SXSW 2010: Elle Bandita - Spinner
Elle Bandita hail from Rotterdam, Netherlands. The band draws inspiration from the sounds of '90s grunge, but it doesn't end there; they credit Elton John and Dead Kennedys as inspiration, too. Spinner caught up with singer Ryanne van Dorst in advance of the band's SXSW 2010 appearance.
Describe the sound of your band or music in your own words.
That's always a hard one, but I would call it hard rock with electronic influences.
How did your band form?
Well, I started out solo. I recorded an EP. But for this record and these songs I was a bit more ambitious and I wanted to use acoustic drums and a real bass, instead of a synthesizer bass. I looked around in the local music scene. There were some people that I really admired for their musical abilities and I asked them to come play in my band. Luckily, they all said yes. I'm held responsible for breaking up a lot of bands here, because all these guys, they came to play with me.
When did you first start playing music?
I started playing in a grungy noise band when I was 12 or 13, but the first time I picked up a guitar I was about 11. I was a really big fan of Nirvana. I got an acoustic guitar and just started playing it.
What are some of your biggest musical influences?
Nirvana, Sonic Youth and, like, all the '90s grunge bands. I grew up with that, that's what I really liked. I don't think you can hear that a lot on this latest record, though. For this record I used influences from Iron Maiden, Rod Stewart and Elton John. I wanted to have this "rock-y" kind of songwriting, but with an '80s pop vibe flowing through it. I mainly focus on rock and punk. I love the Ramones and Dead Kennedys. It's hard to choose, but I try to take a little bit of everything, and make it my own, regardless of any musical borders that there might be.
How did you come up with Elle Bandita as your name?
It's half French and half Spanish and it means "she, the band." It can also mean "she, the rebel." I thought it was kind of cool.
What is your biggest vice?
I'm a very addictive person. I pick up addictions really quick. I can really get possessed by things, so to speak. So that's not really good for me, or my health, or my social life. I quit smoking. Now my biggest addiction is eating!
What is your musical guilty pleasure?
I'm not ashamed of music I like. Maybe '90s R&B, like R. Kelly. That would be the lamest kind of thing, but that's what I like.
Do you prefer the Beatles or the Stones?
The Beatles, for sure.
What is the craziest thing you've experienced on tour?
Two years ago, at this big festival. There was a really nice party going on and we were playing, people were dancing and partying. A guy from the crowd climbed up onto the stage, and he was just dancing. The singer of the band was dancing with him and it was really quite spectacular, funny and spontaneous. Then one of the the security guys pulled him by his leg and the guys falls off the f---ing stage, falls with his head and neck on the fence in front of the stage. He was just laying there -- he didn't move anymore. They had to carry him away, and I don't know what happened after that. But that was really sick, because there was nothing violent going on. Sometimes the security guys can be such f---ing bastards! They try to maintain the peace but have an aggressive way of approaching people.
Have you ever played anything like SXSW before?
Never in the States. This is actually our first time coming over there. I am very, very excited! I want to see if it's just like in the movies!
What are you most looking forward to seeing in the States?
Seeing other bands that don't make it this way. I want to meet people, just have a good time, get drunk and have a great party.
What inspires you to make music?
A lot of my music comes from anger, frustration -- stuff that happens to me in daily life. The frustration of things that you cannot change, things that are bigger than you. I could say world problems, but then I would sound like Bono.