women classical composers good for a girl

You never hear about women classical composers, aye?

So thanks to Anne Midgette at the Washington Post for compiling this list of awesome classical music composers who have VAGINAS*
*or maybe they don’t but i just like saying that.

Settle in, grab yourself a good book and a cuppa tea, and bliss out this weekend to these fab classical pieces composed by women.

This article originally appeared on The Washington Post and is written by Anne Midgette


 


Composer Missy Mazzoli, whose next opera will be premiered by the Washington National Opera in January. (Marylene Mey)

NPR’s recent list of the 150 greatest albums by women was inspiring — but where were the composers? In the wake of much discussion about the chronic underrepresentation of female composers on American concert programs, I came up with my own best-of list. Since I was responding to a list of recordings, I confined myself to artists active in the recorded music era, the 20th and 21st centuries — leaving out Hildegard von BingenFanny MendelssohnClara Wieck SchumannBarbara StrozziMarianne Martinez, and many others. My selections are based on a combination of personal preference and some idea of what constitutes “importance,” and it was hard to winnow it down to only 35.

Meredith Monk:

One of the musical pioneers of our time, Meredith Monk has been carving out her own channels through the artistic landscape since the 1960s, defying categorization with work that used to be characterized as “dance” but now is clearly “composition.” Monk’s trademark is extended vocal technique, mining the voice for expressive possibilities not contained within the established conventions of Western notation. With evocative titles like “Turtle Dreams” or “Dolmen Music,” her work has the feeling of a myth you’ve always known, rooted in our collective historical unconscious, offering a sense of deja vu in pieces that take the form of dreamlike narratives or “operas” (“Book of Days”), or of devotionals (“Songs of Ascension”). Now 74, she is working in an increasingly rich, instrument-based idiom, but has lost none of what she has called her “sense of wonder.”

Caroline Shaw:

When she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013, Shaw, 35, a violinist and singer, didn’t even consider herself a composer per se. But her “Partita for 8 Voices,” composed for the vocal group Roomful of Teeth(of which she is a member), a sequence of riffs on Baroque dance forms with a wide range of unusual vocal effects, got the attention of the Pulitzer jury. Shaw’s distinctive, lyrical vocal writing also got notice from the rapper Kanye West, who has both performed and released tracks with Shaw (including a remix of the song “Say You Will”). Recognition hasn’t changed Shaw’s honest, serious approach as she explores new musical idioms and forms — like her first-ever piece for orchestra (with solo violin), “Lo,” premiered by the North Carolina Symphony at the Shift festival in Washington in March. “It is a strikingly original and moving work that rethinks what orchestral writing can be,” Simon Chin wrote in The Washington Post.

Joan Tower:

A doyenne of American orchestral composers, Tower, 78, is known to many for her six “Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman,” a pendant to Aaron Copland’s ubiquitous musical prelude. However, these are relatively small works in a catalogue that has moved from early serialism to music that is impressionistic, colorful, and direct, like “Sequoia” (1981). Another signature piece, “Made in America” (2006), was performed in all 50 states before taking a Grammy award for Best Classical Composition in 2008. Tower has taught composition at Bard College in Upstate New York for 4½ decades, and co-founded the Da Capo Chamber Players in 1969 as a forum for her own and other contemporary works. (She left the ensemble in 1984.) In music, she told an interviewer in 2015, “the gender issue is nonexistent. … Now, outside the music, there’s all sorts of problems!”

Kaija Saariaho:

The Finnish composer, 64, had a new wave of publicity when the Metropolitan Opera performed her “L’Amour de Loin” last season, but she came to international attention when the piece was first premiered at the Salzburg Festival in 2000. Saariaho’s music is characterized by surging, luminous tones and textures, large masses of sound that move and change, more static meditations than dramatic journeys. Saariaho got her international start working in Paris at IRCAM, the computer and electronic music center founded by Pierre Boulez, and the resulting analytic sensibility and ability to consider music as sound, and sound as music has left its traces on her acoustic scores. But her work is anything but abstract, tied into a range of other human experiences and perception: sight and space, love and motherhood. “Long after the curtain goes down, you feel that you are still swimming along in her sound,” the musicologist Susan McClary told The New Yorker in 2016.

Pauline Oliveros:

Oliveros, who died in 2016 at the age of 84, was a pioneer of tape music, creating works like the poignant “Bye Bye Butterfly,” which puts a recording of Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” through a sequence of electronic filters, or “Crone Music,” which refracts and multiplies the sound of her own accordion. She is best remembered, though, for the work that she developed under the rubric “Deep Listening,” the name for both a trio of performers and a program based on the concepts of active listening and responding to other musicians. “Deep Listening” also underlined the autonomy of the individual in deciding how to create and experience music, liberating music’s practice from the restrictions of the Western canon — particularly with regard to female composers. “They are not necessarily intended to be concert pieces,” she told New Music Box in 2000, speaking of her seminal “Sonic Meditations.” “I turned the paradigm around by saying, ‘Okay, you make the music.’ ”

Julia Wolfe:

In 1987, three young composers, David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe, responded to their frustrations with the academic new-music scene by hosting a marathon performance featuring music of every style and stripe — and Bang on a Can was born. The organization has since spawned an ensemble, a record label, and summer festival, as well as the annual marathon; and all three composers have become elder statesmen of what’s been termed alt-classical music. Wolfe, 58, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for “Anthracite Fields,” an oratorio about life in the Pennsylvania coal mines; she is also a recent MacArthur Fellow. Like her fellow Bang on a Can composers (she is married to Gordon), she has been moving from shorter intense kinetic works, such as “Lick” (2009), to longer narrative ones: a piece about women in American labor will be premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 2018-19.

 

Sofia Gubaidulina:

Like her colleague Arvo Part, Gubaidulina, 85, found refuge in music from the restrictions of life under the Soviet regime, seeing music as a link to the Divine in the face of proscription and blacklisting that kept her work unperformed for many years. A difference is that Gubaidulina’s music is more conventionally dramatic: like the dark outbursts and suffocated solo-line outcries of the violin concerto “Offertorium,” which Gidon Kremer helped champion in the West. Another champion was Mstislav Rostropovich, for whom she wrote “Canticle of the Sun,” a cello concerto with chorus. Drawing on musical traditions from both East and West, Gubaidulina has explored folk music and instruments like the bayan, a Russian accordion. In 1992, she moved to Germany, where she has been able to enjoy her tremendous international renown.

Missy Mazzoli:

Already an established fixture on the Brooklyn scene with her band, Victoire (which played DC in 2011), the 36-year-old Mazzoli came to the attention of a wider audience in 2016 with her second opera, “Breaking the Waves,” which brought the lyricism of Benjamin Britten through a filter of Louis Andriessen into the 21st century. “It’s so easy to create an idea of what my music is based on its labels: classical, indie-classical, post-minimal, contemporary, chamber-pop, opera, orchestral, etc.,” she said in a 2015 interview. “None of these words really tells you anything about how the music sounds or how you will feel about it.” She’s written for orchestras like the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but her signature works remain vocal: from her first, acclaimed opera, “Song from the Uproar,” to the pop-song like “Cathedral City.” Her third opera, “Proving Up,” will be premiered in January as part of the Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative.

Jennifer Higdon:

One of today’s most-performed living composers, Higdon, 54, embodies a combination particularly appealing to American audiences: She’s at once a maverick and, in a certain way, a conservative. Self-taught until college, espousing no particular aesthetic school, she writes smart music that is not ashamed to be tonal, and beautiful. “Blue Cathedral,” one of the most-performed of all contemporary works, is a lush wash of tonalities throbbing through the orchestra. A teacher at the Curtis Institute, where she got her own graduate degree, she has formed relationships with some illustrious students, writing her vivid violin concerto, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, for Hilary Hahn, and her piano concerto, which the National Symphony Orchestra premiered in 2009, for Yuja Wang. In 2015 her first opera, “Cold Mountain,” had a success in its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera. “If my music is not communicating,” she said in 2012, “I feel it’s not doing its job.”

Lili Boulanger:

Most rosters of great female composers include Nadia Boulanger, the composer, conductor, and influential teacher to a couple of generations of composers. But Nadia devoted considerable energies to keeping alive the memory of her sister, Lili, a child prodigy who died in 1918 at 24, having been the first woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome — with a big symphonic cantata, “Faust et Helene,” that like many Prix de Rome-winning pieces is a little too cumbersome and weighty to fully reveal the strengths of a composer whose best work is packed with color and light. Yannick Nezet-Seguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra gave a fine reading of her sun-dappled “D’un matin de printemps” when they last appeared here in January, though her best-known short work is probably the “Pie Jesu” — possibly the only surviving section of a planned Requiem she did not live to finish.

Augusta Read Thomas, 53

An unabashed high modernist — no concessions to pop music here! — with a lyrical and even antic streak, Thomas writes uncompromising but engaging works with evocative titles drawn from her extensive reading of poetry. A former composer in residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she is first and foremost an orchestral composer whose work has been extensively performed — but because of union contracts and the fact that many of her premieres happened before orchestras such as Chicago started fielding their own recording labels, her work has been notably underrecorded. She got tenure at Eastman when she was only 33; she has since had other teaching posts and is now on the faculty at the University of Chicago.

Germaine Tailleferre, 1892-1983

The only female member of the group of French composers known as “Les Six” (which included Poulenc, Honegger, and Milhaud), Tailleferre was prolific throughout her lifetime but is best known for the work she wrote in the 1920s and 1930s when “Les Six” were most active. Although “Les Six” were partly conceived as a reaction against Wagner and the impressionism of Debussy, there is a French lightness to much of Tailleferre’s work. She moved between France and the United States a couple of times, leaving many of her manuscripts behind during the war years, and much of the music she wrote in the last decades of her life, when she taught music to children at a school in Paris, was not published until after her death.

Ruth Crawford Seeger, 1901-1953

The first woman to win a Guggenheim fellowship (in 1930), Crawford Seeger was a hugely influential American modernist composer whose string quartet left its mark on Elliott Carter and others. She became a significant figure in American music after Henry Cowell put her on the board of his New Music Society in the 1920s, with a host of significant compositions — her Three Songs set to poems by her friend Carl Sandburg represented the United States at the 1933 festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Amsterdam. Yet as the demands of family and her involvement with preserving American folk music took over (she was married to the musicologist Charles Seeger; Pete Seeger was her stepson; and Mike and Peggy Seeger, two of her four children), she gradually moved away from art-music composition to more folk-oriented work, from collections of folk-song adaptations to pieces such as “Risselty Rossolty, an American fantasy for orchestra,” written for an educational radio series.

Du Yun, 40

Her second opera, “Angel’s Bone,” with its haunting use of chorus and electronics woven around the solo voices in a searing story, was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music. Born to factory workers in China, initially trained as a pianist, Du Yun has parlayed degrees from Oberlin and Harvard into a career as a teacher and administrator — she is artistic director of the MATA festival, a cutting-edge event for new music — as well as a composer. Her piece “Dreaming of the Phoenix,” a contemporary take on the early Chinese-opera form kunqu, was performed at the Sackler in 2013; in The Washington Post, Stephen Brookes wrote that her “delicate and ethereal score . . . seemed to come alive with the shimmering mystery of a half-remembered dream.”

Anna Clyne, 37

London-born, Brooklyn-dwelling Clyne writes well-crafted music with close links to narrative, which makes her a natural for the ballet stage (“Rift,” for example, written in 2016 for the Cabrillo festival, is described as a “symphonic ballet”). Her music often incorporates electronic components in uneasy partnership with the acoustic instruments, as in “Seamstress,” her violin concerto written for Jennifer Koh, who also premiered her double concerto, “Prince of Clouds,” with Jaime Laredo — both with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where Clyne was composer in residence for five years. A mentor has been Marin Alsop, who commissioned Clyne’s “Masquerade” for her appearance conducting the last night of the BBC Proms in 2013.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir, 40

Already boasting a Deutsche Grammophon album devoted entirely to her work, the Icelandic composer creates atmospheric pieces: physical installations, or orchestral clouds of sound, in which one can bathe in the textures and contemplate the unconventional techniques used in creating details emerging from the whole. It is intricate and meditative music and is getting a lot of play these days; the International Contemporary Ensemble performed her installation “In the Light of Air” at the Atlas in the District a couple of years back, and Alan Gilbert led her “Aeriality” in one of his final concerts as music director of the New York Philharmonic this season.

Lera Auerbach, 43

The multitalented Russian American performer-composer — who is also a published poet — writes emotional, heart-on-the sleeve music steeped in nostalgia and a deep knowledge of the canon, including adaptations of and homages to composers from Mozart to Shostakovich, but tinged with unusual colors, like a theremin. She has written for many of the world’s leading orchestras — the New York Philharmonic premiered her latest violin concerto, “NYx: Fractured Dreams” in January, and several of her works have been performed at the Kennedy Center over the years, including “Requiem for Icarus,” a reworking of the last movements of her first symphony. Also a pianist, Auerbach recently recorded her own violin-and-piano version of Shostakovich’s 24 preludes, along with her own sonata “Arcanum,” on ECM.

Paola Prestini, 42

An ambitious entrepreneur, Prestini functions as both the mastermind behind large-scale performance projects and a kind of new-music activist, creating performance opportunities for a whole cadre of artists — most recently at National Sawdust, the factory-turned-performance-space she co-founded and runs in Brooklyn. Her own work runs to evening-length performance works and operas tackling ambitious and weighty themes about life and death and the cosmos, with music generally better than its themes, like the opera “Oceanic Verses,” an exploration of Italian folk music and the fate of women, performed at the Kennedy Center in 2012.

Unsuk Chin, 56

Born and raised in Korea and resident in Berlin, Chin writes music that reflects neither place as much as an eclectic and sometimes humorous approach of her own. There’s a healthy admixture of European postmodernism in works like “Acrostic Wordplay” from 1991, the first piece that gained her wide attention after she moved to Hamburg to study with Ligeti and others in 1985. The 2007 opera “Alice in Wonderland,” a quirky piece that definitely doesn’t follow the template of children’s opera, has been performed around the world and will be followed by “Through the Looking Glass,” scheduled to be premiered in London in 2018/2019.

Eve Beglarian, 59

An experimental composer and performer, Beglarian writes genre-defying, intimate music that resists categorization: a collage of sound and effect, voice and electronics, written for everything from a rock band to a found recording, and sometimes responding to collaborators such as Maya Beiser or a concept like kayaking down the Mississippi River, which resulted in “BRIM: the river project.” Her ongoing “Book of Days” is creating a kind of musical devotional book-cum-diary in excerpts and musical vignettes with texts by creators including Rilke the I Ching, expressed in an equally diverse musical vocabulary.

Sarah Kirkland Snider

Dense, layered, large-scale works for voice and instruments, probing the past, are a hallmark of this New Jersey-born composer. Rrecordings of her song cycles, including “Unremembered” (2015) and “Penelope” (2010), have won critical plaudits. (In The Washington Post, Tom Huizenga called “Unremembered” “a study in the beguiling power of memory.”) Snider is also a co-director of New Amsterdam Records, one of the main outlets for contemporary new-music recordings, with a de facto emphasis on the Brooklyn scene.

Laura Kaminsky, 60

Kaminsky has an extensive background in teaching and administration in addition to a long catalogue of chamber and orchestral works. The success of her first chamber opera, “As One” (2014), a poignant and effective piece about the transition of a transgender woman, has led to a new burst of activity for her on the chamber-opera scene; after “Some Light Emerges” for the Houston Grand Opera (2017), she is working on a new chamber piece for a consortium led by the San Francisco’s Opera Parrallele.

Gabriela Lena Frank, 44

Multiculturalism is an integral part of Frank’s extensive work. A sometimes member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, she often writes for non-Western instruments and explores her Peruvian heritage (on her mother’s side) in pieces such as “Leyendas: an Andean walkabout,” mingling folk feeling with compositional sophistication.

Lisa Bielawa, 48

A vocalist and composer who co-founded the MATA festival with support from Philip Glass, to whose ensemble she belonged for some time, Bielawa has written a number of pieces juxtaposing voice and acoustic instruments in small ensembles but is increasingly aiming larger with pieces such as “Hypermelodia” for big band, chamber orchestra and percussion. Her current project is “Vireo,” an opera crafted to be released in broadcast form, like a television serial.

Melinda Wagner, 60

Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for her Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion, Wagner has been commissioned by a panoply of American orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic (her energetic trombone concerto was written for Joseph Alessi) and the Chicago Symphony (which premiered her piano concerto for Emanuel Ax). Her music is non-allusive but has an engaging, propulsive continuity.

Galina Ustvolskaya, 1919-2006

Strongly supported by her teacher, Shostakovich, Ustvolskaya was among those composers who remained little-performed under the Soviets. She worked steadily, however, ultimately moving past the audible influence of her teacher to create an oeuvre of dark, brutal uncompromising work. “Scream into Space” is the subtitle of her second symphony, which describes the sense of futile anguish evident in many of her pieces.

Shulamit Ran, 67

The second woman to win the Pulitzer Prize (for her Symphony, in 1991), the Israeli-born Ran has lived in Chicago for most of her professional life, where she was composer in residence with the Chicago Symphony Orhcestra for seven seasons and, until recently, taught at the University of Chicago. Her music draws on a wide range of material from other mediums, including literature and visual art, in scores that are now thorny, then surging with a kind of contemporary romanticism.

Chen Yi, 64

Born into a musical household in China but forced to work in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, Chen Yi is one of several expatriate Chinese composers who in the 1990s and early 2000s brought some of the sounds and instruments of China into the vocabulary of Western orchestras, particularly in American concert halls.

Amy Beach, 1867-1944

The first American woman to compose large-scale art music, Beach focused on composition after marriage compelled her to pull back from what had been an active career as a pianist. The Handel and Haydn Society’s performance of her Mass in E-flat gained her renown, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra subsequently premiered both her Gaelic Symphony and piano concerto (with her as soloist). After her husband died, she traveled extensively in Europe, and her writings about the European music scene remain a valuable testimony to an era; but her unpopular political sympathies (with Germany in World War I and Mussolini in the 1930s) may have contributed to her postwar neglect.

Valerie Coleman, 47

In 1997, Coleman, unhappy with the underrepresentation of musicians of color in the classical music world, founded Imani Winds, a wind quintet whose name is the Swahili word for “hope.” The group has gone on to considerable success, and Coleman remains its flutist and composer in residence with a catalogue mainly of chamber works for her ensemble as well as some pieces for other instrumentations, often incorporating whiffs of jazz and evocative illustrations of the music of the South, such as “Red Clay and Mississippi Delta,” which Joan Reinthaler, in The Washington Post, called “a family portrait in sound,” and “terrific.”

Libby Larsen, 66

A pathbreaking figure in creating a sense of community in the American new-music scene, Larsen co-founded the organization that became the American Composers Forum and was the first woman to hold a residency with a major American orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, in 1983. She has written 11 operas, from a children’s opera based on “A Wrinkle in Time” to “Every Man Jack,” about Jack London, and has a huge catalogue of choral music, in addition to several symphonies and large-scale orchestral works.

Florence Price, 1887-1953

A 1906 graduate of the New England Conservatory, Price was the first African American woman to have her music played by a major orchestra — the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which performed her first symphony after she took first place in the Wanamaker Foundation Awards. She incorporated American folk tunes and material from the African American religious tradition in her native South in expressive, accomplished works.

Gloria Coates, 78

The most prolific female symphonist — she has written 16 of them, though she says she didn’t originally set out to write a symphony at all — the American Coates has lived largely in Germany for most of her career and remains less known in the United States. Her music is a kind of impassioned postminimalism characterized by a use of orchestral glissandos and crescendos — slow steady movements of a whole body of instruments. She has also written extensively for voice.

Judith Weir, 63

The first woman to assume the role of Master of the Queen’s Music, knighted for her service to the field, Weir, a former composer in residence with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, has written a number of operas in a tonal vein, of which “A Night at the Chinese Opera” (1987), her first, has been arguably the most successful.

 

 

Cécile Chaminade, 1857-1944

Chaminade was one of those composers who were acclaimed during their lifetimes and neglected afterward. Her works, mainly piano pieces and songs, gained her a following not only in France, but also in England and the United States, where she toured to great success in 1908. She made a number of piano rolls but gradually ceased composing as she grew older.

