French-American duo DTCV balances rather unconventional day jobs with recording and touring: Novelist and screenwriter James Greer (2006’s “Just My Luck,” Jackie Chan’s “The Spy Next Door”) and musician/translator Guylaine Vivarat met at a French film festival.
“Guylaine was running the festival, and I like French films,” says Greer, a former journalist for Spin magazine who played bass for Ohio’s Guided by Voices in the ’90s before moving to L.A. to pursue writing.
Crowned DTCV after the 1985 Jean Luc Godard film “Detective,” the duo is now on its third album: the incredibly catchy “Uptime!” – out April 8. DTCV performs at Snug Harbor on Thursday.
When the two first met, Greer hadn’t played seriously in years.
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“My publisher was under the impression I was in a band,” he says. “I was really drunk in Chicago, watching Guylaine’s band, and he said, ‘Do you want to play the launch party for the publishing company?’”
He agreed, but upon sobering up, realized he’d made the commitment but didn’t have a band. His new friend Vivarat came to the rescue: Since both of them had unpublished songs, she suggested they team up to play the one-off show.
The duo not only bonded over cinema, but Hendrix, the Who, Wire, Blondie and Stereolab. While nods to classic rock, punk and indie acts abound amid the psychedelic pop, girl-group cool and post-punk vibe of “Uptime!”, it’s Greer and Vivarat’s differences the make their collaboration interesting.
“Guylaine likes a lot of stoner rock and metal and it’s funny, she writes poppier songs. My taste is poppier, but I can’t really write pop songs,” says Greer. “I want to listen to St. Etienne or Camera Obscura. She’s like, ‘I hate that.’ Ironically, we sound more like that than the stuff she likes.”
On its eclectic last album “Hilarious Heaven” (due on double vinyl this April as well), the duo made room for an electro-pop song Vivarat recorded on her iPhone, Greer’s stoner rock space jam and a piano ballad sung in French.
Musically, the couple meshes.
“He doesn’t mind a lot of vibrato,” she says. “My last band was like, ‘Enough of your vibrato.’ My band hated it.”
They took less inspiration from film on “Uptime!”, but continue to raise curiosity with titles like “Miley Cyrus Wins the Race.”
“I’d written this song and was getting annoyed with my friends posting mean things on Facebook,” Vivarat says. “I said, ‘Why don’t we call it “Miley Cyrus Wins the Race”?’ It is about a girl growing up and coming to terms with darkness in her past.”
Greer says while there have been massive changes in the music business since his days in Guided by Voices, being an indie band hasn’t changed drastically – although the concept of what’s cool may have.
“I had arguments with former band mates about that kind of thing,” says Vivarat of the ’90s’ indier-than-thou attitude. “I thought, ‘You guys are losers.’ They didn’t like the Rolling Stones because they are too masculine.”
“How do you not like the Rolling Stones?” Greer chimes in. “That’s like not liking water.”
Courtney’s blog: cltsoundbites.blogspot.com
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday.
WHERE: Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St.
DETAILS: 704-561-1781; www.snugrock.com.