don’t really know what's next for us.

Who are the drummers you look up to?
Chloe: We toured with Deerhoof and I was so blown away by Greg Saunier. He’s an animal and his style is super cool. I love drummers who don't give a s**t on stage about how they look. I find with a lot of girl drummers, they’re focused on how they look instead of totally getting into it. Sometimes when you see girl drummers rock out, you get the sense that it’s kind of fake, guy drummers too sometimes. So I try to be an exception to that. I have a lot of respect for Haim too. They’re really percussive with their vocals and multi-talented.

Do you think you can communicate with each other on a subliminal level?
Chloe: Yeah definitely.

Asya: Just doing the music makes us kind of have a different connection.

Chloe: I kind of take that for granted sometimes. I’ve played with other people and jammed with other bands, which is great, but it takes so much longer to get somewhere because everyone’s opinions are so different. Their connection isn’t as tight as ours.

Do you swap clothes or do you have a different tastes in clothes?
Asya: We're having so much fun right now with fashion and trying to make that be a part of the music. We try to keep our own identities, but also completely random and not fitting together.

Chloe: I think Asy’s style is almost more original because she always has something that’s pretty unique and not something that's exactly trendy. I always get into what’s on the runways because I use tumblr a lot. I love Rodarte. I love Mary Katrantzou. I love a really colorful, kind of crazy looks. And also Anna Sui.

Asya: I think Chloe’s style is a little bit more fierce, stark, and maybe sporty. More night life-ish.

Chloe: I don’t like to wear heels. Even if I go out to parties, somehow I always end up doing cartwheels or handstands. I make sure I’m wearing something that I can move around in.

Asya: And you’re a complete animal on stage, so there’s no way you could wear like a corset.

Chloe: I love Björk, so if I were ever as big as her, I would love to be like her onstage. I have so many ideas for designing stuff…

Like what?
Chloe: I guess just weird clothes. Like a dress with weird bubbles coming off it, or a sea creature kind of outfit. Something that could still be functional when I’m playing drums.




Asya: We are actually both really into head-bobbing on stage so we found this hairstyle that actually works perfect: the Princess Leia buns. Chloe always asks the crowd for extra hairpins.

Chloe: I just have so much hair. I’ve contemplated shaving it off at some points, but I would never go bald, because the association with baldness is crazy girl. Like you went crazy.

Like Britney.
Chloe: Yes. And didn’t Amanda Bynes do that too? She’s going crazy.

Don’t you guys ever get sick of each other?
Both: Definitely!

Chloe: Physically, we’re rarely ever actually apart. It’s intense!



Style Stage is an ongoing partnership between Noisey & Garnier Fructis celebrating music, hair, and style. - Kim Taylor Bennett


"Nylon Magazine"

Sometimes we wish we had a giant indie rock family tree, where we could follow bands as they form, expand, break-up, and spin-off. That way we would have known the instant Smoosh morphed into Chaos Chaos. You'll remember Chloe and Asy Saavedra, who formed Smoosh when they were still kids. They released three albums, played big festivals like Lollapalooza, and toured with the likes of Death Cab For Cutie and Cat Power. But like most things, they grew up and grew out of things, and decided not too long ago to become Chaos Chaos. With the help of fans--via Kickstarter--they largely self-funded their upcoming EP S (out October 16), and it's clear that this duo is evolving. Take "My Hands," their first single which we've got available today: Instead of angst-y indie-rock, its got an electro-edge. We spoke with Chloe about the making of the song--and then got our hands on a copy (check it out below), so you can listen to it, too. W

hat was the process of writing "My Hands" like? The process of writing "My Hands" was pretty strange and not very ideal. We were in a situation in our lives where we had no studio--this is a death-like situation for us--so Asy was writing songs on her own (since I couldn't play drums). Sometimes limitation is a gift because you are forced to get out of what's comfortable to accomplish something. And that brought us to something interesting: an all-electronic song. Once we got in a rehearsal studio, Asy and I finished the song. Since it was so different than the music we usually wrote, we decided to go all out with it. Our inspiration for the song was Timbaland; we studied a song he did with Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake. This process led to a lot of laughing and making fun of each other (because at one point we were rapping to the song). The end result was the most mainstream pop we've ever wrote. We did the same with the lyrics; we decided not to dig deep into the psychology of the lyrics, like we did with the other songs, but to keep them light and naive while trying to keep it personal at the same time.

