Premiere | Everyone is Dirty, "Banana Split"

 Everyone is Dirty dabbling with flowers and plastic; photographed by Ginger Fierstein.

Everyone is Dirty dabbling with flowers and plastic; photographed by Ginger Fierstein.

Earlier this year we had the pleasure of presenting the premiere for Everyone is Dirty’s “Thief, Breaker of Bones” and now the Bay Area band is proud to debut their new single, “Banana Split” that constructively cuts with the sharpness of knives and nails. Fronted by the visionary Sivan Lioncub—who also co-founded the group’s imprint/recording studio Donut Time Audio—channels the cumulating disarray of our modern day mayhem into the musical catharsis of something raw and riveting. Cast amid a backdrop of civic and social uncertainty, toxic scenes, patriarchal privilege, the Kavanaugh confirmation and a world where injustice and inequality override the human courtesies of care, concern, respect and love; Lioncub and company kick up a ferocious noise of cautionary wonder and an aural warning to abusers.

“Banana Split” showcases the instinctive and intrinsic fusion of Everyone is Dirty, blending modernist baroque with warehouse space-punk ethics to counter the contemporary tribalism of today. Sivan wields grandiose strings that rise and dip with operatic gestures as the rhythm section fires up the turbines that launch the song’s dogfight-styled progressions into the stratosphere. The dog eat dog world is reckoned with by a force of nature dead set on taking back creative and collective spaces from oppressive forces in order to raise up a standard and banner of inclusiveness. The trials, tribulations and errors of the medicated world is woken from the slouched grip of apathy with a call for all to speak out and take proactive measures in their own respective communities and environments. “Banana Split” slices through the failed state philosophies of phallocentrism that urgently reminds the audience to be a participant in helping shape our worlds and scenes into something better suited for the voices and arts of womxn, POCs, non-binary identifying peoples and countless others whose progressive messages have been suppressed by our current ruling class hellbent on winning by any means necessary (without regard to consequences).

 Cover art for Everyone is Dirty’s single “Banana Split”; courtesy of Jerome Bizien.

Cover art for Everyone is Dirty’s single “Banana Split”; courtesy of Jerome Bizien.

We had a chance to talk to Everyone is Dirty leader Sivan Lioncub (also co-founder of the Oakland recording studio/label Donut Time Audio), Jazzy Schwinges (founder of Oakland's The Bad Seed Collective) and Sea Witch Productions co-founder Lauren Marie Navarro Espina in the following round-table interview:

 Sivan Lioncub live at The Bad Seed in Oakland; photographed by Denis Perez.

Sivan Lioncub live at The Bad Seed in Oakland; photographed by Denis Perez.

Current challenges and concerns in the DIY culture.

Sivan: Spaces are always a challenge. Being able to throw shows in alternative spaces that aren't venues tend to feel more free to me. Traditional venues can be so rigid. For example, we aren't allowed to pass out free Banana Splits which I was really excited about doing because I love ice cream and I love sharing sweets with my friends.

Jazzy: A major challenge of recent in the DIY culture is staying under the radar. With the wandering storm of gentrification the current climate is strict and unwanting of a lot of DIY scenes. So it’s a challenge wanting to share a great space, a loving and inclusive community when the Bay Area has become less welcoming to such things in recent years. A major concern is that, like so many others, these DIY scenes will fall off the face of the Earth and disappear.

Lauren: Lack of spaces — space for art and space to live. The housing crisis in SF and Oakland are only getting worse, people are holding on by a thread to stay here. Another challenge is that music culture, here and everywhere, has always been a safe haven for predatory behavior. Most women I know have been groped or grinded on at a show without their consent. Sea Witch has made it clear that no rapists or abusers are welcome at our shows ever. But we’re trying to think of better ways to ensure people know who the predators are.

 Oakland The Bad Seed Collective’s Jazzy Schwinges; press photo courtesy of Denis Perez.

Oakland The Bad Seed Collective’s Jazzy Schwinges; press photo courtesy of Denis Perez.

Ways to better bolster our respective communities to create more inclusive and kinder future/present?

Jazzy: People coming together to integrate, collaborate and step out of their comfort zone. I personally strive for communities with diverse tastes, therefore, mixing it up a bit, no single genre, no particular theme. People of all colors and backgrounds getting together to get their hands dirty or maybe just to sit and watch in solidarity.

Lauren: When you’re booking shows, take a look at the bill and ask yourself: is it all white guys? Is it all white, period? Who wouldn’t feel welcome i this space we’re creating? Who could we be more welcoming to? Other than that, the least we can do is stop booking bands of known rapists and abusers. We have a blacklist that has only grown over the last few years.

