Ribbon Tied are part of the explosion of new women-fronted bands that have formed in St. John’s over the past year. They are featured on Fresh Riot, a compilation of fifteen new bands that emerged out of the movement to make the city’s music scene more inclusive.
Ribbon Tied were one of five bands who played the compilation’s release show at the Peter Easton Pub last Saturday. It was a bitter cold night, and the bar was filled with rosy cheeks and steamed up glasses.
There was dancing throughout the show, but not once did a lone drunk dude stumble to the front, swinging his fists, trying to make a mosh pit happen when no one else was feeling it. The rare absence of this kind of occurrence, at a punky show, just might have something to do the event being organized, promoted and played by mostly women musicians.
The compilation and show was spearheaded by Ribbon Tied’s drummer, Jess Barry, who dedicates the album to “…all the women, queer, trans and marginalized who have picked up instruments for the first time and taken up space in the spirit of making our community more inclusive.”
Pepa Chan who plays rhythm guitar and sings in Ribbon Tied says many of the band’s pop punk songs are overtly political.
“Some of them are inspired by what I felt living back home in Argentina, seeing violence and aggression from men. A couple of the songs are about that and they’re kind of angry songs,” Chan explains.
The song Ribbon Tied chose for the compilation however is less politically charged. Chan wrote “Kyekue’s Song” about reuniting with a friend who returned from an emotionally fraught trip. The lyrics capture the relief of coming home to someone who knows you well.
“It’s our newest song at the moment, and the one we love the most and we all just wanted to play it,” Chan says.
In September, Barry organized an all-day recording session during which each of the bands on the compilation recorded a track for the album. Barry intended the Record-A-Thon to be an opportunity for new musicians to learn about the recording process, as well as a way of documenting the changing St. John’s music scene.
Chan’s reasons for picking “Kyekue’s Song” reflect how Barry’s initiatives are creating a culture that celebrates the joy of learning and creating collaboratively.
Ribbon Tied are playing Brokest Records’ Ugly Sweater Party at Factory this Saturday night with Joe Grizzly, Puce and Dandy Lions. It will be your last chance to hear them for a while because Chan is taking a month long trip to Argentina to see her family.
Ribbon Tied plans to record an album in early 2017, but in the meantime you can listen to them on Fresh Riot, which is available at Fixed Coffee and Baking on Duckworth St, as well as online here.