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Local Listens: noon:30

Welcome to Local Listens, where we profile some of our favorite Washington musicians. This week, we shine the spotlight on noon:30.

Men have dominated our Local Listens feature, but we finally found a female-only group to introduce. Noon:30 is an indie-rock trio based in DC. Aissa Arroyo-Hill rocks out on guitar and bass, Vivianne A. Njoku hits the drum kit and keyboards, while Blue S. Moon’s robust vocals (with an impressive range) lead the group—and she dabbles on bass as well.

Njoku and Arroyo-Hill were roommates and bandmates before they met Moon. The three ladies decided to jam one day, and “the strength of the trio was immediately undeniable,” they wrote in an e-mail. They decided to pursue the band seriously about a year ago.

“I feel like once someone hears us, the fact that we’re women isn’t an issue because we rock the stage just like the fellas. I guess if we were super frilly with big pink bows, it’d be an issue, but we’re not,” Moon says. Njoku adds that it makes them more self-aware and empowered. She says the only time it’s a problem is when “dudes are trying to tell us about our instruments or just plain patronizing because they’re not receptive to being in the company of amazing women.”

Noon:30 has numerous upcoming shows, including one at Arlington’s Galaxy Hut on April 27 and another at Asylum in DC’s Adams Morgan the following day. Check out all of their tour dates on the group’s MySpace page. Before heading to a show, read on to find out how the ladies chose a name, their favorite local spots, and when to expect an album.

Name: noon:30.

Aissa: West Hartford, Connecticut.
Blue: “The lovely Motown, Detroit.”
Vivianne: “Maryland.”

First song that made you want to play music:
Blue: “The song of my heartbeat.”
Vivianne: “It wasn’t that straightforward.”
Aissa: “ ‘Green Onions.’ ”

First instrument:
Vivianne: “Casio keyboard.”
Aissa: “Classical guitar.”
Blue: “Violin.”

Local spot to seek inspiration or write music:
Aissa: “Bloombars.”
Blue: “The quiet streets of Brookland.”
Vivianne: “Mount Pleasant.”

Best local venue:
Vivianne: “Liv on DC’s U Street.”
Blue: “Hmmm.”
Aissa: “Hmmm hmmm.”

Best bar to hear music:
Blue: “Hmmm.”
Vivianne: “I don’t do bars if I can help it.”
Aissa: “For the jukebox, Raven Grill in DC’s Mount Pleasant.”

Favorite local band other than yours:
Vivianne: “Trophy Wife.”
Blue: “This question reminds me of Lay’s potato chips: You can’t have just one! Bambu Station, the Mirror Script, Candy Coated Pain Pills, Attention Shoppers, the Laughing Man, and Courtney Dowe.”
Aissa: “Blue took my answers!”

Best thing about Washington’s music scene:
Vivianne: “It’s totally familial.”
Aissa: “It’s home.”

Worst thing about Washington’s music scene:
Vivianne: “It’s totally incestuous.”
Blue: “The people don’t move. They either talk through your whole set or just stand there and stare! I just wish they moved and danced and interacted with us. Some people will be super-still, talking throughout our whole set, and then come up and buy like five CDs. I’m always amazed because from where I was standing I thought they didn’t like us!”
Aissa: “Too much of the same, not enough of the different. It’s time for a rebirth.”

Craziest tour or show memory:
Blue: “When Vivianne played the keyboard with her breasts at our first show. That was classic!”
Vivianne: “The show where everything kept breaking: the PA system, my brand-new sticks, a string on Aissa’s guitar, and my belt.”

Finish this sentence: “When not making music, you can find me . . .”
Aissa: “ . . . enjoying a lovely hour-and-a-half commute to Virginia to spend the day as a graphic designer lost in the world of e-learning. When not on the Metro, I’m usually in front of my laptop at some free wi-fi cafe designing and crying because my bandmates have pimped out my skills for bartering purposes.”
Vivianne: “ . . . meditating on my bike or doing yoga with kids while I write and make videos about the experience.”
Blue: “ . . . walking the streets of DC looking crazy with ten dogs. Seriously.”

Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
Blue: “Both, please, at the same time!”
Aissa: “I believe this question would be called entrapment.”
Vivianne: “Aissa and Blue took my answers.”

Digital download or hard copy?
Blue: “Who cares? As long as its plays music, I’m happy!”
Vivianne: “Hard copy.”
Aissa: “I’m currently approaching death by hard copy. Immediately after purchasing music, I tend to place my tunes on my iPod. I recently became aware that I’ve taken to using the hard copies as paperweights, coasters, and widget thingies between books. And although you can never have enough widget thingies, I’m currently detoxing, so I say digital.”

Rolling Stone or Spin?
Blue: “I don’t read either magazine, so just go ahead and pick one for me.”
Vivianne: “I don’t read magazines unless they’re giving me some real brain food.”
Aissa: “I gave up reading when I obtained my graphic-design degree.”

Club show or festival?
noon:30: “House party.”

What musicians, bands, and performers influence your music?
Blue: “Everyone from a whistler to a harpist.”
Vivianne: “Any and everyone: Eartha Kitt, N.E.R.D., Stevie Wonder, P.J. Harvey, the Roots, the Lavender Diamond, Andre 3000, and Dub Narcotic Sound System.”

What’s behind the band’s name?
noon:30: “This one time, we were flying in Air Force Two (Air Force One was booked for the weekend) and looking at all the awesome patterns the Fijian islands made. Vivianne called to our attention one island in particular that stood out that was shaped like a keytar. Our pilot told us that he had professionally played the keytar before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers but had tragically impaled himself with the instrument. Now whenever he sees the shape, he becomes nauseous. As our plane began to roll and dive with the nostalgia-induced turbulence, Blue suddenly remembered an extremely important origami engagement she’d miss if she happened to die and cried out, ‘What the f— time is it?’ To everyone’s surprise, our pilot calmly replied, ‘Why, it’s noon 30.’ ”

Are you recording, and when can we expect an album?
noon:30: “We’re in the studio currently putting the finishing touches on our first EP. Look out for the hotness in June.”

What’s your favorite band that sounds nothing like you?
Aissa: “Blonde Redhead.”
Vivianne: “The Lavender Diamond.”
Blue: “System of a Down mixed with the Dixie Chicks.” 

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