Riff Randells

Riff Randells
Led by songwriter and guitarist Kathy Camaro, Vancouver punk rock heroines the Riff Randells have been at it for nearly ten years. While the band have seen numerous line-up changes and world tours, along with a slew of vinyl-only releases, Doublecross is the first full-length for the all-female trio. Released on Dirtnap Records (the reputable home of the Exploding Hearts and the Briefs, among many others), the record is both timeless and innovative, adding some new ideas to their Ramones-y sound. Catching up via email, Kathy confessed her love of Willie Nelson’s take on reggae and explained that her band aren’t too different from Destiny’s Child.

When and how did the Riff Randells start?
We officially became a band in the summer of ’99. We formed as a band through friends of friends in the Vancouver music scene.

How has the line-up changed? Is it true that there used to be a male singer?
Yes, we have a Spinal Tap/Destiny’s Child syndrome when it comes to bass players. We have the lovely Bianca Carr playing bass with us right now and she’s awesome. It’s true that we had a male singer at one point. At the time we thought it would be really cool to be a band made up of all girls, with a male singer. He didn't last very long.

Is the band now based in Calgary? When and why did you move away from Vancouver?
No, we’re actually still based in Vancouver. People think that a lot because I live in Calgary. I work for an airline, so it’s pretty easy for us to be a band because the flight is about an hour. I moved to Calgary about six years ago.

Is Doublecross your first full-length album? What have you been doing in the years leading up to this point?
Yes it is, and we’re so excited and relieved to finally have a full-length. We’ve released a bunch of seven-inch records, and we also did a ten-inch vinyl with Alien Snatch Records and a CDEP with Delmonico Records.

Where did you record Doublecross? What was the recording process like?
We recorded Doublecross in Abbotsford at J’ Set N’ Sound Studio. The recording process was really fun but tiring because we did it in such a small amount of time.

How do you feel about the music industry in terms of downloading and the way music is distributed?
We all agree that illegal downloading isn’t a good thing.

What do you do for a living?
We are a mixed bunch. Bianca is an aspiring tailor, Anne-Marie works at a record store in the distribution department, and I work at an airline doing flight operations.

What are some of your favourite punk albums of all-time? Who do you consider your influences?
One of my favourite punk albums is Ramones, Bianca likes Out Of Step by Minor Threat and Anne-Marie likes GI by the Germs and Los Angeles by X. We consider Nikki and the Corvettes, Joan Jett, and the Little Girls as some of our influences.

What are your favourite musical guilty pleasures?
Bianca loves rap music, I secretly love Willie Nelson’s reggae album, and Anne-Marie doesn’t have any musical guilty pleasures.

How do you write songs?
I write most of the songs at home by myself, and then I bring the material to the other girls and they add their input from there. We’re not much of a jam band.

Do you feel that there are any unique issues surrounding you as women involved in punk rock, or is it not an issue?
It’s not really an issue for us.

What are your songs about?
They’re usually about boys and other important things like shopping and going to parties.

What do you hope to achieve as a band?
To have fun and win Grammys.

Do you have plans to tour for this album?
We’re hoping to play all our favourite Canadian cities, and to tour the west coast of the states, and we’re touring Japan again in the fall. It’d be great to go back to Europe this year too, but we’re not sure if we can.

What other projects are each of you involved with? Do those get in the way of the Riff Randells?
Anne-Marie plays drums in White Lung. Bianca plays bass in Ice Cream. We haven’t had any double bookings so far.

What has been the high point and low point of your time as a band so far?
The high points would be our tours to Japan and Europe, and releasing our first full-length. The low point would probably be when we almost broke up on our first cross-Canada tour because we couldn’t agree on where to eat. That was low.