Vivian Girls: Interview
“I’d choose an elephant.”
Within the past few months, Vivian Girls have toured the U.S., signed to In the Red Records, sold out the entire first press of their LP within days, booked a short tour with TV on the Radio, sang backup on the upcoming Fucked Up LP, and probably a whole mess of other stuff. Upshot being: If I were a hack, I'd call them a “band to watch.”
I got the chance to talk to guitarist Cassie Ramone and bassist Kickball Katy via email and asked them a series of uncreative questions regarding animals, the internet, and the stuff I was just talking about.
It might just be me being imperceptive, but it seems like this whole thing (signing to In the Red, singing backup on the new Fucked Up, shows with TV on the Radio, etc) has happened pretty quickly for you guys. Has there been a point at which you've been particularly floored by the attention or the general pace of everything?
Katy: Yeah, definitely. A lot has happened for us in the past month, around the release of our LP. We are just trying to deal with the new attention the best we can... by ignoring a lot of it and just trying to make time to write more music, which is really what we love doing.
Cassie: Yeah it's pretty weird. I don't think any of us ever expected it to get this crazy, but it's been really fun.
On a similar note, is there anything about that kind of stuff that you're finding to be exasperating or annoying?
K: I find that the most annoying part is that we can't really find a lot of time to just relax and write music. Also, while our record is being received rather well in general, there are people who like badmouthing us (and everything else in the world) on the internet. I guess it's just something we have to learn to ignore!
What was the weirdest, coolest thing that happened to you guys on your recent tour?
K: I think the weirdest thing that happened on tour was playing a show in Austin at a club that had two stages... one stage for us, Japanther and the Pharmacy... the other stage for Nashville Pussy. There was a really... weird... mix of people watching us.
C: The coolest day for me was when we were hanging out in LA with our friend Vanessa on our day off. In one night, we drove under an exploded fire hydrant which flooded the entire street, drew around our feet in Sharpie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, drove by Danzig's old house, and chilled out in our friend's gigantic teepee that he built himself late at night.
When you guys first formed, did you have the reverb-drenched, Slumberland-influenced sound in mind or was it something that came more naturally?
K: The sound that we have today is not at all what we were originally planning on; it really developed on its own. When we started out, we just wanted to write songs that were fast, melodic, and fun. Reverb worked its way into our vocals after a few months, then we started harmonizing on more songs, and that's what we've found to be the most fun for us. We still play almost all the songs that we first wrote; they just sound really different now.
Some of the biggest exposure you guys have been getting lately has been at the hands of a couple of big-name tastemaking websites. At the risk of getting overly reflexive and awkward, do you guys have any concerns about becoming pigeonholed as just another band in the blog hype machine? Is it something you'd ever consciously avoid? Do you think there's even a way to avoid it at this point?
K: When our LP was released a month ago, we became pretty popular on blogs... We never intended for that to happen; we prefer when people see us live, but I don't think it's something that can be avoided. I think all we can do at this point is to keep touring.
C: I really hope that we don't get lost in the ebb and flow of blog hype. We were never trying to be trendy; we just want to make music that we like and hopefully other people like too.
Standard question: What are some records and bands you're excited about these days?
C: I really love that song "Kissing and Telling" by The Carrots. We've also been listening to The Black Lips like every day on tour.
If you could be two animals at once, what would you choose?
K: I will answer your question with another question. If you could have a miniature animal of any kind, what would it be? I'd choose an elephant.
C: A Sphinx.
Aside from appearing on the new Fucked Up, are there any other collaborations you guys are working on?
K: We are planning on recording back up vocals on a new Blank Dogs song soon, which should be awesome.
C: Also, Ninjasonic just did a rap remix of "Tell The World." That should be out on a comp (with remixes of Matt and Kim, Japanther, The Death Set, Juiceboxxx and more) released in August sometime. Bikes in the Kitchen is putting it out.
Given the band's seemingly promising future, is there anything you're especially looking forward to?
K: I am really excited about being about to tour the UK and Europe.
C: Being able to treat myself to a luxury cruise off the coast of Hawaii.
With four labels thus far, a couple of singles, and the LP, it gets kind of tough to keep track: What's your release schedule for the foreseeable future?
K: Well, we are releasing a single on In The Red at the end of summer, "I Can't Stay" is the A-side, "Blind Spot" is the B-side. Then ITR will be repressing our LP in the fall, and there are several ideas being thrown around for after that, but nothing is settled yet.