Interview by Kris Hex
- Alright guys, for the first question, let’s do the usual generic routine and do a roll call for those who are unfamiliar with the band if you please.
We are Adrienne Pearson (vocals); Benn Ra (guitar); myself, Paul Rogers (bass); and our new drummer Vince Milanov.
- Ok onto the fun stuff, you guys have been around for the better part of 7 years now in various forms of gestation, and you have an impressive roster of talent in the band, how has the latest string of shows been treating you? I’ve noticed you have worked with several prominent promoters in the scene out west not to mention your debut EP has made a sizable splash (I dig the vocals and unusual guitar work a lot!)
Paul: Readership Hostile only formed late in 2012 and our debut EP was released at the turn of 2014. (Adrienne and Benn had an earlier incarnation of the band, with a different rhythm section, around 2008/9 called The Readership Hostile. That version played just one show, but we still play some of the songs from that era.)
Every show with Readership Hostile is an absolute blast. We have a truly world-class, utterly frenetic frontwoman in Adro, and the whole band is committed to (and really enjoys) super-visceral, passionate performances.
We’ve played up and down Southern California, including shows in places like Bakersfield, Anaheim and Long Beach, as well as regularly in L.A. itself. Our spiritual home, though, where we played our debut show (and twice since), is the legendary Release the Bats, in Long Beach.
We’re very proud of the EP – and, in my opinion, it’s a springboard for much greater (and more distinctive) recordings to come.
Adrienne: Thank you. We have gone through several forms of gestation. This one is by far my favorite. Benn Ra and I are the original members from back in the day when we first played. We had a different incarnation of the band and only played one show (our very first show) at the legendary Release the Bats. We lost two band members due to location. I now consider Paul to be an original member of our 2nd incarnation which also included our very first show at the legendary Release the Bats.
Every show is a fun experience. All of us perform as if our lives depended on it. I can say with complete confidence that as an audience member, it would be impossible to be bored – regardless of liking our music. I’m a firm believer in performing from the gut and I will always do so. If for some reason I stop, well then, I will be dead. One memorable experience was when Paul, earned a bass lick from a fan due to our passionate performances. It might have been a couple of licks and it was in the middle of our set.
- Your lyrical content as a band is bit more on the stream of consciousness side, I don’t suppose you guys enjoy E.E. Cummings?
Paul: I leave this one to Adro, as she writes all the lyrics.
Adrienne: You nailed it right in the head. I do like E.E. Cummings work, however, he isn’t an influence on my lyric writing. I practice stream of consciousness writing every morning when I wake up. It’s extremely therapeutic for a racing mind like my own. My lyrics are informed by the music. I will listen to the song and let it speak to me. I never go in thinking, “This song will be about the struggles in the world.” When I’ve tried to write like that, it never worked out. I often get surprised by the subject matter that shows up when I’m writing. I’ve had some of my songs come to past and that is a little strange. Some songs I didn’t even know what they were about until later. Others have a definite meaning. “Shadows of Pure Delight” is about coming into your own and discovering your voice in order to stand up for your rights. “Tainted Pale” is a song about having to hide from the world who you are in order to survive – almost apocalyptic but not as literal. I don’t think my lyrics have to be literal. I’ve always loved hearing a song and the lyrics speak to me in ways that affect me emotionally. Sometimes the songs are ruined when you actually find out what they’re really about. I’m laughing at how many times I’ve daydreamed to a song and how the mixture of music and lyrics are hauntingly romantic, only to discover it’s about their favorite hotdog.
- Is the entire band concentrated in one area or are you spread out? It’s not uncommon for bands to have members in other cities/states/countries so I won’t be too surprised if someone has a commute from hell for practices haha
Paul: We’re a little spread out, but all in L.A. County (with members in Glendale, Santa Monica, the San Fernando Valley, and Canyon Country). We meet in the middle at our rehearsal space in downtown L.A.
Readership Hostile is very much an old-school, living, breathing band (as opposed to an occasional “project”): We rehearse twice a week; have band meetings (usually at the famous Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Strip); and actually enjoy each other’s company!
Adrienne: Paul has a larger commute than the rest of us, but we are all still generally within the same city.
- Musically speaking, and apart from the obvious punk/deathrock/goth canon, where would you say your influences are being culled from?
Paul: I can only speak for myself on this. I’m from a punk and post-punk background back in my native England. I grew up obsessed by the (early) Cure – the first band I ever saw live – and then was greatly influenced by Death Cult and the early Cult.
