Crushing on Katie Serbian

You might know Katie Serbian better as Bambi Davies, the former bassist (and only non-brunette member) of Dum Dum Girls, a Wornette favourite. Katie has since moved on to Cheap Curls, a solo project that is anticipating its first release. Naturally, I’m excited to see the aesthetic possibilities a new musical act brings; will those iconic Dum Dum Girls tights be topped? Read on to find out!

Can you tell us about what you’ll be working on now that you’re leaving Dum Dum Girls?
I’m actually working on several different things. I have my own project called Cheap Curls that is releasing a 7″ on ArtFag Recordings early this year; I am finishing my MASTERS (!!!) at UT Austin

Nice! What are you studying?
It’s sort of interesting to explain. I am studying Rehabilitation Counselling. The name often conjures up a drug and alcohol abuse counselor, but it’s not that. It’s similar to a social worker for people with mental and physical disabilities. Very different from music!

So, I guess (because this is, after all, a fashion interview) there’s a huge range in your closet between what you wear to class and what you wear on stage.
YES.

Let’s start with that! Dum Dum Girls has such a defined aesthetic—was that intentional, or did you all have similar styles to begin with?
It started out as just a suggestion: “Let’s all wear black vintage dresses?” And then it grew into a strong aesthetic as the band also grew. As far as our personal styles, I think we were all fairly similar. The first day we showed up to practice together we were all wearing the exact same pair of jeans. I think it was the Urban Outfitters Cigarette pants? In black, of course.

When you played the Toronto show, you all came out in [Worn Crush] Zana Bayne harnesses. Was that coordinated?
Yes. Zana Bayne gave us all samples of her line. I LOVE HER. We got to meet her in New York when we played on Fallon. She is a gem and super talented.

With Cheap Curls, have you thought about cultivating another style?
Absolutely. I think it is an important part of creating my own identity as an artist that separates me from Dum Dum Girls. It would be funny if I kept an all-black stage ensemble for future projects, though.

What I do love about DDG is that the style and the stage dress was almost an homage to the drama and performance of being on stage—and to the artists who came before us that included that presence of style in their acts. That is something I will absolutely include in Cheap Curls, and have already sketched some ideas out. My husband will be playing drums, but he’s used to wearing costumes when he plays. I think I have started to plan around the music. Cheap Curls is pop and definitely will have a lighter air about it.

When you say “artists who came before you,” what specific ones come to mind?

David Bowie, The Supremes, Lux Interior; any one who made what they wore a part of their show. Well not anyone, I guess.

Do you ever have to consciously think about what you’re wearing when you go to class? Like, “Ok, I have to look like a serious student now.”
Yes, I do. It’s quite a struggle, actually. I really like the idea of being “dressed,” you know? Showing up for something that is important in a style of equal importance. Since I’ve been touring for the last few years, my closet has been whittled down to all black and nothing below mid-thigh, if that!

I’ve been doing a lot of vintage shopping, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t pass anything up in leopard print. And I have a weakness for ’60s pencil skirt suits. I found an amazing suit in LA right before I moved! It’s beautiful.

Do you watch Mad Men? Totally important question.
FUCK YEAH, I DO. We watched the first season on tour in the van.

Do you get Joan Holloway comparisons, being a redhead? Because she’s pretty awesome.
I have not! Which is surprising, since anytime a celebrity has red or reddish hair, people compare me to them. I’m waiting for a Dave Mustaine comparison.

Well, let’s hope you get called Joan first.
Yes, let’s please hope.

On days when you don’t have class and you aren’t touring, what are you most likely to wear?
It’s a toss up between fitted, high waisted jeans, a sheer top, a leather jacket, and my favorite wedges I found in Finland or tights, a skirt, a band t-shirt tied at the waist, and a denim jacket. I’m pretty simple.

Do you get a chance to check out local thrift stores much when you’re on tour?
YES. It’s a must.

Which cities have been the best for thrifting so far? OR WAIT. Which cities styles are the best based on the people who come out to your shows (after Toronto, OBVIOUSLY)?
Naturally. New York shows are filled with well dressed people. London as well. Two very obvious places, I suppose. I can’t think of anywhere that I have been shocked. Although, I will say, we met a woman wearing Zana Bayne in Florida, which did surprise me.

Where did the name Bambi Davies come from?
I made it up, haha. I’ll give you a better answer: I wanted to be anonymous when the band was first forming and I had no idea how popular we would grow to be. So, I thought to choose a pseudonym that was a bit fantastic—sort of keeping in line with the performance aesthetic we spoke of earlier. And after going through a few name search queries I settled on Bambi. The name is the exact opposite of my personality, which was a silly inside joke at first. Then I paired it with Davies… which at first was Davis… then I thought I would just simply steal Ray Davies’s last name. I like the way it sounds.

What current music acts’ styles (clothing-wise) do you really like?
Well, I unabashedly love anything Beyonce does. I can’t help it.

Did you hear they named a fly after her?
Hahaha, NO!

Because it’s gold; they figured it was glamorous.
Whoa. That is pretty funny. Her “Why Don’t You Love Me” video was so out of control good.

Oh God, yes. And “Countdown.”
So, so good. But other acts, smaller scale? My friend Colleen Green has kind of a minimal punk thing going on stage. I love that. Alex from Dirty Beaches has the same thing.

Right, Colleen opened for you! I love that she wore sunglasses on stage!
YES. I do too! Alex from Dirty Beaches will comb his hair on-stage!

That’s awesome.
It’s pretty unbelievable.

Okay, last question—’cause we like to ask all of our crushes for a list, can you name some of your favourite places to shop in Austin, Texas?
Prototype Vintage Design is my number one favorite place in Austin to shop. It’s amazing. Most of the clothes I wore on stage I got at Prototype. Then there is Feathers. There are a lot of boutiques that carry local designers—none of which I am too familiar with as I just moved back, but I love popping in and seeing what they are carrying. Parts & Labour: they carry a lot of local jewelry and textiles, as well as clothing. You must go if you’re in Austin.

text by Anna Fitzpatrick
illustration by Solange Yepez

5 thoughts on “Crushing on Katie Serbian

  1. Such a fun interview! I feel like I was sitting in and listening, awesome job Anna!

    And the illustrations…. amazing, stupendous, gorgeous!

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