Webcuts first caught up with the vivacious Vivian Girls in London on Valentine’s Day early this year to talk about their debut album just as they were getting eager to head back to the States to begin work on the follow-up. Now they’ve returned in record time with their completed sophomore album Everything Goes Wrong which we reviewed last week saying “Perhaps finally the hype that was lauded on the first record is actually justified here” .
Full of tender moments and lovesick pining, Everything Goes Wrong took Vivian Girls down the dark end of the street, which has now taken them all the way down under. In Australia for a very brief tour, Chris Berkley of Static caught up with the girls as they were shaking off jetlag and preparing to indulge in some Australian cuisine (ed note: the indepth discussion on the merits and taste of Vegemite were left on the cutting floor) for a chat.
You’re feeling alright? Long travel from Japan overnight. Ali, you were saying, that it wasn’t much fun?
Ali: It’s ok. I’m just tired.
Katy: We’re all a little sleepy.
Is that part of being in a touring band? You’re almost eternally jetlagged half the time?
All: Pretty much, yeah.
Does it get any easier?
Katy: No, but it’s really fun. Fun jetlag.
I’m pleased that you’re all here and that you’re allowed to trade as Vivian Girls in Australia. Have you covered this?
Katy: Oh, the other band?
Has anyone from Australia asked you about that yet?
Katy: No, but one time in New York City about two years ago we played with the band Ninetynine who has a member, if I’m correct, of the old Vivian Girls and Cassie (to Cassie) did they just say like ‘good show’?
Cassie: Yeah. That’s pretty much it.
Katy: There was no conversation about it, and no weirdness, so I think it’s all ok. We got the go ahead.
So they weren’t just speaking to you through their lawyers or anything?
Katy: (laughs) No.
For people who don’t know there was a Melbourne band around briefly who obviously had a much less stellar career than you guys, but was that kind of a bummer to find that out?
Katy: Actually, we knew about it, but we didn’t think it would ever matter because we weren’t ever expecting to get publicly known.
Cassie: Yeah, we only envisaged ourselves as a local band when we started out. We never thought anyone would ever hear about us besides our friends, so we didn’t think it mattered at all.
So, how serious were your intentions when you formed Vivian Girls? Was it done in fun?
Katy: It was definitely done in fun, but we take fun very seriously.
Did things snowball, then? Were you guys the most surprised of anybody when things happened, Ali?
Ali: Well, I joined the band when the snowball was mounting, so I don’t know (laughs). I wasn’t there for the onset of snowball. I was there when it was already rolling.
How were you with it, Katy? What did it feel like?
Katy: It felt weird. Just because we’ve all been in bands before and we were expecting the same sort of band careers that we’ve had before, which is fun, playing in basements, hanging out with your friends, which is best parts of being in bands. We just never expected it to go any further, and so we were all kind of shocked.
Even if you follow the Vivian Girls release schedule, it looks like you’re going ‘oh, looks like we’ll do another seven inch on someone else’s label’. Is that what it was like? People offering to put your records out?
All. Yeah, pretty much.
And before you knew it there were enough songs to put on an album.
Cassie: Putting out an LP was something that we all wanted to do. I wanted to have an LP of a band that I was in ever since I started playing music and Vivian Girls self-titled is the first album that has happened like that, and it was really exciting. Definitely felt grown up then.
Were you guys ready as well for the public’s reactions and critic’s reactions and all that kinda thing, or was that something that was hard to wear as the band had to grow up pretty quickly?
Katy: It was a little hard getting used to it. The positive feedback has always been fantastic to listen to. Negative feedback was something that none of us were accustomed to. Just because when you’re playing in bands with your friends nobody is critiquing you harshly.
Cassie: If you’re just playing for your friends, they might not be the biggest fan of your music, but at least they have this attitude of ‘oh they’re just doing their thing, it’s cool’. We weren’t prepared for the negative feedback at all, and it was pretty hard to deal with.
Is that because a lot of people wanted to take Vivian Girls more seriously than you did? It seems like you almost became unwilling whipping girls for any DIY haters. Was it hard having that stuff levelled at you?
Katy: Definitely. It was definitely hard but we’re also having a lot of fun, so it evens out.
It also seems that you guys don’t have much artifice about you. It wasn’t like you were pretending to be something you weren’t.
Katy: Exactly. People put a lot of labels on us that we never asked for. I think that’s all part of it.
What was the weirdest one, or one that grated on you the most?
Ali: I don’t know. Any time someone says something that’s sexist is always kind of difficult to deal with.
Katy: Yeah, nobody would care about this band if they were boys.