Drummer Maya Postepski lets us know that we shouldn't worry...her bandmates will join us soon. "As long as I'm here, they'll get here, eventually," she explains. And its true. Almost as if there was a magnetic pull, the other five members of Maya's band, Austra, showed up and sat down...without saying much. The band is a little spooky like that — finishing each other's sentences, understanding one another without even saying anything. Plus, Austra has identical twins Sari and Romy Lightman from Tasseomancy singing backup vocals — and though they sound the same, the style, hair, and vibe of both of the girls are shockingly different.
This sort of preternatural communication also occurs on stage, with Katie Stelmanis' haunting, operatic vocals guiding the group. Watching Austra would feel almost spiritual, with the striking twins and Stelmanis' intensity, if there wasn't such a strong, danceable beat. The Austra crowd isn't afraid to get down, but most follow the twins' lead and move with their arms waving in the air.
The six players, which are composed of four girls and two guys, are clearly close. When all together, the male components of the band, bassist Dorian Wolf and Ryan Wonsiak, are a bit quieter than the ladies, but that appears to just be how things shake out. "I'm not a 'guy' guy," says Wonsiak. "In fact, I'm kind of one of the girls." "We don't think of things like that," said Romy Lightman. "That's such a frustrating thing, when photographers want to separate us and divide us like that, like, the girls have to wear dresses and lipstick, and the guys are in suits."
"Usually," says Postepski, "the girls wants to wear suits and the guys want to wear the lipstick!" Strangely, each member of Austra has a particularly distinct style — from Stelmanis' patchworked jeans to Wonsiak's black lipstick and Nirvana shirt — even the twins dressed wildly different. Around Romy's neck was a heavy brass snake, which she explained was symbolic and is her current talisman. "It's the year of the snake, which means nothing is as it seems. So, I am keeping this with me to remind myself of that." Well, what does that mean for us? "Don't make any major decisions or act based on pure instinct. Take things slowly. Give everything a little more thought than you would."
Photographed by Nina Westervelt/MCV Photo