RVIVR Interview on Dead Air: “We Need More Weirdness”
March 2nd 2017
Photo L-R: Lou Hanman, Erica Freas, Mattie Jo Cannino, Kevin Rainsberry. Photo thanks to TJ of OBT.
- RVIVR :: Interview on Dead Air (13.2.17)
RVIVR are a touring group of four from Olympia, Washington, best described by their tour manager TJ (One Brick Today) as “energetic, melodic, political queer punks”. Their shows and songs circle around themes of gender equality, racial justice and both individual and community strength.
RVIVR’s vocalists and guitarists Erica Freas and Mattie Jo Cannino, drummer Kevin Rainsberry and on-loan bassist Lou Hanman (of Bristol’s Caves) joined Dead Air to discuss their recent release and month-long tour as it leaves Australia for the Pacific Northwest.
We heard news on RVIVR’s recent and upcoming recordings, and their thoughts on surviving as venues and scenes change around them. Read the highlights below or listen to the whole interview above, complete with some spicy takes on space colonisation.
On their new single ‘The Tide’
ERICA: “So many of our songs end up being about the middle ground, or the balance. Like The Beauty Between – that whole record is about that. So ‘The Tide’ is about that middle ground in between being able to speak your mind and getting punished for it – either from mainstream, status-quo society that doesn’t like what you’re saying, or from radical punk or queer community people being like “well, you didn’t say it right”. It’s that thin line in between. It’s a balancing act song and it’s a frustrated song about why is that margin so small?”
MATTIE JO: “Something that is really disheartening to me is watching the left, and specifically the radical left, just tear itself apart from the inside. And feeling like now is the time for that to stop happening, because things are getting really scary and fascism is on the rise – it’s here, it’s not even on the rise, it’s here, it’s happening.
“That song is specifically about when we started being a band we got a lot of crap from the right about talking about gender and talking about queer issues. We were too punk for certain people and it made them really, really mad. And then that subsided and it was the left’s turn to get mad at us for not being punk enough, or not being queer enough, or not saying the thing in the right way, when everyone is just learning and trying. The song is a kind of like a cry for help: ‘let’s figure this out.’ Yeah, it’s uncomfortable; yes, we have conflicts within what is going on. But now is the time to figure that out and not ignore it’.”
ERICA: “We don’t sit down and think, “Okay, now we’re going to write a song about the intersectionality of gender, race and chronic pain,” or something. We’re really just writing songs from within our life experience and from within our hearts. And those are the songs that come out.”
On plans for their new record
MATTIE JO: “It’s over half written, all the pieces are starting to fall into place. Probably both those songs [‘The Tide’ and ‘Shaggy’] are gonna be on it, re-recorded… New LP in the works, coming soon as we can.”
On venues closing and scenes changing
MATTIE JO: “I think there’s a real focus on new bands and new things happening. And while I think that that’s really exciting, I think sustainability is more interesting and watching a band grow and change over the course of time is really cool. Fugazi comes to mind, of course. Something like that, versus this constant search for – “What’s the new thing?! What’s the new thing?! What’s the new cool thing?”
“It makes me think about capitalism in a weird way, like we need to have the new product, this product is old and it’s outdated now, like you’re buying a computer or something. And we’re not talking about computers, we’re not talking about sneakers, we’re talking about creative outlets and people doing stuff that’s really important to them.”
LOU: “Of the people involved, I have faith that they always find a way to do something new. Years ago, in Liverpool, for example, the places we used to go to that put punk shows on always closed down, and then somewhere else always started up. So it’s always shifting, everything’s rolling on, hopefully.”
ERICA: “There’s a thing happening right now that I see in a lot of places that we go. It’s happening a lot in United States, it’s happening here in Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne I’ve seen it too – where I feel like we’re looking at a new era, the next chapter of gentrification. And I feel like it’s like a cascade of venues closing. But I also do believe that the people who are the hearts of those projects are going to find new ways to create those outlets, and I’m really curious what the new chapter is going to be.”
On doing better as humans
ERICA: “On how to take care of yourself better, how to take care of each other better, how to perform better… I would say number one is: do not be afraid to be different and weird. And try to really notice the ways that we are punishing and controlling each other to not be as weird as we all could be. Because we need weirdness. So get weird.”
MATTIE JO: “Just listen to people around you, pay attention, it’s not hard. People seem to have a problem with that but you can tell when someone is uncomfortable and you know, just listen and pay attention and respect the people around you.”
KEVIN: “Practice and try”
LOU: “And say yes to everything if it feels right.”
You can grab RVIVR’s The Tide/Shaggy now as a limited tour edition 7″ via One Brick Today or Black Wire Records.