For further exploration, look into the music of Ethyl Smyth, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Elodie Lauten, Hannah Lash, Kate Soper, Elena Kats-Chernin, Kati Agocs, Anne LeBaron, Adriana Holszky, Olga Neuwirth, Thea Musgrave, Lucia Dlugoszewski, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Judith Lang Zaimont, Tania Leon, Margaret Brouwer, Bernadette Speach, Lori Laitman, Dalit Warshaw, Elena Ruehr, Arlene Sierra, Andrea Clearfield, Ursula Mamlok, Victoria Bond, Barbara Kolb, Agata Zubel, Nicola LeFanu, Peggy Stuart Coolidge, Mary Ellen Childs, Zoe Keating, Alexandra Gardner, Rachel Portman, Betsy Jolas, Nancy van de Vate, Cindy McTee, Marti Epstein, as well as jazz composers Maria Schneider and Nicole Mitchell, and performance artists including Laurie Anderson, Pamela Z, Joan LaBarbara, and Diamanda Galas. A firm case could be made as to why any of these women should be included on this list in place of any others.

PRISCILLA FRANK

A History Of All-Girl Bands And The Rock World That Tried To Keep Them Out

This post was originally published on Huffington Post

Written By: Claire Fallon

Women aren’t rejecting rock. Rock is rejecting women.

It was 1964 and singer Genyusha “Goldie” Zelkowitz had a problem. The all-girl band she formed in 1962 with drummer Ginger Bianco, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, had a major label record contract and an upcoming Las Vegas stint ― but the bassist, Nancy Peterman, had just told the band that she was pregnant. She’d formed an attachment to the organist of a band they’d been performing with; things had taken their natural course. In the 1960s, birth control for unmarried women was still illegal in certain states. Roe v. Wade was not yet a glimmer in the Supreme Court’s eye, and an attempt to get her an illicit procedure fell through. The situation was unsurprising, and the conclusion was unfortunate: Peterman had to leave the band.

Zelkowitz, who now goes by Genya Ravan, practically explodes with laughter remembering the incident now, 50 years later, during a phone conversation. “She kept saying she was ‘so lonely’!” Ravan hoots. “Had I known I would have bought her a vibrator.” A vibrator and a career, or a sexual partner and parenthood: That’s a choice The Beatles likely never had to make.

For Ravan, who was determined to make it in the music business, settling down wasn’t an option. After forming Goldie and the Gingerbreads, she saw the branding benefits of keeping the lineup all women, to capitalize on the exotic appeal of an all-girl rock ’n’ roll band. But over the years, they lost members, and it was difficult to fill all the parts in the group with women.

“A lot of the girls that were canned down the line … they wanted to have a family, they wanted to have children,” said Ravan. “There’s no room for that here.”

Womanhood used to usher women off the stage in fairly obvious, biological ways. But it’s 2017. Seven years ago, Pink put in a rousing performance at the American Music Awards while expecting a baby. In February of this year, Beyoncé performed gravity-defying moves during a Grammy performance while pregnant ― with twins.

Nonetheless, pockets of the music world remain startlingly male. Our greatest pop stars today might be women, but in instrument-heavy rock ― indie, punk, metal and beyond ― the standard-issue band is still a group of three to six guys. Less common: a group of male musicians with a female vocalist, or even a female keyboardist or bassist. Least common: a band comprised primarily or entirely of female musicians.

The music internet periodically offers up listicles of all-women bands to check out, which feature a common core cast of incredible indie groups: Hinds, Ex Hex, The Prettiots, Chastity Belt, Warpaint and so on. Plenty has been written about the the chart-topping pop-rock sister group Haim, but even in a diverse musical landscape of EDM, hip-hop, pop and hybrid music, a wide variety of all-male bands still flourishes. Why is the all-female band relatively elusive?

One might be tempted to blame women as a group. Perhaps we’re biologically uninterested in playing electric guitar, much like advanced algebra and video games. Maybe there simply aren’t girls out there with the chops and dedication to succeed. But ― much as with mathematics and video games ― a closer look at the picture suggests that the problem isn’t that women are rejecting rock. It’s that rock is rejecting women.

But how is the music world fencing women out? Picking on the visible gatekeepers is easy, and in many ways fair: Record labels, magazines and music festivals don’t tend to give women artists an equal platform. Last year, a HuffPost analysis of the gender breakdown of acts at 10 major festivals over the past five years found that the vast majority of performers were male. “[A]ll-male acts make up the overwhelming majority of festival lineups, ranging from 66 percent of all performers (Outside Lands and Governors Ball) to 93 percent (Electric Zoo),” HuffPost Women’s Editor Alanna Vagianos concluded. An LA Times piece on Coachella’s specific problems with women noted that, at the time it was written, only one female act had ever headlined the festival, out of over 40 headliners in its history.

Music media seems little better. In 2016, KQED Arts pointed out in December, exactly zero women made the cover of Rolling Stone ― no Beyoncé, no Rihanna, no Alessia Cara, no Hayley Williams. Women who do snag coverage by major outlets routinely see their musical chops downplayed in favor of their sex appeal, or wind up relegated to special women’s issues or listicles.

The problem, though, starts way before the point when the organizers of Coachella or Bonnaroo are scouting acts, and before magazines are picking out cover models. This isn’t an excuse for their paltry lineups of female artists; it’s just to say that there are other pressures guiding tastemakers toward men and guiding women to give up rock stardom.

Bands made up of all women are rare not because of a lack of talent, dedication or interest, but because women have been siphoned out of the pipeline at nearly every step of the way.

 

GAB ARCHIVE VIA GETTY IMAGES
A promo shot of Goldie and the Gingerbreads, which functioned from 1962 to 1967, consisting of three instrumentalists and a singer. It was considered to be one of the first all-female rock bands signed to a major record label.

Getting The Band Together

For young boys, forming a crappy band is as elemental a part of growing up as playing baseball, or quitting the baseball team to spend more time smoking pot. If you’ve ever known a handful of teenage boys, you probably know at least one who’s been in a jam band inspired by Phish, or a dude rock band inspired by Dave Matthews, or an indie rock band inspired by Weezer. Guys in bands stand to benefit from male bonding, creative self-expression, and cultivating a rock god image to attract romantic interests. As Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers told Billboard in 2016, “Even before success, pussy was number one … I wanted to hook up with hotter girls.”

The flip side, however, is that this gendered adolescent experience rarely includes a space for girls to be anything but doting audiences and, at worst, “pussy.”

“To me that was just kind of a given, guys were always starting bands and playing guitar in their bedrooms,” Allison Wolfe, the former lead singer of riot grrrl band Bratmobile and, most recently, Sex Stains, told me. She grew up in Olympia, home of artsy, crunchy Evergreen State College in Washington State, in the midst of the burgeoning ‘90s DIY punk scene. “I went to a lot of punk shows and saw guys playing. Olympia and Eugene were cool, not super macho like a lot of other places, but it still made me feel like I couldn’t really be a part of it.”

Suzie Zeldin, of the indie band The Narrative, spent her teenage years attending hardcore shows across the country, in Long Island, New York, that were packed with both male and female fans ― but vanishingly few female artists. “It was pretty rare actually to see a girl onstage,” she recalled.

And this was in the late ‘80s to early aughts. Decades ago, when rock ’n’ roll was really taking off, the scene was almost entirely male. “You go back to the ‘60s, and you’re talking about the dark ages of women in music, because the light that you’re putting out, there’s nothing to reflect it back,” said June Millington, co-founder and lead guitarist of the pioneering 1970s band Fanny. “You had to have the courage to walk into that cave that was completely dark.”

Her bandmate, drummer Alice DeBuhr, was blunt: “We didn’t think of ourselves as the beginning of or part of a tradition of women musicians. Because there weren’t any.”

As with any boys’ club, some determined and talented women have always fought their way in. But bands aren’t just about individual moxie. Forming a band requires collaboration. As a teenage bassist in Australia, music writer Anwen Crawford, author of a New Yorker article titled “The World Needs Female Rock Critics,” wanted that classic, adolescent band experience. The only problem? “I could never find other girls to play with, in those crucial years when you’re forming bands,” she told me. “Your teacher is likely to be male, your peers are likely to be male. It’s quite isolating.”

Just playing with her male peers wasn’t a solution either, she pointed out: “The boys around me didn’t really take me seriously, or thought I was a novelty.”

For many years, and even, to some extent, today, women who did seriously pursue rock music were less likely to find a thriving community of female peers to play with. Female stars like P.J. Harvey or Suzie Quatro, Crawford noted, typically ended up as solo artists or the sole women in mostly male bands. After Goldie and the Gingerbreads disbanded in 1967, Ravan joined a mostly-male band and later built a solo career.

 

ERICA ECHENBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES
Jean Millington (L) and Patti Quatro perform during a Fanny show in 1974.

 

The creeping, pervasive assumption that little boys learn drums and grow up to be rock stars while little girls play Barbies and grow up to be groupies can isolate and stifle young girls who do pursue music, or it can simply delay their start. Many talented female musicians don’t begin their careers until early adulthood, at the age when young people are exploring who they really are outside of their rigidly defined peer groups. By then, many of their male peers have been mucking around with their instruments and amateur bands for a decade ― but that gap isn’t an insurmountable obstacle.

Augusta Koch, the guitarist and vocalist of the pop-punk band Cayetana, readily admits that she “didn’t know how to play guitar” when Cayetana was born five years ago. Koch and her bandmates were all out of college and dreaming of starting a band when they met at a party in Philadelphia. They decided to join forces and polished their skills together, through years of intense solo and band practice.

Mindy Abovitz, drummer and founder of Tom Tom Magazine, started her first band in college, not long after she’d surreptitiously begun to learn drums. “It would have made zero sense to be in a band with a guy at that time, because all my guy friends who were musicians had been in bands since they were 12,” she told me.

“I played music in school band, clarinet and bass clarinet, but it wasn’t until much later that I thought I could do something like be in a band,” recalled Bratmobile’s Wolfe. “But I think I was very lucky to grow up in Olympia.” In the midst of a music scene that prided itself on counter-culturalism and anti-professionalism, “anyone could do anything, and it would be considered music,” she said.

Wolfe went to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon, but many weekends she’d return to Olympia with her friend and future bandmate, Molly Neuman, to hang around the music scene. They met Kathleen Hanna, then a student at Evergreen. Wolfe began to notice that women around her were forming their own bands ― and not cute, smiley bands. One day, the summer before college, she peeked into Hanna’s art gallery, Reko Muse, and saw a band rehearsal in progress. “There was Kathleen, onstage,” recalled Wolfe, “and she was just yelling at the top of her lungs, with her veins popping out of her neck, and her face was all red … It was really confrontational, and intense.” Hanna’s band, Bikini Kill, ended up becoming early supporters of Wolfe and Neuman’s nascent group.

Wolfe and Neuman wanted to be involved in the scene ― they were already referring to themselves as a band around Olympia ― but they didn’t actually begin writing and performing music until a friend asked them to play a show he was booking. Despite Bratmobile’s slapdash beginnings, their first show was a rousing success.

“I don’t think it would have happened outside the Olympia scene, because I don’t think we would have had the encouragement,” she admitted. “People would have laughed us off the stage. But instead we had Bikini Kill there cheering us on.”

 

STEVE EICHNER VIA GETTY IMAGES
Bikini Kill consisted of female members Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail, as well as male member Billy Karren.

Keeping The Band Together

Getting an all-girl band together is a magical achievement, but it’s only step one. Rock bands are notoriously fragile things. Internal power struggles, ego trips and artistic disagreements tear many of them apart. For women, though, the stress of fending off inappropriate behavior, condescension and disdain rooted in their gender often ends up compounding the ordinary struggles faced by every band.

Having overcome years of overt or implicit discouragement to choose a musical career, female musicians face exhausting assumptions: That they don’t understand their own gear or craft; that, if they came later to mastering the art form, they are perpetual amateurs; that they’re just hanging around the scene to get male attention. Cayetana’s drummer, Kelly Olsen, pointed out that “women getting into relationships with musicians… get looked at in a very different way than men that do. And I know that we have been judged by who we date, like, you’re just doing that to get close to this band. And it’s like, actually, no! I have my own self and my own power in my own scene.”

The assumption, however, generally remains that women don’t belong onstage unless they’re accompanied and overseen by men. Lydia Night, the teenage frontwoman of The Regrettes, caught the rock fever early ― she’s been playing guitar since the age of six and has not only attended years of music classes but performed in several bands. Nonetheless, she’s noticed, sound technicians often assume she can’t handle her own equipment. The sexism is difficult to ignore thanks to one simple fact: The band has one male member, drummer Maxx Morando. “We’ve met so many amazing sound people,” she told me, “but we’ve met so many annoying sound people who just assume that … oh, of course Maxx knows how to set up his drums, but she must not know how to set up her amp.”

Though many of the women I spoke to said that they felt respected and appreciated by their male peers in the industry, the spaces men make for themselves aren’t always welcoming. Women might be left out of bands and tours by men who want to keep the fratty vibe, or who don’t want their significant others to worry about infidelity. “Tour buses are definitely places where women get excluded,” Abovitz said, referencing a situation she’d recently advised another female musician about. “They don’t get hired. They just get left off.” Her acquaintance and the other woman in her band weren’t invited on a bus due to this reasoning; in the end, they had to drive themselves separately for the entire tour.

When it’s not the men directly involved in the industry, it’s the press. Music journalism, a field that was carved out and is still largely populated by white men, has historically been hostile at worst, and patronizing at best, to female artists. “The assumption [was] that interviewers and other people could treat us with condescension and that was the norm,” says Millington. “That condescension was pretty lethal, because it can come at you in so many different ways, even the subtle ways cut ― at least 50 percent, 60 percent or more of the time, the condescension had to be there even if [critics] said they liked us.”

Critics and journalists might cover a girl band with a tone of surprise that a group of women could even play competently, or fixate on the band members’ sex appeal and gendered characteristics.

Plus, female artists were played off each other, creating the impression that in the massive rock universe, there was only room for one woman star. “It was never about the music,” Raven remembered of her early reviews. “They always had to compare me with somebody.” Usually, the times being what they were, that somebody was Janis Joplin. In 1969, legendary rock critic Robert Christgau described her as “this group’s resident Janis Joplin” in a review of Ten Wheel Drive, a jazz-rock band she joined after Goldie and the Gingerbreads broke up. Joplin comes up yet again in his review of one of her solo albums, “Urban Desire,” in addition to the accusation that “she oversings.” (Christgau’s oeuvre is a trove of chauvinistic criticism, which is rarely subtle; he takes pains to graciously judge that Fanny’s “execution is competent enough.”)

In the early days of rock ’n’ roll, even audiences who presumably showed up to enjoy these shows were sexist by default. Millington and DeBuhr both vividly recalled one particular compliment from male listeners that seemed to dog Fanny throughout its run: “Not bad for chicks!”

No matter where they performed, “that was the best compliment we could get through the early ‘70s. Isn’t that incredible?” Millington told me. “And we almost always smiled and said ‘Thank you.’” Worse, Fanny often confronted the assumption that they couldn’t play their own songs. “I can’t remember how many times people asked us, ‘Who were the male musicians playing on the album?’” DeBuhr remembered. To a group of women who practiced and performed tirelessly and who took pride in their music, this question was particularly galling.

In the punk era, disdainful audiences could be more aggressive. Wolfe half-seriously insisted that her nearsightedness and poor hearing protected her ego from the vitriol of sexist crowds. “A lot of the time I was saved by the fact that I couldn’t see or hear what was going on in the audience,” she said. After Bratmobile’s second show, Kathleen Hanna met them offstage and asked if they were OK. Unbeknownst to them, some “scary metalhead dudes” in the crowd had been hollering death threats at the band throughout their set.

Harder to ignore: An incident at a show during Wolfe’s time in the late-’90s band Cold Cold Hearts, when a man grabbed her ass while she performed. “I actually started laughing, because it was just too shocking,” she said.

 

JEFF KRAVITZ VIA GETTY IMAGES
“Growing up, there were a lot of girl artists like the Spice Girls, Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child,” Alana Haim told Lip Mag in 2014. “But none of them really played instruments and I would always look up to Stevie Nicks and Blondie – they are dope female musicians. So I just see us as a band. When people call us a girl band, I take it as an insult – being a girl in a band shouldn’t be a thing. It seems so medieval.”

 

Some women involved with the music world saw a relatively egalitarian, non-threatening environment, at least in specific scenes. Punk historian Gillian McCain, co-author of the oral history Please Kill Me, pushed back on the idea that the early punk scene could be sexually exploitative. “The girls were enjoying their sexual freedom as much as the boys were,” she wrote in an email. “None of the women we interviewed saw themselves as victims.”

But there’s no denying that some women in the music industry have been victimized, and that the experience can directly affect their careers. Pop star and songwriter Kesha, the most infamous recent example, follows in a long line of women whose voices were snuffed out thanks to male exploitation. Due to her ironclad contract and current legal battle with her former producer, Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of sexual and other abuse, Kesha is reported to be sitting on at least 22 new songs she’s not allowed to bring out.

In 2015, the original bassist of The Runaways, Jackie Fuchs, accused the band’s late manager, Kim Fowley, of raping her soon after she joined the band in 1975. She quit in 1977. In a HuffPost Highline feature, Jason Cherkis documented multiple alleged victims of Fowley’s sexual violence, primarily Fuchs and Kari Krome, a precocious songwriter Fowley began grooming at just 13 years old. By the time Cherkis spoke to Krome, some 40 years later, she had been out of the music business since her teen years, instead writing boxes full of unpublished lyrics. “[S]he couldn’t shake the idea that Fowley never believed in her talent, that he only wanted to sleep with her,” he wrote. “She ended up abandoning her dreams of becoming a successful songwriter.”

Though it’s impossible to say how many women’s careers have been stunted or destroyed by sexual predation, even those who remain and succeed continue to face gendered criticism and abuse. With few other options, women musicians often embrace determinedly nonchalant attitudes toward their harassers and critics. “It’s hard to play a show when someone screams ‘you can’t play guitar’ or ‘you’re hot,’ but at the same time,” said Koch, “we try to not let it ruin us.”

During the riot grrrl movement of the ‘90s, women on the scene tried to find safety in solidarity. After the butt-grabbing incident at her Cold Cold Hearts show, Wolfe remembered, “The amazing thing is I didn’t have to do anything. It was a girl power show; all the women bounced him out in two seconds.” By urging “girls to the front” and forefronting feminism, riot grrrl created a safer space for women in rock ― at least temporarily.  In other times, in other cases, playing through the pain simply led to burnout. “I left Fanny in ‘73, because I was just tired,” Millington told me.

When women aren’t kept out of rock genres through sheer discouragement, exclusion or harassment, the malleable nature of the genre can also be used against them. Women artists may be edited out of the rock annals simply through gendered perceptions ― what men play is rock and what women play is pop. Nowhere is this more evidently the case than with black women, who, like black men, often find themselves reflexively categorized as R&B simply because of their race. As Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos wrote in 2016, the white appropriation of rock has been so total that it “box[es] black performers into R&B and soul categories no matter how genre-bending they are.”

“Though largely forgotten in our whitewashed annals of history,” LaTonya Pennington wrote in The Establishment, “black women helped create the genre of rock, which has its roots in blues, country, jazz, gospel and R&B.” Just as many pioneers of rock were black men ― Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Bo Diddley ― many of the early female pioneers, like “Godmother of Rock ’n’ Roll” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, were black. White women were also often complicit in undercutting black women performers. The first recording of “Piece of My Heart” was performed by Erma Franklin ― known as an R&B singer ― yet it was white singer Janis Joplin ― known as a rocker ― whose rendition rose to fame.

The contributions of black women have been routinely swept under the rug and written out of rock history. But Pennington, Spanos and other critics have seen black women reclaiming their place in the rock genre in recent years, from undeniably rock acts such as The Alabama Shakes (fronted by vocalist and guitarist Brittany Howard) to indie darling Santigold to, yes, Beyoncé.

In “Lemonade,” the pop icon dabbled in country and rock ’n’ roll to great effect. “Beyoncé… provided one of the year’s most memorable rock moments with ‘[Don’t] Hurt Yourself,’” Crawford argued. “Here we have a song by a black woman artist (Beyoncé), who has not typically been ‘seen’ as a rock musician, which appropriates white rock masculinity in order to emphasize that the origins of rock music (in the blues) lie with black women, whose music was, in turn, appropriated by white men.” The all-important visuals work fluidly with the song to reinforce this message, she added. “The film clip … which begins and ends with a young black woman sitting behind a drum kit, makes literally visible this lineage of largely disregarded and historically invisible black female musicianship.”

 

CHRIS MCKAY VIA GETTY IMAGES
Brittany Howard performs during an Alabama Shakes show at a 2016 music festival.

