Good For A Girl Interview Possum Plows Openside Emma Cameron

Interview: Possum Plows from OPENSIDE (@Going Global)

I FINALLY GOT TO SEE OPENSIDE PLAY AT GOING GLOBAL 2016

Openside Possum Plows Interview Good For A Girl

Openside L-R: PJ Shepard, Possum Plows, George Powell and Harry Carter

I’d been following Openside for a few years (back when they had another name), had been in online cohorts with their singer Possum for a wee while, and still hadn’t managed to catch any of their highly energetic and outrageously fun live shows (so they were described to me by others).

Until we were on the same showcasing bill as them for Going Global this year – and they did not disappoint me, at all. Not even one bit.

Safe to say Openside’s performance was a fucking fun-fest of sparkly pop-punk goodness that, unless you were a buzz-kill-absolute-corpse-drag of a human, had people dancing in no time.

Openside Possum Plows Good For A Girl Live

It was also really nice to meet band mates Harry, PJ and George for the first time and find out they are top-qual lads, and even nicer still to finally get to hang out with Possum in the flesh and talk to her about… her!

Usually I would chuck a wee gush and a bio in here, but I actually loved all up on Possum a few months back here – so read that if you wish, and come back!

NOW YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH POSSUM PLOWS OF OPENSIDE.

For a full transcript, scroll to the bottom of this post.

We don’t have to wait at all for new music from Openside, since they have just released their brand spankin’ new EP, Push Back, last week! If you’re in to pop-punk that’s more on the pop side, with a bit of beats and electronic goodness, you’re going to love it.

YOU CAN ALSO CATCH ‘EM THIS WEEK OPENING FOR ELLIE FUCKING GOULDING in Christchurch (Thurs 29th) and Auckland (Sat 1st). Pick up your tickets here

OPENSIDE LINKS

Website
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Snapchat:
weareopenside

…………………………………………………

GOOD FOR A GIRL: POSSUM PLOWS FROM OPENSIDE (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
So the first ting I would like to learn about it is your influences growing up – what kind of made you want to get in to music?

Possum (Openside):
For me, it was a lot pop punk and the earliest band that I really connected to was Fall Out Boy when I was probably 11 or 12, and I think it was around the time they released “Infinity on High

Emma:
Right! Okay, so a bit later

Possum (Openside):
Yeah, and then after that kinda went back and some other albums to listen to which is always nice. whispers people are looking at us….

Emma:
(laughs) it’s okay!

Possum (Openside):
I think they can hear us!

Emma:
Maybe they can hear us..

Possum (Openside):
Sorry! Um, yeah. But Fall Out Boy for me was like a good combination of complicated lyrics that really talked about quite personal, emotional things. Stuff that normally people won’t really talk about. And then also the sort of high energy, you can sing it really loud in the car when you’re driving. And that’s how I learnt to sing harmonies, listening to Fall Out Boy.

Emma:
Yeah, me too! Pop punk bands, emo bands, all those guys that sing really high (laughs)

Possum (Openside):
Yeah!

Emma:
Really good for girl vocalists

Possum (Openside):
Exactly! That’s what blows my mind now; when I go through and actually play out those melodies and realise they’re hitting high B’s and high C’s like it’s nothing and it’s quite impressive, but that was just the style at the time so you totally take it for granted.

Emma:
Totally.

Possum (Openside):
But yeah, Panic! At The Disco and I used to listen to New Zealand bands like Goodnight Nurse, they were a huge influence. And that’s why it’s cool to be back now and doing that genre.

Emma:
And making it new, as well!

Possum (Openside):
It has come back in to fashion, so to speak. And a lot of younger kids are rediscovering those bands like, 10 years later which is crazy! A lot of the Openside fans, i feel like they go through and they experience things very similar to the way I did when I was their age. It’s really cool.

Emma:
So those bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, were you around 10/11?

Possum (Openside):
(nods) Mmm!

Emma:
What about younger than that? Like growing up, not even starting your music career or even not even thinking about a career in music – what kind of music were you surrounded by growing up?

