The Thirsty 7: Kevin Robinson of Viva Voce

By: Brandon Forbes

The music of Kevin and Anita Robinson, better known as rock duo Viva Voce, defy easy categorization. Beginning amidst the indie “Christian” rock scene of the late 1990s that brought such acts as Pedro the Lion, Damien Jurado, and Danielson into the popular underground consciousness, Viva Voce interwove soft vocals with big guitars and drums over a swath of cult records that have moved in an increasingly open direction crossing a number of genres: shoegaze, indie pop, post-punk, and even classic rock. Now, almost ten years into their career, and with a stint on Minty Fresh under their belts, the Robinsons have just finished touring in support of last year’s epic Barsuk-released Get Your Blood Sucked Out, a 12-track polyvalent experiment in dyed-in-the-wool rock music. Several of its tracks received wide internet acclaim, including protest diatribe “From the Devil Himself” and defiant piano anthem “We Do Not Fuck Around”.

Kevin was kind enough to take The Thirsty 7 on Get Your Blood Sucked Out’s influences, the role of faith in art, and why the Incredible Hulk can bring tears to your eyes - in a good way.

1. Get Your Blood Sucked Out seems to place you firmly in the classic rock revivalist camp. How do you account for this move from a more traditional "indie rock," lo-fi sound to a more epic, classic rock sound?

I don't account for it. It was just the natural progression. Make a record that's heavy on the keys and play those songs for over a year and you'll be ready to rock the hell out. Get Your Blood Sucked Out is the most natural record we've made. There's no 'throwback' - it's who we are.
2. I hear everything from Jefferson Airplane to Zeppelin when I listen to the album. Who did you guys listen to the most when writing the record?

Led Zeppelin is cool. I don't like Jefferson Airplane though. Actually, I listened to Cannibal Ox a lot while making this record.

3. "From the Devil Himself" and "We Do Not Fuck Around" take fairly aggressive stances. What were the circumstances that spawned these songs?

"From the Devil..." is just a giant middle finger in a 3.5 minute pop song. Each verse is saying fuck you to different person who's tried their best to be a problem in our lives. "We Do Not Fuck Around" is more of a battle hymn - a song you'd sing driving to work each day.

4. "Believer" and "When Planets Collide" seem to have religious imagery in them. Coming from an involvement in underground Christian music in your past, do you feel religious faith is still important to your art?
“When Planets Collide” is about sex I think. “Believer” is a negative comment on how "righteous" this country and a good deal of it's people believe it is. Faith is sacred and, like my marriage or family, I don't really feel the need to market it along with the art I create. Some things don't belong in the limelight.

5. "Faster Than A Dead Horse" is a great love song in the spirit of classic rock.  What are your favorite love songs from the 1970s?

Anything but Edgar Winters. He freaks me out....

6. Why the nod to Bill Bixby on the album? Are you guys big fans of The Incredible Hulk TV show?

At the end of the old show of The Hulk each episode would end with a shot of David Banner, played by Bill Bixby, hitch-hiking and walking down a deserted road somewhere. While he was walking they ended the show with the saddest fucking music I'd ever heard as a kid. I have vivid memories of loving the show and tearing up every time the show was over. It was a crazy mix of emotion consisting of being pumped to see The Hulk kick everyone’s ass, then crying when the end came. That's what this song was to me - the sad walk away after some songs of kicking ass.

7. In the early 2000’s, Viva Voce was instrumental in putting together the Cut & Paste Collective, a group of several indie artists from across the country that engaged in mutual support. Whatever became of that organization?

This would be a good test case of why socialist organizations don't work. I tried though. A lot of the bands didn't want to keep on after I did some jail time in 2002. Thought it might hurt their cred. The hard working bands that were a part of it are still going at it.



All opinions expressed by Brandon Forbes are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.


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