(photo: Annie Fidoten)
I am starting to see a pattern in the music that I get the most excited for: it all sounds like music I would have been obsessed with as a kid. But I am not longer a kid. Trust me, sometimes I wish I still was. I still get outfit inspiration from the kiddie store’s mixed-and-matched prints and bright colors, but the way I take in music is a little more all over the place now, and has a lot to do with overthinking.
That’s the glory of T-Rextasy (NYC). Their music is catchy and can make you peek back into the joy music gave you as a kid, but if you sit there and overthink it. Overthink every lyric, every chord, and beat, you find something you could only really understand as someone who’s passed or is passing childhood.
Finally T-Rextasy is coming to San Francisco for the very time ever and I am so excited because I’ve been waiting for this and I want you to share in my excitement because I hate being alone. They are even playing with Father/Daughter label mates SOAR!
The Bay Bridged: If you could create a genre specific to you and your sound and overall dreams, what would it be?
Vera Kahn: Boogietown. In Boogietown (population infinity), there’s always a horn section, funky bass, and delicious guitar licks. When you walk down Backbeat Street, havin’ a snarky convo with your best pals, your feet dance in time to groovin’ drums, and no one has to wear a bra.
Annie Fidoten: I want everyone who hears us to think “cartoon theme music” and then contract us to write a kickin’ theme song for their cartoon that is about superhero rock and roll kiddos who are not cis-boys! If anyone who is involved with the production of Steven Universe is reading this…call us.
TBB: Least favorite terms/phrases that have been used to describe your music and why.
VK: Riot Grrrl. Riot Grrrl is a knee-jerk description for any band of women, and while we do love a lot of riot grrrl bands, our music is much more lyrically and harmonically complex than that stuff.
AF: I agree. This also comes hand in hand with people calling us “punk girls,” when I think it’s pretty obvious that we don’t play punk rock. This man came up to us after a show (that he hadn’t actually attended) and stood around for 15 minutes telling us that he loved us because we were such “punk rock chicks” and we were like ‘First of all dude, you could hate our music! You have no idea because you didn’t watch our set. Also we do not play punk rock’…But he didn’t listen. People see musicians on stage they perceive as girls playing music and they think if it’s not acoustic then it’s gotta be punk because of riot grrrl.
Lyris Faron: We are more musically complex than riot grrrl/punk and to compare us to it is quite reductive. We also don’t support how white and trans exclusive riot grrrl was.
TBB: Is this your first time as a band touring SF and the West Coast? What rumors of the west coast are you interested in proving wrong or right? What are you most excited about?
VK: I’m turning 21 in Portland! Aside from that, I’m most excited to play Seattle with our friends Emma Lee Toyoda and Hardly Boys. I hope it’s not too rainy up there, because our rooftop storage is not the most watertight contraption. We’re also planning on shooting a short horror film when we get to LA, entitled On the 5.
Ebun Nazon-Power: It’s my first time playing in the west with T-Rextasy and I am super-stoked! I feel like the West Coast will be quite receptive to our funky/surfy tunes.
LF: I went to LA a few years ago with my family and made a promise to myself that the next time I would return would be on tour with T-Rextasy, and that goal is actually happening! Dreams, y’all.
TBB: Who is driving you on this tour? Also, hey, I also can’t drive, ayy.
VK: A former lover of an undisclosed member of this band. He happens to be a Bay Area native!
AF: Our merch wench, tour manager, and friend Mark is driving us some of the way. Also me, Lyris and Reggie can drive! But don’t worry, none of us could drive either at the beginning of this journey. On our first tour, strangers who we found on Facebook drove us in a van we rented from Costco.
LF: I will have you know that Annie and I recently learned to drive and bought a car specifically for this musical endeavor! That’s a story for another day, but basically it was a miraculous odyssey that we pulled off on a wing and a prayer.
TBB: Favorite cult films/B-movies?
