Hardcore Punk rock is alive and well in Peru and we can thank Perra Vida for this (the name means Bitch Life). Formed in 2018, the band has made a name for themselves through their intense live shows and their fight for social issues that affect them and the women in their country. One issue very dear to them is femicide, something we should all know more about. I had the chance to speak with Diana (vocals) and Noelia (bass) about this and several other topics. Check them out on Bandcamp and learn below how we can help join the fight!
Tell us about your background. How and when did the band start? Did you all know each other from previous bands or is this the first band for all of you?
Diana: the band started in January 2018. We knew each other from previous concerts, friends in common and previous bands. I have a girl band called “Alias la Gringa” , from the city of Arequipa, I meet Jose when he traveled to Arequipa in a tour with one of his bands called “ Venganza” and also Noelia with her band “Kusama”, in Arequipa as well.
Noelia: It´s not my first band, I have a postpunk band called Kusama as Diana says and a synth wave band called Blue Velvet. I met all the members in the band in different moments of my life and in the end we all end together in a band, that’s cool.
What is it about punk rock that inspired you to start a band and who are your influences?
Diana: For me punk rock is freedom, its truth, and when I first saw a punk rock concert I felt in loved of the music and the community, and wanted to be part of that. I formed my first girl band in 2012. We just wanted to play, and we had a lot to say. I still have a lot to say. My influences were punk bands from Peru, Aeropajitas, Leuzemia, Los Flechados, Asmereir, and then Spain band like La Polla records, Eskorbuto, and Argentinian band as Flema, Viejas Locas, Ataque 77.
Noelia: I started playing in Perra Vida when it was already formed and I came from different influences... most of them post punk and dark psychedelic but i always loved the idea and the power of playing in a hardcore punk.
Your lyrics talk about the social issues that women in Peru face. Can you explain more about these issues and specifically the issue with femicide. That isn’t something we hear a lot about in the USA but it’s a big problem in Peru.
Diana: Peru is a country were misogyny its normalized, sexual harassment and femicide are daily news, and there are many cases that remain unknown. There are many complains about aggression to women, and the authorities does not consider them as crimes and then they release the aggressor so the victim is in more danger, because the aggressor is searching for revenge. This year we have 28 deaths in two months. In 2018 we had 149 femicides.
I don't feel secure when I walk in the streets, I'm always feel observed and always hear a comment about my body from a stranger. It’s very scary, I'm always thinking in how can I defend myself, but when it happens I’m just too scared to say something and I start to walk faster.
Noelia: We live in one of the most dangerous countries for women in the world… and its insane how you grow up with anger, fear and insecurity in your own environment as a woman it´s sad but also it makes you stronger per default in some ways.
Do you ever feel scared being some of the few women in the punk scene there and as women who are speaking out against these crimes?
Diana: Once some random guy tried to scare me in the stage. I just went back and continued singing. I think that is more important to say something than remain in silence and normalize this situation. I have fear but my necessity to speak is greater.
Noelia: I can say I just feel proud of us as woman in this scene because we are just a few and we have the encouragment to do it.
You often do shows to benefit charities and foundations that support the issues you care about. Have you faced backlash for any of this?
Diana: Just gratitude. And that is everything for us.
What can we do, us living outside of Peru, to help the women over there and make people more aware of the issue’s women are facing?
Diana: Empowerment. I think we have to teach women to be independent and strong. We have to tell them they are perfect and that they don't need to be saved by man. Girls need to know how to speak out, and more important we need help with the law. Because the first enemy is the government that continues setting free these criminals and normalize violence as “passion crimes.”
Noelia: You are helping doing interviews like this too... cause you help to make visible our situation in other places, and that is important for a country where women almost don´t have a voice.
What are your goals for 2019?
Diana: Keep playing, record a full length Album, and hope to make a tour in Peru or Latin America
Noelia: Keep it loud ...and touring if we can!
You currently have an EP released. Is there a full-length album in the works?
Yes we are working on it.
What is your favorite part about being in a punk band?
Diana: It's very fun and Adrenaline. I love the freedom of punk rock too.
Noelia: I love the speed of the songs and the intensity of sound of all of us together. The connection between 4 of us and in other hand the connection with people singing the songs in concerts just make me have shivers and feel warm in the hart.
Where can people and fans contact you to learn more or reach out to you?
We are in Facebook as PERRA VIDA band,
On Instagram as @perravidapunk and myself as @dra.diana.matos.
And you can listen our EP in Bandcamp, Itunes, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, and Youtube.