Words + film photography by Rayannon Innes
Gig photography by Matt Waddingham

I was absolutely stoked when local sweetheart and Skater Dog Mum Laura suggested I could write about my best mate and girlfriend Rana - as well as her new funky-as-hell band, Viragos.
Rana is soon to be graduating in her double degree in Music and Arts to go on to do her Masters in Music Therapy (wowzas), but until then, she’s shreddin’ some seriously tasty Funk Pop numbers in new-to-the-scene five-piece, Viragos {ver-rar-goes}.
The story of how Viragos was born is one of those rare gems of a good news story that found it’s way through the rough-as-shit trot that was, and still is, a world facing pandemic.
I was fortunate enough to be housemates with Rana and fellow band-mate/vocalist India when the lounge-room jams that would become Viragos’ first tracks came into being. This (honestly lush) time of music-making and experimentation was all going down in Australia’s first hard lockdown in March.
Now that I’ve set the scene for you, I’ll throw it over to Rana to tell you a bit about that less-than-bitter sweet time. A time of Black-Eyed-Peas, drunken Jenga, unexpected love (😉 ) and Viragos. 

Alright Rana, let’s rewind to the blur that was lockdown - from your memory, how did Viragos’ first songs come together?

I was coming up with riffs that I would show to India. I was keen to see what she thought. I even sang some songs which was scary because I hadn't sung in front of anyone at this point. She made me comfortable doing that which was super cool. 

Then, India would create a melody. We then would then loop the guitar/bass riffs + chords onto a loop pedal. Once we had all of that together, we would sit down and write everything out into a notebook. We would then add what to sing about that would fit the sound we had just created.

What inspired the music from this time? 

Initially, I was singing love songs and no one seemed to pick up that I was writing about someone... a certain someone who happened to be a housemate *laughs*. 

I actually had some lyrics already there - we didn’t include those songs because they weren’t upbeat enough and we wanted something that people could dance to. (Don’t worry guys, after her many pursuits, the love songs ended up working on me and she locked me down)

When and how did you know that this music was something that you wanted to build a band around?

I was actually coming up with these ideas since I was 15. I never thought that I’d get to play them in a band. I always wrote them with the intention that they would be in a band but I feared that no one would actually find the riffs and chord progressions interesting enough to be heard. 

I’ve always really liked funk - it’s probably my all-time favourite genre - and I could tell that India was big into it as well. We would often blast Black Eyed Peas, Tom Misch, and naturally, Charlie Xcx in our sharehouse at the time.

Tell us about your other bandmates. How did you find others who could keep those juicy jams going strong?

We knew exactly what we wanted from the beginning: we wanted drums, bass and keys. 

Also, we wanted to make sure that we were a woman-fronted band. So it was a very obvious choice to get our pal Bree Young on board to do keys and assisting vocals. India has been in the music industry for a while so she had some hot connections. We decided to recruit the bass guitarist from her previous band, because he’s super easy to get along with and, of course, he’s a great bass player.

India also conveniently knew of Duncan; like Alex, super lovely, and also happens to be great at drums. We don’t mind that they're not female-identifying, cause these boys are brilliant. 

At the baby age of 3 months as a full band, you wiped the floor at the Newcastle uni band comp last month. How the heck did that happen and what did you win? 

With a lot of commitment to rehearsal - we rehearse weekly. 

In terms of our winnings, we won a $2000 recording package with (Baraya Records) as well as $1000 paid live-stream gig. We got a neat trophy (it’s friggin massive) with our bandname inscribed on it. And to top it all off, we got a studio session with Hockey Dad. 

Alright readers, I think it’s safe to say you’re sold. These guys bop.
When’s the next gig Rana? 

Our next gig is at the Lass O’Gowrie, this Thursday the 26th. 

It’s free, so get the hell on that. You'll need to get in around 6:00pm so you don’t miss out. 

Fast five:

Huston v Rodriguez - Huston - I’ve very intently watched all of his X Games.

Pinos Diner v Susuru - I can’t go past that katsu tofu - so Sus for sure.

Strat v Tele - Aw, strat. 

Crash Bandicoot vs Tomb Raider - Aw no… um... I’m going to have to say Crash bandicoot solely because I purchase as much merch as I can.(LAATE, we’re waiting on that Crash deck)

Beyonce vs Black Eyed Peas - Black Eyed Peas - obviously I love Bey, but BEP’s Monkey Business was other-worldly. 


Social links:

Viragos’ Instagram:

Viragos’ Facebook: @viragosband

Rana’s Instagram: @gardengrub

Rayannon’s Instagram: @rayannon 

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