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By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night-Tampa
Interview: Veronica Witkin of Retra
Rock At Night has been following the glam rock band Glam Skanks since 2017 while they were touring with Adam Ant. Recently the band announced a new lineup and name—Retra. The current band is comprised of Veronica Witkin (guitar/synth), Millie Chan (bass), Audra Isadora (vocals), and Andy Nathan (drums).
Retra has released two singles and videos for the songs “Stardust Starla” and “Queen of the Avant-Garde”, which show their songwriting has matured and the sound is full and punchy. The fans of Glam Skanks will certainly love the new Retra music, which may be even more glam than ever.
Rock At Night spoke with Veronica Witkin recently about Retra and the band’s new direction. She noted, “We had been thinking about it for awhile. We did a little lineup change at the beginning of the year (2020) before the pandemic. After COVID hit we thought ‘okay, if we’re doing a bit more of a lineup change, now would be the time to consider a name change.’ We have new members and we’re doing things sonically different but not super different. We felt that Glam Skanks kind of boxed us in. Musically, we thought we had a lot more to offer.”
During the interview, Witkin relayed the name of the band “Retra” was chosen because it is close to the word “retro”; however, band member Millie Chan found an interesting definition of the word in Urban Dictionary. An excerpt of the definition reads as follows:
…pertaining to the movement which encompasses many humanitarian, philanthropical, metaphysical and socio-spiritual-political philosophies and practices which aim to enlighten the individuals perceptions to alternative perceptions and views in order to instill an instinctive moral code stemming only from positive notions relating to fellow life..
Retra is not a religion, it’s a way of life, you can choose to believe what you like, but I’d rather believe in something that is going to create and spread positivity, rather than something that breeds fear and hatred… My belief is not in a religion, but in Retra.
Witkin said, “When we saw that, we said ‘Whoa!’ Yeah, we are trying to spread positivity, especially when all sort of negativity has been going on with the virus…and with political things.”
Rock At Night feels the last year has been dark and maybe the world needs a little Retra. Check out the audio interview and look for a full text interview in our upcoming Summer 2021—Glam Rock issue (release date June 20, 2021)
Rock At Night’s theme song is “Get On Down If You Feel Up To It” by Billy “Bass” Alford