At what part in the process of recording the new EP did this song come? This EP was all over the place, geographically and in time. "My Hands" was written a couple years ago, put on hold (in our logic chamber of secrets) and then revived right before we got into the recording studio. We thought all the songs should have the same vibe, in the sense that we wrote them at the same time. This was weird, because all the songs were written at different time and in different places, but then were all molded together because we tweaked and changed them to suit the things we were going through when we recorded them. Since time is a constant thing, change is also a constant thing--and no song is ever the same the next time you play it. We wanted to embrace that, and allow the songs to change and evolve as they wanted.

What makes it a Chaos Chaos song? This EP is the only Chaos Chaos song, and what really makes all these songs fit together and represent us is that they are chaotic, moody, all over the place, and contained at the same time. They are contained in little lines and codes in your computer. FYI, they will not be contained when we play them live. Chaos Chaos really doesn't have any rules (we don't really follow the 'you must know the rules to break 'em' thing either). We don't know the rules and ways to make music, because we learned on our own, and that's how we've always done it. Even when we were eight and 10, we were two white girls rapping to our own "indie pop" songs. We don't know anything, but we allow ourselves to figure out as much as possible about whatever it is we are interested in. We aren't barred in by any preexisting rules we wrote music by; we are trying everything and enjoying the adventure.

What's the song about? Let me tell you something about my hands: they're filthy. I don't wash them. No, I'm kidding! This song is about the will people have to conquer in small ways. The lyrics are very hypocritical and stubborn, they're about how annoyed this girl is with this guy who thinks he's all that, and thinks he "owns everybody," when really the lyrics portray how the girl wants to do the same thing. She is guilty of the same crime as him, but is oblivious to this.

When's the ideal time to listen to "My Hands"? It's the most party-like song we've written together. The best place would be ideally in concert, or blasting in a concrete jungle. Or when you are on your way to meet someone--we wanted it to be a natural energy booster. Starting with the hands, and then getting the blood flowing to the whole body.

Describe the song in one sentence: The usual human suspect: stubborn, oblivious, hypocritical--and wanting to party despite the problems!

Describe Chaos Chaos in one sentence: Chaos Chaos is a giant amoeba with attitude. - rebecca willa davis


"Interview Magazine"

"Everyone are you feeling bad today, 'cause maybe you should be a little happier," Asya ("Asy") Saaverda raps in "Rad," a song she wrote before hitting her teens, which Cat Power would go on to cover in her live sets. Asy and her younger sister, Chloe, have been making music together since Chloe could hold a drumstick. Under the moniker "Smoosh," the sisters performed at Lollapalooza (2007) and on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2006), and have opened for established indie acts such as Eels, Tokyo Police Club, Death Cab for Cutie (whose drummer, Jason McGerr, taught Chloe how to play the drums), and Sufjan Stevens, most of which happened while the two were still in middle and elementary school.

But that is all in the past. "I always wonder if people know who Smoosh is when they talk to us, it's like our secret identity: ‘Oh, you know,'" Asy tells us. Now 20 and 18, Asy and Chloe are no longer prodigious preteens; they are prodigious young adults with a darker, richer sound, a new band name—Chaos Chaos—and a Kickstarter-funded EP entitled S.

The sisters, as a general rule, do not conduct interviews together; but they made an exception when we met in New York last week to talk about amoebas, Snooki, and trash.





EMMA BROWN: Would you ever play a Smoosh song at a Chaos Chaos show?

CHLOE SAAVERDA: We would do a different version of a Smoosh song. We're trying to do everything more in the moment. It's way more exciting for us. I don't really want to play any of the old songs anymore. [laughs]

ASYA SAAVERDA: I also feel like the Chaos Chaos songs kind of have a different attitude, so, if we are going to re-do a Smoosh song, we have to have that translate over.

