BANDSPEAK, Basement Babes Writing, Basement Babes Zine

Basement Babes Issue 8: Interview with Olivia Laratta

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Olivia Laratta is a super babe and one of our all-time favorite local musicians. You can usually catch her singing songs and playing a cat keyboard for surf rock group the Sulk Scouts. Read all about her in an original Basement Babes interview here:

Basement Babes: How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers? Share things like your name, age, where you’re from, what you do, who you want to be, fun facts, anything you want our readers to know!

Olivia Laratta: Hello readers! My name’s Olivia, I’m 23 years old, and I grew up in Calgary, Canada before moving to Boston to go to Berklee. I play music and write songs, and I sing and play keyboards in a band called The Sulk Scouts. I’m working on some solo stuff right now too! I’m a Taurus, I’m allergic to cucumbers, I love flowers and tattoos, and I like dressing like a dad on holiday.

 

BB: What’s your favorite part about performing, in general and with the Sulk Scouts?

OL: Is “I love the attention” too blunt of an answer? Performing makes me feel good, I like commanding a room and saying things I think are worth saying to a bunch of people who aren’t really doing anything but listening. With the Scouts, my favourite part of performing is the chemistry we have as a band. I basically get to be goofy and sassy and hang out with my best friends in front of an audience. Wacky.

 

BB: Since the Sulk Scouts recently released an EP of cover songs – are there any songs you would love to cover that you haven’t? And what is your favorite cover of all time?

OL: The most honest answer I can possibly give to this question is that all I wanna cover in the world is I’m Not Okay by My Chemical Romance. As far as my favourite cover of all time, that’s tough. I feel like any time an artist covers a song in a totally different genre that you wouldn’t expect them to cover, I’m gonna like it. I am such a sucker for covers, unless it’s like acapella YouTube covers in which case I am all set.

 

BB: What artists, musical or otherwise, inspire and influence you the most?

OL: Right now the hands-down answer to that question is Mitski. She is an incredible musician and songwriter, and watching her perform is cathartic and pretty close to otherworldly. She is the type of musician that makes you want to work harder and be better at your art. She is also incredibly intelligent, insightful, and vocal about so many things that I wish more people who had a platform with a large reach would talk more about: the importance of representation in music, self-image and self-care, sovereignty and power as a woman in music, so much other cool and important stuff. She is amazing, she’s a gift. Real talk though, any time I’m performing I’m trying to channel some combination of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge-era Gerard Way and Freddie Mercury. I went to see Gerard Way live a few months ago with my girlfriend and while he was playing she said “he reminds me of you” and I almost proposed on the spot, it was like the highest compliment I could ever be paid.

 

BB: What advice do you have for women in music?

OL: There are lots of really insidious ways that people try to imply that you are lesser than your male counterparts. Do not for even one moment listen to these people and the bullshit they spew. “Your bass player is really talented, and she’s hot!”, assuming you’re a vocalist before they know what you play, assuming you are a man before they meet you if you’re an instrumentalist, assuming that you are a “feminist band” before ever hearing your music because if there are women in your band you MUST not have anything else to talk about in your music: these things and so many more are things that are easily internalized because they seem harmless, and that makes them possibly more harmful than outright unabashed sexism. As a woman in music, you are not “other”. You are not lesser. You are not different. Do your thing, make your art, be beautiful, be ugly, be a vocalist, play drums, do your shit and be undeniable and un-ignorable and don’t be afraid to call out people’s sneaky sexist bullshit the same way you’d call it out if it were more blatant.

 

BB: Any shows/events/releases you want to plug/promote?

OL: We just released a covers album like you mentioned earlier, and you can download it on our Bandcamp. Keep a lookout for our full-length that should be coming out soon!

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Basement Babes is a collection of art, writing and thoughts related to or inspired by feminism and Boston’s underground music. Borne out of a kickass female friendship, this zine aspires to create an inclusive creative space for people of all genders, races, sexualities and backgrounds who are interested in a more forward-thinking art community.

If you are interested in submitting your work, please contact us at [email protected].

 

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