Begin, the begin: Kevin Robinson & Anita Robinson make the sounds. Viva Voce.
The sounds (Vee-vah-VOH-chay) are Italian for "word of mouth" and prophetically prove many would neither be able to spell or prounounce their band name.
Viva Voce indeed.
Born from the state of Alabama, Viva Voce began a noise in 1998. Having met at a punk concert in an abandoned warehouse, the two quickly became insperable and began sharing their ideas and musical abilities with one another. 4-track demos were made.
The 4-tracked songs came to the attention of a few well groomed men in Nashville, Tenneessee and shortly thereafter Viva Voce was surrounded by old legends and new money. Fouled songs, studio ghouls, palm greasing, and a crash course in how to ruin music follow. A dying company abandons the band and a spiritually hopeful album is lost. The recourse was the 4-track & the resolve of lessons learned. The next two years are spent tending to family matters and farming a crop of songs that would fill records for years to come.
They begin what would become the first proper Viva Voce album, Lovers, Lead The Way! in 2001. Self produced, home recorded & written in the months prior, it is their 'us against the world' viewpoint in a post-deluded Y2K. With a new album freshly baked and on it's way to the shelves, the Robinsons pack up.
Eager to leave the mire of "music city", Kevin & Anita sell every earthly possession they own (save a few guitars & drums) and move to Portland, Oregon in 2002. As Lovers gained attention, the Robinsons found their new hometown to have a strong penchant for their long suffering sounds. They were home & settled down for good.
Starting in 2003 Viva Voce began only what can be described as "guerilla touring", as their reputation for road-warrior style performers quickly began to precede them. Their sounds reached into every metropolis, small town & random highway exit in America. One year bled into the next and when 2003's year of touring wound down, they again unfolded the recording blanket.
Again in the living room, the Robinsons began recording what would be 2004's critically acclaimed The Heat Can Melt Your Brain. With The Heat, Viva Voce pulled out all the stops creating one of their most compelling bodies of work to date. No limit was left untouched as this was truly an 'everything and the kitchen sink' affair.
As their career was blossoming, others took notice. Radio began spinning the sounds, press took notice, and shortly thereafter Viva Voce found themselves gaining critical acclaim overseas as 2004 marked their first European tour.
Tour begat even more touring and as '04 became '05 Viva Voce had performed over 200 shows in 12 different countries. BBC performances, Festivals in the US, UK and Europe to faces new and familiar, young and old. As the year of touring grinds to a halt, they begin 2006, predictably, with the start of a new album.
Autumn of 2006 brought with it, Get Yr Blood Sucked Out, their third proper LP. A markedly dark and sultry record, epic in scope and anything but simple in formulation. An intense, empowering album Blood marks a shift in creativity for the band, specifically in song-writing style, that would see fruition in future collaborations both on record and on stage. A lovingly human, and violent album released to the world, Viva Voce tour the remainder of 2006.
January, 2007 Anita sings harmonies with The Shins on Saturday Night Live. Having sang on their latest album, Anita was asked to join them on-stage for the remainder of the year as Viva Voce supported.
Conan O'Brien and Letterman, 4 US tours and 2 European tours follow as Viva Voce continues on the road with The Shins in '07.
The year also found Lovers and Heat in an out of print state. Viva Voce reissue them packaged together on their own Amore!Phonics imprint label, and tour the remainder of 2007 with Jimmy Eat World.
As they begin to record a new album in 2008, something new begins to emerge. The joy of playing with others was sparked after a few on-stage collaborations with The Shins.
Finding comfort revisiting their southern heritage in songwriting, Kevin and Anita begin writing songs that can only be considered something entirely new. The two new elements of song-writing shift and the desire for collaboration prompt Kevin and Anita to form a "proper" band.
Reaching out, they quickly assemble an all-star cast of impeccable Portland musicians. It is briefly considered that Viva Voce has now become a new formation with new members and a new sound, until is it obvious to all involved that they have arrived on something entirely new. Enter: Blue Giant.
June of 2008 saw the first Blue Giant performance. The Target Heart EP was initially given away at this performance, but saw a proper release digitally in November via eMusic, and January of '09 on CD and Vinyl. In October Blue Giant toured Portland for 3 days collaborating with the cities best artists. Kevin and Anita continued to write and record several albums worth of songs for Blue Giant for the remainder of 2008, as the band continues to stay active.
Unlike the consciously minimal approach of some of Viva Voce's two-piece contemporaries, the band's ambition both live and on record has been to achieve multi-layered musical feats. Through the years of reaching their creative limitations Viva Voce has continued to reach for the next horizon that will be musically rewarding and artistically satisfying.
Viva Voce return to form in 2009.
The desire to collaborate with other musicians was too great to ignore & having all but sworn-off forever being a two piece band, Viva Voce double in size in the new year.
As 2009 anticipates a new record from Viva Voce, Kevin and Anita have asked Evan Railton and Corrina Repp to join them to fully realize their new sound. Both consummate musicians with rich musical careers of their own, Repp and Railton add sonics that take Viva Voce's large sound to new heights. 2009 awaits, traditionally, the touring cycle for a band who's made its way by commanding the stage and a new record who's sound has yet to be heard.