Interview

Braids

One morning-after-the-night-before, Raphaelle Standell-Preston of Canadian indie trio Braids was kind enough to talk with us via Gmail chat. While apparently eating a cantaloupe she talks about uncomfortable emails, the perfect party, the comfort of kebab ‒ and the night before her morning after

 

Chat interview by Basje Boer, photos shot by Isolde Woudstra in Amsterdam

 

‘An interesting phenomenon is the morning after the morning after, when everything blows over’

 

 

Hi. How are you?

Good, just eating a cantaloupe with a spoon.

 

So this issue is themed ‘the morning after’.

Uh-oh. I just had one of those.

 

Tell me.

I was playing a DJ set with Purity Ring and Austra in London. I danced a lot and sang up against a wall. I was being very overtly sexy, I also had a make-out session. The next morning I awoke and felt, Oh my gosh, how outside of myself did I get! I felt somewhat ashamed. But an interesting phenomenon is the morning after the morning after, when everything blows over.

 

How do you deal with the awkwardness afterwards?

I’ve sometimes sent some emails, being like, ‘I’m terribly sorry if I made you uncomfortable or said anything completely outrageous.

 

What would be the perfect party when you were a kid?

I liked pool parties a lot. I was always a little frustrated that I couldn’t have a summer birthday party, because I’m born in February.

 

 

Did you like being the centre of attention?

I didn’t. And my father would always say, ‘You know, Raphaelle, the world does not revolve around you.’ I think he was worried about me turning into some demanding prissy girl.

 

What would be a perfect party to you at this age?

One with lots of bass. And a room that is a bit quieter for those deeper conversations. Limited alcohol, like, five drink tickets. So no one gets two-faced. Good electronic music. Like, maybe some deep house.

 

In Dutch we have this expression where we describe the numb feeling you have when you’ve just finished a major project as ‘being in a black hole’. Can you relate to this?

Oh yes. I think I’m currently coming out of one of those black holes. I have been working very, very hard as of late. The Blue Hawaii album and Braids album are overlapping a bit in their need for an outward push. I’m jumping back and forth between the two projects, doing twice as many shows and twice as many interviews. I have felt a little lost. But that’s okay. It’s okay to not feel like you have it all together.

I played Melt! Festival the other day in Germany and that really changed how I feel. The atmosphere is so alive. The people who go there love the music. And that’s what it’s about. Sometimes indie music gets wrapped up in culture and lifestyle too much. That festival shook me around. Kind of pointed me north, as in an upward direction.

 

 

How do you handle disappointment?

I am trying to get better at it. Sometimes I get big dreams in my head that are not very realistic. I dream of playing for 20,000 people in Nashville and it turns out there are four. That’s a huge smack in the face.

 

Okay, that is disappointing.

Very. I gave the audience some doughnuts. It was so fucking weird and kind of sad. Another time we were opening for Wild Beasts in London. We were in this beautiful theatre and we had sound-checked and everything. When I went on to sing my mic wasn’t on. In front of 2,000 people we had to stop the show and yell, ‘What the fuck?’ to the sound people. And when they turned my mic on the audience just talked the whole time. I cried a bit after the show but then said, ‘Fuck it!’ and had a couple of drinks and a kebab.

 

 

 

Raphaelle Standell-Preston and her Braids cohorts are at Botanique, Brussels 6 September with. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.