Published on September 7th, 2011 | by Angela Slamsbury0
Rock ‘N Roller Derby: An Interview With Still Saffire
Pushing, pulling, weaving through
Gonna whip my star past you
Gonna skate until we’re black and blue
-Still Saffire, “Here We Go”
Sometimes when the physical challenges and responsibilities of being a skater get overwhelming, it’s easy to forget the adrenaline and the joyful energy that we feel when we first discover derby. The Gotham Girls were delighted when we heard the energetic song “Here We Go,” a roller derby anthem written and recorded by Still Saffire. Still Saffire consists of Annika, Sonya, Soreya, and Charlotte, four girls aged 13-17 from Nyack, New York, who are graduates of Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. A portion of the profits from the song helps benefit their alma mater, and Still Saffire is set to appear at the Gotham Girls home championship bout on Saturday, October 29. I talked to the band about roller derby, being musicians, and the story behind the song.
AS: Everyone here at Gotham loves the song “Here We Go.” Tell us a little bit about the process of writing this song.
Sonya: We all kind of worked on it on our own a little bit, and then we all brought it together as a band and fit all our parts together where we thought they worked, and then we worked together on lyrics and melodies.
Annika: Sonya and Charlotte researched a bunch of roller derby words and vocabulary and wrote a bunch of lines and melodies to go with that and then we all came together and wrote the chorus and put the song in a structure with a bridge and everything.
Soreya: We saw some videos online and met with some people from Gotham Girls and saw some videos of them too, so we kind of got an idea of what (roller derby) was like.
Sonya: They told us how the game works and showed us magazines they’ve been featured in.
AS: Have you had a chance to see a live bout yet?
Soreya: Actually Annika and I just went to a bout about a week or two ago and that was my first bout ever and it was so cool. I was picking up on everything that was going on, and I’d definitely want to see another one.
AS: A portion of the proceeds from the song goes to Willie Mae’s Rock Camp for Girls, of which you are all graduates. Tell me a little about that.
Soreya: Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls is a non-profit organization that inspires and empowers girls through music. There are workshops throughout the week that teach girls about women’s roles in the music industry and women’s bands and girl bands. You get to form a band with other campers and at the end of the week you get to perform. The whole time it’s a very supportive environment and everyone’s encouraging each other, and it’s just a great place for girls.
Annika: We have all gone to the camp, and they didn’t put our band together, but they’ve helped us so much with gigs and stuff. Through Willie Mae we met the Gotham Girls, so they gave us that opportunity as well.
AS: As musicians, do you find you can relate to roller derby?
Annika: I just feel like the whole energy of roller derby is very relatable… just giving your all and letting loose and having fun and for a woman, you can be as tough as you want to be and I feel like that’s a very cool thing. It’s very related to rock and roll because it’s a way for women to express themselves or be crazy or whatever they want to be.
Soreya: Roller derby is also very high energy so we tried to put that across in our song and make our song high energy. I personally really like the whole energy and feel of it all.
Annika: The Gotham Girls song is more of a punk song than most of our other stuff. We felt like the whole energy of Gotham Girls is more punkish and more rock or whatever, our usual style is not as punk, but it’s still pretty rock I guess.
AS: Was that difficult for you to step outside what you’re usually used to doing musically?
Annika: I felt like it wasn’t really harder or easier, just different. It felt good to try something different and we played it in shows recently and it seemed like a lot of people in the crowd really like it because it reaches out to kind of a different audience.
Soreya: For me, I loved doing [“Here We Go”] because I’m the drummer. It was a lot more high energy on the drums and it was really fun and I got to do really fun drumbeats.
Sonya: I feel the same way, I really liked the energy of this and whenever we do it I get so much more energy.
Annika: We played the Gotham Girls song at three gigs (yesterday); it was a triple-header and we played the song all three times. It was pretty awesome.
And also it’s fun because Sonya lead sings and I think it’s a really great song for her to sing.
Sonya: We’re actually going to playing at a Gotham Girls bout on October 29. We can’t wait for them to hear this song.
Annika: I’m excited to let everyone hear it live!
AS: One last question: do you have a favorite team on Gotham?
Annika: I like Queens of Pain, because of Puss ‘n Glutes–the band is close with her. I’ve seen that team play and they’re really good. All the teams are really good.
Still Saffire’s song Here We Go is available on iTunes or through the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls website: http://williemae.bandcamp.com/track/here-we-go-2
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