Sivan: Taking responsibility. Booking female and diverse bands on every bill.

Not perpetuating secrets.

 From left—Lauren Marie Navarro Espina and Haley Scofield of Sea Witch Productions; press photo.

From left—Lauren Marie Navarro Espina and Haley Scofield of Sea Witch Productions; press photo.

How can we care for one another better?

Lauren: Listen to women. Listen to survivors. Listen to people who are less privileged than you.

Jazzy: First off, we can take our heads out of our goddamn phones. Be present in the moments shared and support each other, because feeling alone in a room full of people doesn’t feel quite good at all.

Sivan: These are such good questions. I want to hear your thoughts on them and I want to hear other people in our community speak their mind.

I want listening.

I want more space for opinions to hang in the air without immediately being devoured by know it all-y opinions. What if we all could state our opinions without others pouncing on them and hacking them with an ax. Hold each other responsible for our behavior, create a community where we show up for each other, not just for shows, but for every aspect of our lives.

Discussion. Accepting uncertainty and talking without expecting resolution or certainty.

Check in with each other. Are you okay?

 Commanding the strings with Sivan Lioncub; photographed by Denis Perez.

Commanding the strings with Sivan Lioncub; photographed by Denis Perez.

Insights on approaches to creating safe and safer spaces for all.

Sivan: Positivity. Openness. Be in tune to the signs. A comment or a joke that goes too far, anyone that's comfortable crossing boundaries socially may also be candidates for crossing boundaries in other ways. Keep calling people out on their behavior and trust your intuition.

Jazzy: To create safe spaces we need to detach from those in the community that harm people. So if there’s an abuser in your social circle or your local rock band, do not support them! In order to ensure a safe space we must try our very best not to invite harm and not to ignore shitty behavior. If something is making you uncomfortable, let it be known! Respect each other, trust trauma and do not sit back and accept the situation. Collectively and alone you can change a lot.

 Energy and inspiration unleashed at The Bad Seed in Oakland; photographed by Denis Perez.

Energy and inspiration unleashed at The Bad Seed in Oakland; photographed by Denis Perez.

Process thoughts on the inception of "Banana Split".

Sivan: You know those magic foam growing capsules? You drop the capsules in water and they expand into surprise animals? I know a song is good when the tiny little mundane capsule grows and grows and turns into a surprise animal. It's alive! A big blue dinosaur! It opens its foamy mouth and catches all these weird emotions in it. That's when I know we wrote a good one.

Tyler English: We were jamming real punk like and then I went, da da da duh duh duh—da da da—duh duh duh. The band was like sick.

Chris Daddio (producer/engineer, guitar): The song's energy and theme was so vicious that it demanded that we abandon the overdub norms of recording and all four of us play it live in the moment. “Banana Split” was recorded at Donut Time Audio in our home and being outside of a traditional recording studio injected the recording with looseness, creativity authenticity and freedom. When I heard the performances back I realized how important it is for us to play all together. Where mics are bleeding into each other and you have to live with the performances you get, including vocals. We came into the recording session thinking Sivan was singing a scratch vocal, but her performance was such a huge part of the energy of that take and we were all responding to it in the moment. When we heard it back we knew it was a keeper.

Jake "Jack Attack" Kopulsky (Everyone Is Dirty's newest member and drummer): Donut Time is warm, comfortable and fun to record in. We're all in the room together and there's nothing to hide behind.

 The passion and power of Sivan Lioncub; photographed by Denis Perez.

The passion and power of Sivan Lioncub; photographed by Denis Perez.

Meditations on curating better scenes in the Bay Area.

Sivan: More females, more diversity, more local bands specifically.

Jazzy: I want to help create scenes of a diverse nature. We should always be experimenting and when we experiment with others there’s all the more fun in life. Collaborating with all sorts of genres and mediums helps to manifest beauty in the darkest of places.

Mantras for more enlightened tomorrows.

Sivan: Don't you mean womantras?

No apologies.

Shame feeds off of secrets.

Flabby ass. When you perform, tell your ass to be loose so you feel relaxed. When we are tense, we squeeze the cheeks. So, do an ass check and make sure it's flabby. Then say flabby ass three times and shake it.

Lauren: BELIEVE WOMXN. Stop protecting shitty men.

Everyone is Dirty play Eli’s Mile High Club tomorrow in Oakland, November 10. More information here.

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