EMMA BROWN: You started making music and performing as professionals at such a young age. Did you ever consider switching to a different career?

CHLOE SAAVERDA: We kind of took a break from music when we moved to Stockholm, Sweden. We were all going to school there and we just focused more on school. We were in a pretty tight financial situation, so we didn't have a studio to practice in. It was kind of terrible, to not be able to play drums for so long. But then I'm kind of happy that that happened, because when we came back, we wanted to really go all out with it.

EMMA BROWN: When, and why, did you move to Sweden?

ASYA SAAVERDA: [laughs] Yeah, it was kind of a random choice, but it seemed like a good time, and our family is Swedish.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: I don't know if it was a good time to move to Sweden.

ASYA SAAVERDA: It was a good time because we were finishing up high school. We were still in high school, but we had decided to leave our school—actually to focus on music and touring—and we really wanted to experience a different culture. It was pretty weird to be thrown into a completely new music environment. We didn't really have any contacts there, and things were totally different. We felt pretty isolated.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: We wrote a couple of the songs on this EP in our barn in the woods in Sweden. We've always gotten along so much better when we're doing music stuff together. When we took that break in Sweden for two years, we did not get along at all. We hated each other. [laughs]

ASYA SAAVERDA: Did we?

CHLOE SAAVERDA: Yeah! We never hung out. And, now that we're doing music stuff together, we're friendly with each other again.

EMMA BROWN: Do you hang out outside of music?

CHLOE SAAVERDA: Yeah. We hang out all the time.

EMMA BROWN: Are you from a musical family? Are your parents musical?

ASYA SAAVERDA: They're actually not, at all. I grew up having a piano in the house, our mom played a little bit when she was a kid. They love listening to music, but none of them can play.

EMMA BROWN: Was it just your run-in with Jason McGerr that spurred you to start a band?

CHLOE SAAVERDA: Asy's been writing songs ever since she became physically capable of playing the piano. We have an old tape of her songs when she was five. I never played anything until that day that we walked into the music store, and we wandered upstairs, because we saw big shiny things, and they were drum kits. [laughs] I didn't really know what they were, but Jason McGerr was working there at the time, before he started in Death Cab [for Cutie], and he saw us looking, all super-excited about these big sparkly drum kits, and he was like, "If you get one of the drum kits, I'll give you free lessons at Seattle Drum School." Somehow, my parents agreed to that. [laughs] My parents are crazy. Who lets their kids get drum kits at five?

I practiced with Jason McGerr for a bit, and Jason heard that Asy played the piano and told Asy to come in. He recorded some early demos—we just kind of improvised jumpy songs that Asy had already written. Then we rapped over some songs.

ASYA SAAVERDA: We were so young that we didn't really know what music was, so we tried anything.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: We listened to some rap music, some Eminem. We thought it was okay that we do it too.

ASYA SAAVERDA: Yeah, like Eminem mixed with classical-influenced music that our mom had listened to—that's how that came together.

EMMA BROWN: Are you still in touch with Jason?

ASYA SAAVERDA: Yeah, we are.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: I guess I mostly contact him now for when I have a sampler problem, which happens way too often, because I'm not very techy, and—

ASYA SAAVERDA: He's one of those.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: He's really techy, so I ask him when I have questions about it. We saw him, I guess this summer, play at Beacon Theater.

EMMA BROWN: So, tell me about your new song "My Hands."

ASYA SAAVERDA: "My Hands" is—wait, should I say, "My Hands" are?—one of our new songs. I think I'm probably most excited about that song. It was actually the first song we wrote upon coming to New York, and it felt crazy to be in America again. There were all these crazy music styles. So we wanted to write a song that was really not Swedish. One of the main influences to that song was Timbaland. We had never tried simplifying our songs—taking out anything that didn't fit—so we really wanted to make a song where there was nothing in there that was too much. It took a long time.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: It's weird, how that was the biggest challenge ever, to simplify the song. In the past we kind of thought that the more complicated the songs were, the better. And then we started listening to Timbaland, for some reason, and we were like, "God! This song has been stuck in my head all day and it's so catchy!"

