CoS sOundBItEs
more ramblings from media

"Chicks On Speed don't just do music. They run two labels, Go and Stop Records (and now also ChicKs On Speed Records), make proper, gallery-exhibited art, sell themselves on cable TV, style their own clothes, write comic books and generally flout convention and question society's foibles in a wilfully sexy, visually stunning and slightly seedy manner. It's a self-contained, underground, independent and quasi-political Eurotrash revolution: why are we here? What's the point? That doesn't matter, they're saying - just do it. Enjoy yourself, for God's sake. Don't worry what other people think."

"Hence a set that perplexes as many people as it impresses. How are you meant to react to three women who dance like faulty robots and shout aggressive rapid-fire lyrics about the late-90s cultural ephemera ('Fashion victim on the air / I shaved off all my pubic hair / Sometimes they think I'm vermin / I've got more faces than Cindy Sherman') while a dancefloor-directed fusion of deep-fried electro and punk aesthetic snarls from the speakers? You dance, of course, and wonder why no-one's done anything like this before. If the Beastie Boys were here, they'd think they were in heaven."

"In Germany, magazines have already glowingly reviewed their debut album despite the fact there are no plans to release it. Here, the Chicks' five singles this year -- nihilistic urban masterpieces produced by luminaries like DJ Hell, Christopher Just and Patrick Pulsinger -- were snapped up in seconds, fuelling the mystery, but you'll be pleased to know the glitter house of 'Glamour Girl' and 'Kaltes Klares Wasser's bassbin-shattering judder sound even better live than on plastic."

- Piers Martin, NME, 1999

"Amateurishness, on the other hand, seems transparent and sincere. Experimentation, risk-taking, improvisation, inspiration, the honesty of admitting -- as a slashed-and-bleeding Sid Vicious so proudly confessed on the badge to his leather jacket -- 'I'm a mess': it's exhilarating. [...] The shoddiness of Chicks On Speed ('clothes' made from leather skirts, paper and gaffer tape; album cover cut-and-pasted from red-eyed snapshots; graphics snatched from the doodlepad by the phone). [...] It all looks heroically out of step in a world where the blackboard in your local gaff has been replaced with a shiny, laminated menu designed using Quark Express and printed out on laserwriter."

"Of course, amateurishness is easy to fake: Chicks On Speed are masters of faux-navété. They could be polished if they wanted to be. But the point is that they choose not to be. Back in the early Seventies, Vivienne Westwood's sewing skills may have been self-taught, but she knew a lot more about clothesmaking than her thrown-together T-shirts and customised pillowcases lead you to believe. As Johnny Rotten famously said: 'We want to be amateurs.' It's not about what you don't know so much as which rules you decide to break."

- Murray Healy, The Face, September 2000, p. 100

"They came to Marseille to do a performance. Then I got them into the studio and one thing led gradually to another... I shoved the microphone under their mouths and there it was (laughs)! As usual, everything happened naturally (smiles). But on their album, they thank me, we did a B52's remake ('Strobe Light', on Chix 52) that in the end didn't go on it. But well, as we know each other well..."

- David Carretta on CoS,

"The Chicks asked me to come on stage and sing in French in Zürich. First, with a friend, we did a joke, a big banner with a pro-Chick slogan very big. I met first KIKI, who was the stylist of our '1982' video. I call them the anti-Spice Girls! They would love to have something from us on their label. For the album of Felix Da HouseCat I worked on, Felix wanted them on a track but it didn't happen. I will probably work with them one day. There's lyrics I wanted to give them..."

- Miss Kittin on CoS, pHinnWeb interview, 17 January 2001

"Alex Murray-Leslie is a Melbourne artist studying at the Munich Institute of Fine Art. Her exhibition, Skirts, Cushions & Kittles, is showing at Gallery Funaki, 4 Crossley Street, city, until 8 March (1997) as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival."

"Q: 'When does fashion become art?'"

