The Vigilantes: LA’s DIY Activism

Los Angeles has always been a hotspot for major musical movements. From the 70’s rockers to the modern rap scene; but especially home to a history of Punk Rock. The Punk Rock genre is too often forgotten among the waves of popular genres born during its cultivation or mislabeled as nothing more than meaningless and loud noise. But, it is not dead. Los Angeles is home to one of the largest DIY punk scenes in the world, a community of music lovers that offer their backyards as venues, record music in their bedrooms and make merch in their garages. A scene based off of comradery, a range of political beliefs and having a good time.

There are hundreds of bands out there releasing music but few match the passion for activism that The Vigilantes show through their work and presence in the scene. The Vigilantes’ lineup consists of Amelia Jane (singer), Willow (Bass) and Kora (guitar). The band formed mid-February in 2019 after Amelia and Kora had a former musical project fall out.

By definition, a vigilante is a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority. So how did the group end up with this name? Guitarist Kora explains,” What vigilantes are, as expressed through our songs, is the punk spirit, bringing people to justice even if the law is not involved in that.”

With singles like ‘wage cuck’ and ‘ Santa Ana’  The Vigilantes use one song at a time to excite and make listeners aware of social issues such as the negative outcomes of capitalism and the tyranny that occurs in an average town. “ We’re living in a time where fascism is okay, racism is okay, homophobia is okay, xenophobia is okay and the fact that the society wants that to be okay,” Kora stated. The band’s writing is largely focused on bringing attention to small and oppressed groups especially with recent information arising from the FBI stating that hate crimes are at a record high, many of them inducing death. ” As small of a band we may be right now, we write these songs and we want to be as passionate as we can to take a stand against these things,” Kora said. “ The culture we live in is so anti-feelings of angst, sadness and anger and it’s important to have an outlet to turn something negative into a sort of release,” Amelia continues.

“ Being a band and writing about songs with your beliefs won’t always be easy Amelia disclosed, “we had rough beginnings but it taught us a lot because when you put yourself out there people are always going to criticize you.” However, the trio continues to make the music they love and keep an optimistic mindset as Kora explained, “ We don’t live in a perfect world where everyone is gonna like the songs. You just have to deal with the criticism and as tough as it may sound you have to get those scars and continue with it and just have fun! If you’re not playing music to have fun, there’s no point in playing it at all.”

The Vigilantes have not yet recorded their music but plan to do more writing so that they can record soon and release on the streaming platform Bandcamp. For now you can listen to ‘ wage cuck’ and ‘santa ana’ on their Instagram IGTV  @vigilanteslbc. Follow them to keep up with shows they will be playing in the future and great music.

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