Posted On 20 Apr 2018
Get to know the feminist band Rosie & The Riveters! Their new album ‘Ms. Behave,’ released on April 6th, is a collection of contemporary ideas dressed up in vintage clothing. They put out their new song “I Believe You” to coincide with International Women’s Day, along with a powerful video that stands up in support of women who have experienced sexual assault. Billboard called it “powerful [and] daring,” saying, “Their purposeful lyrics and poised harmonies are meant to…inspire every woman.” Watch here: http://bit.ly/2twGQtQ
The band wrote over 40 songs in a cabin in Northern Saskatchewan before traveling to Toronto to collaborate with heavy-hitting Canadian songwriters like Royal Wood and Matthew Barber. A quick read through song titles like “Gotta Get Paid”, “Let ‘em Talk” and “I Wanna be King” gives an idea of what they have to say. While their single, “Ms. Behave”, lays down a Bill Withers – inspired groove and rejects the policing of women’s behavior, “I Believe You” sprung from the outrage and sorrow they felt after hearing the recent avalanche of stories of sexual assault. Produced by Joshua Van Tassel (Sarah Slean, Rose Cousins, Great Lake Swimmers), their sophomore album echoes Aretha Franklin’s demand for R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Rosie & the Riveters believe women are the world’s greatest untapped resource which is why they invest 20% of merchandise profits in micro-finance initiatives through KIVA.org. They’ve helped women like Alice in Kenya expand her horticulture farm and Maria in Ecuador purchase a sewing machine for her tailoring business. To date, they’ve contributed more than $7400 to over 150 projects around the world.
Their debut record, Good Clean Fun!, has an impressive list of accolades from sell-out shows across Canada to performing for British royalty and multiple nominations along the way. In 2016, they took home a Saskatchewan Arts Award, a prestigious recognition for emerging artists.
Rosie & the Riveters’ unmistakable visual branding of red lipstick, pin curls, and overtly feminine costuming may be deceiving, but this is not a throwback band. Ms. Behave embraces the feminist undertone of their moniker, Rosie the Riveter, in a way they hadn’t previously; one that allows them to shed their please-all attitudes, take a purposeful stance and dare be themselves. Listen closely to hear playfully defiant lyrics and confident talk-back harmonies. Every word, note, and movement in their live show is done purposefully to empower and challenge.
Check out the band performing the album’s titular track “Ms. Behave” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpTKNDVhJ0Q
Rosie & The Riveters will tour the U.S. extensively this spring including an already confirmed performance at Merlefest.
Learn more about Rosie & The Riveters in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So how has 2018 been treating you all so far? What is one musical goal that you have for this year?
2018 has been SO kind to us! Our #1 goal was to release a new record and tour in support of it. That plan has been going very well!
Ms. Behave, our new record, has been on a national Top 20 chart in Canada for 9 weeks, we’ve been featured by NowThis, Billboard, and PopMatters – all this before the record was even released on April 6th! The momentum has certainly been motivating!
Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in this band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you all thought fit your sound and who you are? (I LOVE it) What was your runner-up band name?
Like modern relationships these days, we met online!
Back in 2011, Farideh wanted to create an opportunity for women to collaborate and do something positive. She thought a band where women could share ideas and learn from each other would do the trick, so she held auditions, advertised them via social media and within a couple months, Rosie & the Riveters was formed!
The first songs we learned were traditional gospel tunes. We found them to be an easy way to practice singing together in 3-part harmonies and the uplifting spirit of the genre made the music really fun to learn! When we tried arranging 3-part vocal harmonies on our own, a vintage-y sound emerged naturally. It reminded us of something the Andrews Sisters may have sung. Paired with our love of thrift shopping and a desire to empower women, we decided that Rosie & the Riveters could be a great name that would tie all the elements together.
Rosie & the Riveters is a faaaaar better option than the runners up: “Oh Sister!” and “Table Top Radio”
How do you think being from your hometown has influenced your sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
Despite its’ size (population of about 300 000), Saskatoon has become a hub for innovation, has experienced a cultural boom in recent years and has benefitted from a trend of young entrepreneurs moving back to there to start new businesses. We’ve enjoyed the resulting microbreweries, distilleries, artistic ventures, museums and restaurants.
Along with the food scene that could make Portland envious, and the Remai Modern – Canada’s newest contemporary art museum – Saskatoon has quickly become a go-to destination. In fact, it was the only Canadian destination The New York Times included on their list of 52 places to go in 2018 (ranked at #18 beating out Seville, Fiji and Costa Rica!). Of course, we always knew our city is a happening place! 😉
The music scene is vibrant – Saskatoon boasts many different types of music venues from intimate jazz stages, blues venues and rock halls and people enthusiastically attend shows here! Many big acts/artists make stops in Saskatoon too, so there is no shortage of inspiration.
We also love the tight-knit community feel, paired with the bigger-city amenities…and nothing beats the prairie skyline – especially at sundown! We love this city for the arts scene. We love that our families are here – they keep us grounded. We love that we only need to drive an hour away to find quiet places where we write songs together. Our city helps foster the true essence of who we are as human beings and artists. This translates itself naturally into our music.