VK: Josie and the Pussycats and Kiki’s Delivery Service. We also just watched Spinal Tap in our tour van, which has a DVD player in the ceiling.
AF: Doom Generation.
LF: Born in Flames, low-budget intersectional sci-fi from the ’70s.
ENP: I really love the horror movie Scream. I think it’s a masterpiece and also a terrible movie.
TBB: Biggest inspirations not only relating to music, but for you as a person and overall creative?
AF: My biggest music inspiration is “Weird Al” Yankovic. That is not a joke…This is cheesy, but I am really inspired by my bandmates Lyris, Vera, and Ebun. I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with them this year, and they are all incredible musicians and people who have so many talents and passions. They make me think critically and strive to be a better human, and I learn from them every day sitting in this Honda Odyssey that is currently our house.
LF: My bandmates are the most intelligent people I know. I don’t like to sleep or listen to music in the car for fear that I will miss out on something smart they say that will cause me to challenge how I interact with the world. I also admire people who work hard at their artistic craft and people who put a lot of thought into how they present themselves. Extra points if you dress colorfully and there is paisley involved.
ENP: Honestly, black people inspire me. Since there are not many POC in the music scene that we are part of in NYC and often in spaces we play when we tour, whenever I witness and encounter black people or other POC I am inspired.
TBB: 2017 has been pretty awful, how have you taken time to take care of yourself and how have you tried to combat the negativity that this year has thrown at us?
VK: We’ve been on the road for most of 2017, and there’s nothing better for my heart and soul than traveling with my friends and playing music. I’ve tried to remain aware of current events and talk about social justice groups onstage, groups that we’re raising money for with our merch sales.
LF: On this tour, we are currently supporting Black and Pink. They support incarcerated LGBTQ+ people through various programs. Also, Ebun came up with an awesome idea to do at the beginning of our shows — we acknowledge the indigenous groups that lived before us on the land where the show is happening as well as continue to live there.
ENP: For me, I try to take time away from the news and current events because it can be really overwhelming. It often feels like I am drowning in negativity and so the only way I can return to the surface is by tuning out the news. Eventually I come back to the “real world” and I do my best to educate myself, friends, and family on issues that impact marginalized folks and communities.
TBB: What instruments do you play — brand, and all the technical stuff — and what is your dream/favorite instrument?
VK: I play a black sparkly Silvertone classic 1449 reissue with an S-90 bridge pickup.
AF: I play a Fender Mustang PJ bass in light blue. It’s an awesome short scale bass, which a lot of dudes wanna give me opinions about when they see me playing on it. In a dream world, I’d play a sparkly full organ in a church of rock and roll.
LF: My vocal chords with the assistance of a Sennheiser e935 mic. Dream instrument: kazoo.
ENP: I don’t really have a specific drum set that I play, I play pretty much anything! I would love to have a bright orange or green sparkly drum kit with matching sparkly drumsticks.
TBB: Do you ever get confused for the T-Rex cover band also called T-Rexasy?
VK: we always get these messages on Facebook asking how much it would cost for us to come play Leeds, and we say, at least as much as the plane tickets to the UK and back! Also, they’re called T. Rextasy. We’ve got a hyphen.
AF: One time we subtweeted them and they responded. It was actually a really nice tweet. They seem nice.
TBB: You’re all young, and already creating music I can imagine listening to in 10 years and freaking out that it’s been 10 years while still knowing every single lyric as though it never truly left my mind, what are your goals for the future and your overall reach as a musician and creative?
VK: inspiring other people to play in bands! It happens more and more as we play more and more. Someone will tell us that they started a band because they saw us play or because one of us instilled in them the idea that they could play, too! I hope that our music can be accessible, fun, inclusive, and most of all, inspirational. We want to play with diverse bands and help bring attention to other bands with POC, female, trans, nonbinary, disabled, and/or queer members.
ENP: I want our band to make increasing connections with more POC bands and bands whose members are disproportionately underrepresented in the music scene. We can lift each other up!
Cafe Du Nord
July 17, 2017