Passing The Torch

With all the obstacles and forms of discouragement women in rock have faced over the decades, rock is no longer the coolest nor freshest genre. Does it even matter how inclusive it is to women anymore? Crawford, though she qualifies that it’s important for women to have equal opportunity in any genre, suggests women look elsewhere. The masculinization of the scene has been so entrenched, and the genre itself seems so archaic, that she “wouldn’t necessarily advise [a young woman today] to pick up a guitar. I think of rock music like the realist novel ― it’s fun, people are still doing it, but why?” And though “other genres have their own problems,” she pointed out, there’s a less lengthy and calcified history of exclusion to undo. Women have been making huge amounts of exciting, boundary-pushing music in electronic music, in pop and beyond ― rock just hasn’t been as welcoming.

Conversely, McCain downplayed the severity of the obstacles faced by women in punk rock ― though the punk scene was predominantly male. “Unfortunately that’s the case in a lot of vocations,” she wrote in an email. “I think there were barriers to both men and women making it in punk music! […] In some ways the women may have held an advantage as far as getting more media attention.” McCain cited breakout female stars of the era, from Patti Smith to Tina Weymouth, who remain popular today. As Ravan realized in the 1960s, being a woman in a man’s world could be a great marketing tool.

Still, staking a visible claim to rock music isn’t just an ego trip for marginalized artists: It clears the path to stardom for those that follow. Not only does it make it easier for audiences and critics to conceptualize, for example, black and female artists as rockers, but it helps future musicians to avoid the derision, harassment and sense of alienation that has afflicted many.

Even today, women deal with gendered belittlement and abuse on tour. But audiences have seen enough female rock musicians to mitigate the level of scorn faced by individual artists. Where Fanny and Goldie and the Gingerbreads often felt like their gender was so unusual that it was simply treated as a gimmick ― the only reason people bothered to book them as opposed to the many male bands ― women who are currently early in their music careers see a more diverse scene. Night told me that The Regrettes perform alongside “a lot of women … super badass women.”

Zeldin has also toured with a number of bands with one or more woman. “There are a lot of bands that have at least some female presence. It’s nice to see that happening more and more,” she said.

Part of the more welcoming environment for women and gender non-binary individuals in rock has to do with changing norms, like a better understanding of the harm caused by sexual assault. Recalling her time in Fanny in the ‘70s, DeBuhr describes a scene that was not only permissive of male urges, but that lacked a language to talk about it critically. Though sometimes she felt deeply uncomfortable with the sexualized atmosphere, she told me, “At the time, I don’t think we called it sexual harassment … It was creepy, I didn’t like it.” Creepy behavior might still be fairly common in the music industry, but women musicians do have the vocabulary to talk about it. Take music publicist Heathcliff Berru, once a power player in the field. He fell precipitously from grace after a raft of female musicians and industry professionals ― most notably Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors ― publicly accused him of various forms of sexual misconduct.

Even the idea that women can be rebels and artists as well as homemakers, mothers and playthings needed to emerge over the past few decades. Not only were the first all-girl bands were presented as gimmicks, they were often presented as sexualized ones. Fowley notoriously positioned The Runaways as a clique of sexy jailbait rather than serious musicians ― and that’s a temporary brand at best.

During high school, in 1960s Iowa, DeBuhr played in a girl band called Women. (“We were a gimmick,” explained. “That was the attraction, it was all girls.”) While at an Iowan club, teenage DeBuhr saw a female drummer in a jazz trio. The drummer was older, “maybe 40,” she recalled. “I said, ‘I will quit when I‘m 30. I won’t be an old lady playing the drums.” She did end up hanging up her drumsticks not long after Fanny broke up. Now, she says, she regrets it.

To a young DeBuhr, that solitary, middle-aged woman drummer may have seemed like an oddity at the time; the lack of visible female rock icons inevitably perpetuates the assumption that women don’t belong onstage, unless they’re go-go dancers or sultry vocalists. Even serious bands like Fanny and the Gingerbreads faced pressure to go onstage scantily clad ― which they resisted to varying degrees.

 

SCOTT DUDELSON VIA GETTY IMAGES
Night (L) and Genessa Gariano of The Regrettes perform at a Planned Parenthood benefit.

 

Perhaps the most important evolution has been the determined, serious incursion of women into the genre, a genre that at first seemed to have no place for them. Though Ravan and Millington cite a few forerunners as inspirations ― Etta James, Lillian Briggs ― they saw their own music as something different. They were playing rock ’n’ roll in bands, just like the boys.

Today, budding musicians have a pantheon of women rockstars to draw inspiration from and emulate. “When I was five, my dad took me to a Donnas concert … and I just fell in love with it,” Night told me. “The turning point for me ― I think I was 10 ― my mom took me to see a movie about the drummer of Hole. I started listening to a lot of Hole, Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland.”

A push for mostly all-women bands may be unlikely today because, in a more inclusive scene, female musicians see less of a need to huddle together. When Night initially fell in love with The Donnas, she longed to start an all-girl band; now, she says, she doesn’t even think about gender when forming a band. Zeldin, who has always worked with male musicians, felt the same. “I’d totally be down to do a girl band,” she told me. But she wouldn’t be motivated to do so “just because it would be all girls.”

The success of “girl rock” can come in waves. For groups like Fanny and Bratmobile, being all women was part of the point; at those times, it felt like both safety in solidarity and a way of making political statement. “If the whole point was giving voice to girls, then yeah, we wanted to play with other girls,” said Wolfe. After the overtly feminist, but flawed, riot grrrl scene faded, punk and indie rock seemed to contract around men again.

“I feel like riot grrrl ended in the mid-’90s, and by the late-‘90s there was a lot of backlash,” said Wolfe. “Suddenly there were a lot fewer girl bands in the punk scene, and it was like, what happened?” The backlash to riot grrrl, which she concedes had its own problems, still felt “like sexism. Or just dissing feminism.”

Though juggernaut all-women bands like Sleater-Kinney arose from and survived riot grrrl, they were more the exception than the rule. By the early aughts, critics were commenting on the almost startling sexism of the ascendant emo and punk scene. Andy Greenwald’s Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo noted the dearth of women on popular emo labels, as well as the overtly resentful and objectifying view emo artists took of women: “Now emo songwriters were one-sided victims of heartbreak, utterly wronged and ready to sing about it, with the women having no chance to respond.”

In an essay on emo misogyny from her 2015 book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, titled “Where the Girls Aren’t,” music journalist and critic Jessica Hopper remembered growing up in the era of riot grrrl. “For me, even as a teenage autodidact who thought her every idea was worthy of expression and an audience,” she wrote, “it did not occur to me to start a band until I saw other women in one.” Watching female fans at emo shows where all-male artists sang about cardboard-cutout women who had hurt them, she thought, “I don’t want these front row girls to miss that. I don’t want girls leaving clubs denied of encouragement and potential.”

The clock couldn’t simply be turned back to the 1950s after the riot grrrl era ended, though. Bikini Kill records were still out there. We knew about the Bangles. Zeldin, who grew up frequenting the emo and hardcore scene, took the rarity of women onstage at those shows as a challenge. “I think that’s probably partially what drove me to do it, aside from having the inclination,” she told me. “It was more like ― I don’t see girls doing so let’s do it.”

Abovitz, who launched a whole publication to cover female drummers, believes fervently in the power of modeling. “There’s this sort of thing that every female drummer I know does: Go out and play a show not just for herself, but for every other female drummer,” she said. “You just want to do it, so that people will get over it already.”

The scene already looks less homogenous than it did 10 years ago, despite the daunting machismo of the aughts. Earlier generations of women musicians have sought to further their gains by promoting their own legacies, and even by educating new generations. Millington started the Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) with her partner, Ann F. Hackler, in 1986. The institute runs rock camps for young girls, among other initiatives to support women in music. Camps like the IMA’s have begun to bear fruit ― like Night’s The Regrettes, formed by three girls and a boy who met in an LA School of Rock.

Though the genre has put up walls against women for decades, women have refused to stay out ― and the more they refuse, the more open the music industry becomes to all women.

“You gotta keep writing songs that speak out about this stuff, or keep being in bands, or whatever it is that you do,” said Wolfe. “Being there, inserting yourself in a space that isn’t common for women to be.”

Merry Christmas Good for a Girl Emma Cameron

Merry Christmas from Good For A Girl!

Just a quick blog post from me to say Merry Christmas from Good for a Girl!

Merry Christmas Emma Cameron Good for a girl blog

Image: can you tell I am a professional graphic designer?

It’s been a great year; we laughed, we cried, we swore at idiots. Well, I did, anyway… Thanks to everyone who has read my ramblings and watched my interviews this year – you hanging out with me on this crazy, sexy, beautiful thing we call the internet is awesome and I hope I gave you something to enjoy at least once this year. Maybe twice? Did I make you laugh twice? PLEASE ACCEPT ME.

I’d like to thank the following people for helping me out with this GFAG biz this year;

  • My partner in life and crime, Moses (who came to Auckland and Aussie with me to film all the GFAG interviews and then edited all of the footage for me too!)
  • My twin in ‘getting shit done,’ and manager, Tom, and his assistant Max
  • Coffee
  • Beers
  • Marriage Iguanas
  • My guitar
  • Everyone who commented on my blog posts so I felt like at least one person read them

Good for a Girl will be taking a little Christmas break, to eat lots of food and drink lots of beers and buy lots of larger-sized pants for my new post-Christmas body. I’ll be back soon with more interviews, more whack-ass stories, more cool women in music, and a fuck tonne more unnecessary swear words!

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.

Emma xo

Lisa Crawley Interview Good for a Girl Emma Cameron

Interview: Lisa Crawley (@BIGSOUND)

I’ve been subconsciously stalking lisa crawley and her music for years.

Lisa Crawley Interview Good for a girl

How’s that for a headline? But it’s pretty much true. When I decided that I wanted my band to ‘give it a real go’ – I had to turn and watch other New Zealand musicians who were killing it independently to set the bar for myself, and follow their lead as best I could through the public-facing social media side of their careers. And Lisa Crawley was definitely one I had my keen stalkerish eye on from the get-go.

Lisa is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand – now based in Melbourne – who has one of the most impressive string of achievements of any artists I know. Two albums, 3 EPs, winner of Top Tune, sessioning for some of NZ’s most legendary acts, a working musician who works ruthlessly, and just an artist who knows who she is and what she wants

Given the content of a lot of her songs talking about being a woman in show biz or music, I knew she was definitely one lass I HAD to catch up with at Bigsound. And also given my years of casual stalking, I was quite excited to finally meet Lisa in person and have a chat to her about her unique experiences in the music industry, being that she is a solo artist and has been such a right blimin’ go-getter – which means she was pretty much guaranteed to have had to deal with her fair fuckin’ share of vag-related shit storms.

WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH LISA CRAWLEY BELOW:

We won’t have to wait long to see Lisa back home in New Zealand – as she has said she is currently finalising January tour dates! Yus!

Make sure to get your own personal version of your hot-stalker-self on, and check out Lisa on the internet and beyond!

LISA CRAWLEY LINKS

Website
Facebook
Youtube
Instagram
Spotify
iTunes

Interview: Lisa Crawley (@BIGSOUND) – Transcription

Emma:
So the first thing I want to ask you is about your influences and inspirations from childhood – what kind of music were you surrounded by; growing up?

Lisa Crawley:
Um, I was surrounded by, well I had a lot of music lessons from when I was 4. So the sound of the recorder I started playing (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs) Was that your flagship instrument? Your first instrument?

Lisa Crawley:
(laughs) Yeah I still play it sometimes! For like, random stuff. I played it in the Tim Finn band, and there’s a song called Six Months in a Leaky Boat and it’s got a whistle solo in it so I play that on the recorder. But it’s probably not the coolest thing to voice… (coughs) anyway…

Emma:
(laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah I had, I dunno my parents never really listened to many bands. And we kinda just had really cheesy compilation CDs for when my parent’s friends came over.

Emma:
Right

Lisa Crawley:
And I was quite involved with playing music at church when I was younger as well, so a lot of that music. A lot of.. kind of.. I wanted to be doing theatre stuff when I “grew up” so a lot of that stuff… not very.. cool..

Emma:
(laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
I don’t think I discovered The Beatles until I was 15 or something like that. But yeah I went through all the phases ass a young teenager. The first CD I bought was Mai: Street Jams, so a lot of hip hop.

Emma:
Yeah? Wow

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah and lot of just kind of.. 90s music.

Emma:
Do you feel like you had any role models of people you looked up to that made you go “I wanna be a musician I wanna be like that” ?

Lisa Crawley:
Um, I really loved.. well, even New Zealand musicians like Bic Runga and artists like that, who I still really enjoy listening to. Um, yeah. And I went to jazz school as well so listened to some jazz vocalists, but went through heaps of phases. I mean I loved the Jagged Little Pill album by Alanis Morissette and played that to death.

Emma:
Well actually Elly, before, said ‘the first tape I ever bought was Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette’ – I feel like a lot of young girls got in to Alanis which is cool!

Lisa Crawley:
Totally! Yeah! I just remember thinking it was so rebellious having swear words. Because, I had a relatively sheltered upbringing I suppose so it was like ‘ooh! wow! that’s a bit racey!’

Emma:
Which it kinda was, right!

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! And then like.. I dunno I was in a band called Velez at high school and we did like.. the Rockquest and started playing in bars when I was like 15, 16…

Emma:
Right, that’s interesting, it’s kinda similar to my experience. I started playing in bars around that age too because the guys in my band were older.

Lisa Crawley:
Did you have to bring your parents?

Emma:
Yep!

Lisa Crawley:
Yep! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah my dad came to all the shows and like watched them (laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Go Dad!

Emma:
So when you were kind of in that scene, you were quite young, were the other members of your bands girls as well?

Lisa Crawley:
No, I was the only girl. And I experienced from quite a young age; the complex of being the young girl in the band situation.

Emma:
Yep

Lisa Crawley:
Um, people that would book us, you know like… who were in hindsight very seedy some of them. And had a lot of interesting comments about being a girl in a band, and how they have some idea of what that would be like without actually knowing anything about you.

Emma:
Yeah. Do you have any specific experiences where you like… always will remember it to this day? Cuz you’re like ‘what the fuck?’

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! I have quite a few actually. Because in that kind of really… we were playing in this, the band Velez, we played at a venue called The Temple a lot which was this great original music venue on Queen Street in Auckland that were really supportive, but also a lot of ‘5 bands for 5 bucks’ type things, and yeah I remember a particular guy getting me to come upstairs to chat to him and being like ‘oh I’d like you to do some backing vocals for me’ and it was just so seedy and a really awkward situation to be in because I was like, 16, it’s like what do you say to that?

Emma:
Yeah, such a vulnerable age for girls as well, and especially in the music scene it’s kinda like.. you kinda just take it cuz you don’t know you can be like ‘oi dude, what the fuck?’

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah and I guess I wasn’t very used to conflict and stuff like that so. And on the other end of the spectrum I was playing music at church in that stage of my life and it was like these two worlds and I couldn’t win in either of them. And I really let it get to me much more than I would now. I would play – that band Velez – we ended up earning money, we discovered ‘oh we can be earning money playing covers!’ and stuff so even before 18 playing covers until 3 in the morning and like, in bars right next to strip clubs and stuff like that and people would look at you and treat you the same way. And it’s like.. whoa.

Emma:
Yeah…

Lisa Crawley:
And then I would get up at 7, go to church, and then I remember someone in the congregation who was also a musician saying, calling me aside, saying ‘oh I just think your skirts a bit short to be playing..’ that kind of thing. Little did I know that he was the one who had the problem and ended up not being faithful to his girlfriend..

Emma:
(laughs) Yeah! Right!

Lisa Crawley:
So it was obviously his problem looking at my legs and like.. [does creepy guy impression] and it was just like, what?! Cuz the night before I remember someone saying ‘oh, pretty girl but you could do with sexing it up a bit’ and, sex was this foreign thing to me then! I was still..I dunno…

Emma:
Innocent little Lisa!

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! Yeah. So it was like, what? I can’t… what? So it’s taken me a while to not worry about that. I was too scared to take my jacket off at church because I was the one playing music in the background, while the sermon was playing. And even now if I’m taking off my jacket during a gig I’m like ‘ohh… is this…’ you know? And I’m like ‘shut up, brain!’ it’s all good.

Emma:
Ah, I know. Yeah but it’s interesting because I feel like women, we do all think about this stuff when we’re musicians. Like dudes don’t ever have to think about these sorts of things.

Lisa Crawley:
That’s right, yeah!

Emma:
Clothing and image and stuff comes up a lot and being comfortable in your own skin with a lot of women I’ve talked to. And my own epxerience.

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! Yeah it’s.. pretty shit (laughs).

Emma:
Yeah! But the annoying thing is it doesn’t really come from us. It’s bred in to us habitually by comments like, you know ‘your skirts a bit too short’ or ‘you could sex it up a bit’ you know? Like we don’t bring that on ourselves.

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! I’m sure, in hindsight, the god I believe in or believed in or whatever, would be much more offended by his comment than my legs.

Emma:
Yeah!! He created these legs.. (laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
(laughs) saying that, the same thing happened at a school I was working at. I was taking the choir, I’d come in on my day off, taking the choir and the reverend said the same thing! But it was a knee length skirt down to here [gestures].

Emma:
Oop! No! Can’t do the knees!

Lisa Crawley:
I know! And she was wearing Crocs. And I’m like..

Emma:
(laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Come on, what’s more offensive? But yeah I took it on board and was like ‘what’s wrong.. what have I done wrong’ and I got really upset because I take quite a lot of pride in how I present myself and I really love doing the mentoring aspect of songwriting. I’ve done a lot of that in New Zealand actually, working at schools, LOVE working with girls and helping them create music. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of image you’re putting out..

Emma:
Yeah.

Lisa Crawley:
It’s hard because sometimes, you know, you see Instagram and it’s so easy to compare yourself to other people or think ‘oh maybe I need to be putting a photo up where I look filtered’ or you know.. it’s like.. ugh. But then you think about, you know, is this contributing to a better society for female musicians or not?

Emma:
Yeah.. who knows, really?

Lisa Crawley:
It’s a complex.

Emma:
So with your mentoring you say you work with young girls quite a bit; are you quite conscious of like, not warn them, but kinda just let them know about the industry as a whole and like don’t be discouraged if a guy tells them ‘your skirts too short’ like those things are going to happen, do you ever talk about that kinda stuff as well?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah I do talk about that kind of thing as well, cuz I mean, but I also don’t want to sound like I’m this old bitter has-been or something

Emma:
(laughs) yeah!

Lisa Crawley:
Cuz I’ve done quite a bit of work as a session musician, playing keyboards and singing for those talent shows like X-Factor and that sort of thing, and there is that side to be weary of where people can get ripped off – guys and girls – but that’s another sort of thing. Yeah. I worked so hard doing shitty jobs to pay for my first couple of music videos before I got any funding or assistance and a guy, I was just sort getting my own stuff out there more, someone who had their own label showed interest. This really kind of awkward… ‘let’s have dinner and chat about it’ and it’s such a grey area. Cuz you’re like ‘ok… cool..’ but then you feel like.. i dunno. Just the way that that’s set up. Is that appropriate?

Emma:
Yeah like dinner… is this weird, are you going to hit on me?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah!

Emma:
Is this actually secretly a date? And if you go there alone as well it’s so vulnerable and hard to get out of as well

Lisa Crawley:
That’s right. And yeah, and it’s hard cuz you don’t want to assume the worst. You want to be confident in your art and what you’ve done. But funnily enough, this guy turned up drunk at a gig that I did and hit on me. And I didn’t respond. And then those music videos were no longer on TV.

Emma:
Really?!

Lisa Crawley:
Just a couple of them. That was one experience. But it’s just like.. really?

Emma:
Yeah that’s part of it as well. Cuz obviously with this blog and talking about women in the industry, I think there’s a lot of fear that even if we do talk about it, people might be like ‘you can’t talk about that! I’m not going to work with her.’ Which is why I’ve tried to make it like an inclusive conversation and it’s not aggressive in any way. But that’s a big thing that comes up too; being scared to sabotage your career if you don’t let a guy hit on you who’s apparently influential in some way.

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah you can like, laugh it off awkwardly, but it will get to a point – I have got to a point sometimes where I’ll just snap – especially I’ve always supplemented my own music by playing in hotels and stuff.  So I was working at The Ritz hotel in London, like in the VIP area, and you think that would be a place with some class…

Emma:
Yep.

Lisa Crawley:
But it’s just the same everywhere. You know I was playing piano for 5 hours I think, and singing for 5 hours…

Emma:
Wow…

Lisa Crawley:
Someone tipped… I had a tip jar cuz it didn’t pay very well so that’s another way of earning money. He goes ‘can you continue playing because I’m really enjoying it’ and I was about to have a break, and then, you know, expected after I finished a conversation. Wanted me to sit down, he had a wine for me, and I’m like I’m not an escort?! You know like I’ve seen escorts in these places but I felt like I was being treated the same way. And someone in that actual Ritz hotel came up to me and said ‘I’ve always wanted to fuck a girl on a piano.’ It’s like…

Emma:
Holy shit!

