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The way Kyrsten Gammon tells it, no one would have expected her group She Screams Remedy to be nominated for Best Live Band at the OC Music Awards. The singer and her cohorts—vocalist/guitarist Trevor Koch, drummer Anthony Agostinacci, guitarist/keyboardist Tim Berman and bassist Chris Cisneros—played their first show in 2008 at Chain Reaction, and by her account, it didn't go so well.
The quintet struggled with technical difficulties that cut a half-hour gig into a three-song, 15-minute set; a nervous singer who had never been onstage before; and a battle-of-the-bands crowd that didn't care to support any groups other than the ones they'd gone to see.
Fast-forward approximately two years, and She Screams Remedy are not only performing for the aforementioned title, but have also played the Warped Tour and amassed 34,000 fans on MySpace thanks to a tight set featuring the dueling male/female vocals of Gammons and Koch.
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OC Weekly: When I called you, you said, "I'm awesome." Are you always awesome, or did I catch you at a good time?
Kyrsten Gammon: You caught me at the height of my three-week sickness, and I had no voice. However, I am always pretty cheery. Even if things are going awry, why be down about it? Might as well make the best of whatever is presented. So I suppose the answer is yes, I am always feeling awesome.
Who is "she"? And why does she scream, "remedy"?
"She" is music, literature, art and knowledge, and it is reaching out to be the cure. A lot of the lyrics Trevor and I write are based on philosophical ideas or pieces of literature and mythology and how they apply to current society. We strive for a little more substance than simple love songs in hopes that people will take the time to reflect on the lyrics and allow them to apply to their situations.
About the awards, are you honored just to be nominated?
It's great to know our hard work is paying off and that all these shows are allowing us to go that much further. Last year, we received our first nominations for Best New Band and People's Choice, and I kid you not, I cried. Well, for the first week, I thought people were joking with me, and I disregarded it. So after that initial week, I cried.
We've yet to play Tiki Bar, and due to the high level of lame I instill, I have not been to the Enchanted Tiki Room. Anywhere with the word "enchanted" in its title has to be pretty rad.
Is there more to being a good live band than just whipping your hair, jumping a lot and shaking your hips? If there is, those can't hurt, right?
Musicianship is key, but having a well-prepared, rehearsed set is the first step to preparing a vital foundation to work around. Since we began synchronizing our head-banging, it has seemed to increase our street cred as far as live performance goes, although it has also brought on the onslaught of haters who believe we think we are hardcore. We're not hardcore. It's okay. We know.
Let's pretend some major label wanted to sign your band and give you a million dollars as a signing bonus. The only catch is you had to change your name to She Screams Pancakes. Would you do it?
Oh, golly. That would be an awfully silly decision to make, especially from a marketing standpoint. But, you know, money really isn't my primary motive. I can't speak for the entire band—because a million dollars can change minds real quick—but I wouldn't want to sell out and do something ridiculous like that.
This column appeared in print as "Which One’s She?"