IMAGE: Alicia J. Rose
WHO: Joe Haege, Corrina Repp, Liza Rietz and Toussaint Perrault.
WHAT: Indie-goth tribal cabaret.
SOUNDS LIKE: The Raveonettes trading pills amid a West Texas drum circle.
YEAR FORMED: 2007
MOST LIKELY TO BE FOUND: Spooning in a Chartres Cathedral back pew or enlivening acoustic venues.
VOTER QUOTE: “Sure, Joe and Corrina are boyfriend and girlfriend. And sure, they’re also both musicians. So, naturally, we all knew they were destined to start a band together. Similarly, if they were both really into exotic animals, they’d probably start a zoo (ahem, Tu Fauna?). All that aside, I don’t think anyone really expected Tu Fawning to be anything more than an endearingly self-indulgent love-in between two people who have the convenience of not having to leave their bedroom in order to practice. But then you see them live and Corrina is playing drums (!) and guitar and singing with this massive unearthly voice (!!), and Joe is across the stage playing the piano (!!!) like his life depends on it while singing, playing guitar and drumming simultaneously (!!!!), and you realize that any preconceived notions you had about ‘supergroups’ or these lovebirds needing to ‘stick to their day jobs’ just [got] systematically decimated.” —Danny Seim, drummer for WW’s original Best New Band 2004, Menomena
Tu Fawning doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but there’s a lingering strangeness to the name that’s well-suited to the new project by 31Knots frontman Joe Haege and longtime indie chanteuse Corrina Repp. “Hardest thing about band names,” Haege explains, “you want them to be familiar but not too familiar. Corrina found a National Geographic clipping that said ‘two fawnings,’ but there was no way I could be in another number band. When we changed to ‘Tu,’ it had an antiquated, otherworldly feel.”
And that, much as anything, describes Tu Fawning’s sound—evocative vocals twirl through restrained riffs and piano figures; Brechtian flourishes approach world-tinged chamber rock; and it’s all delivered with a palpable rapport. But Tu Fawning’s founders had known each other for years before they began dating. Ever since Repp waited tables at late-’90s Satyricon, Haege says, “She was getting really frustrated about being solo. She asked a bunch of friends to play on [2006’s The Absent and the Distant]. I was her one-man backing band for a while; then she sang on the new 31Knots record. We started collaborating and writing songs.”
Haege—who’s known primarily for spouting ideological rhetoric over 31Knots’ prog punk—joined Repp on a European jaunt last fall that became the first Tu Fawning tour, and the now-quartet’s first EP, Secession, is set for release on Polyvinyl/Discourage next month. Band momentum continues to build, and the couple’s managed to maintain the relationship alongside. “We live together,” Haege says. “We’re pretty entrenched in each other’s lives. It’s nice having two new members [Swords Project’s Liza Rietz, piano and violin; Apeshape/Babydollars’ Toussaint Perrault, guitar, horns and percussion] because it doesn’t feel like it’s just a couple’s band. It developed as something we both artistically want to do,” he continues. “That was a huge reason why we waited so long to start something. We wanted it to have its own identity.”
Out Like Bats (Unreleased):
SEE IT: Tu Fawning celebrates the release of Secession on Saturday, May 17, at Rotture. Website: myspace.com/tufawning