In the two years they’ve been together, local all-girl pop-punk band Open Rela- tionship has toured the country, played 50 shows and fine-tuned their senses of humour and political responsibility. Open Relationship released their debut album Born Weird in August 2012, recorded with help from Slam Dunk’s Kain Bryson and Johnny Zithers. FEEDBACK’s Julia Kochuk sat down with vocalist Fiona Schick and drummer Melissa Edwards to talk Born Weird, punk aggression and girl power.
Julia Kochuk: How was the tour?
Fiona Schick: it kind of ruined my life—it’s all I want to do now. We had a lot of ve- hicle problems, but the way we interacted with each other was so perfect.
Melissa Edwards: Everything that was
in our control went smoothly. Everyone warned us before: nobody goes to your shows, you’ll drive each other crazy, you’ll be broke, it’s so far [to travel].
F: We had to buy a new van in Regina, but other than that, it went really well.
How’d you come up with the name Open Relationship?
F: One of us was in a relationship and asked if that person would want to be in an open relationship.
M: Sort of an ultimatum to breaking up.
F: We decided it’d be a hilarious band name.
M: It sort of came true, with the bass player constantly changing.
F: People interpret it to be way more of a political statement than it was; it sort of is, but its origin wasn’t supposed to be that way.
Speaking politics, as an all-girl band [except for Ian Davies, who’s currently the “maternity bassist” while Karmin Snow is on maternity leave], do you feel the responsibility to put out work with a feminist stance?
M: Having a band or being an artist is the perfect way to express yourself. So if you have any sort of feminist leanings, or any arguments at all, writing songs is a good way to sort through those ideas for your- self. I wouldn’t say we’re overtly political, mostly we focus on the personal.
What were the themes behind Born Weird?
M: Born Weird was a lot about fine-tuning our sense of humour. There’s still a lot of goofiness and weirdness on that album.
F: Lyrically, it was more emotional and mature. A lot of it has to do with feelings, experiences, things you notice around you.
M: One thing we noticed, especially being in a punk band, is that there’s a certain expected level of aggression, but none of us are interested in pointing the finger. It’s not the blame-you-for-how-I-feel, but that, maybe, those feelings come from inside of yourself.
Has that “expected” punk-aggression influenced your sound?
M: I was never into the Dayglo Abortions or NOFX. I always liked those bands that showed that you could be political and angry without being a tough guy. There’s a macho-ness to punk rock I certainly can’t relate to.
F: I like poppier punk, the seventies, ga- ragey sounds. I really like a catchy song, even cheesy.
M: We’re the shier side of punk.
Julia Kochuk, fourth-year writing student at UVic, was born weird, too. Along with contributing regularly to FEEDBACK, she studies strangers through their living room windows at night.