In the two years theyâ€™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 Dunkâ€™s Kain Bryson and Johnny Zithers. FEEDBACKâ€™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 lifeâ€”itâ€™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, youâ€™ll drive each other crazy, youâ€™ll be broke, itâ€™s so far [to travel].
F: We had to buy a new van in Regina, but other than that, it went really well.
Howâ€™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 inÂ an open relationship.
M: Sort of an ultimatum to breaking up.
F: We decided itâ€™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 wasnâ€™t supposed to be that way.
Speaking politics, as an all-girl band [except for Ian Davies, whoâ€™s currently the â€œmaternity bassistâ€ 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 wouldnâ€™t say weâ€™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. Thereâ€™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 thereâ€™s a certain expected level of aggression, but none of us are interested in pointing the finger. Itâ€™s not the blame-you-for-how-I-feel, but that, maybe, those feelings come from inside of yourself.
Has that â€œexpectedâ€ 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. Thereâ€™s a macho-ness to punk rock I certainly canâ€™t relate to.
F: I like poppier punk, the seventies, ga- ragey sounds. I really like a catchy song, even cheesy.
M: Weâ€™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.