Selene Vigil-Wilk, best known as the riveting front woman for acclaimed Seattle indie band 7 Year Bitch, will make her solo debut with That Was Then, due out September 14th. She’ll release the album on indie label, Tuck and Roll Music. That Was Then marks her first release since 7 Year Bitch disbanded in the late 1990’s.
“The time and space was necessary for me to see the songs for what they were and to really understand what I felt about them,” says Vigil-Wilk. “Sometimes time itself makes you see things in a different perspective… ”
“What are you waiting for?” she sings against a slow, sinuous bass line in “Shining Armor.” “a good reason · a change of season · some undivided attention · a method of creation · it just appeared · and settled here · what are you waiting for?”While the song examines the creative process, it does so in a broad sense – ruminating on all the preparation that goes into becoming ourselves. It’s a bold song of empowerment, as she arms herself for fighting “the beast within.”
As the title implies, That Was Then finds Vigil-Wilk both looking back and looking forward. “I Brought The Rain with Me,” the in-your-face lead-off track, takes its title from a pivotal time in her life – when she moved from Seattle to Los Angeles to join Brad Wilk, drummer for Rage Against the Machine, whom she later married. The rains were torrential in Southern California that winter, prompting his comment that she’d brought the rain with her. The innocent remark provided a jumping-off point for the song, which is a blistering commentary on a society where “money keeps you innocent and killer, killers walk free.”
Vigil-Wilk has never been afraid to speak her mind and it’s that fearless quality that makes That Was Then such a spine-tingling rollercoaster ride, dipping and swerving unexpectedly as she gives voice to the feelings that most of us carefully hide with a poetic, avant-garde sensibility reminiscent of Patti Smith.
The arrangements are equally adventurous – “Soak” sneaks up on you, as a lone violin melds into eerie electronica and erupts into an exuberant chorus of overdubbed vocals. “On A Limb” has an old soul – with guitar and banjo at the forefront, it puts a modern spin on the ancient folk music of gypsies and troubadours – while the jagged “Odds End,” an anthem for those at the fringes, evokes early Jane’s Addiction. Vigil-Wilk created That Was Then with Matt Sherrod (NOFX, Macy Gray).
Formed in 1990, 7 Year Bitch was known for its heavy, abrasive, yet melodic punk-inspired sound, issuing a string of independent releases, including the full-length Sick ‘Em (1992) and ¡Viva Zapata! (1994). The band also appeared on a compilation to benefit Home Alive, an organization founded after the violent death of The Gits’ Mia Zapata, a longtime friend of the band. 7 Year Bitch signed with Atlantic Records, releasing Gato Negro in 1996 and toured extensively thereafter. The group appeared in several films – Mad Love, Toast of the Gods and Hype! – and Selene had a lead role in “The Year of My Japanese Cousin,” an indie film.
While on hiatus from the music business, Selene co-founded a beverage company with her husband. After Brad was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, they were unable to find an all-natural, sugar-free drink, so Brad began formulating their own. Olade™ is an organic juice beverage fortified with electrolytes and sweetened with Stevia, a plant in the sunflower family.
THAT WAS THEN – TRACK LISTING
1. I Brought the Rain with Me
3. Shining Armor
5. Odds End
6. On a Limb
7. Dragon Tail
8. Blue Side
9. Breathe Heavy
10. It’s Not On