If you have a hipster memory that extends four or five years, you might recall Heartsrevolution as the boisterous duo with the song “C.Y.O.A.” that played a bunch of IHEARTCOMIX parties back in the dark last years of the Bush administration. I was pumped to talk to them last week for CODE on Billboard about their recent signing to Skrillex’s OWSLA label because I was fan who had feared the worst (break up, loss of label, transition to an acting career). Thankfully, none of these fates were theirs, and Heartsrev frontwoman Lo Safai was just as exciting and inappropriate as I remembered.
The hold-up in their career, apparently, was an unsatisfactory situation at Downtown Records (the US home of Santigold, MSTRKRFT). According to Lo, they were so miserable she was “threatening to go in there and smear my period on the walls.”
Her rage-inspired rant didn’t end there. “I was like, I’m going to fucking go Columbine,” she told me. “I need out. Let me out.”
The point of contention, according to Safai, was the label’s insistence that she go decidedly more pop. “We had Downtown being like ‘you need to go in with Katy Perry’s producers,’” she told me. “Like, fucking die dude. No, it’s not going to happen.”
Personally, I love reading about someone who says offensive things. Irreverence is healthy and refreshing in a world weighed down by overly cautious bullshitting. That said, Lo might not be making any new fans by referencing a school shooting as an acceptable response to a shitty contract she elected for herself. Let alone the re-purposing plans for menstrual blood in a post-riot grrl landscape. (Despite our name, not even at SoundBleed do we encourage this kind of discourse. Really.) More to the point, she has a very robust view of her band’s work – especially given the huge lag between their last release and the forthcoming album.
“It’s just a matter of time and strategy,” she says of Heartsrevolution’s potentially imminent breakthrough. “It almost felt victorious in every door slamming in our face – how can you take that and turn it into an Oprah special? I was like, great. Bring it on, bring on every failure, every push back, every step back. It gave me more determination and drive to prove that there’s something missing in this industry and this world.”
If you want to hear what has been missing, you can stream the new track below. A cursory listen might indicate they have lost some of the ballbusting zest of their earlier singles. Hopefully the album packs a dirtier punch (as long as it’s not covered in bodily fluids). More importantly, I hope nobody media trains this band.
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Though it’s nearly six years old, “C.Y.O.A.” holds up. Have a look:.