Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Shawna Virago, who discusses her new album, Gender Armageddon, as well as her creative process and goals for the future.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Shawna Virago: Songwriting was something I was always interested in pursuing. I started playing guitar in my teens. Like others of my generation, I went through a musical explosion because of punk rock, especially the music of the Sex Pistols and the Clash. A short while later I saw X for the first time and they were also a musical revelation to me. They mixed punk, writing and country seamlessly and they continue to be my gold standard of a great band.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Virago: I come from the time-honored troubadour tradition, and am a lyric based songwriter with punk attitude. My music is very sparse. I try to keep my guitar in tune, but it’s not always necessary.
Review Fix: What makes “Gender Armageddon” a special track?
Virago: “Gender Armageddon” was inspired by a friend who passed on a few years ago, and tries to capture the spirit of that friendship. The two of us walked around town like we were the transgender Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty.
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
Virago: I always appreciate when my songs connect with people, and when it happens I don’t take it lightly. I like the way words interact with music, and hopefully, I can deliver that with conviction.
Review Fix: Why is this album a must buy?
Virago: I tried to make a true album, with songs that connect to tell a larger story. This album is about escaping from shitty circumstances and taking the risk of finding something better, whether you find it or not. If someone is looking for a folk-punk influenced album that does that, then I hope you will check it out.
Review Fix: What have you learned from all of the exposure you’ve gotten from PBS and NPR?
Virago: I’ve had it confirmed over and over those people who work outside the mainstream music or entertainment industries have larger vocabularies. People tend to lose some essential part of themselves the more time they spend in the mainstream trough. I appreciate that I’ve managed to carve out some alternative media space for myself.
Review Fix: What are your goals in music?
Virago: My music career is run like a steady state economy: Not much profit, but I hope I can keep earning enough to keep putting out albums and connect with like-minded leftist eccentrics in outsider music scenes. I also I hope I keep improving as a writer and a musician.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Virago: I’m writing new songs and am hoping to get back in the studio soon to begin the next album.