Interview with Itarya Leo of Legendary Divorce

LD Vid Screen Shot

People need to stop telling me that punk is dead. Like for (super) cereal, guys. Why? Because when you listen to up and coming bands like the Philadelphia-based Legendary Divorce there is no denying that punk, grunge, hardcore and all sorts of underground music genres are still thriving in their own scenes.

Here at HXC, we got a chance to chat with Legendary Divorce vocalist and guitarist Itarya Leo, one bad ass female killing it in the east coast music world.  As part of our ongoing Women of Hardcore series, we got to learn all about Leo’s love of Nirvana, Legendary Divorce’s latest EP Make Me, and, of course, Leo’s thoughts on the current state of the scene.

What was the mindset going into writing and recording this EP?
We wrote these songs over about six months, then decided to record with a friend. They are the first songs we wrote as a band and we were just excited to record them!

You began as a Nirvana cover band back in 2012.  Clearly Cobain must have been a big influence on you guys.  What about Nirvana inspired you to form this band?
The Nirvana cover set was for a Halloween show. I think we wanted an excuse to get together and play Nirvana songs. [Laughs.] They are some of our favorite songs. Nirvana, for all of us, was our first introduction to punk. I know, personally, I was not aware music could sound like that–Nevermind completely blew me away. There is such sense of purity and carelessness and frustration. It’s noisy, real, and SUPER fucking catchy, like dissatisfied pop music on drugs.

What have been some other major musical influences you guys have had?
I am really obsessed with the Wipers. Especially their albums Over the Edge and Is This Real? But, we all have a pretty diverse taste in music, digging everything from soul to grindcore to pop.  Tim and I can kill entire mornings listening to Deicide or watching L7 videos. We are all serious lovers of music.

You guys recently released a music video for the song “Easy.”  What made you want to do a video for that track?
It is the first song we wrote as a band! I believe that is the reason. It’s about a deteriorating friendship. Throwing stones at glass houses.

Do you have a favorite track on the EP?
Probably “Satisfaction” because it’s a total blast to play.

A lot of media has been saying there aren’t enough girls in the hardcore or punk scene.  How do you feel about that notion?
I am not sure if the issue is that there aren’t enough girls in the hardcore or punk scene (though there could never be enough). I know A LOT of super talented girls playing great music within both of those genres, and all genres. I don’t think female musicians are celebrated in the same way male musicians are in most circles. Though, we’ll progress! I believe music is a great uniter. Lots of girls go to shows, too. Some of the most avid show goers I know are female.

What first inspired you to  pick up a guitar or microphone?
I’ve been singing from a very young age. I performed in musical theater throughout my childhood. I’ve always loved music and performing. I kind of took a breather for about 10 years and then, when we decided to do the Nirvana show, I had to learn how to play guitar! Now it’s my favorite thing. Also, screaming into a microphone and playing loud, rowdy music is the most amazing therapy. It makes me a better person.

LD Make Me

We’re currently running a series on the women of hardcore and the punk scene.  Several of our interviewees have unfortunately had experiences in which many people have mistaken them for groupies or roadies.  Do you think gender should have any weight on the output of music nowadays?
I have never been referred to as a “groupie” in my own band, but have been called that when seeing my husband’s other band, Ladder Devils, play. It’s such a ridiculous term/concept to me. Everyone is there for a wonderful reason: they love the music and/or love the environment that the music thrives in; provides. We all want to hang out with and be liked by people we think are cool and respect. We all want to participate in music. I don’t think gender should have any weight on the output of music today. I do think that it is important to be able to express yourself however you want to. Sometimes gender, or lack thereof, has a big part in that, but shouldn’t be judged solely on that.

What’s a Legendary Divorce live show like?
It varies, but usually we get to play with great bands who end up being the loveliest people, so we’ve lucked out in that way so far. Audiences have been super kind and seem into it. Our best friends come out. We play very loudly.

What’s your favorite track to play live?
“Satisfaction!” Though, I am REALLY excited to start playing new songs out.

Are there any upcoming events from Legendary Divorce we should be on the lookout for?
We hope to have a full length finished by the end of the year which will be released on Reptilian Records. We don’t have another show scheduled until August, with The Cloth, but who knows what will come up!

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