Lisa Crawley:
Wow! Okay! Good for you – I’ve always wanted to punch someone in the face!

Emma:
Yeah!! (laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah it’s like.. I dunno.. but because I’m there in a black dress and like..

Emma:
Just…being a girl

Lisa Crawley:
It’s this awkward situation you know? I’m finishing at 1 in the morning in London getting the night bus. I hate that situation that you’re put in. I’m like am I here because I’m a girl or because I’m actually fucking good at what I do? And you have to reaffirm that all the time and it gets really tiring.

Emma:
Yeah “it’s not cuz I’m a girl. It’s not cuz I’m a girl.”

Lisa Crawley:
I mean there’s nothing wrong – I love being a woman! And celebrating other women’s talent. But yeah it feels yuck when that happens. I get a lot of winks and stuff like that and it’s like… I dunno. I get really angry. But i also know fantastic men out there that have been supportive, but unfortunately um, yeah the people that I sort of let assist me have ended up being slightly disappointing as well in the way I’ve seen them treat other women. It’s like ‘oh man…’

Emma:
Yeah. We will get there…

Lisa Crawley:
Indeed!

Emma:
The conversation is the important part, and just letting people know that shit like this happens. Those are some brilliant, awful stories (laughs).

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah.. we’ll hang out later and I’ll tell you more!

Emma:
Yeah, brilliant. So what’s next for you? Have you got some releases on the calendar?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! I’ve just started to rent a studio space so I can actually make a job out of going there and writing everyday. I put out an EP at the end of last year  and toured with that. And I’ve been living in Melbourne for about 2.5 years now. And there’s some great other musicians I’ve met, there’s a great community. there’s people going out on weeknights watching music. I don’t feel like I’m an outcast because I’m not married with kids… like all of my friends back home! It’s been good for me in that respect and also because I’ve been making music in New Zealand for a long time; being in Australia’s really…

Emma:
Refreshing?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! And not being that girl that played at church and not be the lounge singer. Just be me. Write new music. The gigs are getting better and better and I’m getting better at recording my own stuff, so, don’t have to be at the… be able to my own demos and stuff. So hopefully a new album next year is the plan..

Emma:
Wicked

Lisa Crawley:
I’ve done 2  so far, but it’s pretty expensive. And I continue to choose to work playing music that I don’t always care about that much like weddings and stuff. And I really have to monitor how much of that I let in because I am normally the only girl and it is a bit of a boys club. And watching these guys even just rate the women that are there makes me so mad!

Emma:
And probably also doing a lot of shows like that, you can’t get too stuck in that world cuz it kinda takes away from your own inspiration. Cuz when you do shows like that are you doing covers?

Lisa Crawley:
The weddings? Yeah so the weddings… I’d be a singer or something, you’d be on guitar, we shakes hands and say nice to meet you cuz we’ve probably never played together, and we’ve got to play for 6 hours. Just have to know a heap of songs.

Emma:
Wow.. that’s intense..

Lisa Crawley:
A highlight this year was arranging one of my songs for the Auckland Symphony

Emma:
Wow! That’s amazing!

Lisa Crawley:
Stuff like that I go ‘actually know, you are good at music cuz you can arrange bits and pieces’ and I’ve never done that before

Emma:
That’s awesome!

Lisa Crawley:
It’s a very up and down thing, you know? I did a stadium tour opening for Simply Red which are like… do you know them?

Emma:
Yeah (laughs) of course!

Lisa Crawley:
It was kinda random, you know, but cool to play to that many people. But the next day I’m playing to no-one and possibly earning more doing that… it’s just like a bit of a head fuck.

Emma:
That’s great though, I think there’s something about…I mean playing big shows is massive but there’s something about playing small shows that kind of keeps you grounded in the whole thing.

Lisa Crawley:
Oh yeah it’s like ‘that’s right… this is my life’

Emma:
And that kinda makes the dynamic of it!

Lisa Crawley:
Exactly.

Ellie Scrine Huntly Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Elly Scrine from Huntly (@BIGSOUND)

Huntly are a 3-piece electronic-pop-r&b BAND making ‘doof you can cry to’

huntly ellie scrine good for a girl interview
“Hey… what’s this? Good For a girl… ” Elly came out of seemingly no where in the empty hall I was positioned in setting up for the interviews that were ahead of me at BIGSOUND that day. We had a back and forth about how Good for a Girl was my blog and I was interviewing women in music to talk about their experiences in the industry; and how she was part of LISTEN who are doing a similar thing in Melbourne with all non-male artists. We came to a quick conclusion that we should definitely hang out and chat and so thus this awesome interview was born!

huntly ellie scrine good for a girl interview video
But a little about Elly and her band Huntly before we get to that! Huntly comprise of Elly, Charlie and Andrew and are self-described ‘doof music you can cry to.’ I’ve actually been listening and enjoying their music for months on Spotify playlists without even realising, and that description is 1000% accurate. Very emotional heart-driven personal and private lyrics, over lush and chill dance beats with wonderful tints of R&B in the vocal melodies.

They’re based in Melbourne and are involved in the solid movement there that is bringing more attention to non-male artists on the scene. Elly is particularly passionate and involved with her work for LISTEN organisation. I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts and opinions while she was speaking on a panel at BIGSOUND about gender representation and discrimination in the Australian industry.

huntly live ellie scrine good for a girl interview video

The other month when I was driving to Wellington with Villainy we drove through Huntly and it took all of my will power to not take heaps of photos and spam Elly on the internet. They should perform a show in their namesake town.. I didn’t ask her where the name came from but it’s hard to imagine it would be inspired from anywhere else, right?! This was just a side note i felt deeply compelled to pointlessly add in to this blog post… ANYWAY.

Watch my video interview with Elly from Huntly!

New music from Huntly is flowing – they just released a fresh jam on the 21st November called Please; with more new tracks to follow in quick suit!

To keep up with Huntly, chuck ’em a follow on Spotify or check out their links below!

Huntly links

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Spotify
iTunes

INTERVIEW: ELLy SCRINE FROM HUNTLY (TRANSCRIPTION)

Emma:
So, what I want to know about you first is your inspirations and influences in music from a really young age! What was surrounding you in music when you were little?

Elly (Huntly):
Mmm. Um my first CD ever was Alanis Morissette; Jagged Little Pill

Emma:
Awesome!

Elly (Huntly):
Looking back, still a great album. What a beak up album! Um, but outside of that, I mean a lot of male influence. which, you know I only started picking up on in recent years when I became an adult and realising that a lot of my kind of “serious” music love was… yeah a lot of men. And when I started getting in to electronic music, particularly so. Yeah, people like James Blake, Radiohead’s electronic stuff, Flying Lotus. Yeah.

Emma:
That’s been coming up a lot with a lot of chicks I’ve been talking to – just talking about their influences. And I go, well were there any women? Cuz they’ll start naming all these guys and bands with guys..

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! yeah.

Emma:
And they’re like ‘yeah…that’s all we really have’ – there isn’t much visibility for women.

Elly (Huntly):
Yep. Yep. Yeah absolutely – you really have to seek it out. Which I do now, which is great. I kind of made a promise to myself at the start of this year that I would not go out of my way to download any men’s music

Emma:
(laughs)

Elly (Huntly):
But it’s interesting just how it creeps in. Like I keep looking through my my Apple Music playlist and I’m like.. “Fuck how did that happen it’s all men again!?” (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah!

Elly (Huntly):
But yeah, I do make a big effort now and I have like a lot of good women and gender non-conforming artists in my playlists. And I’m DJ-ing on Friday night and doing all those kind of artists. Bangers.

Emma:
That’s awesome. Like I kinda find that too, like I’ll go ‘oh i’m gunna drive and listen to music’ and I’ll chuck on one of my favourite bands and it’ll be a guys band. But since I’ve started this blog, being more aware of women in music where – I was saying to Moses last night – it’s almost gotten to the point where if I go watch a guys band play now, I’m actually kind of judging them from the perspective that we would usually be judged on?

Elly (Huntly):
It’s very uncomfortable, I think, once you – I guess that’s the process of a journey of feminism – is kind of uncovering all of this stuff that is normalised and naturalised. And the fact that you would see an all-male band your whole life, if you weren’t really tuned in to that stuff, and never really question it. Whereas now when I see all-male bands. I’m very impatient (laughs)

Emma:
Yep (laughs)

Elly (Huntly):
Um, and I am kind of just like ‘yup, cool you’re doing the same thing that has been done forever and you haven’t made an attempt to destabilise.’ And I have a problem with that.

Emma:
Yeah, totally. Cuz you’ve got 2 guys with you in Huntly, right? Do they embrace feminism in music as well?

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah absolutely, they’re really good allies. And I guess like they’re, gender identity, isn’t quite as simple… it doesn’t really feel like… well we’re not two straight cis guys with one queer woman. So yeah, it’s kind of a bit more complex than that in our project. But certainly they have lived with male privilege their whole lives and they’re pretty good with recognising that and being called out. It’s definitely a process of.. you know when I say ‘you know when you use that phrase? It makes it sound like you automatically know more than me..’ and I’ll just kind of make those kinds of calls, and generally if one of them doesn’t get it the other one will..

Emma:
And they can just work it out amongst themselves (laughs)

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah. Yep.

Emma:
So what actually inspired you to get in to music? How young were you when you started wanting to be a performer and a writer?

Elly (Huntly):
I was pretty young! I was always singing and playing. Actually, I played the flute in high school and was doing all the classical music stuff. But I loved singing Jazz, and I went on to study a Jazz vocal degree. And it was then that I started playing piano because I didn’t want to be like… the kind of woman singer…

Emma:
Token singer…

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah, especially in the Jazz environment where the women are predominantly singers. Which, that’s absolutely not to undermine their strength and power doing that because I think that’s incredible, but I wanted to be able to accompany myself and so I started playing keys, and that’s when I started songwriting. And then I guess as I got more in to exploring, the gender stuff became more of a problem and I felt myself pulling out of the jazz world because it’s just such a, like, boys club.

Emma:
Yeah, so when you say ‘problem’, were there kind of like specific experiences that were just ridiculous, or?

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah. Yeah just starting to tune in and realise like, the only women here are singers and they’re treated like decoration. And you know, part of me wants to change that and interrupt those kinds of narratives. But, the other part of me was like ‘fuck it, I’ll just get out.’ (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs) Yeah, and have you found a similar vibe doing the music you do with Huntly now? Or have you found that to be just a more welcoming environment in general?

Elly (Huntly):
I mean in Melbourne there’s a lot of – there’s a great scene, particularly around.. yeah really supportive feminist scene. Because of LISTEN. Um, and, so yeah there’s definitely been more efforts made. And that’s really important. But as I was saying before, as you go up to the top, like you know when people are like ‘Oh you sound like James Blake’ or.. I mean Little Dragon is probably another influence and there’s a woman in that band. But that’s kind of.. yeah, one of our only people we’ll get likened to. Like big, bigger acts that actually have a woman in them. But then again, other acts in Melbourne that are not all-male acts, that we’ll get… that we really look up to. And they’re bands like the Harpoons, and Friendships and Habits who are both here [Bigsound]. There is incredible music for us even to look up to just in Melbourne.

Emma:
Yeah I’ve been to Melbourne a couple times and I’m always really impressed with the scene there. Like the diversity of the scene, and how friendly everyone is when you go to a gig. I don’t know if there has been any experiences you’ve had living there where you go to a gig and there is, you know, total sexism or fucked up dudes doing shitty things? But I haven’t really ever experienced that in that city.

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah. There’s definitely a movement against that. I’m part of a club night called Cool Room and it’s like techno music, but there is a priority for DJs like non-male DJs so we’ve got a lot of women and a lot of queer people and trans and gender non-conforming DJs who from internationally and locally who get booked. And then the space is deliberately set up to be a safe space, so I’m one of the safety coordinators along with others. And it’s basically set up so people can approach us if they’re ever made to feel uncomfortable; which in venues and at gigs has gone on forever and it’s kind of been left unquestioned and yeah, there’s a real movement to change that in Melbourne.

Emma:
Yeah, awesome! I’d also like to talk about your role with LISTEN. So what do you do with LISTEN?

Elly (Huntly):
Well, LISTEN is fantastic because it’s quite open, if you want to get involved and use your skills you can. So I started going along to meetings a bit over a year ago and have since then been involved in booking. I’ve booked a few LISTEN parties with a focus on women and GNC acts. And, the biggest project this far is probably our conference which is happening in October. Chloe and I are coordinating that with a bunch of people and so we’ve got key notes speakers and lots of panels along with live showcases at night.

Emma:
Yeah yeah!

Elly (Huntly):
Kind of like BIGSOUND but with a focus on feminist thought. So yeah there’s panels from like.. I’m moderating a panel speaking with school-age feminist in music, and safer spaces, and yeah.

Emma:
That sounds fucking awesome! And lastly, what’s next for you and your music with Huntly? Are you guys putting out a record soon?

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! So we released our debut EP this year, it’s called ‘Feel Better or Stop Trying’

Emma:
(laughs) that’s a cool name!

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! So we are actually going to follow it up pretty quickly with another couple of tracks. We finished recording and will be putting them out before the end of the year!

Emma:
Sweet!

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! And got a couple of festivals we’re playing over the summer, and yeah I think we’ve got a big summer ahead and I guess looking towards an album for next year, as exhausting as that sounds!

Wet Lips Band Good For a Girl interview melbourne

Interview: Grace & Jenny from Wet Lips (@BIGSOUND)

WET LIPS ARE NOT A GIRL BAND.

Wet Lips good for a girl blog interview

“Wet Lips are a one-stop shop for getting off chops.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll spill your beer. Try on Try It Again.
A searing Melbourne anthem about seeing an old root out at every fuckin’ venue and thinking “y’know what, I’m DTF”.
Unhinged, unstoppable, as fun and sloppy as a 3am d-floor pash with some hot stranger.
Pucker up.”

I’m not usually as lazy as to just copy and paste a band’s bio – but this has got to be one of the best ones I’ve read in a while.

Wet Lips are a 3-piece punk band from Melbourne, inspired by the lack of non-male representation in the local rock scene. There is Grace on vocals and guitar, Jenny on bass and vocals, and soon-to-depart-on-other-adventures Mo on drums.

I had only briefly heard of them before heading to BIGSOUND after I had been searching for women on the festival line up to hang out with. I didn’t know much about them or their music, so while meeting and chatting with Grace and Jenny (Mo is gender neutral) I got to know how low-key hilarious these girls were, I was very intrigued to check out the fulle band at their showcase later that night.

Wet Lips Good For a Girl interview bigsound band

I had an absolute blast at their show! Grace saunters about looking over the crowd like she owns the fucking place (good), Jenny looks like she’s having the time of her life and has the best dance moves, and Mo provides the backbone with some beats that were hella fun to watch! But the best part of all is their on-stage banter, which is a string of hilarious exchanges between Grace and Jenny about a range of topics from how much they hate lanyards (they were around many necks at BIGSOUND) to Jenny’s parents. They also took the time to acknowledge that they were playing in a venue that is built on top of aboriginal stolen land and expressed their gratitude for the honour of playing there.

The entire crowd was enthralled by their set. It was v v fun to watch.

SO WATCH MY CHAT WITH GRACE AND JENNY FROM WET LIPS.

Wet Lips have just dropped a sweet new split 7″ single with Jenny’s other band, Cable Ties, and it’s a lil ripper. Listen to it below and check out Wet Lips on the interwebz.

wet lips good for a girl blog interview

WET LIPS LINKS

Facebook
Bandcamp
Instagram

………………………………….

INTERVIEW: GRACE & JENNY FROM WET LIPS [TRANSCRIPTION]!

Emma:
So I guess we will approach this individually – your influences and inspiration growing up. What music was surrounding you when you were kids or…

Grace:
A lot of when I was a kid, a lot of Australian stuff that my parents listened to. A lot of Aus-Rock like Crowded House and Paul Kelly. Then as a teenager I moved in to the whole Indie Rock, Brit Rock thing. Loved a lot of british bands and triple j bands. Then I discovered riot girl, so Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, and there was kind of… so Jenny and I met when we moved to college in Melbourne. And we started going and seeing local bands and that really just opened up, well, our brains, really! Yeah so bands that we loved were like Terrible Truths, then heaps of garage bands, um. Yeah… trying to think of other women bands that we went and saw…

Jenny:
Yeah so when we first started, cuz we’ve been playing for 4 years, so when we first started going out to see bands, we didn’t see many women. So we went and saw Terrible Truths a lot and we really liked them and they were really inspiring. And yeah, … but recently in Melbourne there has been a massive surge with women and gender non-binary and trans people..

Emma:
Yeah with LISTEN and stuff

Both:
Yeah!

Jenny:
Yeah so there’s this really amazing vibrant community and that’s where we get all of our energy and inspiration from now!

Emma:
Yeah! And so when you say that you guys met in college is that high school or university?

Grace:
Oh, like university, yeah

Emma:
Right!

Jenny:
We’re both from the country.

Emma:
Right

Jenny:
So I’m from Bendigo and Grace is from like.. south Queensland. So we started uni…

Emma:
And that was the connection like ‘we’re both from way out of town”

Both:
Yeah

Jenny:
So we moved in res accommodation and…

Grace:
And then moved in to a share house with our friend Maya from Habits. And yeah we all just little 19 year olds going and drinking $2 pots and seeing the same bands every night of the week!

Emma:
(laughs) Wicked! So what got you guys individually in to music? Like did you pick up instruments from quite a young age, or?

Jenny:
Well I actually played folk music before… so yeah my influences are a bit different because until I was playing in like a celtic folk band

Emma:
Wow!

Jenny:
Yeah and I was really in to folk music

Grace:
They were really really good

Jenny:
And um, yeah I just met Grace and liked Grace and..

Emma:
She brought you over to the dark side….

Jenny:
I went to gigs in to town and I was like “why does everyone sing out of tune and why don’t they tune their guitars?”

Emma:
(laughs)

Jenny:
But yeah and now I love it.

Emma:
“Now I love out of tune guitars!!” (laughs)

Jenny:
Yeah!

Emma:
How about you, Grace? What got you in to music, like actually wanting to perform?

Grace:
Ohhh just my um… my forever unsatisfied ego, really. Nah not actually… well, actually yes. Well yeah it was just this kind of thing where I’d always been really interested in rock music. And we started going to see all these bands and think I’ve always had this sense of like ‘oh they’re doing all these really cool things and they’re getting lost of attention and that looks really fun” Yeah and we really felt like there was a big gap in the Melbourne scene maybe 4 years ago, there weren’t many women. And it was just this real sense of ‘fuck that. let’s do it.’

Emma:
Yeah, so that was kind of the motive? Like you guys set out to start a girl rock band together?

Grace:
Yeah..

Jenny:
Kind of!

Grace:
Kind of.. I’m sorry I just realized everything I said revealed what a massive narcissist I am…

Emma:
(laughs)

Grace:
Umm I try and keep that under the surface most of the time.

Emma:
This is a safe space to be a narcissist

Grace:
Yeah.. I think it was more just like we want to start a band and we wanna do what all these other guys are doing

Jenny:
We looked at them and we were like ‘we can do that’ and so…

Emma:
And better..

Grace:
Yeah, well, we are better. And um..

Emma:
There it is again (laughs)

Grace:
Yeah so we started and we were so… well I certainly was really desperate for approval from all the people in that kind of scene. and you know we’d play shows.. and we’ve gotten so much shit over the years. We’re always on first. People would make disparaging remarks. And even like I think like 2 years ago I was playing through someone else’s amplifier and I was like ‘have you switched it on?’ and he said ‘yeah!’ and I leaned down and he was like ‘yeah and this is the volume knob, and this is the gain knob…’ and I was like yep yep I have this amp at home like this is the same amp and he’s like ‘and this is the tremolo…and this is…’

Emma:
“Did you even hear what I just said? Like… you know I’m about to play in a band.. like i do actually do the thing…’

Both:
Yeah

Emma:
Yeah I get that a bit too…

Jenny:
When we did get recognition, a lot of the time it was kinda like this quirky and cute thing that they were…

Emma:
A bit condescending

Jenny:
Yeah

Grace:
Yeah always the novelty. And so I think we’ve moved away, especially in the past 2 years, of seeking approval from that group. And going okay actually we don’t need you. And I guess we’ve been lucky we’ve been part of a big community and a lot of our friends have started bands in the last few years and we’ve reached out and yeah there are organizations like LISTEN and other kind of networks. And venues like tote that put on really great stuff… and.. yeah

Jenny:
And I’ll say at this point also like.. when we started… like, Mo, our drummer is non-binary so.. yeah we’re not a girl band

Emma:
Not a girl band, yeah sorry!!