Possum (Openside):
Before that, you know, it’s always what your parents are exposing you to. My Dad was really big in to The Smiths, so I listened to a lot of The Smiths, in to my teenage years as well. And a lot of songwriter types like Bic Runga, and Carole King, even as a young person, it sort of made me want to write songs because I used to have really bad trouble getting to sleep when I was a kid. And I couldn’t get to sleep without listening to something otherwise I’d get scared of monsters.

Emma:
It’s a good distraction!

Possum (Openside):
Yeah! And I used to listen to Bic Runga albums and Carole King albums when I was falling asleep and it was really comforting.

Emma:
So there were some women musicians in there. Like even with your pop punk influences – like, were Paramore a big thing?

Possum (Openside):
Yeah, definitely!

Emma:
Even though around that genre they were kind of one of the only stalwart..

Possum (Openside):
They were in the forefront.

Emma:
Then came like, Hey Monday and We Are The In Crowd… was it We Are The In Crowd? They have a girl in the band don’t they? Or was that a different band…

Possum (Openside):
Oh, yeah, a little bit later I’d kinda deviated…but Paramore was definitely a big influence on my young bands when I was like 13. And even now, with Openside, definitely for the other members of the band, Paramore was a big influence on them. Cuz they’re like.. 4 years younger than me. When we were liking the music when I was 12, which was like 2006, that was the music that was cool, but for them, like 3 or 4 years later it was kinda a bit more niche and they had a slightly different experience of it. But that’s why we ended up being a band even though we have this age difference, because we have this mutual love of pop punk. (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs) Yeah, that’s cool! So it’s interesting because I feel like there probably weren’t that many women around – there weren’t that many women around – in pop punk. So you weren’t really even subconsciously being exposed to a lot of women in that genre being the main influence for your music. Now you’re a bit older do you seek out women influences? Are you conscious of that at all? Or are you kinda just like ‘whatever comes…’

Possum (Openside):
I think you do become more conscious of that. Partly being older and partly just the culutral context that we’re in now.

Emma:
Yeah because you are a frontwoman, now.

Possum (Openside):
Yeah! And, that diversity element. And also the topics people talk about. Like a lot of traditional emo was like ‘white boy problems 101.’ And we can laugh about it now but at the time that was seen as the ‘be-all-end-all’ like, “this girl, I liked her but then she wouldn’t call me and now I’m really depressed and I wrote a song about it” and there is some problematic content in there, and it’s just being able to identify that and still appreciate it for what it is. And in terms of seeking out diversity, it’s the same with race in pop punk. Pop punk is so white. So any time there’s somebody doing something different with race and gender and queerness in music – which is happening more and more across genres – put more value on that! Not just for the sake of it but also because their perspectives are often more nuanced and what they write about is offering more to the conversation than the same old 4 stock standard white boys, you know?

Emma:
(laughs) over and over again

Possum (Openside):
And I definitely try to do that in my music with talking about the queer experience as much as anything else. And I think that has really translated in to our audiences. Because I think pop punk audiences often were – like there were a lot of queer folk.

Emma:
But especially because a lot of those audiences are teenagers at that really sensitive stage where they are trying to figure out like “is it okay if I wanna be different? Or do I have to put myself in to one of these boxes?”

Possum (Openside):
Totally. And it’s just interesting that even though these bands were so homogenous, the audiences weren’t reflected in that. The audiences were much more diverse so it’s nice to see that changing.

Emma:
Cool! And as a frontwoman, have you ever experienced any discrimination at all? Or any ridiculous things where you feel like you weren’t respected because of who you are? Cuz you’re not a white dude with a dick?

Possum (Openside):
(laughs) One of the things I think about is that my gender effects my experience. It effects the way people interact with me. It effects how my music is received. But also people who are cisgender men, it effects their experience too but they don’t know that it’s happening. So the difference is that people often ask how your gender effects your experience so you’re thinking about it all the time – you’re aware of it. But one of the privileges you have when you’re not a minority is just thinking that it’s not effecting your experience when it is. And that I would just like to see more white people and men and cisgender folk being asked to examine how those things are effecting them.

