By: Allison Lapinski
Have you ever heard the first few chords of a song and immediately known that you’d love a band’s entire discography? This was the case upon my first listen of “Debutante,” a song from the Australian band Olivia’s World. There are a lot of things that I find intriguing, fresh, and simply fun to listen to about this band. Comprised of Alice Rezende, Tina Agic, Joe Saxby, and Ben Napier, the quartet’s musical identity is enhanced by their shimmering guitars, post-punk undertones, and angular vocals. Though they generally fit the bill for a cool indie band, there is something else that makes them stand out from the rest.
With the support of Lost Sound Tapes, the band has released the new EP Tuff 2B Tender worldwide on April 23. This new batch of songs are irresistibly punchy and sweet. “Social Seagull” feels like a indie pop anthem, placed carefully alongside “Little Sage” and “Grassland” which evoke a sinister energy. Frontwoman and lyricist Alice Rezende spoke to WLUW about these songs and more in a recent interview:
So could you just tell me, how your band formed and where you are currently based out of?
Yeah, so I started this band sort of when I moved to Vancouver a couple of years ago I kind of had broken off my existing band. So I was just writing music and I found, well, I had Joe who had a move with me and my boyfriend, so I made him play bass. And then I didn’t really have anyone to play drums at the time. So I got a friend of mine that was like we’ve got this really good friend of mine Rose Melberg might want to play. So it was just the three of us in Vancouver. And then when I moved back to Australia so obviously Rose couldn’t come and we’ve been playing with new members here. I think it was 2018 when I was in Vancouver, but we’re based in Brisbane now.
What brought you to Canada, and what was that like for you?
My boyfriend at the time just wanted to move with his band. So the band members all lived together and I was just like an extra. I kind of just went after him at the time. We had just met and it was really impulsive and I brought my cats with me which was huge. I thought I was going to be there forever. I was also obviously really interested in wanting to go somewhere different. And I fell in love with it, like immediately, and I personally didn’t want to leave. But overall you know, Joe wanted to be closer to his family, et cetera. And it was really expensive to live in Vancouver. So we just moved back, but I miss it so much.
So how did this project Tuff 2B Tender differ from your self-titled project?
I feel like they’re similar approaches to sort of you know, putting it together in a sense. But I think this one came together more quickly for sure. Whereas the other one sort of was sort of a way to sort of sort of member like put the songs in a, in a sort of memory bank. Whereas I think this one was sort of more like pulling them out of my brain in a sense. I think they’re very sort of similar at the same time in their conception. I just think with this one, obviously the band itself and kind of what I’m doing makes more sense. Whereas when I started, it was kind of just, you know, me just slapping things together, but yeah, I think with this one there’s more intent to what I’m doing, if that makes sense.
I think, in my mind, it’s such a baby, whenever I release something. I was talking to my boyfriend Joe yesterday and I feel as though I’m such a baby musician, if that makes sense. I don’t think that I’m yet fully formed, and I think it’s a good thing. I feel like I’m still crawling to do what I do and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m just very self-aware that I can be much better. And in that sense, I don’t want to or maybe I don’t even know how to change my approach. Sometimes it’s a good thing to not be too self-conscious just yet about direction and things like that.
What does it mean for you to be tough, to be tender?
It literally just means my life. I’m really glad because I had that name for so long and it just came to me. I’m just such an angry person. I’m really just always, that’s like my first reaction. I often have thought about going to anger management and have Googled it at length. I think for me, it’s really hard to be a soft human being. It takes me every fiber to try to be a gentle human. So I think it’s really tough to relate to people on that level. But I also think that, I guess for this EP, it comes through. Some songs are angry and some songs come from a vulnerable place. But they’re still angry.
That’s interesting because now I’m seeing a double meaning here. Like it is tough to be tender, but you have to be tough to be tender also. Drawing off of your song “Grassland,” I was wondering what your dream reality would be if you could escape anywhere into nature?.
That’s actually like everything I think about. I was reading about an artist the other day and they are currently in the Blue Mountains, which is a really pristine and untouched area in New South Wales here in Australia. And it’s just a real magical and spiritual region. When you drive past the Blue Mountains in a car, there’s this bird that it’s a very specific call, as you drive past it you have to wind the windows down, and hear this call. I remember driving past it, just considering all of that and thinking, well, what is this place? I really just want to escape somewhere. At the same time that I’m obsessed, I’m really dependent on being around people. So that’s the only issue is that I really need to have social connections with people. But especially with COVID, obviously, it really puts things in perspective and it really has made me think that being in nature somewhere is the only way forward for everyone. It really solves a lot of issues in your mind. I just want to be somewhere with a vast expanse of land.
What song from Tuff 2B Tender are you most looking forward to performing?
Well, we have performed a few times. But I have a friend in Vancouver who was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you guys are like back to normal life.’ So bizarre, you know, they were looking at like, you know, a video of us playing then I was, I felt so bad about it that North America is still in the midst of the pandemic. We have gone back to playing only recently to be honest only this year. I really loved playing “Hellbent.” It’s really good to get my aggression out.
Are you planning on doing any music videos for this?
Yeah, we’ve got a video that’s supposed to come out in a couple of weeks. We’re just super busy to pump it out, but it’s for “Debutante” and we are hoping to do one for a “Social Seagull” or “Hellbent” as well.
What’s your favorite part of doing music videos?
Well for “Debutante,” we actually designed a whole cardboard set like the whole thing. It took so many weeks, and that was fun. I liked set designing and putting it together. I didn’t think that it was anywhere as good. And then we put it all together. We made a set inside the house and it looked really great. I was so proud. I definitely think that that’s the fun part.
And also just thinking, “how has all gonna come together?” Although, when it comes to executing it and filming it, it’s just painful. It’s like squeezing blood from a rock.
I read somewhere that you guys did a lifestyle magazine at one point. What did that entail?
Yeah, well, it’s just a zine of comic looking drawings and a collage of photos and stuff like that. I really want to do another one, as soon as I have a couple of days and do issue number two. We do have issue number one up in our bandcamp. It’s just like photos of really cool local Vancouver bands and a bunch of drawings and I definitely want to keep that up for sure.
What is one thing that you’d want to advise people when they form a band?
The one advice I would give I took that advice from Jay Reatard, my hero rest in peace. I learned it from a documentary I watched of him. You have to get your best friends to play in your band. Even if they don’t play any instruments, just get them to do it rather than someone that you think is competent at the instrument. Just get someone that’s not competent and teach them because that’s what I did. Obviously get one or two competent people, but you just want to be surrounded by the people you love. I got Tina, who’s never played in a band before to play a guitar and she’s like a gun right now at playing, but she’d never picked it up before a couple of years ago. So don’t worry about getting the best musicians involved. Just get people you love to be around you because they’re going to be there for you a lot.
Tuff 2B Tender is available to purchase on cassette tape here.