By Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
Olympia, Washington’s RVIVR are a pop punk band with incredible, anthemic songs, heart-warming chemistry and an instinct to instigate a little progression in the face of an overwhelming social regression. They just put out a 7″ (The Tide b/w Shaggy) through the always killer One Brick Today, and it’s likely they’ll be playing kinda close to you over the next week (full dates below).
Their Australian tour kicked off in Melbourne a couple of nights ago, and all of the shows look great. Take a look at some of those line-ups, it’s bonkers.
UB caught up with RVIVR guitarist/singer Erica Freas to see if she could tell us what the fuck is going on with world.
RVIVR are no strangers to Australian shores. What are your impressions of the country?
I love Australia. Obviously not the government or the nation, but I love the land and the people. It feels good to play music here, the bands are really good and there’s so much appreciation for good music at the shows. I learn a lot from watching and listening to the ways people organise for human rights, Aboriginal rights, queer visibility and the like. It’s different to the USA. One is not better or more accomplished than the other in terms of social movements, but it’s interesting to me to see how people are working for similar things in different/similar ways. Also the nature is just mind-blowing every single time.
How did you end up working with One Brick Today?
Tara Jayne and I met over the internet first. She ordered records from my label, Rumbletowne, and eventually we had friends in common. She invited RVIVR to come tour and ended up touring me first. We met in person at a solo show I was playing in Brooklyn in 2013. She’s a miracle worker with the way she manages OBT and touring bands. Her focus on lifting up women/non binary and queer people in the bands she books and the spaces she chooses for shows makes the shows fucking awesome and contributes hugely to a sense of culture shifting towards a more inclusive form of punk. Also I love her with every bone in my body and she’s one of my best friends.
Prior to this new 7, RVIVR had been sort of quiet, at least on the releases front. Are there plans for a new LP any time soon?
Yes def: we are quite a few songs into the next full length and beginning to see its shape take form. Hoping to see that happen by the end of 2017.
Do you prefer the format of 7″s?
No, not at all. I understand the enjoyment of this condensed format but I don’t like changing the record that often.
Who is the song “Shaggy” about?
Barker Gee. He is a friend of ours who was a truly ripping guitar player in bands like Ringers, Huff Stuff Magazine, The Young Men. He died last year and all our hearts stopped beating for a time while we died with him.
RVIVR really nails a vibe of ‘triumph’ – the stuff you’re singing about is kinda heavy, but there’s always a sense of fist-raising solidarity in your sound. Given current, seemingly growing societal divisions, do you ever feel a sense of hopelessness? How do you feel about the situation in your country since the elections?
Fuck yes there’s a sense of hopelessness… but it’s in a pendulum swing with moments of invincibility. I’m feeling disturbed that I had such a sense of forward progress and now am grappling with how that comfort contributed to this stark rise of fascism in the States. It’s part of a global trend but it’s painful to feel taken by surprise when all the cards were clearly on the table, we just didn’t believe they’d play out like this. I’m answering this interview while on a bus in Malaysia and just finished a zine called Nosegay, a compilation of poetry and writing by queer/trans/outsiders in South East Asia, mostly Kuala Lumpur. The culture these writers live in is incredibly more homophobic and intolerant than anything I’ve lived or loved through. Reading these stories of queer life in its hotness, freedom, secrecy, fear, oppression has me really noticing how a dose of systemic homophobia/sexism from the new USA government sank me in terms of hope. It’s time to rise, obviously… and this time it must be an ascension that includes everyone: divisiveness leaves room for bigots to weasel in. All of us or none of us. “Intersectionality” is the name of the next chapter.
What literature/media/music do you recommend for an emerging young punk in 2017?
I highly recommend making connection with the punk scenes in New Zealand, Taiwan, South East Asia. The punkest thing to do is find penpals in punk scenes that are different to yours. Like how Tara Jayne and I met. Australia’s neighbors are doing really cool things with punk, especially growing movements of gender diversity in their scenes. What else? Sci-fi written by women, especially women of color; Alan Moore’s Jerusalem for the way it plays with death, time and the power of the working class (also has some sexual violence). I recommend steering clear of hype from the USA (no regrets if that steers you away from me/RVIVR), there is so much powerful punk happening in the corners of the world and the US creates a culture-attention vacuum. Oh, AND don’t worry about whether you’re “punk” or not, punk is the best and has a million perks and challenges but don’t be fooled that it’s a club that requires you follow some shit set of rules. Don’t be afraid to be different, being different is when shit gets gooood.
You’ve dabbled in saxophony across a couple of songs – where did the inspiration for that come from? Can we expect some on-stage sax Down Under?
You cannot expect that.
What’s on the RVIVR karaoke playlist?
Springsteen, Cher, Queen, Billy Joel, and the outsiders anthem “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid.
RVIVR Australian Tour – Februrary 2017
Thursday 9: Animal House, Adelaide w/ Stabbitha and the Knifey Wifeys, Juliette Seizure and the Tremor-Dolls, Daddy Knows
Friday 10: The Tote, Melbourne w/ Camp Cope, Ouch My Face, Fear Like Us
Saturday 11th: The Factory (Fusebox), Marrickville w/ Conation, Hannahband, Grey Places, Canine
Sunday 12: Rad Bar, Wollongong w/ Baby Machine, MSV BCP, The Nah
Monday 13: Black Wire, Sydney w/ Snape, Pinkbatts, Abigail & Daisy
Wednesday 15: The Hamilton Station, Newcastle w/ Obat Batuk, Hannahband, Paper Thin
Thursday 16: The Tatts Hotel, Lismore w/ Common Enemy, Masochist & The Shunts
Friday 17: East Brisbane Bowls Club, Brisbane w/ Death Church, Wizz Kids, Piss Pain, Scraps