By Raven, Rock At Night Columnist
INTERVIEW with LaRissa Vienna and the Strange
Members: LaRissa Vienna – Vocals Nick Workman – Lead guitar Aaron Mendoza – Bass Luke Wolff – Drums Vanity Welch – Violin; Genre: Spooky rock/grunge; Hometown: Denver, Colorado
They Call their music Spooky Grunge I call it a work of Art.
LaRissa Vienna has been an artist in the Denver music scene since the age of fifteen. Starting out as an electronic artist, then playing and touring as the guitarist of the band BAD for three years, she then returned to her rock roots as a solo artist.
Yellow Scene Magazine says, “LaRissa Vienna describes herself as a ‘spooky pop artist from Denver.’ That’s fair, but it only tells half the story. With beautifully melancholic, atmospheric vocals that skirt the line between spoken-word poetry and singing, Vienna is a true artist and one to watch on the local scene.”
Influenced by David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Shirley Temple (with a tattoo on her shoulder to match), LaRissa Vienna is a force to be reckoned with. Her somber ghostly rock tunes will entrance you and leave chills down your spine. The melodic, story-telling guitar mixes perfectly with the melancholy tones of her voice. The bass stays loyal to the hard-hitting drums.
Despite the soothing rock tones, LaRissa Vienna’s live show is nothing short of energetic. Standing 4 feet 11 inches all, her fiery energy demands the attention of every soul in the audience.
“Mermaid”, Vienna’s first single from 2012, is a dark electronic song with hypnotic harmonies, accompanied by a morbid, dreamy music video.
“Underwater”, the most recent release, blew her previous work out of the water:
“Starting off with somber guitars and deep, earthy drums, the track maintains the eerie mood with chilling yet beautiful lyrics and haunting vocals. The song evokes a feeling of pleasantly drowning; which may sound strange, but it makes it all the more engrossing. With a windy chorus and a romantic, albeit slightly creepy, bridge and finale, this track sores above the rest and showcases the talent of this group.”
-ReverbNation Crowd Review
“The Strange” is Nick Workman – the lead guitarist with wild hair who has experience in every style. Aaron Mendoza on bass, influced by the Cure and Coheed and Cambria has experience in experimental bands and plays perfectly with the hard hitting drum styles of Luke Wolff. The classically trained violinist Vanity Welch adds a perfect unique touch to the band.
LaRissa Vienna and the Strange intend to inspire the underdogs and the outcasts, and to influence fans to follow their dreams while leading by example.
NEW EP “MAKE THE PAIN PRETTY” AVAILABLE 2 AUGUST
I had the pleasure to interview LaRissa Vienna. She’s not strange, that’s for sure!
Ravyn :When did you first know you had this talent for music and started songwriting and singing?
LaRissa Vienna : I started singing from the moment I could make noise. My mom has a cassette tape of me singing “You are so beautiful” when I was a baby.
I started writing songs when I was about seven. But I wrote my first “real” song with verses, a chorus and whatnot when I was eleven. Weirdly enough, it was an R&B song.
Ravyn: What did your family do to encourage you?
LaRissa Vienna: My mom has the ability to be a total stage mom. I wanted to be Shirley Temple growing up, and she also wanted me to be Shirley Temple. She would curl my hair and take me to tap class. She still comes to all my shows.
Ravyn: Who else in your family is in the Music Business?
LaRissa Vienna: My grandpa was popular in the 50s with his rock n’ roll music. Everyone in my immediate family is musical. My dad is a drummer, my mom is a singer. My brother Bryce has been well-known in the Denver music scene. Growing up with family members who are drummers made it easier to tolerate my super-noisy drummer husband.
Ravyn: What kind of music do you listen to today?
LaRissa Vienna: I’m incredibly picky when it comes to music. It takes a lot for me to actually like something. I can’t say there’s any modern bands that I enjoy, so I’m still stuck in the 70s with David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac. I’ve also been on a severe 90s kick for the last year. Hole is my favorite band. I love the dirty grunge of the 90s.
Ravyn: What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?