What did it feel like releasing your newest album, “Ms. Behave”? What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
When we started writing this record we had two main objectives: the first was to write about topics that were close to our hearts and the second was to write as many songs as possible! Our producer, Joshua Van Tassel helped us narrow down the album selection from the total of 40 songs we had written. Only then did it become clear that there was a feminist theme interwoven in our music.
At first, it was scary to think that we’d be using the f-word to describe our music. However, we quickly realized that our brand of feminism is inclusive – which is a reflection of how we live it in our daily lives. And, we must admit, if feels really amazing that people are receiving it so openly and warmly!
How do you think your incredible powerful single “I Believe You” prepared listeners for the rest of your album? What was it like making the moving video for this track?
We wrote “I Believe You” in February last year, before the #MeToo movement took flight. At the time, we started hearing more stories of sexual assault in the media and we were compelled to write something to honor the courage it takes to break the silence and the importance of believing survivors. We are happy that this song can contribute to a conversation that is happening more broadly on a national and international level.
How much would you say that this band has grown over the years? How would you say that your sound has changed since your 2015 album “Good Clean Fun!” was released?
Our sound has most certainly evolved and matured. Our first record, Good Clean Fun!, was meant to uplift audiences, make them smile and laugh. It explored overarching themes that reflect positive values such as hope, unity and gratitude. While we also spoke of topics that are close to our hearts like the passing of loved ones and environmental protection, we merely scratched the surface of deeper-rooted issues we care about.
Our new collection of songs explores themes such as supporting survivors of sexual assault, discussing the pay gap between men and women, and challenging the societal norms by which women are often expected to live. We’ve never been a sad or mellow band and so the creative challenge has been to call attention to these issues gracefully: discerning when and how to use tongue-in-cheek humor VS when and how to be sensitive and heartfelt.
In comparison to our first record that is light-hearted and more whimsical, Ms. Behave boasts arrangements that are more grounded, womanly, soulful, and witty.
It’s so incredible that 20% of your merchandise profits is invested into over 150 charities around the world! When did you first start doing that and what made you want to do this? What are some of your favorite charities that you have been able to donate to over the years?
Our ultimate goal is to uplift audiences and empower women! As a testament to this, we invest 20% of our merchandise profits to KIVA.org – a non-profit micro-finance initiative. We have helped over 200 women bring their own projects to fruition including Maria, from Ecuador, who needed to buy a new sewing machine for her tailoring business. So far, we’ve invested nearly $10 000!
How excited are you to head out on tour this spring? What are some venues you are particularly looking forward to playing at? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
The tour in support of this record is the most extensive one we’ve ever done. It will take us from Vancouver to Labrador (coast to coast in Canada) and from New York City to Los Angeles. We are really looking forward to connecting with fans from all those places… as well as the tacos in Nashville 😉 …and the oysters in Atlantic Canada!
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
We LOVE the stage! We have so much fun with each other and its contagious! We also enjoy the challenge of arranging 3-part harmonies. Often, people will ask us which Riveter sings alto, which sings soprano, etc. We all do! We like to change up the parts from one song to the other so that each band member has an equal amount of leads, sings the higher harmonies on some songs and the lower ones on other ones. It’s a way to keep us interested, engaged and challenged!
We perform about 80+ shows a year and in the past 12 months, we’ve toured across Canada and also performed in the United States in places like Nashville, Kansas City, Boston and New York City.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
We recently read that people who sing together will experience their hearts beating in sync with one another too. It must be true because we certainly feel connected on stage. Singing brings us so much joy and to experience that with our best friends is one the parts we love most about performing.
We have also grown so much together – personally, artistically and as businesswomen. We wouldn’t trade this for anything.
With everything going on in the world today, how do you think your music is a reflection of it all? And if you don’t think it is at all, why is that? Do you find that the music being made today in general is reflecting these politically and culturally charged times? /// What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs? What do you hope they take away from one of your shows?
As long as there are artists listening, reflecting and creating, our history will be documented. Their work, be it a song, sculpture, video, painting or photo, is like a snapshot in time – reflections of the conversations, political agendas, protests, states of mind and opinions of the day.
When we see art, or listen to a song, we are called back to our own experience which may influence us to feel empathy. Art has the power to moves these conversations, opinions and agendas from a “head” experience to the “heart”, and becomes something a person can internalize. In this way, music becomes a powerful way to really connect with people and validate experiences.
And in today’s political and cultural climate, songs like “I Believe You” contribute to conversations happening nationally and internationally. Change can only come through awareness and there is a growing awareness in all industries on how power and privilege are not always being used responsibly and how and victim blaming is unacceptable.
We feel empowered that our music and message can contribute to conversations that help raise awareness and believe that can help inspire change.
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it all?
Social media is a really great way to continue sharing our songs and messages when we aren’t on stage. They are also a really great way to engage and exchange with fans, learn from them and stay connected.
Allyson is the Riveter behind our social media strategy. She’s a wiz at it! We sometimes send her links, photos and articles, but she is the gal who keeps is all current, up-to-date, fun and interesting. Farideh is also an online advertising genius- so she works closely with Allyson to promote the most relevant posts and keep our fans in the loop.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
Can we sing with Dolly Parton please?? Pretty please!!??