The drums are pretty simple in that song, because we have mostly electronic drums, but live, I'm going to go a little more all-out —I play real drums, electronic drums, and some trash.

EMMA BROWN: Trash?

CHLOE SAAVERDA: I've been getting really into using non-instruments as percussion instruments. I got this steel garbage can and I've been playing that alongside my kit, and then I have this aluminum piece that I nailed a chain on to, and the chain makes a rattle.

EMMA BROWN: Do you go scrapping?

ASYA SAAVERDA: Yeah! She's constantly doing that. It's embarrassing to walk around with her, because she has this eye out for any good trash, and she'll impulsively run across the street and grab this thing beside people's garbage.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: Everyone thinks I've gone crazy.

ASYA SAAVERDA: You're definitely dedicated to it.

CHLOE SAAVERA: Yeah, I'm such a scrounger now. It's good because we live in the Gowanus area, and there's so [many] junkyards, and scraps everywhere around there. That's where I've been getting all of my trash.

EMMA BROWN: You mentioned that your dad is a scientist. Is he disappointed that you didn't follow him into the field of science?

ASYA SAAVERDA: He actually calls us every day and lectures us about it, so he's pretty angry. [laughs] No, I'm just kidding. He gives us a lot of lectures because we ask for it. We like it. Weirdly, that kind of stuff does help [with our] music. Opening your mind to weird things.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: Since we're young, I try not to tell interviewers about parents. I don't want it to seem like they're involved --they have no involvement with our music stuff. And I like it that way.

ASYA SAAVERDA: But we ask them for advice.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: It is funny because the lectures that our dad gives us help with the music stuff so much. We're still fascinated by science because of our dad, and we're always drawing parallels between music and light, or music and evolution, or something like that. It's fun.

ASYA SAAVERDA: It sounds really pretentious, but you can compare it in a lot of ways.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: Our band name, Chaos Chaos, is actually a giant amoeba, and it's called Chaos Chaos because scientists didn't understand why it was so big.

ASYA SAAVERDA: You can see it.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: You can see it. It's about the size of a pencil point. Isn't that creepy? [laughs] We thought it was cool for our music to have the name Chaos Chaos because amoebas are constantly changing on the inside. And we think of music that way—constantly changing.

ASYA SAAVERDA: It's always in a constant state of complete disorder, but it's always there.

EMMA BROWN: And where did the name Smoosh come from?

CHLOE SAAVERDA: A smaller amoeba? [laughs] Gosh. Actually, we used to love that movie Shrek. Shrek isn't even that really that old, but we were really young when it first came out, and we loved that song that was by Smash Mouth [on the soundtrack]. We wanted a name like Smash, so we tried Smush, but we spelled it wrong, so everyone pronounced it Smoosh. And now Jersey Shore has taken it over.

EMMA BROWN: I did not know that.

CHLOE SAAVERDA: That's also reason why we decided to step away from that name. Because smoosh actually means, in Jersey Shore lingo, "to hook up with somebody." And we only realized that when we'd search "Smoosh" on the internet and get weird Snooki things—"Wait, what does Jersey Shore have to do with this?" We figured out what it meant, and then South Park made an episode about it, and we were like "Alright! It's over! It's over! We have to change our name!"

It's fun to think that we're just going to be completely starting over. [It's like] if you create a new Facebook page: "Who am I going to be now?" Or if you go to a new school, and you're starting over, you get to create whatever personality you want. And it's nice to have that feeling with our music—that we can make all these [new Chaos Chaos] shows whatever we want to be. There's probably going to be 10 people at the first few.


S IS OUT NOW AND AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON, iTUNES, AND SPOTIFY. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CHAOS CHAOS, VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE. - EMMA BROWN


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Brooklynite sisters Asy and Chloe are Chaos Chaos, an act that's been met with critical acclaim from the likes of Nylon and High Voltage in its early beginnings. The duo, having released their EP S late last year, brings the excitement of live performance to their recordings with heavy percussion and vivacious vocal work. As former members of indie pop band Smoosh, Chaos Chaos is the pair's rebirth of an experimental, inspired and edgy songwriting venture. -BMI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIyipMbJMA8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g7WvP9cfU4

Band Members