Emma:
Yeah cuz it’s like positively effecting them – cuz they dont realise the opportunities they get.. they just think that’s the default experience when we experience maybe less-cool stuff. As opposed to thinking no everyone has an experience, but yours is always positive because of who you are.

Possum (Openside):
Yeah! And they think about their struggles, becase you do. You’re gonna focus on the things that disadvantage you more than the things that advantage you – and that’s the whole constant examination of privilege. But I feel like part of making things move forward isn’t just talking about how when you’re a minority – how that effects your experirence – but actually asking for that to be spoken about more widely.

Emma:
So moving forward with your artistry and your band, do you think that you’ll focus more on the queer experience and women’s experience? Do you feel like you have any sort of agenda to communicate that with your audiences or are you just kinda like… it’s not really a thing that crosses your mind?

Possum (Openside):
No, I definitely think about it! Partly when we first started to get a little bit more successful I wasn’t really out yet. And there was a part of me that’s going “okay, i don’t know if i should talk about this” if this is going to compromise some opportunities I’m getting. And you feel scared like “is this label going to want to sign us” or “are people going to be scared of this thing?” especially being non-binary, is quite new to the mainstream, and people don’t know what it is. But then after I did talk about it, and I realised how much of a positive thing that can be for the people who listen to your music. And some people may come up to you and thank you for being ‘out’ and “thank you for wearing the trans symbol on your t-shirt” and what it means to them. You can’t not do that. It’s always gotta be part of it. And why else are we really making music? Like there’s lots of little things but the way you connect with people and the way you help people – the way people helped you when you were listening to music. When you were watching people who were trans, or just be ‘out’ and be confident in who they are and say “okay this is part of me, but it’s not my whole story I’m still this musician and I’m doing my thing and that can be for you as well!”

Caitlin Duff Manor Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Caitlin Duff from Manor (@BIGSOUND)

I saw Manor for the first time at Bigsound 2016

Manor Caitlin Duff Interview Good For A Girl

Image: Manor / Caitlin Duff (right, duh) and Nathaniel Morse

A good friend of mine recommended I go check out Manor at The Brightside on the first night of the Bigsound festival, and later that same day I had a message from my ‘helper-outer-crisis-aversion-guy,’ Max, that he’d contacted their manager, and Caitlin Duff (vocalist and writer) was keen as a bean for an ol’ chateroo with yours truly!

I enjoyed their live set, but because I wasn’t aware at the time that they were actually a duo; during it all I could think was that I really wanted Caitlin to be standing proud in the centre like the front-woman she is (or thought she should be). I made sure I asked about this during the interview, and her answer showed precise intent. Good! For a hot minute I was worried she had been forced over there by an egotistical band mate who wanted all the glory for himself. He can live to see another day and I can grow as a person who doesn’t jump to outrageous women-defending conclusions all the time.

Manor Caitlin Duff Bigsound Interview Good for a Girl Live Brightside

Image: Manor performing live at The Brightside, Brisbane / 7th September, 2016 / BIGSOUND 2016 / Caitlin Duff (left, duh)

So, Manor are a 2-piece electro-rock-dream-scape (genre I coined btw) from Melbourne. Well, they describe their genre as ‘beat’ on their Facebook… I’m not sure what pre-requisites are required to be considered ‘beat’ but, I like it when bands create their own genre labels so I’ll accept.

Manor formed and started writing and experimenting together in 2012. They Drip-fed a few (great) single releases, then dropped a 3-track EP in March 2016 titled ‘MANOR EP’ which you can listen to here.

I really dig Manor’s recorded shit – Caitlin’s vocals are totally dreamy and the chill-as production on the tracks makes me just want to chuck ’em on and drive around aimlessly for a few hours in a beat up convertible cadillac while I stare in to the distance and think about my life choices. It’s a good thing, for sure.