Jenny:
No no you’re okay it’s fine!

Grace:
And there is such a vibrant trans and gender non-conforming community in Melbourne. As Chloe Turner from LISTEN said yesterday, they really are making the most innovative music at the moment.

Emma:
Yep!

Grace:
And there are artists like Simona Castricum who’s at BIGSOUND, Habits… and it’s really cool seeing it-

Jenny:
Chelsea Bleach!

Grace:
Just seeing it absolutely explode. And they’re starting to get some of the recognition they deserve

Emma:
Yeah well it’s brilliant that they’re showcasing here as well! It’s great. We kind do a similar little festival like this in New Zealand. It happens.. it was just at the weekend. They fly some of the panelist from here over there. And we showcased at that. And I was looking at the line up, only 12 artists play the whole time, it’s not like here. I realized that 50% of them had women in them, which was really cool cuz I feel like we’re at this critical period at the moment where we are starting to be listened to. And people are starting to kind of.. the conversation is not as scary to people any more. There’s been a lot of development and Melbourne is like a hub for that. It’s culturally very accepting and open, and it’s great that you guys are based there…

Grace:
Yeah it’s great! We love it! We feel like it has, in the past year just in terms of something tangible.. like often at the bigger underground venues like the tote and that kind of thing.. they don’t like putting on line ups that are all men. So they will often book a band that has at least one woman or a GnC person in there. But it’s at this stage where they’ll book that band but they’ll put them on first still

Emma:
Right so it’s like a step..

Grace:
Yeah it’s a step, and um… I’m really interested in.. cuz there was this kind of thing that happened in the 90s to a certain extent. And I’m really interested in how you keep that moving in to the future, and you don’t regress back to the indie rock scene of 10 years ago. Not that I was part of it, but it was very male dominated and people weren’t having these sort of conversations.

Emma:
Yeah

Grace:
Yeah so, I think we have made a bit of progress. But the music industry is still full of misogyny. And the vast majority of people still don’t respect women’s music. And they still see it fundamentally as something abnormal, and sort of just a novelty.

Emma:
Yeah definitely. And we have made steps with women but, like, as you say kind of the next thing is the GnC community and yeah… I hope that what everyone is learning from women starting to come to the forefront is that actually progress isn’t terrifying and actually like everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard.

Grace:
Yep

Emma:
And yeah I think that’s slowly but surely happening. I don’t think it will regress back. I hope not anyway. Unless like Donald Trump comes in to power and everything turns to shit. Influences a whole bunch of other horrible white dudes (laughs)

Both:
(laugh) yeah!

Emma:
So what’s next for you guys? Have you got releases coming out? Records? Tours?

Both:
Yeah!

Jenny:
We’re doing a split 7” which is coming out in November. And so, the split on the other side is with my other band, Cable Ties

Emma:
Oh cool!

Jenny:
So that’ll be really good! And we’ve recorded and album and we will be releasing it but that will be next year and… we don’t know when

Grace:
Yeah! Hey if anyone runs a label… get in touch! Ah yeah, so we’ve got the album. We’ve mixed half of it and doing the other half in 2 weeks or something! And, yeah, we’ll just be trying to put that out. Maybe put out another single before it.

Emma:
Awesome!

Tali Good for a Girl Interview MC Tali Natalia Sheppard

Interview: Tali (@Going Global)

TALI IS ONE OF THE MOST PROLIFIC ARTISTS TO COME OUT OF THE DRUM AND BASS SCENE

MC Tali good for a girl interview

And she’s my mate – ner ner!! Tali, MC Tali, or Natalia Sheppard, is a babe of all babes. She is one of the most positive humans I’ve ever met, and her work ethic for music is relentless and inspiring. This girl will not quit, her passion for her craft is 5eva. Tali first rose to fame after she moved over to the UK and signed with label Full Cycle, releasing her Top 40 UK Chart hit, Lyric on My Lip in 2004. Check it out, if you’re not familiar with Tali at all, you probably will recognise this track!

I met Tali a few years ago now through some mutual musical Christchurch friends when she was down here visiting and probably performing a couple of sets. Being a young sprogget on the rock scene, I didn’t know who she was by face or name, but when she got up on the mic during a jam session and started singing and rapping – my mind was absolutely blown and in awe of her talent and more importantly; her complete confidence and ownership of the space when she performs. I became a Tali fan right then and there!

MC Tali good for a girl interview live

So when I was taking Good for a Girl interviews to Going Global this year, and Tali was going to be talking on a panel, I knew I had to get her in for a chat. I am very aware that the Drum & Bass scene is just as – if not more – male dominated than the rock scene. And knowing Tali to have a strong mind and heart, and a clear passion for women in music with a lot of her music mentoring and teaching work focussing on inspiring and empowering young women and girls in to a career in music, I knew this chat was going to be good. REAL GOOD.

WATCH MC TALI AND MYSELF TALK ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE AS A WOMAN IN THE DnB SCENE HERE

Since I’ve already mentioned how Tali is one of the most prolific and hard working artists in this scene, you bet your ass she’s just released even MORE new music for us to wrap our ears around.

Listen to her fresh new E.P. dropped just last week, called Keta, HERE.

Check out on of my fav lush tracks from the EP, How To Get High, below.

CONNECT WITH TALI ONLINE

Facebook
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Spotify
iTunes

…………………

INTERVIEW: MC TALI (@GOING GLOBAL) – TRANSCRIPT

Emma:
So we’re just going to talk being ladies and vaginas and stuff! Sooo… do you…

Tali:
You don’t wanna talk about my penis then? (laughing)

Emma:
No, not really interested in that (laughing). So first I would just like to know about your influences. Even just as a child – like the music that was surrounding you growing up.

Tali:
So interesting because I look at a lot of genres of music now in sort of relation to the same genres of music I listened to as a child and what women are doing now as opposed to what they were doing then. I definitely listened to a lot more hip hop back then. And I say ‘back then’ because it’s 90s/80s.. mainly 90s. I’m quite young, actually (laughing). But um, yeah, so it was mainly… I listened to a lot of hip hop. That’s what I really really loved. Because there was a lot of strong powerful female rappers back then. And a lot of them who were sexy and confident but without being overtly…. naked? You know? Who kept their clothes on a lot but were still sexual and confident. so I listened to a lot of like, Salt N Pepa, En Vogue, Nenah Cherry, um, even Missy Elliot in the early 2000s. She was a massive influence on me.

Emma:
I love her.

Tali:
Yeah and she had the style steez, and she didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought about her, her size, or you know, she was just herself. And to me that was really inspirational, especially because I didn’t have.. you know, being a drum and bass artist, I didn’t have a lot of female influences so I looked at the hip hop girls. And I look at the hip hop girls now and there isn’t a lot of hip hop girls I relate to now at all.

Emma:
Right. So because I know that you’re really in to women in music, and you up that culture, when you were younger, were you consciously in to women role models for your music? Or was it just you were drawn to them? Or..

Tali:
Umm I think it was like… cuz I grew up in a house with a sister and two brothers. But we grew up on a farm. And so even though there was this side of me that was really girly and liked, like, dolls, there was also the side of me that loved building forts and playing in the river and hanging out with my dog. And neither side was never encouraged more than the other. It was very much about being free and especially living on a farm, you have the potential to do that. And so I kinda grew up with that attitude of sort of, never trying to be older than what I was or cooler than what I was. Just trying to be me. Obviously that changed when I got a lot older and you have society’s perceptions of how you should be as a woman and stuff so it did start to creep in, but, back then I would say I gravitated towards these women because 1) I loved rapping, I loved Mc-ing, I loved music and I loved fashion. And they encompassed all those things but they did it in a way that was relatable. It was cool, it was sassy, it was confident and it was them doing them. I didn’t feel like they were doing something because the record label told them to do that, I felt like they were genuinely doing that and saying that because that was who they were.

Emma:
And did that empower you as a young girl that wanted to get in to music? That you were like “i could be like that”

Tali:
Yeah!

Emma:
Like were there ever any male artists that made you feel “oh yeah I wanna do that too!”

Tali:
Oh yeah! No, there were. That was not so much as a child. As a little girl you definitely look to female artists, don’t you? But there were obviously guys who were making music, like, (laughs) like I definitely loved a lot of new jack swing, and I loved a lot of hip hop again, but then I got in to a lot of rock music.

Emma:
Right!

Tali:
Yeah like I loved Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I loved Tool, I loved all that music.. I know! Um, Offspring, Beastie Boys – which was a combination of hip hop and rock..

Emma:
But isn’t it interesting that all the rock bands you’re mentioning are all male rock bands, too?

Tali:
Yeah! So there was only… probably no female rock bands.. oh maybe! I liked L7, and I liked Elastica. Garbage I kind of got in to, No Doubt sort of a little but. But those for me, I was already on my path of getting in to electronic music at that stage. But those male bands I’m talking about – the reason why I loved them so much was the emotion I was connecting with. So when I was young I was connecting with women I could see myself being like, and then when I got in to rock music it was more music I felt emotionally stirred by. And it was at that time in my life where I was 14/15 so you know.. emotiooonnss.. (laughs) you know 16/17. And then I started to get in to hip hop again. So like Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and this time it was about artists who had a platform and were using that platform to say something of value to society. So this was when I was at university and I started thinking about ‘what is my role in this world, especially as a woman? How can I use my platform to say something?’ I mean, I didn’t have a platform at that stage, but it was definitely on my mind. And then when I eventually got in to drum and bass, there were literally no females. I mean, maybe there were two DJs; Chemistry and Storm. And one female MC, but I wasn’t in to her, I didn’t like her style. So I was looking at 40 year old black men from London and thinking I needed to sound like that.

Emma:
That’s really interesting to me because obviously a lot of my experiences and my blog talks about women in rock at the moment. But that’s why I wanted to talk to you because I also know drum and bass and the electronica scene is heavily swayed towards men as well.

Tali:
Yeah, totally!

Emma:
So, did you feel alone?

Tali:
Oh, god yeah! Oh my gosh, absolutely. I mean on one hand it was really nice because I was very coddled, in a sense. When I signed to Full Cycle, the boys who signed me, there were 5 of them on the label, and they were very protective of me. They would definitely protect me and give me a lot of advice but all of this perspective was coming from a male perspective. You know like, nobody ever gave me advice on how I should deal with male fans who speak to me inappropriately, or how I should deal with a male promoter who calls me a diva just cuz I ask for a dressing room with a mirror. It’s like, we’d just come off tour, we were on a tour bus, there was me and 2 backing singers who were females, we had a dressing room with no mirror in it, and we were expected to put on clothes and do make up. You know, it’s like, there is a standard. That to me is a standard, asking for a mirror is asking for a certain standard. It’s not ‘go and use the public toilets’ – no I don’t want to use the public toilets cuz the audience is arriving!

Emma:
It’s also the ignorance to there weren’t many women artists around, so they just think women artist need what men artists need. Or like ‘all artist just need the same thing’

Tali:
Yeah! ‘oh well we’re all equal here!’ and I’m like ‘umm I’m pretty sure the guys would want a mirror in their room too-‘

Emma:
If they were putting on lipstick!

Tali:
Yeah! It’s like, I don’t even have a compact, I don’t think I even had a mobile phone at that point, I think my phone had broken before I even went on tour. Anyway – it’s things like that where I definitely felt that I needed someone to guide me. And I didn’t have that guidance. And so therefore there were moments where I possibly made mistakes or said inappropriate things, but I very very quickly learned ‘oh okay I shouldn’t have said that’ or ‘I shouldn’t have done that’ and I took that and I rolled with it. And now that’s why I’m so passionate about trying to bring young women through in electronic music and taking them under my wing and giving them guidance. And why I love good for a girl, because, we don’t have these conversations. We don’t talk about these things. And unless we do, and young women have places where they can go and read this stuff and be like ‘oh okay..’

Emma:
‘other women have this stuff..’

Tali:
Yeah! Yeah. If they don’t have that, then they will make those mistakes, and I want to be able to prevent people from.. I mean it’s good to make mistakes! But, at the same time, it would’ve been nice if someone had said to me, ‘hey, maybe tell him to fuck off that’s not appropriate’ you know, ‘it’s okay!’

Emma:
And do you have any kind of key moments in your career where you went ‘okay.. that’s fucked.’ Like… something where you’re just like ‘are you fucking kidding me?’ you know, to do with being a woman..

Tali:
Yeah! Well, to do with being a woman and not to do with being a woman. I mean, sometimes it was because I was alone, like, because I didn’t have somebody there or security or anything so people felt like they could approach me and speak to me. But I’ve also seen them approach men and speak to men like that as well. So it’s like, there’s definitely been situations that come down to the fact of being an MC and people come up to you and are like ‘gimme the mic man, gimme the mic. I wanna MC, gimme the mic’ and you’re just like ‘I don’t walk in to your job and ask to fricken start… serving people?’ I mean like go away! Definitely moments where as a woman I was like like ‘wow..’ I like, really did not expect that I mean… how long have we got?

Emma:
(laughs) as long as you want!

Tali:
(laughs) well I remember there was this one promoter, in Liverpool, and I’d already had a bit of a shit night because this one guy had come up to me and he’d asked me if he could have the mic. and I said ‘no… you can’t have the mic’ and then he was more aggressive like [british accent] ‘yah gimme the mic man yeah, I’m gan spit some rhymes and ting’ and I was like ‘no! fuck off, I’m doing a job!’ so he threw a bottle of water at me, and I think it hit me in the stomach or the chest, like a full bottle of water – plastic bottle  – but still fucking hurt. And i looked around and there was just all dudes and people didn’t know what to do. Nobody approached him, whether they didn’t want to start something, but nobody stepped in and was like ‘that’s not cool.’ So I was like, okay, what am I going to to do? So I just ripped the shit out of him on the mic. I proceeded to MC and cuss him, freestyle, and everyone just started laughing at him. And he got really angry and at that point the security guard had come through, and I said this guy threw a bottle of water at me la la la anyway, later on that night the promoter was like ‘oh I’m really sorry about what happened’ and I was like ‘oh that’s okay!’ and he was like ‘I’ll walk you back to the hotel’ and I was like ‘yeah cool.’ We were getting on really well, having this great conversation. And he was like ‘I’ll walk you to the hotel, you don’t mind do you? That’s alright isn’t it?’ And I was like ‘yeah that’s fine that’s totally cool’ and he’s like ‘I’ll take you up to your room, you don’t mind do you?’ and I was like ‘no no, no that’s cool, you can walk me up to my room!’ So he takes me up to my room and then he’s like ‘can I come in for a minute? Is that alright, do you mind?’ and I was like ‘no! you can come in for a minute, I’m going to make a cup of tea would you like a cup of tea?’ and he’s like ‘I’d love a cup of tea’ so we sit there and we’re talking and I’m like ‘I’m gunna go to bed now’ and he’s like ‘I’m just gunna lie down here, you don’t mind do you?’ (pause) yeeaaaah. it’s time for you to go now. You know?! He just got to that point like..

Emma:
Oh, he was sooo subtle about it.

Tali:
But I mean it’s kind of funny like I have had numerous times where there’s been a knock on my door at 4 in the morning and I’ll look through my peephole and there’ll be a certain DJ or 2.. who I cannot name.. who’s been like (whispers) ‘Tali. Are you awake?’ and I’m like ‘Not appropriate! It’s 4am!’ you know? All calling my room ‘yo man do you need some company?’ I’m like ‘nah bro I’m good.’ I want to be taken as a professional!

Emma:
Exactly, are they doing that to the other guys you’re on tour with?

Tali:
I wanna be seen as a professional, treat me as a professional. You might be attracted to me – call me when we’re off tour, and we’ll talk about it!

Emma:
Right now we’re working

Tali:
Not while we’re on tour and we’re working. Cuz it’s definitely not hap – you think I got this far and now I’m going to jeopardise it? And the amount of people who have said to me ‘she got where she is from sleeping with people’ or ‘she must have slept with the entire label to get there!’ and I’m like ‘Yes!! Because I have a magic vagina! My vagina is so magic that I just go wooooo’ and everyone goes ‘give her a record deal!’

Emma:
(laughs)

Tali:
What is the logic in this!? If you look at the back story, you’ll see that the back story is quite exciting. And the reason that I got here is quite exciting

Emma:
Oh no that’s doesn’t matter.

Tali:
Hell no, cuz I just woooooooo

Emma:
It’s actually just how pretty you are and whether you put out, basically

Tali:
I’ve had entire threads and forums dedicated to the way I looked. And things like ‘yeah I’d do her with a paper bag over her head’ and ‘she sounds like a cat being dragged through a lawnmower backwards’ and you know I don’t really mind if people don’t think I’m a good MC or they’re not into my music because it’s all subjective you know? It’s completely up to personal taste. But when people start talking about me like I’m an object and what they want to do to me? Like I cried absolute tears when I read those forums because I was new in my career and I was reading this shit and thinking ‘is this…?” and as a … what’s the word, where you go against that? I would be determined to dress as boyish as I could. So I would wear tracksuits, cap, big ponytail, big earrings and that and I would get on stage and have such a fierce attitude because it was like I wanted to push away the idea of seeing me as an object. I tried to make myself more male I guess. And sound more male. And because the only role models I had were males – you know everyone was like ‘you’re such a little tomboy’ and I’m like ‘underneath – I wanna wear a sparkly skirt!’

Emma:
(laughs)

Tali:
And a boob tube! And I can’t – because I don’t wanna be seen as an object. but as I got older, and I earned my stripes, as we say, this little soldier earned her stripes, it became apparent that  and also Roni Size who signed me to his label and he was like ‘babe what you need to understand about these people who are writing these forums; they’ve got one hand on their dick and one hand on the computer. And usually they wanna do you, or be you.’ and that’s what it comes down to. They’re jealous because they can’t have you, and you’re in a position that they don’t think you should be in. Especially because you’re some white little female from New Zealand, how dare you? You know?

Emma:
Yep!

Tali:
So, there was that, and he was like ‘stop reading the comments because that will drive you crazy’ and then secondly as I got older and matured more and became more comfortable in myself and my sexuality, I was like ‘you know what? If i wanna dress like this and you wanna see me as a sexual object, that’s your problem. It’s not my problem.’

Emma:
Because the important thing is you feel good!

Tali:
I wanna feel good! And you know, I am a sexual person. And I love being a female. And I don’t dress for me, I dress for other women essentially!

Emma:
That’s a huge thing men don’t understand! Even when it comes to make up. “Oh she’s wearing way too much make up. I like girls that don’t wear make up.”

Tali:
I don’t care what you like, I didn’t put this make on for you! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah or okay dude don’t wear make up then, you don’t have to, if you don’t like make up just don’t wear it … but I do…

Tali:
It’s my choice! (laughs) But yeah I definitely feel like there’s this fine line as well because society kind of tells us that in order to be attractive, and to be successful that we have to act a certain way and be provocative in a certain way. And I think there’s nothing wrong in being sexy and being provocative as long as that’s truly who you are. And you’re doing it for the right reasons. You’re doing it because it does make you feel empowered, not because you feel like you should be doing it. And this is why we should have things like Good for a Girl and people like you and I who speak out about this and let young women know that it’s okay. And there’s other ways to be empowered.

Emma:
And don’t let it get you down, and trust treat it like … well most people are fucking idiots. Don’t let it get to you, because .. you’ve fuckin’ got your eye on the prize and focus on that.

Tali:
Yep and I hate the way as well the minute that other women started to MC, and there were other female vocalists it suddenly became like this competition? ‘oh what do you think of Jenna G do you think she’s a good singer? Oh what do you think of–’ I think they’re all fuckin awesome! ‘Oh yeah but don’t you care that she played this festival and you didn’t?’ No! Stop trying to create this competition between us. I’m not a jealous person and I’m not a competitive person. I am me, I do me. You know, what really gets my goat especially is line ups. Festival line ups. And it’s really important we talk about this too. Because – you know this too – I’ve had instances where we cannot be put on a line up because there’s already a female on the line up!

Emma:
Yep.

Tali:
And especially for me, as an MC, I’m like ‘I’m sorry? I don’t see any other female MC’s around here. I’m like the only one and yet I can’t be on this line up because there’s another female who’s a DJ and plays house music?!’ You know? I’m a Drum n Bass MC! It’s completely different.

Emma:
Yep!

