By Bridney C.
It is a pleasure to interview Victim or Victor for the Sweet Scoop.
Victim or Victor is an alternative indie rock band from the Southeastern region in Connecticut. We reached out to frontwoman, Stephanie Lussier for an interview on her band's upcoming concert at the Crystal Mall in Connecticut on Thursday, January 9th.
In this edition of 10 Questions, Lussier shared her background in music, how Victim or Victor got its name, and discussed their album, Choices.
Bridney C: What is your name and how long have you been performing? Did you start out as a solo singer before being a frontwoman?
Stephanie Lussier: My name is Stephanie Lussier, and I have been performing original music since I was 13 years old. I'm 26 now. When I first started performing, I was solo, and it was just my voice and my guitar. That was from 2008 to 2011. I became a frontwoman when I formed my first band, I Was Left On A Mountain, in 2012. We broke up in late 2013, and I was solo again under the name Victim Or Victor in 2014. I only added other musicians to Victim Or Victor in the middle of 2019.
BC: What is your background in music? Tell me about your passion for music.
SL: Growing up, I was always around music. My dad always had music playing and my mom was always singing. I thought my mom was a great singer, and I wanted to be as good as her, so I began just singing all the time. So yes, I've been singing since I was a kid. I took chorus in middle school, as well as piano. I took piano in high school as well, along with music theory.
When I was 12, my mom got me my first guitar. I had been wanting one because I wanted to play rock, but also because I had been writing lyrics and wanted to put them to music. I then got some lessons from my middle school gym teacher, Tom Cheesmen, who coincidentally went to high school with my mom and was in a band with her back in the day. He wasn't much of a guitar teacher. He taught me basic chords and what the strings were. My mom then got me lessons at the Storrs Uconn School of the Arts guitar teacher, Thorne Palmer. He was a great teacher for what I wanted to do, and that wrote songs. I brought many songs to him over the years.
BC: How did you and your bandmates meet?
SL: I met the drummer, Danny Fleet, during my freshman year of high school. He was the drummer of the first band, I Was Left On A Mountain. We were in a musician's club together throughout our high school years. He was the frontman of his high school band, Sonny, before he began drumming with me in 2012. When I went solo in 2014, he formed his band and we continued to support each other. When I needed a drummer, he was the first person I thought of.
I met the guitarist, Drew Cathcart, from the local music scene at Strange Brew Pub in Norwich, Connecticut. They do acoustic open mics on Tuesday nights, and it was a place I'd go often to perform my songs and meet with my friends. Drew would come out to play his songs from his project, Forever Fool, at the open mic. We got to know each other at those open mics and through mutual friends. He recorded the album, "Choices." He did some guest spots on the album, and throughout the process of recording, we decided to make him a member of Victim Or Victor.
I met the bassist, Dan Jackson, (also) through mutual friends and the local music scene. I initially met him at a show with his band, Casting Shadows. We got to talking and I invited him to come to see me play. From then on, we began supporting each other's music by attending shows. He also had a guest spot on a track on the album. Danny did as well. That's kind of how they all became part of the band. They rocked it so well on their guest spots that I wanted them to be a part of Victim Or Victor.
BC: How did you come up with the name Victim or Victor? It sounds badass by the way! Have you changed the band's name before?
SL: Thank you! I wanted a name that represented struggle as well as triumph, good as well as bad. I was watching the television series, American Horror Story one day, and there was a line in it that said, "you can either be a victim or a victor. What do you want to be?" And that was it. It hit me really hard and I knew that was the name I wanted. I have never changed the band name.
BC: What genre of music do you consider Victim or Victor's music to be? Who are your major influences? Please list the name and respective instruments of each band member.
SL: I consider Victim Or Victor's music to be alternative indie and emo rock. My major influences for my songwriting are Motion City Soundtrack, Nirvana, Good Charlotte, and Say Anything.
1. Stephanie Lussier - Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, songwriter
2. Dan Jackson - Bass guitar
3. Drew Cathcart - Harmonies, lead guitar
4. Danny Fleet - Backing vocals, drums
BC: How often does Victim or Victor play and perform? Are you and your bandmates close friends in real life, aside from performing and recording music?
SL: Victim Or Victor plays and performs as often possible. I've had 27 shows in 2019. Some were acoustic and some were full band. Each of us have other music projects that keep us busy, so we book our shows in between our other shows. We've already got a handful of Victim Or Victor shows booked for 2020 though.
All of us are actually really close friends outside of music. I know that if I needed anything, the guys would be there for me, and vice versa, I'd be there for them.
BC: What is the inspiration behind the song "Falling on Deaf Ears?" Who wrote that song and who typically writes your songs?
SL: "Falling on Deaf Ears" was inspired by something that was said to me during a conversation I was attempting to have. It's about the negative relationship you can have with someone who doesn't listen to you either because they don't respect you or because they believe that they are right and you are wrong.
I wrote that song, and typically, I'm the one who writes the songs. Since Drew has joined, we've been working on writing songs together which is cool. I write songs based on my personal reflective experiences.
BC: What are your top three favorite songs off the album, "Choices?" And what is the inspiration behind the album title?
SL: My top 3 would have to be Drug Addict Centipedes, Falling On Deaf Ears and Insecurities. Each song is about a feeling or feelings I had in result of choices that I deliberately made, so that's why I titled it "Choices."
BC: How excited are you to perform at the Crystal Mall on January 9th? What is your favorite venue you have performed so far?
SL: I'm really excited to perform at the Crystal Mall. I have never performed there before. It's going to be like the early 2000s when bands would play in-store performances. I've always wanted to attend one of those so it's going to be cool to be playing one.
I think my favorite venue I performed so far would have to be The Oakdale Theatre, also known as The Dome. We played there for the RAW artists festival. The stage was really big and knowing that big bands played on the same stage was pretty exhilarating.
BC: What are you most looking forward to this Thursday, January 9th?
SL: I'm most looking forward to meeting new people and making new fans who are just at the mall shopping. I know playing there will expose us to a group of people who probably wouldn't normally see us at a local bar show. And of course, performing. That's my favorite thing to do.