LaRissa Vienna: All kinds! I’m not embarrassed though. My playlist includes Hanson and Spice Girls. Hanson was my first favorite band, but I am a sucker for positive bubblegum pop like the Spice Girls. Their message was so uplifting! I’d kill to have a modern girl group like that.
Ravyn: Where would you most like to perform?
LaRissa Vienna: I’m from Denver so my biggest goal is the Pepsi Center. I’ve seen all my favorites there… Avril Lavigne, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Fleetwood Mac. I am so determined to play there someday.
Ravyn: Who would you most like to open for?
LaRissa Vienna: I’d like to go back to the 90s and go on tour with Hole even though Courtney Love would probably hate me and we’d fight a lot and I’d deeply fear her but secretly love her.
Ravyn: If you weren’t Singer what would be doing career wise?
LaRissa Vienna: If I didn’t have music, I know I’d be a fucking wreck. I don’t have anything else that inspires me. If I didn’t have this, I’d have no release. What would I do for catharsis? I’d probably do drugs. I’d be in a lot of trouble.
Ravyn: I know you love and play rock, but If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
LaRissa Vienna: I would do bubblegum pop music. Like Spice Girls, straight up. I’d love to be a pop star and have backup singers and everything.
Ravyn: Do you enjoy writing music and or lyrics?
LaRissa Vienna: Of course. I write all the music for my band. “Fire Away” is the first song that wasn’t written by me. Nick (my guitarist) wrote it, and it’s awesome.
I love writing guitar riffs, I can tell that I’m improving and it’s exciting. Our new EP that’s coming out is significantly better than everything we’ve released before. I enjoy seeing and feeling the progress.
I never sit down and decide to write lyrics. They just come to me. I carry around a notebook at all times… and I tend to get the most ideas at inconvenient times, so luckily I have my handy dandy notebook.
Ravyn: What hidden talents do you have?
LaRissa Vienna: I can tap dance.
Ravyn: Really? I would love to see that. What advice would you give young musicians that want to break into the Music Industry?
LaRissa Vienna: The biggest part is confidence. It can be really discouraging. You have to believe in what you’re doing, enough to be confident enough to shove it in everyone’s faces. Talk about it all the time. LIVE your music. Show everyone you know. Be loud and proud.
Ravyn: Ok LaRissa these are some non-music questions so your fans know a bit more about LaRissa Vienna. Here’s an easy one LaRissa, whats your favorite movie?
LaRissa Vienna: The Lost Boys, Hot Rod and the Runaways.
Ravyn: Wow. Cool awesome choices. What is your favorite food? and do you like to cook or just eat? lol
LaRissa Vienna: I know this is weird but I don’t have a favorite food. There’s something wrong with me, I know.
Ravyn: Do you like sports and if so do you play any?
-Booooo don’t talk to me about sports! I wanted to play hockey when I was little but I was too small and my mom didn’t let me do any sort of physical activities. But I thought I was super tough, I used to skateboard.
Ravyn: I played hockey myself love it. Last one When not working in the studio, What does LaRissa like to do to relax like Hobbies or something?
LaRissa Vienna: I don’t even know what it means to “relax” haha. I like reading before I go to sleep. I’m always studying musician biographies, I love finding out how people became successful. To be honest, I’m always doing something that relates directly to my music, otherwise I feel like I’m wasting time. It’s probably not a good thing. I need hobbies. I’ll hit up Pinterest or something.
Ravyn: LaRissa you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to but it would be nice..lol, how do you feel about this guy Ravyn Promoting you???
LaRissa Vienna: Ravyn is awesome and promotes his butt off. He’s very passionate about artists, it’s refreshing!
Ravyn: Final Queation, Is there anyone else you would like to Thank or Mention?
LaRissa Vienna: Thank you to Nick Nodurft for producing our new EP! It’s going to be so magical.
Ladies and Gents this has been a Fantastic Interview LaRissa Vienna Thank You So Much LaRissa its been an pleasure and an honor.
LaRissa Vienna and the Strange- “Break the Spell”
I'm Ravyn, Musicologist and maker of peace. I love Music and writing about all the Great Artist that are out there, A HUGE Thank You and Much Respect to Chyrisse for giving me the opportunity to write for a great music magazine that is ROCK AT NIGHT.
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