One of the more recent EPs to truly grab my attention has been Resist Sabotage Disrupt from Sissyfit. Since I didn't really know anything about the Northern California hardcore punk outfit, I spoke with vocalist Breanna Rae about their origin story.
"It’s not a super exciting story but here it is," the singer wrote me via email. "Art (lead guitarist) made a post or commented on a post, I don’t know something like that, about how there should be more women involved in the hardcore music scene. I, being a women in the hardcore scene who had been trying to start a band for upwards of five years commented.
"I told the men who were saying 'just do it' to put their money where their mouth was a start a band with me. Art replied and was like, 'Right, lets do it then.' That was about five years ago, when Sissyfit was born [laughs]. I personally have known Art since I was about 13 years old. I can’t believe how long we’ve known each other and how much closer we’ve become because of this band."
Breanna wanted to discuss the Sissyfit songwriting approach: "We definitely get lumped in with pure hardcore, I would say were not. We’re a pretty collective sound, heavily influenced by '80s hardcore punk, with an emphasis on the punk.
"As far as band influences we look a lot to bands like Ceremony, Punch, Tørsö, Gouge away, Power Trip, Negative Approach, Misfits, I mean, honestly, through in some pop punk, some grind, some power violence, if we listen to it, if we watch it, if we read it, if we see it, whatever empowers us, angers us, influences us."
I asked what kinds of themes are being explored in Breanna's writing, and if that had been something they talked about before they even started Sissyfit. "I feel like I’ve always tried to make my message pretty clear when writing my lyrics. I am here for the underdog, regardless of what that is that makes you that.
"I’m giving a voice to women, LGBTQ+, POC, the poor, lower class, and working class. Before I was even in this band, I was speaking out in whatever way I could, but this is where my heart is. My goal is to create a place where everyone who doesn’t feel safe anywhere else, feels safe and heard when and where we play."
There's a track on the aforementioned Sissyfit EP called “Toxic by Britney Spears" that I was curious about. "It’s funny you chose to ask about this song because its actually the most personal song I think, lyrically, I’ve ever written. I don’t want to go too into detail because well, I’m scared too. But it’s something that I went through a few years ago that changed my entire life. It was the loneliest, darkest time of my life and probably the time I felt I was the weakest I have ever been.
"I let someone hurt me almost daily for nearly a decade, then I let someone take advantage of me in my scattered state. When I say, 'You tell me I’m crazy, I must have forgot, I blew it out of proportion, I’m full of shit...' those were all things I was told at the end. Things that still affect me to this day. Things I’m still told and are told about me, which is what I’m saying when I say, 'You left me to drown in the lies that you spewed...' To this day, at least one of these men are held to a much different standard than I am. This needs to change.
When the topic of Sissyfit's local punk scene, Breanna wanted to be very clear about the geography at hand. "We’re spread out all over the valley, foothills, and Bay Area of Northern California. I can answer as to where I currently live. I live in the mountains in a rural California town, Sonora. I would say right now, that it is doing fairly well, but it’s hard to gauge since I moved up here just before the pandemic. So everything seems better than what it was.
"There are venues popping up all over the place recently, as compared to when there was maybe one venue and they only put on like folk or country music, or the occasional cover band. So in that way, its doing great up here.
"As far as bands to be on the look out for we have played with some incredibly talented people recently. Sick Burn, COCKRING, Fastcase, Lollygaggers, Obsolete Man, choking game, Rise and Strike… I mean I could keep going but it would get out of hand."
Breanna's following thoughts were definitely important to include here:
"I will say that I have seen a few Northern California scenes, that are close to my heart personally, fall victim to this toxic boys club, crew mentality. When it comes to the younger generations finding punk and hardcore being brought into this, it saddens me. It felt like for a fleeting moment, we were past the clichés and separation. I just hope that we can learn to be more accepting and maybe the youths drawn to the crew appeal will feel a stronger community and support in the scene itself."
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