Tali:
You’ve got 5 white dudes, who all MC over Drum n Bass and who all pretty much sound the same. (whispers) Where is the logic in this? It just gets me so wound up! Because like.. ‘oh well we’re just booking the artists that are successful. We’re just booking the artists that make money. We’re booking the artists, the headliners that are touring at the moment.’ Bullshit! Do your research! There are other artists out there who are female, who are touring, who are making money, who if you gave them the opportunity, people usually go; ‘OH MY GOD A GIRL MC!! YEAHH!” and all the chicks push their way to the front and all the guys are like ‘wow this is amazing all these women!’ and the promoters are like ‘this is great, it’s heaving it’s going off, we’ve got females and guys’ – I put them there, Mofo! I did that! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah, cuz you’re never gunna have people come away from a festival like ‘you know what? It was cool aye but there was just too many girls there.’

Tali:
Yeah.

Emma:
Like that’s never gunna happen. I don’t know why promotors or festival organisers worry about there – whether they actually consciously worried about that or whether it’s just when they’re confronted by it and they’re like ‘ooohhh i have to make up an excuse’ that’s kinda what I like about Going Global showcases because when you breakdown the 12 artists, 6 of them have women in them so it’s 50/50.

Tali:
Yes! Definitely!

Emma:
There needs to be… some major festival somewhere just quietly, not announce it, just for their next festival book 50% of their acts with women in them. Not say anything about it, just do it.

Tali:
Yeah!

Emma:
And then let the media take it once the festival line up is announced, and it the people notice then that’s cool, and then if it’s a major festival that does it all the smaller ones will follow on..it’s the power of influence as well is really important.

Tali:
Totally!

Ecca Vandal Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Ecca Vandal (@BIGSOUND)

ECCA VANDAL IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS RIGHT NOW

ecca vandal good for a girl interview

Infact, she played five, FIVE, showcases at BIGSOUND this year, and I – along with my partner in crime – attended ALL OF THEM. Her live show is so energetic and addictive, we needed to see it more than once..twice…thrice…everyone we bumped in to at the festival was forced to attend at least one show, too. And it was a quick conversion from a forced attendee to a full-blown fan.

Ecca Vandal is definitely a force to be reckoned with and I have no doubt in my mind she is going to be huge. On top of that; she is fucking lovely. Such a sweetheart, so when I text her on the morning of our interview with the time and location, she replied ‘Emma!! I cannot wait to meet you – see you soon!” followed by a whole bunch of emojis which is the language of my people. I knew we were going to get along well.

During her live set, it’s really hard to pull your eyes away from her performance. She’s got the moves, the attitude, the fearless aggressiveness, and the voice. But pull your eyes away you should, because her band are NEK LEVEL. Made up of crazy talented dudes; Kidnot, Dan Maio and Stacey Gray, ECCA VANDAL the band undoubtedly form up the rest of the pieces of the puzzle that make up a truly great artist and are solo artists in their own right, all adding exponential value to the overall musical picture. Absolutely killer.

Ecca Vandal Interview Good For A Girl Bigsound Live Show Pandora

An experienced and gifted producer in her own right, Ecca Vandal also works closely with band member Kidnot who is an incredible songwriter and producer to collaboratively form these industrial/punk/hip hop tracks that have (seemingly) quickly developed in to some of the most unique, headstrong, confident and grounded-in-what-they-truly-believe-in music that I’ve (and all the other raving music lovers and critics) have heard in a very long time.

A beacon for self-expression, Ecca Vandal is hugely inspiring to me to push my own boundaries, explore new sounds, be confident in who I am, and experiment with fashion (she has probably the most enviable personal style ever, I really needed to make that clear 2 u).

I could go on about Ecca forever, but our chat is much more informative of who she is, what she’s about, and what’s coming next for her!

WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH ECCA VANDAL HERE:

ECCA VANDAL LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
iTunes
Spotify
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: ECCA VANDAL (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma: 
I came to Bigsound a couple years ago and saw you wandering around alot. But I don’t think you were playing shows were you? You were just hanging out?

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I was just hanging out.

Emma:
I kept being like “who is that girl? She looks so fucking awesome I want her to be my friend.”

Ecca Vandal:
(laughs) that’s hilarious

Emma:
So the first thing I want to talk about is what your influences in music growing up were – your role models and inspiration. What got you in to it from a young age, or a teenager.

Ecca Vandal:
What got me in to music was probably my family. My family is pretty much all musically talented. They sort of all sing, and play an instrument and music was always in the home. So that was sort of where it started – I started singing as well. I guess it was a thing that was in my blood. I only kinda started taking it seriously at the time of Grade 10. Like mid teenager. So I had a great music teacher who was like “you should consider doing it seriously” you know? “You enjoy it!” So i had a great teacher to say keep doing it – so I listened to him.

Emma:
Yep. So do you have brothers and sisters?

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I’ve got two sisters!

Emma:
Two sisters – so what do they do with music?

Ecca Vandal:
They were both great singers. And they’re both a bit older than me so I always would watch them sing and go to all their gigs and stuff. Just admired them like “I want to do that one day!”

Emma:
And did they play rock music? Or what did they do?

Ecca Vandal:
No! They did more like Jazz and Musical Theatre…

Emma:
Wow cool

Ecca Vandal:
And you know, pop music. So this is definitely not stylistically the same, but they were definitely performers.

Emma:
Yeah! Your style is really unique, I would kind of call it punk but industrial punk but there’s quite a lot of electronic theatrics in there. Did you have any musical influences in your teen years that were from those genres that made you wanna go that way? Or did you create that yourself?

Ecca Vandal:
Well I find in each genre I have strong influences and bands that I love. In to the punk world I’m a massive Bad Brains fan, Fugazi fan, Minor Threat. You know, that kind of, the original. Living Colour, fishbone. Like the original kind of punk pioneers. I was really influenced by that. And then I love electronic music, I love hip hop. I love beats. I love jazz. So I kinda thought, I love all of them equally!

Emma:
How can I combine them?

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah – I’m influenced by all of them. And when I started writing I found myself going in these directions. And I went “Oh no but I’m going that way! No now I’m going that way!” And I thought hang on, this is all working ok. There were parallels between a few of them, I found. And I thought, let’s just do a combination of it all and it felt right to me!

Emma:
And it sounds fucking awesome.

Ecca Vandal:
Thank you!

Emma:
So do you think growing up, or even just now, are you conscious of having women artists to look up to or sideways to? Like was having other girls doing music a big deal for you? Cuz I know for me I only really  started thinking about women in music when I decided to start talking about my own experiences. And then it was like.. I don’t think I ever really had women influences and role models to look up to growing up. Do you think you did?

Ecca Vandal:
That’s a good question because I’ve only looked at it in hindsight now as well. Like now that I’m in music, now that we’re in the industry. You know, all that kind of stuff. I actually never thought about it but I guess some of the artists that I actually love, I love female artists. The strong female artists that I love, I love Bjork, I love M.I.A, I love some of the amazing jazz vocalists from the 50s and 60s like Ella [Fitzgerald] and Sarah Vaughan and stuff – they were all tough as fuck back in the day. So I love those guys. But in terms of this kind of genre, there weren’t that many. And it’s really interesting because I haven’t found many that I can look up to or aspire to be like. I listen to a lot of male artists. It’s interesting when people go ‘you remind me of M.I.A!’ or you know. Santigold or something like that, which is awesome because I think they’re great, but actually I’m more influenced by male artists.

Emma:
Yeah – and do you think that comes from your aesthetic as well? I think with women people tend to go ‘you kinda look like this other women artist so therefore you sound like her’ – like there’s this musician back in New Zealand called Julia Deans and she was in this band that was very big in the late 90s/early 00s called Fur Patrol, and I read an interview with her a few weeks ago, and she talked about it a bit saying “when we a started out the media were like oh yeah Julia Deans she’s like Courtney Love” and Julia’s like “I don’t sound anything like Courtney Love. Just because I’m a girl playing a guitar… if I had a dick that comparison wouldn’t happen. I’d be my own artist” you know? Do you think that you get a bit of that? It’s guided by that as opposed to what the music sounds like? As you say, your music is influenced by male artists..

Ecca Vandal:
Absolutely. 100% right. And, you know, because of the colour of my skin and because I’m female people go, okay who are the other brown chicks who might have some balls… you all sound like that! And I’m like well I respect – I look up to M.I.A, I look up to Santigold I respect them for their artistry. But at the same time I don’t think my music sounds like theirs. So um, I actually give props to anyone who comes up with their own affiliations with my music. Cuz it feels like people actually like to copy what other people say. You know? People don’t think for themselves and go ‘actually, what does this remind me of?’ if they want to identify with it some way.

Emma:
Yeah or they don’t sit down and actually think about it before writing about it.

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah! There’s a lot of copy and paste out there, journos! And it’s cool,  I think they’re great artists and I respect them all but I think there are some other things you can draw from it. Last night I actually had someone come up to me and say I reminded them of H.R. from Bad Brains and that’s and amazing…

Emma:
That’s a conscious recognition.

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah! That’s the ultimate compliment to me. Because I admire him as a performer, but also because it also just broke the molds and the pattern of people saying “this is what you sound like and this is what you are”

Emma:
It’s refreshing

Ecca Vandal:
It is refreshing

Emma:
When someone gets the nail on the head, ay?

Ecca Vandal:
Absolutely!

Emma:
So just more specifically more about your actual experiences being a woman, you touched on a bit about being a brown girl as well

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah

Emma:
Have you had any sort of outrageous experiences where you’re just like “dude, seriously, what the fuck?” – things like maybe they have respected your authority with your art or your technical understanding or.. or any sort of “out there” sexism. Have you had any rough experiences with that or have you found you’ve been quite accepted?

Ecca Vandal:
I feel like I’ve had both worlds in the extreme. I’ve had a lot of support and I’ve had a lot of guys come around an support and acknowledge and say ‘we really dig what you do’ – even other females as well! But on the other side, yes there has been sexism, there’s been you know – if I chose to wear a short skirt one day you see the shift. And you see like.. you know all that sort stuff. And people think it’s okay to cross those boundaries because you decided to dress a certain way or something. That’s not on. And there’s been many times that I’ve had to deal with that. And unfortunately at the time, there wasn’t a lot of talk about that sort of stuff. So it was hard to talk to other people about it.

Emma:
And assert it and be like – this not cool.

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah – or even to just have dialogue like we’re having right now about it. But since then I think this discussion is coming out and it’s okay to talk about it and say ‘you know what? that kind thing’s not okay.’

Emma:
Yeah and just talking about it in a casual manner like this, because people haven’t just heard the conversations you know – a lot of women or men will post aggressive rants about it online or whatever, it just creates that divide where it’s alienating to people to be confronted by just the realities of it. So I think just casually talking about it like this it’s like.. “well yeah, this shit is happening”

Ecca Vandal:
This shit is real

Emma:
“just so you know – it’s happening!” and just changing the casual mind set about it so they’re like “yeah… that is kinda shit.”

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah! Because also often you get, people kinda second guess like. If you tell them about a situation that was un-kosher, they’re like “hang on – what did you do to incite that? What did you do?” it kinda shifts the blame. It’s just this blame game. And those sort of situations make you not wanna talk about it. Cuz it gets assumed you’re involved and it’s like no this is real stuff it’s happening daily. And we’re talking about it now, you know, it’s a cool. The more we can talk about it the more we can just put a stop to it at the time.

Emma:
And those questions you get like “well what did you do to get that attitude towards you”. It’s kinda like “ugh I can’t even be bothered engaging with you about it” but it’s damaging because it will subconsciously make you go “maybe I did do something to bring that on..”

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah, totally!

Emma:
And that’s dangerous because we shouldn’t be thinking that stuff. But it’s hard to stand up and go “no. it wasn’t me.” but that’s the culture – and that’s why this conversation is important.

Ecca Vandal:
It’s so true. It’s good that we’re talking about it!!

Emma:
So what’s next for you?! With your career – release plans?

Ecca Vandal:
Yes! I’m writing new music which I’m loving. I’m loving being in that creative zone at the moment. I just got back from overseas..

Emma:
Saw that!

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I just sorta soaked up the inspiration from New York, LA, like a sponge. I feel like I’ve coming back with a bit more inspiration and drive to keep writing as much as I can!

Emma:
Looking forward to hearing more music!

Ecca Vandal:
Thank you! Yeah, so hopefully more music out soon by the end of the year. And just get playing again.

Emma:
Any plans to come to New Zealand?

Ecca Vandal:
Not yet, but hopefully!

Anna Laverty Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Anna Laverty – Producer (@Going Global)

ANNA LAVERTY IS A PRODUCER, MIXER, ENGINEER, & WRITER

Anna Laverty Producer Good for a Girl Interview
Anna producing or engineering (maybe mixing but prob not in this pic)

After discovering women producers (I know.. sounds ridiculous) via a video shared with me about Sylvia Massey – I was suddenly very excited and aware to find more.

The universe heard my call and responded just a few short weeks later by the ways of a Going Global panel announcement that Australian producer, Anna Laverty, was going to be spreading her wisdom at the conference.

Bonus: my manager was also speaking at Going Global and so introduced us, which was great because it meant I could avoid over-excitedly nerding my way over to her and having her say no to an interview. i.e. Tom buys me cool points. Yas.

So Anna has an awesome story. Which you’ll hear in much more detail in our interview below; but basically, she hit up London after graduating engineer school (tech term) and was taken under wing by some kick ARSE producers over there, and just bossed the shit out it now she’s a full-fledged producer in her own right back home in the land-of-down-under, working with some incredible up & coming and established talent and basically is just about 100 times more awesome than the rest of us.

Check out some of the artists she’s worked with below;

She also recently produced a GFAG fav of mine, Courtney Barnett, as part of a Grateful Dead covers album that The National put together to raise money for HIV/AIDS research.

Anna also runs a fantastic twitter called Audio Women which shares info and achievements about and regarding women working in the audio engineering industry – which is great. She hopes to inspire more young girls to explore a career in audio! YUS.

So without me waffling on for much longer;

WATCH MY CHAT WITH ANNA LAVERTY – PRODUCER HERE:

ANNA LAVERTY LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Anna’s Twitter
Audio Women’s Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: ANNA LAVERTY (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
[talking about my Sylvia Massey blog post] … I wrote this blog about her because I realised that I’ve never ever worked with a woman in a recording setting or even a live sound setting.

Anna Laverty:
Oh, you haven’t? There’s a couple of live sound girls around, but not in the studio, yeah.

Emma:
So when I found out you were going to be at Going Global this year, I was like “hang on a second… a woman producer! Now I get to ask them questioooons!” So, when [my producer]  Tom was like “do you want to interview Anna?” I was like “yesssss.”

Anna Laverty:
Yeah!

Emma:
So, I’m really interested in just how you got in to recording growing up. Growing up; whether you had any influences that got you in there or whether you just found yourself there?

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, no, I didn’t find myself there! I always wanted to be a sound engineer. I can’t explain it. I didn’t know any sound engineers, my parents aren’t in the business, like I don’t have any of that stuff. Whenever I saw on telly,  someone being interviewed in the studio or working in the studio, it just, I just felt like that was my calling. And so when I was about 15 I started going to the open days at the performing arts uni where I lived in WA. And he was like “too young, too young” – and then when I got to year 12 I applied and got in – there was only 10 people that got it so it was pretty amazing. On my first day somebody told me I only got in because I was the “token girl.”

Emma:
Right.

Anna Laverty:
Which really fucking pissed me off. Am I allowed to swear?

Emma:
Fuck yeah! CUNT!

Anna Laverty:
Yeah so that really pissed me off. And it really pissed me off because I had basically done work experience and gone and worked for free every school holidays for 3 years to get in to this course, and I feel like I really got in off my merit. And to have someone to say that is like… really??

Emma:
“Actually it’s because you have a vagina.”

Anna Laverty:
Yeah. So whatever. So I did that course then I moved to London and got work experience in a studio and was just doing that for a while. Well, after 2 weeks they offered me an assistant engineer job and I started working with a bunch of really cool producers and haven’t really stopped! But now obviously I have been climbing this little invisible ladder over the years and now I’m a producer in my own right!

Emma:
So when you started being a studio assistant and an assistant engineer, were you working around many other women at all?

Anna Laverty:
No, there is none. The only other female producer/engineer that I’ve come across was at the same time that I was assisting Paul Epworth and Ben Hillier in London, Catherine Marks, who’s a girl from Melbourne but who lived in London was assisting Flood. And our 2 studios were like sister studios, so we would occasionally see each other. It was very weird because we were both from Australia and we were both working London. We were like the same person! It was like Shelbyville like in The Simpsons. It was pretty cool.

Emma:
That’s really cool! And did you find that when you worked – like obviously it’s majority men – did you come up against any sort just.. bullshit?

Anna Laverty:
A little bit. Yeah. I mean I’ve come up against a little bit of bullshit but not as much as you would think, actually! I think its because it’s music, it’s the arts. People that work in music and the arts generally aren’t dickheads. Um, so that’s pretty cool. I have had a couple of instances – and it was when I was a bit younger too – a couple of instances of people saying really inappropriate things. And not like sexual things but things that were, just… it’s that whole saying like “you only got in to this because you’re the girl,” you know that stuff. And it’s like “you have no idea how hard I worked for this!” So you know… whatever.

Emma:
(laughs)

Anna Laverty:
But both times that that happened to me, I was just like “yeah whatever, dude.” And it actually doesn’t really bother me that much because I just know that it’s not true. But it’s pretty inappropriate. So the two times that that happened, I didn’t do anything about it, but other men that were there! Like in one example I was an assistant engineer and some guy told me I should be making everybody dinner in the studio instead of being in the studio. And he was serious. It wasn’t like a joke.

Emma:
(laughs)

Anna Laverty:
And I was like “okay! cool!” and then all the other guys that were there – I didn’t know this – but went and told the studio owner. And he told that producer – who was a big time producer – he was doing a huge, huge record – told him that if he ever said anything like that to me again he wouldn’t be welcome back at the studio. And I just thought that was so cool. I was like the junior assistant engineer, and for him to just be like “that is unacceptable” – I just thought that was really cool.

Emma:
There’s some angel men out there.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah! Yeah for sure. and obviously all my mentors have been men, so yeah.

Emma:
Can you actually cook? That’s the real question.

Anna Laverty:
I can cook, yeah!

Emma:
I feel like if it was me I would’ve been like “challenge accepted.” And then I just would’ve made the worst fucking meal they’ve ever had in their lives and they would never ask me again.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, no… it’s just yeah the funny thing was at the time in that studio we did all make dinner for each other. That was a big part of the culture because we would be there all day. So everyday it would be someones job to go and make the dinner, you know? And I was like “I don’t wanna go make the dinner now, it’s making me all self-conscious!” (laughs) Yeah.

Emma:
Do you find that you have more women artists approaching you at all?

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, I think I do now, actually! I work with a lot of young women. And then also more experienced women who are like “oh my god it’s so amazing!” I actually did a Christmas song with Tina Arena one year..

Emma:
Get out of town! (laughs)

Anna Laverty:
(laughs) Yeah and she was like “this is the first time I’ve ever worked with a female engineer.” And she’s been doing it since she was seven! and I just couldn’t believe that.

Emma:
But that’s what blew my mind about finding out about Sylvia Massey. I was like “oh yeah okay what records has she worked– TOOL?!” I didn’t even know that, I was just like holy shit.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah and she like, ran that studio out in Weed (LA) for like a loooong time. Like she was a big deal.

Emma:
Crazy eh. And I’ve never seen another woman – I mean my career is still really young, I’ve just recorded an album and an EP and a couple of singles – but I’ve never seen another woman in that environment while I’m there and I’d just kind of accepted it’s a dudefest. It didn’t even cross my mind. That I could purposefully seek out women producers and engineers and bring them in. Even if say, I wanted to work with my current producer, but how about we get women in engineers or like.. you know? I’m kind of seeing you coming in to my sphere of influence and then the Sylvia Massey thing and going and doing some research about more women that work in that industry and I’m like okay for my next record I do want women involved.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, I mean I love to do things like this [speaking at Going Global] because I love the fact there might be a young girl in the audience that might be like “well I wanted to do production but I didn’t because I felt like I couldn’t! But hey, maybe I can!” I think that’s pretty cool. I like the role modelling stuff.

Bec Sandridge Good for a Girl interview

Interview: Bec Sandridge (@BIGSOUND)

I discovered BEC SANDRIDGE on a Spotify playlist

Bec Sandridge Good For A Girl Interview Emma Cameron Decades

Quirky, Catchy, Disco Spaghetti-Pop Ridge in all her glory

Who and what is this? I thought as I tabbed back across to Spotify one day at work.

