RILLA is a four piece psychedelic rock band that will wow you with their musicianship, humility, and comradery. All the bandmates happen to be women, but they resist being labeled by their gender. They are one of the best bands in town, and are a fantastic example of why Portland is a great place to enjoy local music. Their first incarnation was in 2011 as a five piece called the Vandies. After the departure of their lead singer, the four remaining band members regrouped, wrote all new material, and reinvented themselves as RILLA in 2014.
RILLA released their first EP, I Am Not a Robot, in 2016. The five tracks shine from start to finish. They released a second standout EP, Cutthroat Bingo, in August of this year. The third track, Sorry to Bug You Late, is a great example of their killer guitar riffs, dreamy vocals, honest lyrics, dynamic jams, and danceable beats. These women have a quirky sense of humor as well, with song names such as Summertery and Mindfork.
They are in music for all the right reasons- for a creative outlet, friendships, and shared adventures. They cherish their friendships and it shows. A recent exclusive interview with the band reveals how they think about themselves. Check out their music and videos on their website and see them live this Friday, Dec 1, at Kelly’s Olympian.
Portland Notes: Do you market yourselves as an all women band, or as a band that happens to be all women, or do you think that gender should simply not be part of the band description at all?
RILLA: Unfortunately, our culture is hyper aware of gender. We happen to be women, we support women in music, and our focus is on the music we make.
Portland Notes: Do you have a band leader, or is it a band democracy?
Portland Notes: I’ve noticed that you have band huddles before you start your set, and maybe after you finish too. Whose idea was that, what are you doing, and why?
RILLA: You noticed that eh? We like to play. We have fun.
Portland Notes: I know that you also have other priorities in life, like organic sustainable farming, that take away from band time. Any comment on that?
RILLA: We all live full lives! The band is the glue that holds us all together and keeps us sane(ish).
Portland Notes: You went on tour and posted a video of the experience. When was the tour, where did you all go, and what were the best and worst parts about it?
RILLA: We did a West Coast Tour around Halloween of last year (2016). We loved it, it was really fun to spend so much time together, singing in the van. We all loved the hotel breakfasts!