But while they do share some lyrical motifs: dead rock stars, Oscar
Wilde and woe begotten romances, the similarities end there. The music
on this noisy three piece’s debut “Both Before I’m
Gone,” is a whirl of crashing chords and jerky rhythms, torn
apart at the seams by the lovelorn, harrowing drama of vocalist Nina
Diaz. Her older sis, drummer Phannie Diaz, spoke to us about nominal,
and familial, baggage.
Playing in a band with your sister has to provide for some interesting
dynamics. Do you two fight much?
Well, there’s an eight-year gap between us. So when we started
it was like, not only are you in a band with your sister, but I was
technically also kind of raising her, since we were out on the road
so much. She was 13, so I tried to show her life lessons —what’s
good and what’s bad — but respecting her in her own way,
because she was writing and doing a lot of stuff that people her age
were not doing. But now that we’ve grown together, and this
is almost seven years later, she’s completely mature and I find
myself going to her for advice.
You brought your 13-year-old sister on the road to play rock shows!?
[Laughs.] I just had faith in her. The first time we heard her singing
we were completely blown away. Jenn (Alva, bass) and I were trying
to start a band at the time. And to hear her come out and show us
this song that we thought was someone else’s ... we were like,
“We don’t care how old she is, let’s just do it.”
From recording your first EP with Boz Boorer, to touring with Moz
himself, to your band name, it looks like you guys are going to be
answering questions about the Morrissey thing for a long time. Does
that ever get old?
When we first started, we were definitely fanatics. But the thing
that sucks about it, and [we didn’t think] about it at the time,
people want to automatically compare us to The Smiths or Morrissey,
and think every song is a reference to them. It’s not. When
we’re writing we don’t say, “This song has to sound
like this Morrissey song … ” It’s a completely different
vibe. And then he just happened to come to a show, and he happened
to like us, so he brought us along. Everyone’s got the Morrissey
questions … ‘What’s he like? Give us the dirt.’
and there’s really nothing to say other than that he’s
a sweet dude and he liked our stuff. And that’s cool, you know?
Being on Joan Jett’s label, you must get a lot of questions
about her, too.
Joan is like a big sister to us. When it comes to the business, being
in the industry, all those silly things, we just go to her. She says
to always live in the moment. She feels regret, being in the Runaways,
she didn’t have time to enjoy what was happening around her.
The success she was having. Because being on the go just gets in the
way. She tells us to just live in it.