Viva Voce's Anita Robinson Talks The Future Will Destroy You, Female Musicians and the Apocalypse
Indie's Viva Voce, the husband-wife duo of Anita and Kevin Robinson, never had to fall back on "being cute." Music lead them to each other, not vice versa.
They've toured extensively over the better part of the last six years, including a stint with The Shins and local boys Jimmy Eat World.
Touring is sort of their bag. Getting out on the road allows them to get in touch with the people that so often become the subject of their lyrics.
Up On the Sun spoke with Anita about love, the road and the details of the apocalypse.
Viva Voce is scheduled to perform Wednesday, October 5 at Rhythm Room.
What did you want to do differently on The Future Will Destroy You than you did on 2009's Rose City, or what you've done in the past?
Anita Robinson: We wanted the songs to sound better and we wanted the album to sound even better. We worked really hard on the songwriting and the recording, and we think we did the best record we've ever done. We're really proud of it.
I'm sure you're sick of this question, but how does being married change the songwriting process between you and Kevin?
I don't know because I've never written songs with anyone except Kevin.
So then is the songwriting a 50/50 process?
Give me an idea of how sick you are of the "married" question.
Oh, it's ok. I guess it just strikes me as a little odd. I just wonder if it's just because people still think it's odd to see a female in a band. I know so many people who are couples and are in bands. I guess if you love music and you meet someone you love making music with, it's almost surprising if love doesn't follow. That's kind of the way it worked with us. Music was just a really big thing that we had in common and we found joy in doing that together from the moment we met.
You're a talented guitar player and you're also a woman. It seems like plenty of press and even fan attention focuses on the fact that you're a female guitarist - almost like you're a cat riding a bike or something. How do you feel about the emphasis on the fact that you're a woman?
Oh, I don't know. It really doesn't come up anymore. Honestly, I think a lot of guys are afraid to even say anything to a female guitarist because they're afraid they're going to offend you in some way. A lot of times, a guy will come up after a show and he'll say "Don't take this the wrong way, but you're the best female guitarist I've ever seen." And so what I do when that happens is I say "Thank you." I take it as a compliment. I don't think they mean anything sexist.
The song "The Future Will Destroy You" deals with some apocalyptic themes. How do you see the apocalypse actually going down?
[Laughs] Well, whether or not I believe that, it definitely seems like there is a lot of people that feel that way. I think there's sort of a collective consciousness sometimes, and for whatever reason, through feelings or words, that's what was going through our heads when we were creating these songs. I don't know why, but I feel like we had to do it. While we're not paranoid and not sensationalistic, it does sort of surprise me how prophetic the lyrics have turned out to be. These songs were written and recorded before Valentine's Day, so a lot of terrible things have happened since then, but I don't feel like I have any answers. I wish I did.
What's the status on your side project, Blue Giant?
Last year we did a lot of shows and touring for Blue Giant. It was so fun and really satisfying, and traveling with a five piece band really met that need that I think we both had. It really satisfied that need for us, so when we went back to make this Viva record, we were totally comfortable and happy about the way we've always done things in the past. So that's the way we're doing it on this tour. We're back to the original duo and it's been going great. I feel like the chemistry is just really strong whenever Kevin is on drums, when we're side by side on stage when we can kind of make eye contact. I just feel like the music works better live that way.