Rosie Davis was one of the many unsung talents of the global punk community. One of those artistically dextrous folks who found her voice and calling in the space that punk opens up for so many people to express themselves through art and action. She was a member of the Halifax early-Galhammer-beat hardcore band Vixens in the ’00s. The band released their debut (and only) LP through the underground UK punk label La Vida Es Un Mus Discos. Rosie’s next major musical endeavor was to be a solo project called Cry Out. It would be a gloss-peeling, raw and real, delightfully hooky implosion of early Troggs and Spits. A masterful pole-vault over gate-keepers and the contradictions embedded rock rock ‘n roll, that would twist and strain the distinctions between “post” and “proto” as applied to punk. All this and more would be accomplished in the form of four-song EP titled, More Echoes Of A Question Never Answered... Why? Sadly, fate would intervene before the album could be released and Rosie’s debut became a posthumous one.
Because Rosie’s debut as Cry Out is so singularly special of a record and because the circumstances of its release are so tragic, I reached out to La Vida Es Un Mus label owner Paco for a brief interview via email about it. The following is a transcript of our conversation, edited only slightly for the sake of clarity.
Who are you and what do you do at La Vida Es Un Mus?
I am Paco. I run La Vida Es Un Mus. A small independent record label based in Hackney, London. It is something that I’ve been doing for over 20 years and which at some point took up all my time. I basically do everything here, from late email answering, graphic design to packing every record, etc etc. Basic punk bedroom label activities that got out of hand, hence the always late nature of everything I do.
Who was Rosie Davis?
Rosie was an extremely charismatic, kind and nice young woman from Halifax, Nova Scotia. An artist in many fields who left us way too soon.
How did you come to meet Rosie?
Years ago a very good friend, aware of my music taste, pointed me in the direction of Vixens, a young punk band from Halifax, which sounded crude and aggressive while having a pop angle and real attitude. I started communicating with Rosie and ended up releasing their demo tape in Europe and their 12” record. We kept in touch loosely over the years and she always kept me in the loop of whatever she was doing.
How did this record come about?
Rosie contacted me earlier this year, she had just recorded the 4 tracks on the record as a demo and sent them to me to see what I thought. I loved them, I thought they were very unique. I also thought that as a demo it was good; the songs were there but that with some extra work on the production end we could have a great record. I suggested working on a 12” with her and I asked a good Canadian friend to produce them. He was busy with another project. By the time he finished said project, and just before he was gonna start working on Cry Out, we heard the sad news of her passing. That same Sunday, just before I got the news while on a long walk, I had been at a record shop and bought the first SAD, GIANTS AND LOVERS 7”, a band I know she loved. I wished I could have shared it with her.
How much work had to go into the recordings to finish them?
What you hear on the record is what Rosie left us. It was mastered by Jonah Falco, who originally was gonna help with the production of the record. It was decided early on, while speaking to Rosie’s family that the record was gonna be Rosie’s. Her music, her art, her vision. It would have been completely wrong to change anything.
How did the cover art come together?
Alongside the original recording, Rosie also sent me a mock up of the front cover. It wasn’t the greatest quality, at least not to print on an LP size. I had to retouch it a little bit but basically the front sleeve is what she left us, just tweaked a bit. For the back cover, we had to piece it together with some drawings friends and family had. We tried to keep it simple and fitting with the front sleeve. Also, we made sure that whatever it was on the record was Rosie’s. Rosie’s parents assisted me every step of the way and had the final word on what was printed.
What is included in the booklet that comes with the record?
Quite simple, I typed out the lyrics and asked around for pictures. I made an 8 page A5 booklet with the lyrics and some collage of Rosie’s pictures. At some point we discussed with the family the possibility of including people’s remembrance texts or insight about the recording but ultimately decided that this was Rosie’s project and the spotlight needed to be just hers.
What do you hope people who didn’t know Rosie take away from this record?
It is very hard to avoid listening to music out of context. Cry Out for me was literally that, a cry out. The ultimate primal form of expression, a young woman needing to say what she had to say. On her own terms and on her own way, reminding all of us that you can be you.
You can stream all of Rosie’s debut as Cry Out below via Bandcamp:
All proceeds from the sale of More Echoes Of A Question Never Answered... Why? will go to Rosie’s family and loved ones.