“Tough Dance” by Selene Vigil + Q&A

On November 17, Selene Vigil, formerly of the Seattle band of 90s fame, Seven Year Bitch, released her second solo record, Tough Dance. The LP is the first new release from the grunge-punk singer/songwriter since her 2010 record, That Was Then. Vigil, who is now based in Los Angeles, co-wrote Tough Dance with her longtime friend, Ben London (Alcohol Funnycar, STAG.). The record features guitarist Ryan Leyva (Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, Full Toilet), bassist Drew Church (Mark Lanegan, Jeremy Enigk) and drummer Davey Brozowski (Modest Mouse, Broken Bells).

Selene’s signature gravely vocals compliment the, for the most part, slowed and steady, gritty rock record, with “Sha La La” offering a solid introduction. The record moves from more aggressive vocals on “Down in Flames” to the softer vocal tones on “Firelight,” which embodies a kind of Rolling Stones or Runnaways Rock ‘N Roll swagger. Hypnotic instrumentation underscores dark lyrical themes on “My Nightmare,” and “Battery Street Tunnel” provides the fastest track on the album – calling back to Selene’s past as well as her roots in Seattle. The record winds down with the ballad-like track “Soul in Traction,” punctuated with an echoey acoustic guitar.

The 6-track record is short, but sweet.

Stream Tough Dance by Selene Vigil below via Soundcloud:

Q&A with Selene Vigil

tHeARTofla spoke with Selene about the process of writing Tough Dance with longtime friend, Ben London.

Q: Tough Dance is your first release since 2010. What pushed you to go back into the studio?

A: I wasn’t pushed; it was my will. It was just what I needed to do.

Q: How would you say Tough Dance differs from That Was Then, musically and/or lyrically? Did the writing processes differ at all?

A: That Was Then I wrote in my living room with a 4-track and finished it out musically in a studio with a guy over the course of many months.

Lyrically, [This Was Then] is about death, isolation, moving to LA and the breakup of my old band.

The writing of Tough Dance & That Was Then was different in that I didn’t go in with a bunch of 4-tracks Ben played, and I just started singing my words. I had been writing a lot the last several years.

Q: Can you describe the writing/creative process with Ben London? It is ultimately your solo record. Were there creative differences that you had to balance?

A: Writing with Ben is very open, I feel very free. He is extremely diverse, and I am uninhibited with him. It is a very creatively fulfilling experience.

Q: Tough Dance is lyrically driven. What kinds of themes did you try to work out with the record?

A: I didn’t go in with an agenda other than to be true to myself.