By WESLEY DELLA VOLLA
Avan Lava is Brooklyn’s best-kept pop secret and famous for its high energy and inclusive live shows. At its core are a trio of singer TC and producers/musicians Le Chev and Ian Pai, but if you’re lucky enough to have seen one of their shows — such as their D.C. date at Living Social earlier this month — you know the band live is a robust group of six that includes musicians, vocalists and technicians Andrew Schneider (The Wooster Group), Drew Citron and Jo Lampert. The Blade caught up with Avan Lava after a recent photo shoot to talk about their queer-friendly live show.
WASHINGTON BLADE: Avan Lava is a party band and your live show is the main focus of what you do. Why is it important to you to have your parties so inclusive?
LE CHEV: It’s the motto of the project and how we all came together. Love will prevail. If everyone comes together, then everything will be fine. Seriously, the project being so inclusive is the most important part of it. It really shows in the music and the overall direction. The fundamental rule of the band is “if it’s good, go for it.” That carries over to everything.
BLADE: I’ve heard from fans who’ve seen you live say you have a punk rock edge to your energy. Does that rebellious nature inspire you?
IAN: We have a punk energy and that is something we all believe in. We would rather go hard and get crazy than be perfect and in total control. Being in control when you’re doing a show isn’t fun, I don’t think. It’s more fun to watch people lose themselves.
LE CHEV: We are going for the maximum sexiness and reckless abandon is always the most sexy.
JO: I think that’s why at the end of any Avan Lava show you will see at least one set of exes making out.
BLADE: What has most surprised you about your audiences?
LE CHEV: The most exciting thing for us is that people really consider it like an event and not just a show. People really prep for the evening, get their look on and really plan for this to be the night they go hard.
IAN: I love the people who show up in gym clothes. They show up like they’re gonna work out, they are right up front and you can’t get near them. They start dancing before we start playing and go hard until we’re done.
TC: It feels like out audience is in the same kind of head space, no matter who they are.
JO: They have a lot of stamina, you know by the time you are ready to pop off the last confetti cannons, you know they are still wanting it and ready for it.
BLADE: So TC, how has that inclusive environment helped you become more comfortable with you who you are and influenced you as a person?
TC: In the beginning we weren’t too sure what we were trying to do and I think because our audience was so inclusive it informed what we became. They made our true selves come through because it felt like it was that kind of party. For me personally I stopped thinking about what was cool and what was fun. And it turns out that being gay is really, really fun and it gets even more fun the older you get, because you care less about what people think.
BLADE: Being as open as you are with sexuality, have you experienced any throwback from that? Do you think moving forward it will hinder or not be an issue as you become more successful?
TC: For me it has not been an issue or helped so far.
IAN: I mean I think it totally held us back. We would/should have had five or six Grammys this year. I overheard someone on the committee say that we were a little too open and we should be more tidy and conservative.
JO: I think for us we don’t want to be pigeonholed as a gay band. Sexuality doesn’t come become before the music. It’s about being open and happy.