But I also listen to some hard rock and metal (everything from Tool and SOAD to Glassjaw and Underoath to classic Rush and Queen); “indie” stuff (like The Kooks, The Smiths, Interpol, and Portishead); new wavy stuff (notably Depeche Mode and Talk Talk); and a little rap (mostly The Streets and Immortal Technique).
Adrienne: I’m a huge fan of punk/deathrock/goth but my influences range. I love Iggy Pop, Joy Division (my first love at the age of 11), Grace Jones, Magazine, Sparks, I love the way that Tina Turner performed back in the day…she is truly a rock & roll goddess, The Cure, Bauhaus, Chrome, I’ve been listening to Iron Maiden (love the fantasy drama), my influences and favorite bands change every day. Sometimes, I love classical or avant-garde. Hell, even the sound of a train or lawnmower has a special inspirational sound to it.
- Hmm let’s try a topical issue, I know everyone’s talking about what happened in Paris but naturally the media has pulled from four different directions to skew what really happened, the basic problem seems to be a distinct issue with freedom of speech and sacred cows for the observers at home, what are your thoughts? I ask because it’s common for many acts out of the style to have a slight to moderate political edge and well because frankly, I like to hear people speak their minds.
Paul: I have very strong feelings about this and could write a book on the broader subject but, in my role as a musician, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to discuss such a vast and nuanced topic.
Adrienne: I’m a firm believer in speaking my mind and embrace the freedom to do so. Or at least we are told that we have the freedom to do so. I too could go on and on about what happened in Paris. It’s a tragedy and it was amazing to see thousands of people unite. There were several other tragic events that happened around the same time, where hundreds of innocent people were murdered, including children, that equally deserved the world showing their support like they did for Paris. But that didn’t happen. I’m not downplaying what happened in Paris, I’m just saying that some places don’t have the luxury of expressing who they are or how they feel in public and they get murdered all the time. That is the true tragedy
- Are there any other mediums you guys like playing with other than music?
Paul: Yes: writing. I’m a full-time professional journalist (freelance, but mostly writing for the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly, as well as numerous other publications, from Revolver to National Geographic Traveler). Though I’m completely untrained, I love to write and it’s a privilege and joy to be able to do so daily (and to get paid for it!)
Adrienne: If it’s creative, I do it. I act, paint, draw, love to write, film. I’m always coming up with new creative ideas. It can be a blessing and a curse all at once. I will have creative urges in one area but be blocked in another but it all ends up working out in the end.
- I see that you released your EP in Europe through Manic Depression Records, really great selection of music from them, did they contact you directly to make arrangements for distribution or did you have to seek them out first? They are a bit of a shoe-in for the bands work.
Paul: This was Benn’s deal. I think he approached them, but couldn’t swear to it (and I’m not with him right now to check!) Adro may know more about this.
Adrienne: We actually released our EP through an independent label from Switzerland called Swiss Dark Nights. We also have our EP available through Manic Depression Records available for sale but it is the same CD art that we personally sell through our own band camp page, just cheaper for those living in Europe
- I know the band is getting ready for an out of country tour in Mexico, are there any plans to play the east coast or perhaps even a few TX dates? San Antonio has a great scene and Houston *cough cough* has a few good promoters…
Paul: We long to play further afield and will go wherever there’s an audience for our music. Yes, Mexico is on the cards for us soon, as is Europe. I lived in Texas for a few years and would love to return there to play (I haven’t done so since playing a bunch of shows at SXSW 2010 in Austin, when I was in Jonneine Zapata’s band).
Adrienne: I’m willing to play in whatever state or country people invite us to play. I played a show in San Antonio years ago. I played at SXSW and booked a show for the following night. It was some sort of punk/goth club I believe. I also remember having a complete blast. So, if anyone out there wants Readership Hostile to come play – we would be delighted.
- Lastly, anything you guys would like to say to the readers out there? This is open format so say whatever you like!
Paul: Only this: I feel that our debut EP is a really solid post-punk/deathrock/goth record, and I encourage anyone with even a passing interest in these genres to give it a listen. However, I sense that the best of Readership Hostile is yet to come. The batch of new songs we’re working on will be instantly recognizable as Readership, but I think will have more of a signature personality (as we continue to gel as a musical unit), plus some stylistic surprises and intriguing tangents. Personally, I aspire to making music that is accessible, but deeply original (i.e. cannot be easily compared to other artists). I think we’re all excited to complete and record these songs, especially with our amazing new drummer, Vince Milanov (who’s originally from Bulgaria), aboard.
Adrienne: We are working on some amazing new material that will still have a dark, delicious flavor to it. We will be in the studio sometime soon to release some new material for all of you to enjoy. I personally hope to release it on vinyl. Yes, I’m a major vinyl fiend.