You’re a Fucking Joke / BEC SANDRIDGE read the information panel on Spotify.

I tabbed back across to my web browser and typed those exact words back in to the google machine and up popped…

THIS

Shit, this girl is cool. And those guys look fucking fabulous in their Bec Sandridge make up. 

Cue more google stalking and I discover that 1) she is from across the bloody ditch in Straya, mate. 2) She was headlining BIGSOUND.

Fuck yeah. Let’s meet her!

Bec was so lovely to chat to, and I couldn’t wait to catch her live set. Both herself and another artist that I wanted to see at BIGSOUND were playing at the same time, so I had to bolt half way through the other set to make it 5 minutes down the road in Fortitude Valley to get to her show half-way through.

This girl is outrageous live.

Picture this; a 6 foot tall woman towering over the crowd – luminous in her personal style; dressed in an eccentric yet refined aesthetic of select primary and secondary colours, teased platinum blonde hair glowing under the brightly coloured lighting production, strong painted on eyebrows drawing you to her stare out in to the crowd demanding your attention, wielding an absolutely gorgeous white fender telecaster, mixing up a dynamic and effortless physical flow to her performance from undulating sways to tippy-toe skips on the spot, backed up by a live band of  3 dudes slaying on their instruments, pulling together to form an incredibly tight and engaging musical performance topped with pitch-perfect quirky vocals like you’ve never heard in your life.

That was Bec Sandridge’s set (and also my attempt at a pretentious over-described live performance review).

 NOW YOU BEST WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH BEC SANDRIDGE!

Bec released a new track at the end of last month called ‘High Tide’ and it’s dreamy as fuck.

So if you like what you hear (of course you do…), check Bec Sandridge out online!

bec sandridge LINKS

Website
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: BEC SANDRIDGE (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
So the first thing I wanted to ask you is what were your inspirations and influences from a really young age? What got you in to wanting to do music?

Bec Sandridge:
I think growing up, initially, my Mum listened to a lot of Donna Summer and Aretha Franklin. Whereas my Dad loves really easy-listening rock. I have that kind of.. disco rock…

Emma:
Like Air Supply or something? (laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
Yes! Essentially.

Bec Sandridge:
I’m obsessed with Cydni Lauper. I found out she has a reality TV show which I am potentially obsessed with.

Emma:
Like binge-watching?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. It’s real. So Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac..

Emma:
So you have quite a lot of women influences?

Bec Sandridge:
Oh yeah, for sure.

Emma:
See that’s quite different from me because I… it wasn’t til after I started doing this blog I was like ‘well now I’m interested in finding other women musicians.’ And I was like ‘I don’t think I’ve ever had women influences growing up!’ and getting in to rock music. So were you conscious of that ever? Did you seek out women influences or was it just natural?

Bec Sandridge:
I think I’m drawn to female voices which is really interesting because guitar’s my main instrument – I’m not actually a singer, I don’t think. So for me I found it hard.. there was a lot more men playing guitar. So I would people like BB King, George Benson, Bruce Springsteen, and they would kinda be like my ‘guitar dudes’ which kinda sucks.

Emma:
Did you ever start getting in to women that play guitar?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah! I think one of my favourite musicians is someone like Leslie Feist – she’s an amazing guitarist.

Emma:
Is she just ‘Feist’ ?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, Feist. But a lot of her earlier stuff is folky, singer-songwriter-y stuff but she’s actually an amazing guitarist. So people like her, I love. I just think it’s really cool when someone has mad guitar chips and they manage to just simplify it down to a singer-songwriter kind of thing.. and it’s like.. you’re sneaky! You know what you’re doing.

Emma:
(laughs). So with the style of guitar you play, cuz your music’s quite rhythmic and jaunty.. did you have any influences on guitar that played music like you? Or was it just more like.. you saw dudes playing guitar and were like ‘oh yeah i can do that too’ or ‘i’m gunna do my own style’ or… when I think of you I think of St Vincent as well.. kinda doing your own style.

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. I only recently got in to St Vincent. Um, but originally I learnt the whole Blink 182 discography. (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah me too (laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
So Blink, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Buckley is kinda where I started on. Wipeout and What’s My Age Again were the first two songs that I Iearned. Then after that I wanted to learn more jazz kinda stuff but I didn’t fully delve in to it. Someone said to me ‘if you want to do jazz, you need to do jazz’

Emma:
Yeah, like proper!

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, I’m not that committed, so.. so then I learned a bit of classical guitar. But recently I’ve really looked in to St Vincent stuff, and really you know… dig in to guitar. Like when you’re like eurgh that sounds.. horribly… great.

Emma:
(laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, so i guess that’s something that I like. I like pretty gross sounding sounds.

Emma:
Like gross but interesting

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. I think it’s really interesting when something really aggressive but really intricate or something. I write a lot on Garageband and use guitar midi things. And this synthesizer that’s called Massive Trance Pad.. which is awful. But fun! Check it out!

Emma:
But fun? (laughs) So when did you start doing your own music? Was it in high school?

Bec Sandridge:
I played guitar in year 9 and I was too scared to sing. And I just played guitar in a band.

Emma:
What kind of band was it?

Bec Sandridge:
It was like a blues and roots thing..

Emma:
Really?!

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah! And the singer went overseas for 6 months and then our booking agent called us up with a really cool gig and I wanted to do it. My family were like ‘you don’t have the guts to do it!’ so they placed money bets on me. I wanted to do it at the time, so I wrote 3 songs and then.. yeah. Kinda just went overseas and tried to play as much in front of strangers. So that’s kinda how it happened!

Emma:
Cool. Have you found, cuz this blog talks about being a women in this industry, have you found that you’ve experienced any sort of personal controversies  or things that have come at you that you know it’s cuz you’re a girl?

Bec Sandridge:
Oh, of course. Yeah of course. Especially – I’ve just released my new single… I dunno if I’m allowed to say it

Emma:
yep!

Bec Sandridge:
“You’re a Fucking Joke”
and like, every single interview’s been like ‘so what’s it like as a woman in the music industry’ and it’s like.. how many dudes are asked that?

Emma:
‘Well what’s it like being a dude in the industry?’

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah! What’s it like having privilege in the industry? Which I think is really interesting. And it sucks because you want someone to consider your song first but at the same time it’s important that there’s inequality.

Emma:
We wanna get to a point where we don’t need to be asked that.

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah and sometimes you need to make a note of like, ‘yes, I am a guitarist and yes I am a female’ – just to point out that there’s an inequality. But at the same time it sucks because I would consider myself a ‘guitarist’

Emma:
Yeah, me too. I’m like well I’m just a musician. But it crops up so much.

Bec Sandridge:
And just day-to-day things like people asking ‘oh, are you playing?’ or ‘do you need a hand plugging it in?’ ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’

Emma:
‘Do you know how to tune your guitar? Do you need help tuning your guitar??’

Bec Sandridge:
When I used to play folky stuff I had this parlor guitar and everyone would be like ‘oh so is there a pick up? can you play it live?’ and I’d be like ‘yeah! of course I can!’

Emma:
(laughs) yeah uh I know my own instrument…

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah.

Emma:
Did you find that you were more accepted as a girl when you were doing folky stuff? Cuz I feel like with folk and country that kind of genre there are a lot more women there so it’s kinda just accepted. Whereas… cuz what sort of genre would you describe your music now?

Bec Sandridge:
Um, well I’ve coined it as Disco Spaghetti Pop..

Emma:
(laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
I find it really interesting because I feel like a folk singer-songwriter, you’re very much like.. you stand there and you don’t take up much space. Whereas my new stuff is a lot more rocky.

Emma:
In your face

Bec Sandridge:
And I’m like a 5’11” / 6′ woman taking up space on the stage. So it’s kind of maybe somewhat confronting as opposed to a dainty..

Emma:
Folk singer-songwriter..

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. And i think folk music is beautiful, its one of my favourite things. But i think of maybe taking up space and not being afraid to whilst being a woman on the stage.

Emma:
Own you space!

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. Whereas dudes maybe don’t even have to consider that it’s just expected. Which is kind of interesting.. maybe?

Emma:
(laughs) I reckon. So what’s next for you with your music? You got more releases coming out?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, releasing my next single in a couple of weeks. Then we’re going on Montaigne’s national tour. And then a couple of festivals, and hopefully writing an album! It’s in the works.

Emma
That’s exciting!

Bec Sandridge:
Very.

Princess Chelsea Good for a Girl Video Interview Emma Cameron Decades

Interview: Princess Chelsea (@Going Global)

I Met Princess Chelsea at Going Global 2016

Princess Chelsea Good for a Girl Interview Emma Cameron Decades blog

Princess Chelsea being magical and angelic in space

She was speaking on a Going Global panel called ‘How to Make a World Class Record’; having released 3 albums, 1 EP and a string of independent singles since 2009 – girls knows what’s up.

As we were all leaving the panel room, I talked myself in to approaching her impromptu-style for my first ever GFAG interview before I rolled in to a couple ones I had pre-scheduled for the day. I definitely freaked her out a bit with my 5 second elevator pitch which included a very creepy invite down in to the dungeon-like space I was filming in, but to my surprise and delight, she agreed to join me.

Princess Chelsea is an experimental ‘space pop’ (I love it when we make up genres) artist from Auckland, but you may also remember her from indie pop/rock band The Brunettes, or from the band Teenwolf.

She has an online reputation with her music videos and musical style for marching to the beat of her own drum, and after chatting to her for 10 minutes I discovered that this translates in to who she is as a person, and what kind of music she was brought up with has had a big influence.

I kinda got lost on Youtube for a good hour or so watching all of her music videos; amused, impressed, entertained, and at times creeped-out. I love her!

NOW YOU SHOULD WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH PRINCESS CHELSEA.

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

Chelsea just released a brand new album, ‘Aftertouch‘ last week, comprising of covers she’s recorded over the past few years. She puts her unique musical touch on a huge range of songs, including the cover of ‘Come As You Are’ by Nirvana which is featured in the interview above.

LISTEN TO IT:

Check out Princess Chelsea anywhere you please on the interwebz:

PRINCESS CHELSEA LINKS

Website
Facebook
Soundcloud
Twitter
Spotify

GOOD FOR A GIRL: PRINCESS CHELSEA (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
What got you in to music growing up?

Princess Chelsea:
Well, ah, I started like.. my family was given a little key-tar when I was 5. And I started just playing all the songs I heard on the TV ads and at church on the key-tar. And I guess that’s what got me in to music; this Yamaha key-tar!

Emma:
Cool! So did you have any artists that, while you were jamming on the key-tar, not just at church or on TV but were their any artists growing up that made you go “what can I do with this key-tar. what can I create?”

Princess Chelsea:
Well at 5, I think I listened to a bit of classical music so I was really in to Grieg, like the Peer Gynt Suite, which has got In The Hall Of The Mountain King and a bunch of other really great orchestral pieces. I think at that age you’re pretty much exposed to the music your parents have around that you hear on the radio ‘cuz like you’re not going to go to the record store when you’re 5.

Emma:
Definitely (laughs) so what kind of stuff did your parents listen to?

Princess Chelsea:
Um, they had one Simply Red CD, one classical compilation, and they didn’t really listen to a lot music but they had a really good 80s pop compilation. So after you’ve heard my music knowing that there was a Grieg classical composer compilation CD, an 80s pop CD, it will make a lot of sense to you.

Emma:
(laughs) Okay I better go home and listen to it and make sure I get it.

Princess Chelsea:
Yeah you’ll be like “okay yeah of course”

Emma:
“It makes total sense now I get what’s going on.” So did you have any women influences growing up at all that you felt were role models to get in to music? Or do you feel like they were absent?

Princess Chelsea:
Well actually that’s a really good question. I think, it’s funny, I guess I never really thought about music in terms of gender until I was older and was a musician. And then I realised the challenges that it can bring being a female musician. So when I was younger I got in to Patti Smith in my formative years. Thought she was pretty rad. I thought Gwen Stefani was really rad. Hole. Courtney Love was given a really unnecessarily hard time.

Emma:
So was this around your teenage years?

Princess Chelsea:
Totally.

Emma:
Were you conscious of like “oh these are women artists”?

Princess Chelsea:
I don’t think I was. Because I guess at that time I was kind of “middle class Shore girl”. Didn’t really realise… I didn’t kind of notice sexism.

Emma:
Me either. And that’s what I like to explore now, being older and being like “okay there is a thing happening here.” I’ve had some weird stuff happen to me and I actually didn’t have many women role models growing up. And like I saw Fur Patrol for the first time a few weeks ago when they went back on tour and I was watching Julia Deans play and I went “holy. fuck. I have never seen a woman fronting a rock band, playing a guitar, live in front of my eyes.” Like growing up I never did. Like there are some bigger bands that have come over but the women are singers or.. whatever. And it’s interesting that you’re kind of similar that you didn’t really have women role models growing up. And even when you started getting in to women in music as a teenager..

Princess Chelsea:
I didn’t really think about the context of it. And it wasn’t something, like I said, until I started getting a bit older and realising “that shouldn’t really be happening” I started thinking about that stuff more.

Emma:
And because of your genre – have you found that it is a male dominated genre? Or have you found quite a lot of women that you can kinda push out to sideways?

Princess Chelsea:
Well I think, I make kinda electronic-y pop and there are quite a lot of female artists doing that. And that’s becoming a lot more common. I do think that, I’ve had for instance, things reviewed by male music reviewers that lump all of your female electronic music like.. that’s a genre. But they would never do that with someone like… who’s a male in electronic… I wanna say Moby (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs)

Princess Chelsea:
That was just the first one that I thought of. Like Moby and Boards of Canada like they’re both male electronic artists – but they’re totally different – but if they were female would people just be like “oh yeah that’s the same.” Maybe they would be? Not smart people. Bigoted people.

Emma:
Have you ever had any kind of ridiculous scenarios and experiences thrown your way that were swayed, like you felt like they were negative because you’re a woman?

Princess Chelsea:
Yep! Well when I was in a touring band, I was playing in The Brunettes. And I was operating a midi keyboard that was controlled at that time by a protools session. And it was all very tech-y. And we played about 150 shows over 160 days. So I’d done this every single day, Id set up.

Emma:
You were very experienced. You knew what the fuck you were doing.

Princess Chelsea:
I knew what I was doing! And there was one particular night that a sound man asked me if I wanted a mono or stereo input and I said “stereo” and he was like “i think you want mono” and I was like “no I want stereo.” And he’s like [full body gesticulation] “are there sounds going from left to right?” and I was like “…yeah. It’s stereo, bro.”

Emma:
Like having to physically explain it. “Do you know how stereo works?!”

Princess Chelsea:
And he still wouldn’t believe me and ended up throwing the extra D.I. required at me! and I was like 23.

Emma:
Really! Like he was throwing a tantrum that you knew what you were doing? Like it pissed him off?

Princess Chelsea:
Well he just didn’t believe that I knew what I was doing. And I’m just like “why don’t you believe me?”

Emma:
I’ve had that experience before with a fucking microphone. I bought my own mic to the gig and the sound guy goes “ohhh no you don’t want to use that one. You want to use this SM-58” And I was like “no. I don’t want to use an SM-58. I have my beautiful Audix microphone here that I’ve tested against other ones. this is my microphone.” And he was kinda just a cunt to me for the rest of the night. It’s annoying because I should’ve – no I shouldn’t have just use the microphone that he wanted me to. But the whole gig would’ve been a lot easier and stress-free for everyone if I’d just used his stupid microphone because he didn’t like that I had my own and I knew why it was better for me – not him.

Princess Chelsea:
There is like an interesting, for instance one of my friends is a sound person who is a male but whatever type of person or whatever their gender identity or whatever, he would always tell them if he thought they needed to do something else. If they needed to turn their amp down, or if they needed to do something. So there is a fine line sometimes between… how do I put this without sounding really dodgy?

Emma:
Just sound dodgy.

Princess Chelsea:
Well not everyone is a terrible person, so like maybe someone is telling you someone is telling you something because that’s the right thing to do – not because you’re a woman.

Emma:
Exactly. And it can go either way.

Princess Chelsea:
But there are certainly a lot of assholes out there!

Emma:
Oh yes!

Chloe Turner LISTEN Good for a Girl interview

Interview: Chloe Turner from LISTEN Organisation (@BIGSOUND)

LISTEN ARE A ORGANISATION BASED IN MELBOURNE

LISTEN organisation good for a girl interview

BIGSOUND Friends?” was the subject of the email I received from a gal named Chloe Turner from an organisation named LISTEN just a couple weeks out from my trip to Brisbane.

“Hilarious bio. Wanna grab a drink at BIGSOUND? I think we’d have a lot in common :)” Well, she had me at “hilarious bio” – but I was really intrigued to find out what LISTEN was. It was a familiar name to me, and I’d seen the logo somewhere on the ‘webz prior. After some really quick googling and a good old fashioned stalk of Chloe’s bio on the BIGSOUND website, I replied “ABSOLUTELY” and asked her if she would be keen for an interview as well!

Chloe herself is a hugely talented human. A super human and just 22 years old, Chloe is a musician, co-founder of a record label, involved in operations for Music Victoria, and of course hugely involved in LISTEN. I’m sure she’s got a whole lot more talent up those sleeves, as well!

Chloe turner listen good for a girl interview

Chloe Turner just being casually badass.

So what is LISTEN, exactly? Well it all started with the artist Evelyn Morris – also known as Pikelet – sharing her frustrations online with the lack of inclusion in the music industry for women and gender-non-conforming people.

“So tired of male back-patting and exclusion of anything vaguely ‘feminine’ in subculture. We get it. You think you’re all awesome and we’re all just kinda average. Unless we sound like you. Ladies of Melbourne… Let’s please reject this culture.”

(Yaaaaaaaassss!) Naturally, this caused quite a stir, and after the ground swell of support she received, she went on to create the LISTEN organisation as a space for women and gender-non-conforming people in the Melbourne and Australia-wide music community to share their stories and experiences. With the purpose of historical documentation, visibility, and inclusion.

“We want to become visible – historically and in the present day – in our own words, on our own terms.”

I had a great time chatting to Chloe about LISTEN and further on from that, her own personal experiences working in the music industry in fields other than just the artistry!

CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEW WITH CHLOE TURNER FROM LISTEN ORGANISATION!

IN MELBOURNE THIS WEEKEND? Well you should absolutely head along to the annual LISTEN Conference!

Listen Conference Feminist Futures Good for a girl

This year it is titled Feminist Futures, and is a three day feminist music conference featuring keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops and live performances. Writer and feminist activist Clementine Ford and performer and activist Alok Vaid-Menon of Darkmatter (USA) will serve as keynotes!

What the heck are u waiting for?! Buy your tickets HERE immediately.

Intrigued to learn more about LISTEN or find out how you can get involved?

LISTEN LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: CHLOE TURNER OF LISTEN (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
Well it’s kind of different talking to you from the other artists I’m talking to because.. well i dunno! I don’t even know your background, by the way! So the first thing I wanna talk about with you is what do you do, what’s your background in the industry?

Chloe (Listen):
Okay! In high school I used to play music. So when I was in my first year of uni I released an EP and used to gig. Played folk music and stuff. Pretty chill, folk music cutesy stuff! And then kinda grew out of that. I think everyone kinda goes through a folk music phase (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah (laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Grew out of that and then graduated uni and started interning at Chapter Music with Guy and Ben. And they introduced me to heaps of stuff. They introduced me to Pikelet and Evelyn Morris who is one of the co-founders of LISTEN. And the conversations we’d have around the office about queer people and representation in the music industry and females and stuff. Just kinda opened my eyes to stuff that I hadn’t really thought about in music before. Because at uni we talked about misogyny but it was like how women are represented in pop and hip hop music videos. It was a different kind of thing. And I was about to go in to this real world working in the music industry and I was like “eh it doesn’t exist. What’s the gender pay gap?” and now here I am! (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah! Started interning with Guy and Ben and was working at a record label then too called Deaf Ambitions which was my friend Aaron’s label.

Emma:
What was your role there?

Chloe (Listen):
I was kind of like the assistant manager I guess. So he would do, he’s sign the acts and do most of it but I’d help out with publicity and I was managing one of the acts, too.  And then from there just was also working for a music festival called Inca Roads – which got cancelled – then through that I started working for Paradise Music Festival and I’m there now. So I work one night a week as an artist coordinator for Paradise. And then full time I work for Music Victoria which is the state peak body for contemporary music. And then… LISTEN! In all the other time! (laughs)

Emma:
Yes! So tell me about LISTEN. Give me the full elevator pitch. Like obviously I’ve been to the website, I’ve read about it, but let’s tell the people what LISTEN do because I think it’s awesome.

