Three Music Thingz with Vi Viana
photo credit: Nat Lacuna

Three Music Thingz with Vi Viana

We are so back with another edition of Three Music Thingz, the series in which I ask music people for three thingz that are essential to their music-making. Any ol' thing will do.

Today we have Vi Viana, who fronts the excellent indie punk band Gutless (founded in Gainesville, Florida; has since moved up the East coast to the Brooklyn-Philly DIY rock municipal nexus), and plays keys in Tonsil Hockey, and guitar in the live lineup of Kmoy, and also records solo music. Vi is a fantastically dynamic and affecting frontwoman. Even just playing an acoustic solo set at Friendship Quest Fest, she brought the intensity of a whole band.

The 2022 Gutless song "Burning The Bridge", which features JER of Skatune Network renown on horns, has been in heavy rotation for me all year. Basically I'm just a big fan of anything Vi Viana does, and so I very much needed to know what exactly goes into her music-making, and here we are now, at the Three Music Thingz depot.

Btw, if you're in New York City, she's next playing live at an acoustic showcase at Caffeine Underground in Brooklyn on January 11th, which will feature Swan Real, Ciemme (a past The Molly Zone interviewee!), and Veronica Prudence. "It’s also pretty much a late birthday show for me," she writes, "shout out to Capricorns."

  1. Notes app entries
    It’s rare for me to write down the lyrics for a song in one or two sittings. It happens SOMETIMES but most of the time, I just walk through life doing normal everyday things, then a line of a song will pop up in my head. I immediately type it out, even if there’s nothing more than just that one line. I might also throw in a desired theme or topic into in parentheses, then I eventually mash up a bunch of those that fit into one theme and it becomes a full song (hopefully). That also involves plenty of editing and adding extra lines for the sake of fitting these multiple entries into melodies and making it all feel like one cohesive song.
  2. The automatic drummer in Logic Pro
    I don’t know if this will sound corny or hacky to people, maybe it might to some. But since I don’t know jack shit about drum composition or programming drums in ways that can sorta sound like a real person, I usually demo songs with the automatic drummer function on Logic Pro on top of my recorded guitars, bass and keyboards. It’s enough to loosely carry ideas that I can later present to real drummers. Drum programming is a valuable talent, my partner Swan Real is amazing at it and it fascinates me, but I only tend to program drum tracks if it’s a section with something wild like blast beats (coming soon teehee) or accented hits that match the other instruments. Beyond that, it’s pretty much all left to Punk Rock Max, or Alternative Kyle or any of those other robot champs.
  3. My partners
    I am very gay and emotional and polyamorous. Quite a few of my partners are musicians with a wide variety of individual skill sets that are unique to each of them and that really inspire the ways I write songs and approach music projects. Small examples of that are Veronica Prudence (Tonsil Hockey) being a master of hooks and tone, or Swan Real being an incredible producer and composer as well as proficient in many instruments, or Charlotte Mulvey (Ciemme) writing beautifully vivid lyrics that inspire me to flesh out detailed imagery in my writing. I constantly learn a lot from all of them.

    And even my non-musician partners are massive sources of support and inspiration. They are often responsible for building my confidence in ways that help me stay active and motivated with music after so many years of doing it. I’m also fascinated by their views of the world and their approaches to their own creative projects outside of music.

Check out Vi Viana's link aggregation here. And here's the flyer for the show :)