For those a little late to the table, here's a crash course where Brazilian party-animals CSS are concerned: there's four of them, they've just put out album number three and they're about to hit Australian shores for the second time inside of a year. However, because you're obviously curious, it's time to dispense with the mystique. CSS is, in fact, an abbreviation of 'Cansei de Ser Sexy' - meaning, 'I've grown tired of being sexy'. It's one of Beyonce's more bewildering soundbytes and one hell of a bandname. "It was just a no-brainer for us - it was the best name we could ever get!" explains guitarist Ana Rezende. "We needed a name to put on the flyer for our first show and we didn't have a name for the band!"
The band's split decision to play under the name that fateful evening has paid dividends. After all, as Rezende rightly asserts, "everything comes back to us when you Google it!" It's a testament to the band's ability to carve out their own legacy since their formation eight years ago. Only months ago, CSS released their third album, titled La Liberacion, and its creation followed an intense touring schedule. "We were touring four years non-stop and that was pretty crazy," Rezende explains. "Usually we do 200 shows a year or so."
Having spent exorbitant periods abroad, CSS were happy to revisit the familiar sights and sounds of Sao Paulo. Their return home sowed the first seeds of La Liberacion. "It was a big factor, because we got to stay home with friends, family and stuff like that. It was pretty good to go back home because we spend so much time on the road, so far away from everybody that we know well."
Once CSS returned to the studio, intuition played a large part in steering proceedings. "Usually when we start making music we just let it flow how it is," Rezende explains of their organic inclinations. "There's never one idea behind anything with us. We never sit down and give things a direction or anything, we just go crazy and see where stuff goes. That's what kind of happened with this album too. This album came out because we were in a good moment. We were happy with what we were doing, we had time to do it - which we never really had before. There was a lot of freedom to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted."
The state of affairs ultimately informed the album's title. "It just made sense for everybody and I think it had a lot to do with the moment we were in," Rezende muses. "It was the first time we could rely on the band to live. We didn't have to get another job or anything. We could just hang around and have the band and record an album."
CSS drew upon this new-found freedom to indulge in a few collaborative projects. Bobby Gillespie, Ssion, Mike Garson and Ratatat each jumped on board for La Liberacion. "With Ratatat, we saw them at the Big Day Out this year and we were playing together. We met them in the lobby of some Australian hotel and said, 'Would you like to work with us on this song?' We had this song done but we weren't really amazed by the results and we wanted someone to rework on it. So they did a lot of work on Red Alert and it became a fantastic song that we put on the album."
Concerning future collaborative work, Rezende favours known quantities over dream teams. "We really like to work with friends. It's really good, because we know where we're at, we know what we're getting at. It's just easier. It's hard if you go with someone that you don't really know but admire," she suggests.
The creation of La Liberacion bore excessive fruit, with an abundance of material unable to make the final cut. According to Rezende, however, CSS fans should expect bits and pieces to surface in time. "We actually had 24 songs... we have a lot B-sides and other versions of the same songs and we want to try and have an EP or something for next year."
It appears unsurprising CSS would go the extra mile for their followers and rescue remnants of studio work from the cutting room floor. It's their relationship with their fans - from those casually acquainted with the band's work right through to those with home-made merchandise - that accounts for great motivation within the CSS camp. Rezende affirms that the band very much thrive on such a connection. "We don't have many bad shows. Even if the shows are not crazy amazing, the shows are still good because we try hard to connect to the audience," she muses. "I think if you try hard, then they will connect with you, because they're there to watch a good show. A lot depends on that interaction. When you get that, it's great. It doesn't really matter if there's a hundred people in the venue or a thousand - if it's good, it's good."
This December, CSS won't have to worry too much about crowd turn-outs. Not only will they be returning to Australia to play a club show or two, the band will also be taking to the prestigious Falls Festival stage to help see in the new year. Whether you hem them in as indie-rock, electro-pop or even new wave, CSS have Falls scouted. With musical gems such as Music Is My Hot Sex and, more recently, Hits Me Like A Rock, you can bet they've got the party vibe sewn up this summer season. According to Rezende, CSS live for festival circuits. "We love festivals. I think festivals are a really great place to play. There's people there who are there to see anything, they're open to watch anything," she says. "They're out to have fun."
You can't help but feel she's summed up CSS' mission statement in one swift go.
CSS play at Falls Festival in Lorne on Wednesday December 28, and a sideshow at the Corner Hotel on Thursday January 5.