Glam-wave's Girls on Film borrows inspiration, but not songs, of the '80s
When you hear a band name like Girls on Film, it's natural for the brain to immediately think of Simon, John, Roger and Nick and the New Romantic sounds of Duran Duran. But resist that instinct, because this Girls on Film is something entirely different -- even if they borrowed a little inspiration from one of their favorite bands.
Girls on Film is an all-female musical twosome -- for now -- from Tallahassee, Fla., that is starting to make a big name for themselves with their old-school New Wave sound. These days, it's more often dubbed Glam Wave. For the last five years, they've been making the club circuit and hitting some quality music festivals. And from time to time, they get to open for a few of the bands that influenced their retro-sound. Listen to some of their tunes, and the music conjures up visions of Berlin, The Human League and Gary Numan.
But rather than borrow the material from the bands that inspired them, Girls on Film is putting on shows that feature only original material. The act has a show set for Play in Ybor City (1701 E. 8th Ave., Tampa) on Saturday, Aug. 14. I recently caught up with lead singer Rio (just Rio, she says) via e-mail. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
How did you and bassist Kazhmir meet?
"We are both from Tallahassee. Kazhmir and I met in 1999 through a mutual friend and immediately hit it off. In fact, we stayed up talking all night the first time we ever met because we had so much in common."
I hear pieces of a lot of different '80s bands in your sound.
"We are heavily influenced by The Human League, Yaz, Berlin, Duran Duran, Talk Talk, Devo, The Damned, Fad Gadget, Billy Idol ..." (The list goes on and on and it's quite impressive. All the hipster bands are there.)
Have you met any of them? I talked to Phil Oakey of The Human League, Martin Fry of ABC and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran for stories in the past. Great guys.
"We are totally jealous that you've interviewed Phil, Martin, and Andy! Phil Oakey is my biggest vocal influence ... as in, I've have wanted to be him since I was 13 years old. Seriously. We actually have met several of our influences. We spoke to Nick Rhodes once backstage after a Duran Duran gig and he was the most gracious human being we'd ever talked to. He even promised not to sue us for naming our band after their song!"
You opened for Gene Loves Jezebel once too. What were they like?
"We opened for them last year ... sweet, talented, very nice guys. It's so hard not to descend into gushing groupie-dom in the presence of your idols, so I won't mention what fools we made of ourselves."
Are your shows all original material or do you work some covers in the set list?
"With a name like 'Girls on Film,' we used to find ourselves getting mistaken for a Duran Duran cover band, so we generally have avoided doing covers, even though they are a lot of fun."
What are the audiences like?
"You know honestly, we are always surprised at the diversity of people who love to rock out to new wave. I don't guess there's an age or gender limit for dancing!"
A twosome being the whole band might seem unusual, but it's really not for an electronica/synth act. The Pet Shop Boys jump to mind.
"Interestly enough, we did wonder if we would have any issues with that when we pared down from a 4-piece to a 2-piece, but we did not. While we really, really miss being a more traditional band with live keys and drums, we have found that we've been very well received since reinventing ourselves as a duo. Songwriting is considerably streamlined since Kazhmir has taken over programming duties in addition to her live bass, and traveling is obviously very easy now since we don't have to haul half the gear we used to. "
So any chance the band will grow?
"As a matter of fact, we do have another keyboardist out of Gainesville, Fla. (The Viirus) who plays live shows with us; our new drummer is due to start practicing with us within the next few weeks. So we are on our way to being a full band once again."
Is Girls on Film a full-time job yet?
"GOF is enough to be a full time job for anybody, but we do also have day jobs. Kazhmir works for AVEDA, and I work as a government analyst. Luckily, the band is pretty self sufficient for the most part, so we have the best of both worlds."
[Girls on Film is at Play in Ybor City on Saturday, Aug. 15. at 9:30. Visit the club's official website for more information.]
[Photo by Candace McDaniel of crashcandy.com]