RED LIGHT RIOT Interview + El Riot! Fest


Melbourne’s Red Light Riot are launching a new two track single, ‘In Shadows‘ / ‘Burn The Axis‘ on Sat 21 May at The Tote Hotel, Melbourne. When setting up the event, things quickly escalated and a new festival was born, El Riot! Admittedly there are a hell of a lot of festivals on at the moment but who cares when as a punter you can see 15 bands for $17 presale tickets! Absolute bargain!

We caught up with Red Light Riot and asked them about the new tracks, why they chose the bands on the lineup and The Tote for their launch, and more.

DHWYS: Red Light Riot has been around for over three years and has had a few lineup changes, can you tell us a bit about the current lineup, their backgrounds and maybe something about the band that we wouldn’t know from reading your bio?

RLR: We have a new rhythm section who has been with us since the last half of 2015. We have Carlos DeSouza on drums and Nick Ivkovic on bass, who is also in metal band Elm Street and was in female fronted rock’n’roll band The Scarlets. Our other members Kristy (Killriot), Nina (von Johannsohn) and Ed (Jones) have been with RLR since our debut gig in 2013. Kristy also fronts Gold Coast punk band Kill The Apprentice, Nina is in post punk band Stay Sharp and Ed’s last band was Hellbent Revelators with James Grim.

Something you wouldn’t know about the band is that we only eat Cheezels from the box and one of our band members was a child star but we need to protect his identity for reasons of punk rock legitimacy.

DHWYS: Can you please describe Red Light Riot’s sound for someone that’s never heard the band or anything about genres before?

RLR: With our powers combined (like Captain Planet) we have a pretty eclectic background and therefore a broad range of influences. It all seems to mesh into hard rock and punk rock, we even have a new stoner song that we’re working on. We’re very vocally driven, Kristy is a powerhouse, especially her screams. As well as raising demons with our intense melancholy thrash, we also have some pretty catchy rock riffs where you don’t even have to be drunk to wanna throw yourself in the moshpit and slam to. If you hadn’t heard of us, or all the genres of punk rock / hard rock, I guess you’d describe us as sounding like “someone has just stolen our cookies and we’re really pissed off about it”.

DHWYS: What drives the band and inspires you to play and your song writing style?

RLR – Nina: The driving inner need to wanna create powerful songs and use them as a vessel to tell stories and share how fucking angry we are with the state of the world. It’s always an aim to evolve our song writing style and each new song has a clear intention that’s always unique in someway to its predecessors.

RLR – Kristy: I am all for writing about issues that matter. Writing songs is an outlet for the frustration I feel about the world. I’ve got a lot to say and I want people to hear me loud and clear through our music. My drive for this whole thing is playing live, it’s a different high that is very addictive.

DHWYS: How does the band usually approach songwriting?

RLR: Kristy and Nina are the main songwriters. Kristy usually writes her songs based around a vocal melody and Nina normally starts with a riff, then writes a structure and builds the song from there. Kristy writes all of the lyrics and vocal melodies. We then jam the song with the whole band and the songs are refined and built from there. Each of us has creative control over our own parts of the song.

DHWYS: Were you all listening to anything in particular around the time of writing the tracks that inspired you in anyway or helped shape them?

RLR: Musically ‘In Shadows’ was inspired by early ’90s Sub Pop grunge and ‘Burn The Axis’ was spawned from listening to ’80s American hardcore punk but shaping the riffs to have a more upbeat sound.

DHWYS: When you were setting up the gig, things got out of control and it quickly escalated from a single launch to a festival, what happened?

RLR: Our new ‘In Shadows’ two track single is our first recording with our new rhythm section and it’s been two years since our first release, so this is really the resurrection of Red Light Riot and it needs to be celebrated properly. It’s also given us a great platform to be able to play with our favourite bands who we think clearly rock the hardest in the Melbourne scene. Also since Red Light Riot has eclectic influences, we thought it essential that we launch a Melbourne rock festival which unites the genres of punk rock / hard rock / post punk / alternative rock / hardcore / post hardcore / riot grrrrl and good ol’ rock’n’roll. Why restrict audiences to one scene?

DHWYS: El Riot! Festival is at The Tote, why did you want to launch there? What does the venue mean to Red Light Riot?

RLR: The Tote is an iconic Melbourne venue and we all have so many awesome memories there (some of which we can’t remember), from the perspective of being punters as well as playing gigs there over many years. It’s an important venue in rock’n’roll history and we want to be a part of that. It’s the perfect venue for a festival with the main band room and then the more intimate slow bar and now that The Tote kitchen is open, you don’t even have to leave the joint to have a drunken dinner in between bands!!

Red Light Riot’s new two track single featuring ‘In Shadows’ and ‘Burn The Axis’ was mixed and mastered by Finn Keane at Head Gap Studios in Preston, Melbourne. It’s available NOW through their Bandcamp page.

EL RIOT! FESTIVAL: Facebook page // Facebook Event // Presale Tickets.

Full line-up:
Dead City Ruins
Red Light Riot
Coffin Wolf
The FckUps
Laura Palmer
Damn The Torpedoes
Los Amigos
Blind Man Death Stare
Stay Sharp
Little Lamb & The Rosemary’s
Dead End