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The Liberation of CSS

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Alone at last: Parra, Sá, Rezende and Lovexxx from CSS

When CSS (“Cansei de Ser Sexy,” Portuguese for “tired of being sexy,” supposedly something Beyoncé once told the press) set out to record Planta, their fourth album, the electro-pop band was at a crossroads.

“Yes, it was a challenge [to record it] and there were pressures, but mainly internal pressures,” guitarist/bassist and keyboardist Luiza Sá told the Current from New York. “The pressure of doing something new and refreshing, something that would satisfy us.”

But after the success of Cansei de Ser Sexy (2005), Donkey (2008) and, to lesser acclaim, La Liberación (2011), producer, guitarist and main songwriter Adriano Cintra split with the band in 2011 and later described CSS as “musically incompetent.” For Sá, the incident was “minor” and “not worth the time,” but she didn’t dodge the question either—she’s in good spirits, laughing playfully during her responses.

“I really don’t know everything that he said,” Sá explained. “I mean, he said a lot (laughs).”

He said a lot, indeed. For starters, in November 2011, Cintra (who couldn’t be reached for comment) released a statement announcing not only that he was no longer part of the group, but that he didn’t give the band permission “to use my songs in their next concerts, since we haven’t come to an agreement about it.” According to him, the last straw was not getting paid for the latter part of the 2011 European tour, when he developed a strain injury in his hand and couldn’t play for many of the shows.

“I was feeling anguished for being in a band with people that didn’t like playing, didn’t like rehearsing,” he told Brazilian website Omelete.

The band is now singer Lovefoxxx, Sá (who took over as guitarist but also plays bass an keyboards), Ana Rezende (keyboard, guitar) and Carolina Parra (guitar, bass, keybpard), and until now I’d never asked them about Cintra’s comments.

“I wasn’t surprised about his reaction, because I’ve known [Cintra] since I was 15 and this isn’t the first time he has problems with people [he worked with],” she said. “But I was hurt, because I still care about him as a person. That’s just the way he deals with things.”

For Sá, Cintra’s attempt to limit what the band could play in concert was absurd and inaccurate—it wasn’t “his songs” he was fighting about.

“Anyone can play anyone’s music, It’s not illegal,” she said. “You can start a band tomorrow and just play covers. There’s no way he can stop you from that. He was making this very complicated, very specific argument that we were using backing tracks, specific sounds. We just went on and remade all those sounds differently. He was referring to additional sounds that we use with the band live, sounds that would be hard to produce live. In concert, it really won’t make a difference for the audience.”

Once they took care of the tracks issue, it was time to record Planta. The band recruited TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek (Beady Eye), and the response was mixed at best. For starters, the Current’s own J.D. Swerzenski hated it.

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