Photos by Tara Hedlund
Austin, Texas minimalist electro-dreamers Love Inks – husband-and-wife duo Sherry LeBlanc (photo, right) and Kevin Dehan, alongside newly recruited bassist Zach Biggs – have further stripped back their pared-down sound with new album Exi (Republic of Music). Meet Sherry’s unflinching stare at Lido on Sat, Dec 20.
You like to make prolonged eye contact with individual members of the audience.
I make a point to try to look everyone that I can see in the eye, and really, really connect. This is going to sound trite, maybe, but when I was a kid I read an interview with Madonna where she talked about how, before she had made it, she would just walk around the streets of New York holding eye contact so that when people saw her again, they’d be like, “Ooh, I know her from somewhere.” So as a kid, I started making really direct eye contact after reading that article and then I think it just gets blown up on stage.
Sometimes, if someone is talking and being really loud at a bar, the way that I’ll draw them in is just by staring and making very uncomfortable eye contact that I’m not comfortable with. But that always works – it almost breaks down that third wall. I think people sometimes, when they go see bands, forget that it’s not on television. It makes the experience more of a human experience between everyone.
Have you ever freaked anyone out by doing it?
There were these guys in Cincinnati that had just kind of stumbled into the bar we were playing, and this is the one time that the eye contact thing went horribly wrong. I was trying to engage them by looking at them and then – it’s weird: people don’t think musicians can hear what you’re saying while you’re on stage, but we could hear all of the conversations throughout the bar. And their response, which was probably just out of, like, embarrassment and discomfort, was “Look at this slut. She’s going to suck our dicks later.” And then they started being really aggressive back, and coming up to the stage and making sexual gestures at me. The guys ended up having to be thrown out of the bar. But it just started with this innocent idea that I could get their attention through eye contact.
You guys don’t have a reputation for belligerence.
Um, we had crazy stuff happen in Brighton, of all places. It was the night of a football game, and there was a big upset, so the streets got kind of rowdy. And then this one guy came up, this giant, bald-headed man, and he wanted to fight Kevin – “You, me, we’re going at it!” And Kevin was, like, “No, man, I’m cool. Sit down and have a beer with us.” But the guy was just belligerently drunk and so I was there with my friend Bex who is kind of this tiny, very cute little lady, and I’m like, “Hey, man, it’s okay.” But when I touched his shoulder, he somehow thought that one of the guys in our group had touched him and he turned around and punched Bex in the face. He knocked her two bottom back teeth out. And so at that point everybody at our table jumped on the guy. Kevin had never been in a fistfight before, and he ended up almost not being able to play guitar for the rest of the dates because he had damaged his hand so badly. It’s just, we’re like a really minimalist wimpy band and we ended up in this fistfight in Brighton and we were like, “What the fuck,” and everyone was saying, “Brighton is peaceful, this kind of thing doesn’t happen often.” But I don’t know.
Originally published in issue #133, December 2014.