"A: 'By putting fashion into a fine art gallery, fashion attempts to re-identify itself, to create a new image, one that is fresh and feels new -- reflecting the need for fashion to be "important" once again. Over the last few years, we have witnessed an increasing cross-over between music, installation, fashion, jewellery, graphic art, et cetera, with artists leaping the boundaries of their "own" medium. All mediums seek to reinvent themselves by changing their context: fashion becomes art. A nightclub becomes a gallery. A gallery opening becomes a rave. But I wonder, do we need to pigeon-hole the results of this trend at all?'"

- Alex Murray-Leslie to Metropolitan, Melbourne, 21 February, 1997

We've  Got  Chicks  On  Speed,  indeed "A small British magazine recently ran a cover feature on the Berlin-based female trio Chicks on Speed that didn't sit well with the band. The image on the cover was of a vivacious female model on a motorcycle with the words 'We've Got Chicks on Speed' serving as a tag line."

'Chicks on Speed is not some sleazy girl with her dress blowing off and her rear end showing on some motorcycle,' complained Melissa Logan of Chicks on Speed in a recent telephone interview."

- Neil Strauss, New York Times, September 7, 2000

"[CoS] might be on heavy rotation at the shows but they prefer to make and wear their own clothes on stage two of the three-piece have a fashion background. Dress patterns can also be helpfully found on the inner sleeve of their album Will Save Us All and limited-edition garments are for sale on their website ( As Alex Murray-Leslie from the Chicks put it: 'The music, art and clothings that we do all come naturally out of the one thing. But we're all very different with three minds, so sometimes one medium isn't enough. Basically, sometimes ideas don't suit a song but they do suit a dress.'"

"Yet Alex also has another telling fashion tale: 'I used to study jewellery design a few years ago but I gave it up because it was too fiddly. Anyway, before I did, I found out Vivienne Westwood was coming to Berlin so I arranged to meet her to show her my stuff. She hated it. She said it was dreadful and looked too much like modern art for her. Her advice was to 'go away and listen to Chopin'. Recently I found out that she's been playing our music at her shows.'"

"Needless to say, Chicks On Speed don't sound anything like Chopin as the grande dame of punk should well know."

- Jo-Ann Furniss, Independent, December 6, 2000

"Chicks on Speed ethos: 'We want to do everything,' says Alex Murray-Leslie, 'and we don't believe in being professional. It's just three individuals working together and trying to bring those ideas into one form or many forms in the shortest amount of time.'"

"Hence, the name Chicks on Speed..."

'We are very impatient,' she says. 'You know that you don't have much time and you should do as much as you can and give as much you can. Maybe tomorrow, you'll be hit by a bus. So you wake up and you think 'I have to do this.' But if you don't do it you get extremely nervous and get a stomachache.'"

- Jim Sullivan, Globe Staff, 9 April 2001

"The biggest thanks are reserved for Chicks on Speed whom [Kathleen] Hanna calls Le Tigre's 'kindred spirits,' noting that there's 'there's a lot of begging and stealing and borrowing between the two groups' and Peaches; Feminist Sweepstakes has homages to each."

"'Well Well Well' is totally our homage to Peaches," Hanna laughed. "And, with 'FYR,' we were like, 'Let's make a Chicks on Speed one, OK!' But it's funny, because people are like, 'Oh, it's a Chicks on Speed rip-off!' Like it's supposed to be this bad thing. And we're like, 'Yeah, we love them.'"

"I feel like we've influenced them, they've influenced us, as in a lot of their early interviews they said they were really inspired by Bikini Kill and Julie Ruin," Hanna said matter-of-factly. "It's a two-way street, but what's really cool is that it should be a two-way street. It shouldn't be everybody going, 'You're ripping me off!' We all rip each other off, that's part of the fun."

- Kathleen Hanna of Le Tigre to Michael Goldberg, neumu, 21 January 2002