In the wake of the recent Orlando club shooting that left over 50 people dead, Stockholm’s emo screamo band VIVRE SA VIE join us here on IDIOTEQ to talk about some of the most difficult issues affecting thousands of young people these days and the discrimination they face when they don’t quite fit the status quo of the heterosexual world. The following questions emerge from my willingness to get to know more about the experiences and feelings of gender nonconforming people, the transgenders struggle in the modern world and our insufficient will or inability of a greater change.
Fresh off their recent Swedish Spring shows and the release of their debut demo on Malaysian label Arkan Recs, VIVRE SA VIE are right in the middle of the recording process for their debut full length currently writing their debut album. Their tracks serve a perfect treat for fans of HOT CROSS, LOMA PRIETA and greater works of heartfelt kinetic emotion, weaving together melody, dark atmopshere, raw riffage, and melancholic reflection.
cisgender – identifying as having a gender that corresponds to the sex one has been assigned at birth; not transgender.
non-cisgender – having a gender gender doesn’t necessarily agree or must conform to the roles that are expected of the sex one has been assigned at birth.
Hey there guys! Thanks so much for sharing some time with IDIOTEQ! How are you? Please tell us what’s VIVRE SA VIE, who’s behind the project and what made you want to create it?
Hey! No worries, it’s our pleasure really. I’m fine, feeling a little sick though but it’s alright.
VIVRE SA VIE are a lot of things, I think. First and foremost we are a screamo/emoviolence-unit, but we are also political.
My lyrics are mostly about trans and queer issues and mental illness/anxiety and such.
We are four people from Stockholm, Sweden.
We didn’t really know each other when we started playing together. Well, I knew the drummer from before. But that’s it, haha.
Jacob (bass) and Joánn (guitar) found each other on some sort of band finding website and they got in touch with me and Tobias (drums) via mutual friends with similar musical interests.
Fortunately we fit really well as a band, we share a lot of musical preferences so writing songs is always a smooth process.
Playing together felt really clear and obvious from the get go.
Your official description says that the band consists of 50% non-cismen and lyrically deals with a lot of the struggle revolving around living a life outside of binary gender roles. How is this subject important to you guys?
It’s important on so many levels, haha!
First off, every day is a struggle for trans and gender nonconforming folx, like me and Johan.
Writing about issues like coming out to your family and friends or being harassed by random dudes when you’re trying to pee comes naturally to me.
Because that’s just how my life looks, you know.
It’s also important for me to write about this because we (trans people) get ALOT of nasty comments, we get beaten, people look at us like we’re the scum of the earth and deserve nothing short of death or at least humiliation on the subway, it’s often hard for us to get jobs etc. – if we’re open.
And if we are not open, and true to ourselves, we can never be free – or even happy.
Representation is also very important to me. As you might know cis men are EXTREMELY overrepresented in the hardcore/punk/screamo/emo-scene – and that’s such a huge shame.
Because punk music is so much more than just emotional boys who just broke up with Melissa, or buffed hardcore dudes slamdancing to German beatdown.
I want to show people that no matter who you are you can play in bands or listen to hardcore and punk music. You can have attitude on stage.
You can be radical. You can inspire other female, trans and gender nonconforming folx to start playing, or just come to shows and hang out.
The days of hardcore being a (almost) male separatist movement are soon to be over, if we just help our siblings out, catch them when they dive, pick them up when they fall.
We just need to stick together and we’ll be fine.
Ahhh, there’s so much more I could write about this, but this will do for now. Otherwise my answer would be 100 pages long, and nobody got time for that.
What kind of reception have you had for the band thus far from the hardcore community?
Everyone’s been super nice, really. And that’s quite a shock to be completely honest.
Screamo and such is generally pretty found upon in the hardcore scene in Stockholm.
A lot of the scene is way more into D-Beat and more rock oriented hardcore right now.
We’ve only played two shows thus far but people really seem to like what we are trying to do.
So yeah, so far so good!
Cool! Back to my previous question, what do you think are the most crucial steps societies need to take to stop harming trans people or men with feminine characteristics?
There are no simple answers to this, there’s so much we need to do.
I think it’s super important that we (everyone) stop idolizing hyper masculinity and violent behavior/s.
It’s not an easy thing to do, because we’re taught from birth that masculinity is superior to femininity and androgyny.
To end this we need to talk to the men in our lives, we need to tell them that a lot of their dominant, masculine culture is hurting, and even killing us femmes and gender nonconforming folx.
They will surely not listen at first, but we need to keep reminding them that they are superior to us under the patriarchy.