Now you should Watch my interview with Caitlin Duff from Manor.

For a full transcript, scroll to the bottom of this post.

I would say ‘I’m looking forward to hearing new music from Manor asap’ but they literally just released a brand new track on the 5th September titled ‘Repent’, so we don’t even need to look forward to it, it’s here already. And it’s 80s and it’s POG effects and it’s definitely driving aimlessly and feeling fucking cool doing it.

So if you like what you hear, check Caitlin and Manor out online!

MANOR LINKS

Website
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

…………………………………………………

Good For A Girl: Caitlin Duff from Manor (Interview Transcript)

Emma:
So, the first thing I want to talk about with you is your influences growing up, like, even as a little kid, even just what music you were surrounded by growing up, maybe your parents, like, what they played around you …

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah! My dad’s a musician. When I was growing up, he was in an acappella group

Emma: 
Cool!

Caitlin (Manor):
They used to rehearse in our lounge room all hours of the night so I grew up listening to folk music, um, oh Crosby Stills and Nash and Young were always on..you know, the Steve Miller Band. So, for me, it’s always been, like, the vocals is what I’ve been interested in. I’ve learnt instruments but I never took to them in the same way.

Emma:  
Yeah. Yeah.

Caitlin (Manor):
Um, yeah. I was in a couple of choirs for me, but apart from that, I never had any vocal training or anything. I just loved doing it!

Emma:
Yeah. Well, you’re good at it so… (laughs)

Caitlin (Manor):
(laughs) Lots of practice now! Lots of years of singing and relentlessly singing, so yeah.

Emma:  
Were there any sort of flagship acts that kind of made you go “I want to do music. I want to be a singer” ?

Caitlin (Manor):
Um, well, yes and no. We didn’t really have, like, it was all records at home, we didn’t have a TV or anything growing up. So, I didn’t have an icon or, like, a, a heroine that I looked up to in that way.

Emma:  
Yeah.

Caitlin (Manor):
Um, but, people like Kate Bush, um, you know that, that their art is such a visual thing as well. You know, she never really played live. She did like one TV appearance in Germany and hated it and, like, never went back to it! I’m quite an introverted person as well. My performance style isn’t, like, the crazy dancing, moving thing. I like to focus on making sure I hit the notes! It’s my number one thing. (laughs)

Emma: 
(laughs)

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, so, growing up my influences were all like, sonic and, and then a bit of a visual scene. But it was always about vocalists with huge range and songwriting.

Emma:   
Yeah. So, was Kate Bush a strong influence to you?

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, Kate Bush was a big one.

Emma:
So, did you kind of look up to her, like, was it because she was a woman or were you not really conscious of finding women role models, or?

Caitlin (Manor):
I think the reason why Kate Bush does stand out to me particularly, is because yeah, a lot of music I was listening to was male dominanted.

Emma:
Yeah.

Caitlin (Manor):
Like, you know, as I said before; Crosby Stills Nash and Young – that’s four male musicians making a band and their vocals were so diverse, but, you never get to hear that feminine side. So whenever my Dad would play female musicians I was like [looks excited]. Tori Amos as well! My Mum played a lot of her stuff growing up and, yeah, it does definitely resonate with me, because I can sing their songs, you know? And it just like it’s, for me, um, something I can start to emulate, whereas those male vocalists – i can’t get that way. I can do it my own way but it’s not the same thing.

 

Emma:
Yeah. So when, what actually inspired you to start being a performer? I mean, were you starting in bands or solo, or?

Caitlin (Manor):
The very first band I was in when I was sixteen, the lead singer at the time who was male lost his voice two days before their EP launch. I’d done some back-up vocals on the recording so they asked me to step in for the show. Which was great cause I just sang his lines, but, you know, as a female vocalist, and the audience really resonated with it and they asked me to join the next day.

Emma:
Wow, just “screw the other guy!”

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, well he’s still sang, like, we both sang, but I became the lead singer, and he focused on the guitar after that.

