BY BRITTNEY BARRETT Named after the slippery hermaphroditic heroines of Henry Darger‘s The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, the Vivian Girls have built a burgeoning career out of channeling the same sense of adventure and exploration possessed by their namesakes. That’s about as far as the comparisons — given that Darger is best known for his winding, 15,000 page bizarro epic, the girls are defined by their emotional realism and punk-rock brevity, speeding through their debut in a flurry of percussion, reverb and swirling guitars. And the sheer velocity with which their Brooklyn-born buzz, as contagious as their hooks, spread all the way to Europe and back is equally impressive. Now, having completed their stint overseas, the girls are bringing their brand of twee-pop meets surfer-punk back to the states and into the Troc with M. Ward tonight (the show is sold out). Phawker had the pleasure of checking-in on the jet-lagged gang with a quick interview to see what they’ve been up to since they’ve been away.
PHAWKER: Tell us how you first got into Henry Darger and how he inspired your band’s name.
VIVIAN GIRLS: The band name was our ex-drummer Frankie’s idea — she was a Darger fan and suggested the name. Upon looking up Darger’s work we decided to go with it. We like the Vivian Girls as a concept because they battle evil and combine the feminine and masculine.
PHAWKER: Is it no accident that there are no boys in the band or did it just work out that way?
VIVIAN GIRLS: It pretty much just worked out that way. We’ve had guys play with us before, at certain shows.
PHAWKER: If you could be any other band in the history of rock, who would you be and why?
VIVIAN GIRLS: Nirvana, because they slay the hardest.
PHAWKER: Is Brooklyn still all that? Be honest.
VIVIAN GIRLS: Brooklyn’s great. We wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else right now. Actually think it’s better now than it’s ever been, in the five years
I’ve lived here…
PHAKWER: What was the greatest Vivian Girls gig so far and why, and likewise, the worst and why?
VIVIAN GIRLS: The best was when we played a party in my living room over the summer. It was a huge rager but my living room is really small, so it was just a lot of people crowded together and dancing. The worst was when we played a Red Bull showcase during CMJ. The sound was really bad and we didn’t feel comfortable in the space at all.