Friday, May 12, 2006


Okay, tell me if you've heard this one: What do you get when you cross a German and a San Franciscan?

Give up?

They call themselves Autonervous, and what you get is a sound that's sexy and catchy. The story begins in 2004 when Jessie Evans moved to Berlin with her bandmate known collectively as The Vanishing. It wasn't long before the two decided to call it quits and move their separate ways. "Both of us were sort of over it at that point," explains Evans. Eventually, she and, fellow sax player, Bettina Koster (ex-Malaria) hooked up and realized they shared a similar vision.

"We've taught each other a lot and stretched each other as far as we could in this process. Sometimes we drive each other crazy because we both act like we know everything."

The self-titled debut from Autonervous (available on Cochon Records) hits stores on June 6th. The Great Beyond caught up with Jessie Evans to discuss her past, present, and future.

What happened to the Vanishing?

Vanishing formed in 2002 in San Francisco. We put out three albums, about six singles and went through much evolution during that time. We toured Europe and Brain and I decided to move here to Berlin. We came here September, 2004, toured quite a bit, tried it out as a two-piece, but both of us were...needing to do our own things. So we called it a day. "Vanished" so to speak.

Is there a piece that stays with your former band when a situation like breaking-up occurs, or do you simply gather the pieces and move on?

Respect for each other is what stays, and respect for yourself is what allows you to move on. For a moment, I was having a hard time with the idea of breaking up because we had been doing it for a few years and were finally starting to have a bit of success with it. Bettina (Autonervous) gave me the best advice. She was like "Jessie, to have success with something you've got to stick with it your whole life." That gave me such courage, and it was a huge relief to hear it put like that; if your working for yourself then you have all the time you allow yourself.

What do you regret most about The Vanishing's break-up?

Nothing. Why should I regret? I really don't believe in the concept. I believe in everything I've done in my life. Even if I sometimes look back on things and see that I was a bit young and naive, it's all part of the process. If I was to stay put in situations where I wasn't allowed to grow and continue exploring, then that would be something to regret.

Is there a chance you and Brian will make music again someday?

Yeah, sure.

How do a California native and a German get together to form a band?

I moved to Berlin last year. I met Bettina, literally, directly after arriving here. We were picked up at the airport by this Spanish rock star and driven to an interview which she was taking part in also. It seemed fated that we would make music. I mean, we had so much in common: both singers/sax players and doing the same kind of music inspite being from different eras and generations. She is from the 80s Berlin scene and I'm from San Francisco. I think Malaria (Koster's former band) was pretty ahead for their time. They made an album also in the 90s which sounds more futuristic than all this electro stuff that's coming out now.

In my opinion, Autonervous is a visual band. Assuming I'm correct, is the focus the music or the visual?

At the moment, the music has been the focus. We've just completed our album and are working on taking it live. I find the visual thing very important too, but, right now, being on stage is just about being in the moment and feeling your blood..

Tell me about your photography. When did you become addicted? Any upcoming photography shows?

I've always loved to photograph people cos I see it as making your reality how you want it. You're creating something you can hold and take with you. You can also choose to see what you want and throw out the rest, which can be really healing. It helps me to understand relationships between people and human emotion. No shows planned, but I'm excited to have taken the cover photos for my friend Namosh 's debut album, which comes out June 16th on Bungalow Records in Berlin ..

Do you try to combine your work as a photographer with your music?

Yeah, I used to try to take pictures while I was on stage and I ended up ruining so many cameras!

The Autonervous debut hits stores in June. What is the feeling in the band as the date approaches?

Uh, nervous. (laughs) Just kidding. We're excited. I'm really proud of the album. I played drums (machines ) for the first time, and I think it's really beautiful. We both come across really clear in it. It's as though we both made our first solo album - together.

Describe the music. I've heard it referred to as "dance punk," and, while I did find it danceable, I'm not sure about punk. Gothic. The closest I can come is Sisters of Mercy meets Siouxsie meets Vince Clarke and Yaz.

The music is sexy. It feels very light to me, but I think anything either of us do would turn out a bit dark because it's in both of our natures. My main influences are rock steady, wave, and disco. Bettina's seem to be krautrock and wave. She's also like a chanson singer at times.

Log on to or Cochon Records for more information.


Blogger catdirt said...

trying to get them a show in san diego with our label's band. so are they out of berlin or sf?

6:57 PM  
Blogger Teep said...

Nice interview, thank you! I linked it in from my contribution to

9:56 PM  

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