My day with Vivian Girls started like any good first meeting does — over coffee. We met at the Williamsburg apartment of bassist/vocalist Kickball Katy and guitarist Cassie Ramone (they live with filmmaker Timothy Fiore, who directed the video for “Tell the World”) and started by talking about the basics: how the band formed in 2007, how Katy and Cassie attended the same high school in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and how Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler (who replaced original drummer Frankie Rose) met Katy while they were both students at Rutgers.
We let the day evolve from there. Soon we would be joined by Vivian Girls’ tour manager, Mark O’Donnell, who stopped by to discuss the band’s upcoming tours, including their first to Europe. And then the band members prepared for the evening, which included a surprise performance at Todd P.’s Brooklyn vs. Baltimore show at the 1896, a new venue in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.
Todd P. has been instrumental in the band’s budding success. By playing shows at Brooklyn venues including the Market Hotel and Death By Audio with bands like Jay Reatard, Fucked Up and the King Khan & BBQ Show, they have been able to enter the local underground scene. One of their most memorable gigs to date was with Sonic Youth at McCarren Park Pool’s closing show in August 2008.
Shortly after their performance, Katy and Cassie left the 1896 to headline an all-night DJ set at a Williamsburg bar. Before the DJ gig, Katy stopped by her apartment to pick out some of her favorite vinyl: the Smiths, Split Enz, Black Flag. Her set was a fine complement to Cassie’s collection, which included Bruce Springsteen, the B-52s and the Go-Go’s. It was also a great capper to the day, which is presented here, pictorially.
Cassie Ramone (from left), Kickball Katy and Ali Koehler are Vivian Girls, a band that’s won heavy acclaim for mixing lo-fi punk aesthetics with pop melodies.
In her Williamsburg apartment, Katy discusses travel details with tour manager Mark O’Donnell.
Drummer Ali Koehler arrives at the apartment after a commute from her Jersey Shore home to help organize T-shirts and merchandise in preparation for an upcoming tour. She talks about her love of Bruce Springsteen and Morrissey and how Meg White was the reason she took up drumming.
Guitarist/vocalist Cassie Ramone, an illustration major at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, recreated “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques-Louis David.
Tour manager Mark O’Donnell plans the band’s upcoming U.S. spring tour, which includes a spot at Coachella.
Cassie Ramone’s room reflects many of her musical influences, including Sonic Youth, Bruce Springsteen and Morrissey.
Cassie picks out records for her DJ set with Katy later that night at a bar in Williamsburg.
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