Our chat with Viboras, punk rock band from Milan
Radio Punk: Welcome to Radio Punk! The floor is yours to present yourselves!
Viboras: Hello! We are Viboras, a Punk Rock band formed in 2003. We have 5 releases to date, 6 if you count the demo we reworked in 2019.
The members nowadays are Irene (guitar and vocals), Sal (lead guitar and backing vocals), Giulia (bass and backing vocals), and Ga (drums).
RP: Can you explain the choice to name the band “Viboras”? Who came up with it?
V: The name was a very debated topic! At first, we were struggling to find one that would appeal to all of us, until our former bass player Gio
suggested “Vipers”, which didn’t sound that bad… We didn’t want to sound obsessed with car nor we wanted to have an English name so
Sal asked how it would’ve sounded in Spanish, and the result settled the argument.
RP: You come from Monza. How’s the situation there musically speaking? We see you cooperate with tons of bands. Is there a lot of support?
V: Brianza can count many active bands, most of which we became friends with, and luckily the support is growing stronger and stronger:
there’s a strange rebirth of interest concerning live shows even of smaller bands. Maybe is because a lot of still musicians began to play again
or maybe there’s a lot of youngers that picked up their instruments, we don’t know, but now when we either play or just spectate a show
there’s always people, sometimes we’re astounded by how much crowd’s there.
RP: Looking back to when you started, 2003, the music scene in Italy was different and way more active than it is nowadays, there were a lot
more venues to play in and bands to play with. How do you remember that period?
V: Great, active, there was a lot of interest in punk rock in the air! As you said, we were more bands, there were more venues, festivals and
labels still ready to invest in us; the gap between national and international scenes wasn’t that strong, even if it was impossible to confront
RP: If you wanted to listen to some punk rock in the 90s and early 2000s you had to head to the newsstand and hope nobody stole from you the
punk special of “Rock-Sound”. These days it only takes a few clicks to have access to all kinds of music. To some degree this is an amazing
thing, but don’t you think that maybe it made everybody a little less curious and lazier?
V: Yes! Absolutely. For us it’s amazing to be able to listen and share our music worldwide through platforms like Spotify, Deezer, and so on.
But we all also noticed how this all led to laziness. Not only for the 20 years old guys of today but literally everybody: fewer people attend
concerts and even fewer romantics actually buy physical copies of the records. All in all though, for us at least, it’s worth it: I’d much rather
have someone that cannot see us live because, maybe, they live in Palermo, to have access to all of our records. In the end, music is what
counts. Plus, a lot of people actually come to buy CDs from us after the shows if they enjoyed our performance, and they do so even if they
have Spotify premium. Those loyal to the physical copies somehow will never cease to exist, we put ourselves in this category as well!
RP: You always preferred to compose lyrics in English, but listening to “Via Di Qua” (a song from 2009, you can find a remastered version in
the album “Bleed”) we think you are very convincing even with Italian lyrics. Do you feel more inspired to write in English?
V: Irene’s answering this question as she’s the lyricist: actually is just more immediate to match English lyrics to our music, it’s a spontaneous
thing for me, I’ve lived abroad for a lot of years since I was a child and English was the language I spoke regularly, even though I always
spoke Italian at home, a language I love but feel like it would make everything more poetic and a bit mushy, English instead is more musical
and flows to the point of writing itself basically.
RP: At a certain point you decided to put Viboras in stand-by. Later, in 2015, you decided (for the joy of many) to reunite. What pushed you to
start playing together again?
V: We were missing Viboras. Putting a project in stand-by leaves a part of you hanging, sooner or later you’ll have to tie up the loose ends: we
were lucky to be all in the mood to start again. Eventually, it felt like we never even stopped at all, but instead we found ourselves without
that weight that was bringing us down years ago. It was really liberating! Plus, after years of silence we were ready to start over with a bang!
RP: The video for “Raise” (available on YouTube: Viboras Channel), a ballad to be shouted out loud, was shot entirely by Irene in Bangkok, why this choice?
V: Irene went there to attend a tattoo course: just before she left, after band practice, we were discussing plans and projects awaiting us and a video was one of them, an idea came up to shoot the video in Bangkok with a cell phone, a raw thing for Gio to edit. In the end it didn’t even come out so bad! Even the parts that were saved because Irene forgot to film everything horizontally hahaha.
RP: Back in 2019 you released “Skeletons in the closet”, a cover album that embraces a variety of music genres. What was metric you used to decide which track to cover?
V: We were going to record a Kiss cover for a compilation and we thought, while we’re at it why not take advantage of entering the studio and record a few more tracks? We chose, with no stylistic limitation, a song each and we added a Lita Ford cover we’ve been playing for a while, just to remember at the last second that you need 7 tracks for the record to be classified as “Album” on Spotify, so we opted for the classic song that everybody knows and a “good first take” acoustic version of Icona Pop, easy to learn (Irene and Giulia were in charge of the song to cut off some time). Fortunately more or less we already knew all the songs, one way or another!
RP: You’ve played at Bay Fest 2019 but that wasn’t the first time you stepped on a stage that big. Do you prefer this kind of live experience or do you feel more comfortable in the intimacy of small venues?
V: We love both to death, and you can probably imagine why: the small venues give you more of direct contact, a feeling of complacency while playing in bigger stages is like when a dog goes from the small park to a big open field! You are a superstar, you have enough space not to tumble on mic stands, cables, and monitors on the ground, you have hundreds of people in front of you. For us every stage is a dream came true, our drug.
RP: If you could travel back in time, with what artist/band would you share the stage?
V: The Clash, obviously, for all of us! Even though just at the idea of playing before them we would probably forget how to play and sing like Mickey Mouse from the emotion, for sure hahaha. After that, we could easily hang up our instruments!
RP: Let’s talk about your merch, because since Irene is both a designer and a tattoo artist we figured you take care of the graphics yourselves. Is that so? Where can someone buy it?
V: Exactly, the graphics for both albums and merch pass through Irene’s hands while flyers and social media stuff is usually made by Sal. She has always drawn, painted, sewed, tattooed, basically other than the music itself she always loved art and it’s always handy for a band to have someone that takes care of the artistic side of things. You can find all of our merch at our shows! We’re getting ready to sell online but as of now you have to come to hang out with us or send a friend!
Rp: Any project in Viboras’ future?
V: Thankfully a lot! We just recently printed some new merch, t-shirts, pins and also the only physical version of “Skeletons” that’ll be limited to cassette tape (for the nostalgic like us); we’re working on a new EP of collaborations that’ll complement “Bleed”, probably to tie them together we’ll make a limited vinyl press, who knows; we had a lot of shows that unfortunately were skipped due to the virus emergency and we’re doing somersaults to catch up as soon as possible. At the moment we’re making one video per day and trying to involve a lot of other musicians/artists to raise funds destined directly to CESVI, to support hospitals in these very trying times, and to make sure music doesn’t stop. We’re not hanging out but this doesn’t make us less musicians, in fact remaining active is a big help to the band and the scene. #musicneverstops is our hashtag and our will.
RP: We say goodbye leaving you the chance to add whatever you want!
V: Guys, never stop doing what you’re doing. You Radio punk guys, as well as everyone that has a band, a project, or everyone that’s just starting out because if you believe, you can!
See ya in the pit!
Interview curated by Maria Ve, translation by Teo