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Vivian Girls - Interview

  by Sarah Maybank

published: 11 / 1 / 2009

Vivian Girls - Interview


Sarah Maybank speaks to Cassie Ramone from discordant all-girl New York-based trio the Vivian Girls about their eponymous debut album which sold out within 10 days and the band's hard touring schedule

Forget Cheryl Cole, Sarah what’s-her-name and er, umm, the other three. Mighty New York City triumvirate the Vivian Girls are the REAl girls aloud. Three Brooklyn noiseniks with shimmering, candy-sweet swoony tunes, and a distortion pedal cranked up to double-treble-mega-overkill, these gals have their eyes on your eardrums with a view to taking them hostage well, permanently. Formed in 2007, the VGs hit the ground running, gigging with indie underground behemoths Jay Reatard and King Khan and soon winning a solid following of their own. A slew of sold-out, tickets as gold-dust UK dates in late 2008 indicate imminent trans-Atlantic conquest for Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy and Ali Koehler. So what's it like in these girls' world ? We collared Cassie to find out. PB : How does the Vivian Girls creative process work? How do you write your songs ? What inspires you ? CR : I write a lot of our songs and then we all work on them as a band. And a lot of songs are written around a guitar part or a bassline that we flesh out and then we'll write words and stuff later. Our songs are about tough emotions, usually coming from failed relationships. PB : The music industry's in chaos, the global economy is crumbling so quickly we'll all be living in caves soon. Is it a bad time to be in a band ? 0r do you subscribe to the theory that bad times equals lots of creativity ? CR : I do think that bad times produce great creativity, but so do good times to a degree. I think that right now, however, is a great time to be in a band. There's a lot of wonderful music coming out right now and a lot of inspiration. PB : Your debut LP sold out in 10 days. Were you expecting such an enthusiastic response so quickly ? CR : Absolutely not. When Mauled By Tigers told us that they were going to press 500 instead of 300, all we could say was, "Really?? You're not going to sell 500!" We still haven't been able to figure out why they sold so quickly. PB : Talking to French 'indie' band Underground Railroad, they seem to want to stop nothing short of world domination. The old purist idea of indie bands(for want of a better word) not wanting to be seen to be seeking mainstream success seems to have died a death. What are your ambitions? How far have you gone in recognising them ? CR : Our original ambitions were pretty minimal - to tour a lot and put out an LP! We also had goals like - "I want to play a show for 300 people!" "I want to be in Maximum Rock N Roll!" Stuff like that. Having accomplished those goals, I would say that our current game plan is being able to make a living off of making music that we really love, playing shows with bands we like and respect, running our record label... and not much else. I don't think we're world domination types. PB : What are your views on the perception of females in the music industry ? Do you have to confirm to a non-threatening stereotype to get anywhere. For example Peaches has been doing revolutionary electro-ey stuff for years and Lady Gaga who waters it down and dresses like a porn star cleans up in five minutes. Have you ever been asked to compromise your image/sound ? CR : We've never been asked to compromise anything, but one thing we've noticed is that it's definitely difficult to get our personalities across the media in a positive light, which I think would be a lot easier to do if we were men. The three of us are wisecracking with an off-kilter sense of humour, open with what we say, and somewhat awkward, and (as much as I hate to say it) there's no female stereotype that those characteristics fit into. So that gets filtered down into us being stupid and mean, which we aren't. It would be a lot easier for us if we were able to play the part of sex vixens or girls-next-door, which is a shame because it seems like men don't have that problem. PB : What are your impressions of the UK in terms of the fans and the country? CR : All the UK fans we've met have been incredibly nice and supportive. The country is really beautiful too! PB : Who are your most high profile/celebrity fans ? If you got to work with them what sort of music would you make ? CR : My friend told me that Beck played one of our songs for a guest playlist he did on satellite radio! Which definitely made my night, but he also could have been pulling my leg. If we got to make music with Beck, I'd probably want it to sound kind of like the stuff he did with That Dog in the mid-90's - I think they just recorded two songs together - folky and lo-fi, with male/female harmonies. PB : How has being in the music industry changed you (for better and worse?) CR : It's been a learning experience, but at the end of the day we're still the same people we always were. PB : There's a band called the Vivian Girls Experience on Myspace. What do you think of them ? Can you see lawsuits in the future? CR : I don't think there will be any lawsuits. They're doing their own thing and that's cool! PB : What are your plans for the rest of the year ? CR : We will be recording our second album and releasing it with In The Red later in the year. We will also be touring almost non-stop. PB : Thank you.

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Vivian Girls - Interview

Vivian Girls - Interview

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Everything Goes Wrong (2009)
Fabulous second album from New York trio the Vivian Girls, which while having an element of C86 about it, finds their tales of broken hearts also having a widescreen cinematic edge to them

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