We need to remind them that they have to back down and give their sisters and siblings space, that no ALWAYS means no, and so on.
We (trans people, women, gender nonconforming folx etc.) also have the responsibility to teach our friends that we do not need men in our lives to be complete, that we can do so much (everything) together – but it’s of course OK to choose to live with and have men in your life.
It’s also SO important that we remember that men are the only ones who can truly change what we today view as masculine, by actually talking, listen to each other and analyze what it means to be a man.
Another important thing we can do is to reach out to the youth and teach them (especially the boys) about the patriarchy and other hurtful social structures.
If we focus on teaching our younger brothers and our sons about these things, I am sure things will start to change. This burden should not only be put on non-men though, the fathers, older brothers, uncles, you name it need to take their responsibility in this issue.
Basically we need to spread all of this information about the patriarchy, the violence we suffer due to it and what men and masculine presenting people can do to help end the suffering that is everyday life for A LOT of people.
Do you have any advice for the readers who might be struggling with anxiety caused by their gender identity or expression?
Just try to stay calm. Identity takes (a lot) of time to figure out, don’t feel pressured to know exactly who you are or what you feel.
But if you are pressured from friends and/or family to know exactly who you are, search the web for trans forums, spaces where you can speak freely about your issues and stuff like that.
There are a lot of groups like this on Facebook for example.
It’s important to at least have someone you feel safe talking to, because people WILL harass you, or at least try to if you “fail” to fall under the social norms of beauty and expression.
If you don’t have anyone to talk to today, start searching around – there’s always someone who will listen.
Also, if your real life friends don’t shame you or question your identity, try talking to them. If they don’t understand at first, explain a few times, in time it will feel so much better being able to rely on your friends if your experiencing gender dysphoria or any kind of anxiety connected to your identity.
And for the cis and straight people who are reading this:
Help your friends, stick together, educate yourself – google is very accessible, and I am completely sure you can find all the tools you need to help your friends there.
And most importantly – LISTEN to your queer friends when they say they feel uncomfortable in their bodies, when they are upset because people look at them with nasty eyes, take them seriously when they express their anxiety.
Did making this new music as VIVRE SA VIEW help you go dealing with your personal demons?
Sure! Writing the lyrics to “Mothers//Daughters” actually helped me come out to my mom and be more open with who I am.
Playing live with people who understand and respect your struggle is also amazing. I always feel safe speaking my mind and going all in when I play with VIVRE SA VIE. I’m very thankful that this band exists.
Mothers and daughters
drowning in an ocean
of false words and mistakes
A sea of emotions
“I’ll always love you my son”
“I’m your daughter,
you know this by now”
“Don’t ever call me that”
“I love you, I love you”
but it’s hard
“I need your love”
What kind of music were you listening to while writing these songs? Tell us a bit about your inspirations.
Jóann (guitar) and Jacob (bass) wrote most of the music for the demo. They are influenced by bands such AS CITY OF CATERPILLAR, PORTRAITS OF PAST, LOMA PRIETA and ORCHID to name a few. I on the other hand find it hard to draw inspiration from other music when I write lyrics. I’ve mostly been listening to trap music and black metal for quite some time, haha. And I can assure you the lyrics aren’t exactly inspired by WAKA FLOCKA FLAME.
Are you proud of the final effect of your work?
Very. To be completely honest I’ve never been this proud about a release, and this is just a demo. I feel so fortunate to have been part of everything we’ve done so far.
How did you team up with a Malaysian label to release this new tape?
Adam (who runs Arkan Recs.) contacted us after hearing two rehearsal demo tracks we uploaded to bandcamp. It was a real stroke of luck because the tracks were supposed to be private, but Joánn accidentally made them public.
It’s really cool to know that someone from as far away as Malaysia is into our stuff and willing to release a tape with our music without charging us anything.
Do you have some more record planned for the next months of 2016? Will there be some tours down the road sometime soon?
We’ve just recently started working on our first album. Nothing’s really finished yet though. But we’re really stoked to get some new tunes out!
We’d love to tour Europe, but none of us really has any money so it’s hard to plan stuff. But we will play a lot of shows all over Sweden this summer/fall.
Hopefully that will make us rich so we can tour wherever/whenever we please (haha).
Ok, thanks so much for your thoughts! Please feel free to close it up with your final words and good luck with VIVRE SA VIE! I’ll be applauding you guys enthusiastically. Cheers from Warsaw!
Thank you for this interview, and for asking such good questions.
It’s such a great feeling to get to talk about this important stuff in a punk/hardcore context.
All the love, VSV