Emma:
Cool!

Caitlin (Manor):
Um, so, we toured for six years. And, it was a bit of a fluke. I never intended to be a musician, like I was always interested in other things. I wanted to be an architect, actually.

Emma: 
Wow.

Caitlin (Manor):
So, um, after they asked me to join, that was the end of me. Of that person! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah! (laughs) So, was it, so that was during high school time?

Caitlin (Manor):
That was, yeah. I was 16.

Emma:  
So you started touring at that age as well?

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, year 11 and 12 – there was a lot of missed school. (laughs).  A lot of touring.  And that was hard being in an all-guy band, being they were all you know, 18 or 19, and I was underage. No one ever questioned why I was there. “Why is this 16-year-old girl backstage?” you know. They probably thought I was someone’s girlfriend or something. No one ever spoke to me, really. May I was a little bit intimidating because I was the one girl in the room at all times. Like, “don’t bother talking to her”, you know. “She probably won’t have much to say.” So, fo a lot of my earlier touring experiences I was so shy, so people might of perceived that as me being a little bit stand-offish!

Emma:
Yeah.

Caitlin (Manor):
The guitarist in that band, to this day he’s still like, “I thought you were a total cow.”  (laughs)

Emma:  
(laughs)

Caitlin (Manor):
And I’m like, “I was so shy. I didn’t know what to say to you!”

Emma:  
I get that anxiety too. Like, if I’m just kind of at gig and I’m just kind of in the corner, it’s like “ugh everyone thinks I’m being a bitch but I’m just terrified”

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah I genuinely don’t know what to say. Like,  the bands I listen to aren’t the same bands that these other guys listen to, because I don’t listen for guitars. I listen for vocals. That’s what gets me. So, often times I just sort of hang around, and I’ve taken on the social media side of the band ‘cuz I can just sit there on my phone and post something to Instagram while everyone’s talking shop. It’s a bit lonely, but yeah.

Emma: 
You know, you kind of touched on that thing where, like, you felt like maybe people assumed you were one the guy’s girlfriend’s and stuff like that.

Caitlin (Manor):
Yes.

Emma:
Do you have a lot of experiences on tour with bands where you aren’t respected? Or people assume that you’re not actually in the band, or maybe when your sound checking – the sound guys kind of being a dick to you you, or anything? Like any sort negative experiences that you’ve had?

Caitlin (Manor):
I think the big ones are the green room. When you’re on a tour with two other bands, and they’re all big guy like, jock-ey bands, and you’re in there, and they’re just doing their thing where they talk about horrible stuff. And then they go “oh yeah, shit there’s a girl in the room”

Emma:
Yeah.

Caitlin (Manor):
And it’s like, “it’s actually fine, I’m used to it.” And then, I stand there and I’m like, why am I used to it? Is that okay, that I’m okay with it?  Am I a bad person, now that I’m listening to these guys be horrible and talk about what girls they’re going to bring in to the room after the show.

 

Emma:  
And they also know that’s it’s gross.

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, they do.

Emma: 
Cause, they go, “oh yeah sorry. Well we’re going to talk about these girls like this but don’t worry worry – you’re cool

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, yeah, “you’re cool girl” as if that’s okay. And then I have to be okay with it. They don’t give me a choice to say, “actually I am offended.”

Emma:  
Yeah cuz then that potentially creates this tension And that’s kind of the weird position we get put in like we’re just trying to manage not…I don’t want to say intimidating and I don’t want to say offending them either it’s just… yeah it’s kind of weird.

Caitlin (Manor):
That’s the thing, like, you want to have your say and I have put my foot down a few times within the band I’m in. You know, every now and then someone drops a C bomb, or something like that. I’m like, It’s not okay for you to use that word and they’re usually totally cool with it. Then there’s other things like, you know, they love Top Gear and stuff like that.

