Interview with 12 Rounds members Atticus Ross and Claudia Sarne

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 1995
12 Rounds

“It’s heading towards the millennium,” said 12 Rounds member Atticus Ross, “so we’re taking advantage of what we can.”

What Ross is referring to is the way he and bandmate Claudia Sarne are combining the punk edge of their band’s previous incarnation with their programming and production skills. He admitted that the band “didn’t play that well” when they put out their debut album on Polydor, but have now made the “natural” progression to more electronic style with their Nothing Records debut, “My Big Hero.”

“As you make albums you become better and more refined, and I think that you want to utilize everything that you know and use that to your advantage, as opposed to ignoring everything and trying new avenues,” said Sarne. “To me, that’s how this album came about – a very good marriage of what we learned as a live band and what was already known as a programming outfit.”

About a third of the album was written on computer, while the rest was of the material was conceived on guitar or keyboard and then embellished by electronics.

“I think the album grew as the character grew. The music is one thing, but the real lead in it is Claudia,” said Ross. “That’s the real song, what’s being said, and the music backs it up.”

“The whole thing about the album is that it’s pretty much about a character, which came about out of us working together,” added Sarne. “You get a musical marriage, and what’s born of that kind of has its own life. And that’s how I tend to look at the music. We both do what we’re going to do, but a lot of the time it’s instinctive, as opposed to preconceived. That’s what the album is basically about.

“It’s like all the things you think about but never actually do – something that I think everyone has inside them. And everybody, inside them, has a certain charm and seduction, but they also have things that they don’t necessarily like to air to the public. And I think really that’s what the character is about. It’s a character that does those things but is very seductive at the same time. Not like fucking Cruella De Ville or something. Siren-like, so it’s seductive but also very malicious, but not in a bad way. It’s like killing someone with kindness, and they want it. It’s about the things in all of us that we don’t like to admit about ourselves.”

Having only two members, rather than three this time, allowed the group to get their ideas across with less compromise. It allows them to “do what we both do best,” though Sarne and Ross do disagree often.

“But that’s not a bad thing – it’s probably one of the best things,” said Sarne. “With the tension, you better things constantly.”

12 Rounds performed some live shows in late summer and hope to tour America extensively in support of “My Big Hero.”

“I think people will come to the shows, and they’ll understand the project that much more and they’ll walk away saying, ‘ I haven’t really heard anything like that before,’ said Ross. “There are a lot of girl singers who I get the feeling that they’ve been wronged, whereas when Claudia sings, it’s more about wronging someone else.”

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