Emma:    
(laughs)

Caitlin (Manor):
I just have to let it go… I can’t be that guy all time that says “don’t talk about this, don’t talk about that.” I mean it gets too hard as well. Yeah, and it’s kind of, you know, a little bit, um, a little bit… makes me feel like I’m being… being a bit of, a…uh … (laughs)

Emma: 
A bitch? (laughs)

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah! (laughs) I don’t want to use that word, but yeah. And I guess that’s another issue in itself. Like why do I have to feel like a bitch for standing up for myself.

Emma:
Yeah, it’s insane. When guys stand up for themselves they’re a boss.

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah. Exactly.

Emma:
But we’re like these horrible bithces that just want basic respect and just generally be treated like we’re other humans in the room.

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah! Exactly!

Emma:
So I was watching your set last night, and I don’t know if it’s conscious from your guys’ perspective – your stage alignment – but I notice you’re the lead vocalist but you stand off to the left, can we talk about that?

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Emma:
Where does that come from?

Caitlin (Manor):
Um, well, my vocals are soft. Like I’m a quiet singer. So we were sort of working out the best way – in the early stages – to have my mic not run so hot all of the time. Where if I stand in the middle you’re just gunna hear drums, ‘cuz our drummer is a beast. He is super loud! So, me standing off to the side, we can turn the mic up little bit higher, and get more of my vocals…

Emma:
Nice, because it’s not swelling the the microphone.

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah It’s like that. And Nathaniel’s guitar, like, he’s incredible. So, like, his pedal board takes up half the stage. So, um …

Emma:
(laughs)

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, it just works for us. And I feel a little bit less self conscious, and like I have to be like this, total big front woman, moving about, and like dancing, and stuff like that. I mean, as I said before, I just like to make sure I’m hitting the notes!

Emma:
Yeah, and create more of a team effort with the band as opposed to establishing that “I’m the main person – you have to watch all of this”

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah. “I’m chick in the front, give me all of your attention” when we’ve got these incredible musicians that we play with. They deserve the lime light just as much. And it’s so easy  to just have 3 across the front.

Emma:
Cool! So what’s next for you guys? Have you got releases on the table…

Caitlin (Manor):
We do! We just released a single yesterday, officially. “Repent,” which is going well, which is good. And we’ve got, an album coming out early next year, which we’ve just finished recording.

Emma:
Awesome.

Caitlin (Manor):
Yeah, a few shows coming up, in Melbourne particularly, where we live. And just taking it as it comes, yeah!

 

Going Global and Bigsound Cunt Cakes Good for a Girl

Good for a Girl at Going Global and BIGSOUND!

Going Global and Bigsound totally kicked my ass.

For everyone who follows Good for a Girl over on Facebook, you will have seen that the last 10 days of my life has been pretty full on as I attended both the Going Global and BIGSOUND music conferences in Auckland, NZ and Brisbane, Australia.

If you recall from my blog post about my story as a woman musician not being controversial enough a couple months back, I vowed to tell the stories of other women’s experiences in the music industry, and by christ, I fucking did it.

And I did it with my #cuntcakes in tow.

Emma Cameron Good for a Girl Going Global and Bigsound

How else do you celebrate women than by immortalising va-jays in delicious fondant and then having other women eat them? You tell me.

So watch this space over the next ‘x’ amount of time (what…you think I actually had a plan for this chaos??) as I roll out interviews with some absolutely fucking awesome women I met at Going Global and Bigsound including;

Tali
Anna Laverty
Princess Chelsea
Possum Plows
(Openside)
Lisa Crawley
ECCA VANDAL
Alex Reade (Drown this City)
Hannah Joy (Middle Kids)
Bec Sandridge
Ellie Scrine (Huntly)
Chloe Turner (Listen)
Grace & Jenny (Wet Lips)
and, Caitlin Duff (Manor)

Here is a special “omg lol the universe” moment that happened just as I was about to begin filming with Ellie at BIGSOUND as a wee teaser to tie things over while I panic wildly about how the fuck I’m meant to edit 13 interviews 🙂 <—that’s a smiling on the outside/panic attack on the inside emoji.

Watch this space!