Chloe (Listen):
Cool. So LISTEN started maybe just over 2 years ago now. It was co-founded by 3 musicians Erica Lewis, Evelyn Morris and Antonia Sellbach. Evelyn – Pikelet – she’s been playing in heaps of punk and hardcore bands her entire life. Pikelet is her most easy-listening pop project. She was written about in a book called “Noise in my Head – The Stories of the Ugly Australian Underground” and it was very… I guess her response to it was she was written about in a way that she wasn’t happy with that being documented. Like in a really masculine, men-dominated way. The book was quite male dominated, didn’t have much queer representation. So she just wrote this Facebook post that went viral. And it was kind of like, her action was like to start documenting our own history as women and queer people in the Victorian and Australian music industry. Particularly the underground and independent part. So from there they started running LISTENing Parties which are a monthly gig that we have, and they started publishing articles on the website. And then it just kinda grew. There was this big Facebook group where everyone would chat about stuff, post articles and generate discussion. But as Facebook’s do, they got a bit controversial and out of hand. It was hard to manage, it was like a full time job. It was just so stressful trying to moderate it and then people would get pissed off with you personally, because it was something someone else said but because you work for LISTEN it was your fault. Classic. So we kind of closed down the Facebook forum and had a real-life LISTEN Conference with the idea to have these discussions from online where people may not understand the emotion or tone or stuff like that – we wanted to have those discussions face-to-face. so the LISTEN Conference started! There’s also a record label which I run, LISTEN Records, which is separate to LISTEN but still affiliated obviously.

Emma:
And you guys have that big roster of artists? Like you were saying on the panel yesteday…

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah! So as part of that Facebook group there was a big resource generated which people could just add their bands to these huge lists in each state. And we’re in the process of updating the website so you are able to be like “okay I’m a festival booker maybe I should check this list out and make sure I’m being diverse at this festival”

Emma:
That’s fantastic!

Chloe (Listen):
So by the end of the year that will be up on the website. It’s just a long process with busy… stuff.

Emma:
(laughs) Lots of busy stuff.

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah!

Emma:
So you personally, because you’ve worked obviously in the music industry from quite a young age it seems..

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah, I guess, yeah!

Emma:
Have you ever personally experienced direct sexism towards yourself personally or is it more just the conversation interests you?

Chloe (Listen):
A couple of subtle things like working in an office with men. And you know, working – I’m young, I’m 22 so a lot of people don’t take me seriously they just think I’m like the “Facebook Youth”  who just sits on the computer and does social media. And it’s like actually, I run the entire awards and I do all this other stuff with Music Victoria, I do lots of things and it’s hard to be taken seriously. So there’s that kind of subtle misogyny I guess where people don’t shake my hand they shake my bosses hand. And they don’t bother introducing themselves to me because I might just be an assistant or that kind of thing. I get a lot. But then also I remember once I was booking a music festival and I called this booker, it was like a Sunday as well. No he called me – that’s right. Cuz I was trying to talk him down on a price for a band because it was a very tiny music festival and he was like “$4000!” and I was like… “$400…”

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
And he called me and he was so condescending, and was like “you don’t know how it works in this industry sweetheart” like just real jerky. But then turns out the band really wanted to play and by him doing that he kinda fucked it up for them. And he sent me an email later like “happy to accept the offer!” Cuz I was pretty firm on the phone but I was still really upset about the fact he would speak to me like that – but stayed firm. But then he ended up groveling back cuz he was texting me like “Hey Chloe did you get my email? We’re happy to do it!” And I was like.. I’m going to reply to you tomorrow.

Emma:
(laughs) I’ll let you wait until you sweat. Yeah I found that a lot too. I actually wrote a blog post about it because Moses is a musician as well and he’s quite well known in the scene in CHCH and NZ at large and people will come up and talk to him like how’s your music going blah blah blah and I’m just standing there. Or there will be a group of us and we’re all musicians and if I’m the only girl standing there it’s just kind of assumed I’m just his girlfriend. Like “oh it’s just his girlfriend who kinda just follows him round all the time” and stuff. So it’s just.. like the things like “people assume I’m the assistant” or that kind of stuff.

Chloe (Listen):
It is interesting. I haven’t really had direct experience with any harassment or anything. It’s just the subtle misogyny and even – like yesterday I was talking about on the panel – the internalised misogyny of older women in the music industry where it’s competitive for them. Which is interesting and annoying to deal with (laughs).

Emma:
Yeah I kinda get it too because they really had to struggle to get there and we’ve come up with a bit more of an accepting society so we’ve had it a little bit easier but it feels like a threat to them. Whereas we’re like “no but, we’re all –”

Chloe (Listen):
“We’re in this together!”

Emma:
“We’re embracing women now and we’re trying to do this thing!” I understand that a lot of them would feel that way but they obviously are not trying to be that way. It’s just that ingrained thing. And it’s the same with that guy on the phone calling you sweetheart and condescendingly talking to you. It’s like I don’t think they’re actively trying to be cunts – it’s that subconscious setting.

Chloe (Listen):
Yep! And then if you call them out and it can go one of two ways. They’ll either be like “Oh yeah sorry, I get that… my bad” or they’ll be like “oohh you’re a drama queen aren’t you? You’re getting a bit emotional. Calm down!” and it’s like… fuck you…

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah it’s hard.

Emma:
So what are the goals for LISTEN – the big overall umbrella goals?

Chloe (Listen):
So I guess one of the main actions from starting out was to publish a book in response to that other book. So documenting female and GNC, queer and marginalised groups in the Australian music industry. Their stories, interviews. Documenting our own history. But at the moment it’s just heaps publishing heaps of stuff on the website; essays, articles, interviews, anything. Anything to do with music and feminism… gender. And I guess once we get enough we’ll apply for some grants and try and get a book thing happening. That’s going to be Evelyn’s thing.

Emma:
Rad.

Chloe (Listen):
The Conference is going well. So that’s another project that’s sprung up. We’ve got some grant funding this year. We’ve got two keynote speakers! We’ve got Clem Ford.

Emma:
Wicked!

Chloe (Listen):
And Darkmatter. Have you heard of Darkmatter?

Emma:
No!

Chloe (Listen):
So they are a trans duo from the US. We’re bringing one of them out and they’re just amazing. They do poetry performances. And just work a lot on discussing issues of trans people and people of colour and feminism and gender and stuff. So it’s not specific to music but it’s good to bring that in to the arts for a lot of people who may not have come across that before. And then we’ve announce 51 speakers a few weeks ago! So there’s going to be lots of panels on things like call-out culture and confidence, and race and sexism within music. There’s a lot!

Emma:
Yeah it sounds awesome – sounds massive!

Chloe (Listen):
Then there’s 3 nights of entertainment as well. So it’s 3 days of panels, keynotes and… it’s like a mini BIGSOUND but with no clashes!

Emma:
Okay good!

Chloe (Listen):
So instead of 3 things happening at once there is just one thing happening all the time.

Emma:
Ahh we have a music conference in New Zealand, it happens the weekend before this. They do they too – they try to make nothing clash with the showcase.

Chloe (Listen):
Same with us! It’s not competitive then, it’s just chill.

Drown This City Good For A Girl Alex Reade

Interview: Alex Reade from Drown This City (@BIGSOUND)

DROWN THIS CITY ARE A POST-HARDCORE BAND FROM MELBOURNE

Drown This City Good For A Girl Alex Reade

Image: Drown This City / Alex Reade (Centre… lol u know)

I first came across the existence of Drown This City through a mate of mine who does their PR/Media – who did a great bloody job, by the way, as everywhere I turned I was seeing their sheeeit. Knowing that women screamers are rare-as-fuck, I immediately checked them out, and died from love for front-woman, Alexandra Reade’s amazing voice.

I completely assumed Drown this City were showcasing at BIGSOUND 2016, so got in touch with Alex to organise a GFAG interview, to find out… she wasn’t attending at all. But the epic thing was she was super keen to meet up and chat with me that she booked her BIGSOUND tickets and travel right then and there and bob’s your uncle, it was ON. What a G.B.

I loved chatting to and meeting Alex, her perspective on being a woman in a male-dominated music genre is really interesting and she is strong in who she is and what she does. I won’t say much more, but I loved transcribing our chat.

Drown This City Good for a Girl Alex Reade Live

Image: Drown This City / Alex Reade 

So, Drown This City are a 5-piece post-hardcore band from Melbourne who launched on to the scene just under a year ago with heavy audiences across Australia welcoming them with enthusiastic open arms.

According to their official bio that I just officially read for the first time: they started the project as an electronic act aimed at an EDM audience! What da fuck. I was not expecting to read that haha. But listening to their music, you can hear that electronic influence coming through in the production with lush synths laid up over the slick guitar riffs and under Alex’s brutal screams (and beautiful clean vocals). And result: it is real good, mane.

Drown This City released their kick-ass debut EP, False Idols, in June this year, and you can listen to it in all of it’s glory in their links below!

BUT FIRST: WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH ALEX READE FROM DROWN THIS CITY!

If you’re in the Melbourne area, you can CATCH THE BAND LIVE NEXT WEEK supporting Lacuna Coil on October 13th at Max Watt’s. Pick up your tickets here.

So if you like what you hear, check Alex and Drown This City out online!

DROWN THIS CITY LINKS

Website
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: ALEX READE FROM DROWN THIS CITY (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Alex (Drown This City):
Tell me if I’m doing weird facials. I always get real intense in my face!

Emma:
Just do it on purpose! Be like pulls serious face at the camera (laughs) OK, so, first thing I wanna talk about is your influences and inspirations from a little young age, or teenager,  who were they or what was it?

Alex (Drown This City):
My Dad was a really big music lover. Listened to Kiwi music – Split Enz! My first love, Split Enz. Neil Finn, Tim Finn, obsessed just love their music. Crowded House. But the first band that really inspired me was actually Muse. Just listened to Absolution and completely fell in love. And that was the first time I thought “maybe I could be in a band. Maybe I could do this.” And I just listened to it on repeat.

Emma:
Rad

Alex (Drown This City):
And that’s before I’d discovered anything heavy – never listened to heavy music. I didn’t even hear any screaming until I was 18. I had no idea. Really got in to Alexisonfire. Heard them for the first time and completely fell in love with heavy music. Parkway Drive! Those two are probably my biggest influences. They really inspired me to go “yeah fuck: that!” I’m going to be in a band and I wanna do that! Just in love with it.

Emma:
So were you singing? Or were you playing an instrument before you discovered heavy music?

Alex (Drown This City):
I was actually classically trained.

Emma:
Really?! (laughs)

Alex (Drown This City):
(laughs) Yes I was! So my parents had big dreams for me to be an opera singer! So from about the age of 5 until I was 19 I had classical music lessons.

Emma:
Right, so you’re still making just as much noise, really, vocally.

Alex (Drown This City):
Exactly! Same amount of intensity but just for a different tone.

Emma:
Metal’s an interesting scene because there aren’t many women in metal, at all. Did you have any influences or inspiration, are there any role models for you to look up to? Or even women to look to sideways from your career?

Alex (Drown This City):
That’s a really good question! My role models were men growing up because there weren’t any women. And I didn’t really get the memo that that was a problem. For me, it wasn’t about the fact they were a man, it was like “I can do that too. They’re doing it. I can do that.” But the first female screamer I really identified with was Alissa White-Gluz, originally from The Agonist, but now she’s the vocalist for Arch Enemy. She is just incredible and she was the first woman I ever heard scream. And I was like “alright. that’s amazing.”

Emma:
Did that change your approach at all to screaming? Cuz I got in to trying to do screaming when I was late teens too; I started getting in to August Burns Red and Architects, and love lots of bands from that scene. And was like “oh, maybe I want to go in more of that direction” because I was playing guitar as well and I was copying, doing what they do. But I only got in to screaming a little bit and I was like “nah I think singing is more for me” but I use screaming as an influence to how I deliver more yelling sort of screaming.

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah

Emma:
But is there a difference in the way men scream to women scream? Like when you first discovered that woman screamer that was an influence to you – did you change your approach at all?

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah that’s a good question – and when people say to me “how do you scream as a female?” I want my response to be “there’s no difference” because we both have the exact same vocal chords. But it does sound different, so you can’t deny there is a difference. But no, it never really changed my mind. I was just pretty set on “I will scream.” It took me many years to learn how to scream, and maybe because I’m a girl and it didn’t come naturally – that aggression didn’t come naturally.

Emma:
Yeah

Alex (Drown This City):
And I was like “how do I do this?” and I spent many many years of learning the technicalities of how to do it. Because I don’t scream from just aggression like “I’m just gunna scream now.” I learnt it as a technique. So perhaps that plays in to the gender thing? I know a lot of guys when you ask them how they scream they’re like “I just do it. I just get out there and I just do it.” But for me I had to really treat it like an extra skill set. Learn how I am going to do this because it’s not natural to have that.

Emma:
Or sometimes I wonder if it’s because women are quite a lot more… we kinda think before we act. We want to know the best way to do something.

Alex (Drown This City):
That’s so true!

Emma:
And we’re quite conscious of our health, and guys aren’t. A lot of them are like “I SCREAM” like “I don’t care if I blow out my voice” cuz they’re not thinking that. Do you find you had that approach? You wanted to do it without damage?

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah! Definitely.

Emma:
So I wonder if that’s a woman thing as well? Cuz even with me when I meet other guy singers – i mean there are more experienced ones for sure – but ones that were kinda at my level when I was getting in to music, I was interested in looking up vocal warm-up techniques and vocal health online and learning what i need to do everyday to keep it healthy and what i need to do before and after a show. Whereas other guys that were at my same level are like “I just go out there and do it” and then they get off stage and they can’t talk anymore! I wonder if that’s a female trait that we look in to protecting and developing our craft.

Alex (Drown This City):
That’s a really good point. Because for me, it’s definitely analytical. And so much control around, and I gotta have routines before I go on stage. Like.. 3 days before hand “don’t talk to me! I can’t go anywhere. I gotta stay home and I gotta drink my tea.” Yeah it’s a really good point.. I don’t know!

Emma:
It just makes me think about how traditionally… I don’t know if it’s a gender role that’s been fostered or whether it is actually just genetic. Women, we want security, we do want protection, and even just in our lives we think about the future a lot. We’re quite an anxious gender. So that’s why I wonder if it all ties in to that, because we want the security of “well I know I like music. So I want the security and the best practise so I know I can do it for the rest of my life, and I know it will be a secure skill that I have.” I’ve never thought about that before, but that just made me think about that.

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah I’ve never really thought about that either! Like when I compare the way I learnt to scream and how to harness that compared to singing, singing came really naturally. And I still sing in a sorta really clean way in Drown This City, but, so I never really put a lot of thought in to how I would do that.

Emma:
Mm

Alex (Drown This City):
But so much anxiety came with screaming for me. It took me years to learn. I felt a lot of anxiety and shame about how it sounded. Because it sounded like a girl screaming, it’s not a man. I’m never going to sound like my idols and people I love, and I was really embarrassed for a really long time learning how to scream. And I had to overcome so many obstacles in my mind. I would scream and it would squeak. I’d develop weird squeaks before playing shows. Like “Oh my god I’m losing it! Where’s it gone? Oh my god why can’t I scream?”

Emma:
Yeah and you’re doing it to yourself, eh?

Alex (Drown This City):
Exactly. It’s purely mental. And I actually had my singing teacher examine my vocal chords one day. He said “oh let’s have a look.” Had a look at them and he’s like “nah, listen. they’re the same vocal chords you sing with, Alex. If you can sing with them you can scream with them. there’s absolutely nothing wrong.” I’m like.. the mind is a very powerful tool! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah and I think that women musicians take over a lot more than guys minds. I’m the same with my vocals! Like even when we were recording our album last year all of a sudden when it got to vocal week I felt so precious like “fuck…” and I actually made myself sick and then I couldn’t sing! I got like.. I don’t even know what I had the doctor couldn’t diagnose it but another guy in the studio ended up getting strep throat so we think it was that?

Alex (Drown This City):
Wow

Emma:
But like who would I have caught that off? I was just so anxious about “oh my god what if my vocals do this?” or “ohh it’s sounding scratchy before I even started” “when I warm up it doesn’t feel like it’s getting loose” and all this stuff that I actually did it at the detriment of my actual recording session and I couldn’t get the vocals done!

Alex (Drown This City):
Maybe we’re just so in tune with our bodies.. like we wake up in the morning like “something’s wrong something’s wrong what is it I need to find out, i need to protect” – and you’re right it must be instinctual because I wouldn’t think men do that?

Emma:
Yeah wouldn’t think many of them would. There’s probably men out there that do, like anxious men. But I still think it’s probably like the default thing in women. Like most of us do that?

Alex (Drown This City):
It’s a really good point (laughs).

Emma:
And you said before that you’ve had in the past, guys being like “how do chicks scream?” and you’ve just been like “how do guys..it’s just the same.” Have you had many experiences being a woman in metal where not just with your artistry, but with general fuckery coming at you for being a chick?

Alex (Drown This City):
(laughs) Yep! On my way here this morning I was just having a quick read through Facebook I’m like “I’m just gunna go–” cuz I know it’s there – but I decided to go back and pick out a few instances. And it’s – people are obsessed with gender. So they can’t critique me as a musician. They have to critique me as a female musician. And so I was reading a few comments on Facebook. One we got was “another excellent band ruined by a terrible female vocalist” and I’m like well I’m not a “female vocalist” I’m a “vocalist.” There’s not difference.

Emma:
Yeah that’s interesting because they judge your terrible-ness on being a woman. Where as if they didn’t think about your gender they’d be like “she’s pretty fucking good.”

Alex (Drown This City):
Exactly. We had a guy ask us once, sent us a message, “oh I love your music, it’s so wonderful. Great vocalist, Alex, but any chance one of the guys in the band are going to do any vocals?” And I thought “well I’m the vocalist?”

Emma:
Yeah we’ll just get the drummer to hop off of the kit and start…

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah! And it was an assumption that apparently they’ve got these skills that… and mine aren’t good enough. “Are you gunna get male vocals in there?” So I am a vocalist at the end of the day I don’t breathe any different, I don’t walk any different, I don’t do anything different. I don’t sing or scream any different to any guy. And so it’s just this obsession with being female! And another few instances, we were looking for a guitarist, and we were advertising publicly on Facebook and a few people were responding back going… and I don’t wanna be crude and you can cut this out if I’m not allowed to say this?

Emma:
Always be crude

Alex (Drown This City):
Alright! Basically it was, “nah shit band. I’d fuck the girl though” those comments. Um. When I was playing a gig last week, a guy walked up to me and said “hi. I was paid $5 to come get your name. How you going?”

Emma:
What?! Paid $5?!

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah. So he was paid to come over and talk to me. And felt like it was appropriate to come over to me while I was on stage and basically try and… whatever it was.

Emma:
Holy shit.

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah and I was like.. you’re not taking me seriously! I’m a performer. I’m here, I’m trying to perform. Like fuck off.

Emma:
And you don’t see them doing that to any of your guys.

Alex (Drown This City):
And I was really thinking a lot more about this. And another thing I’ve found quite interesting is the use of saying you’re a “female-fronted band.” So that’s quite a hot topic at the moment. And the thing I can’t get my head around is… I can’t do anything about the fact that I’m female.

Emma:
Yep.

Alex (Drown This City):
But, aside from that, it’s one word. It’s the word female. So putting it in a tagline “female-fronted” – it doesn’t actually change anything. There’s an assumption that that’s giving me an advantage. And that’s not fair. “That’s not fair that you put female-fronted in there stop doing that.”What’s unfair about that?

Emma:
Yeah I agree.

Alex (Drown This City):
I think you’re over sexualising the whole thing. What am I hoping to achieve?  You know, it’s purely because there’s not many female screamers, not many females in bands. The same people criticising are the ones going “where are the females? Why aren’t they there? More chicks should be in bands. But don’t you dare say you’re a female-fronted band!” So I’ve always thought that was really weird as well.

Emma:
Really odd!

Alex (Drown This City):
I just don’t understand the obsession and it wasn’t something that I was prepared for coming in. I just put my head down. I’m just like anyone else. These guys are my best friends. You know you’re in a band with guys and you’re just one of the crew.

Emma:
Yeah you’re just mates playing music together. I was kinda the same like that. I never really knew there was sexism in the industry, it didn’t come in to my sphere of influence. I never thought about it really until a couple of years ago – I mean this blog’s only started this year – when we started releasing a lot more and yeah, it did crop up a lot more. I was like “what? I just thought we were playing music? I didn’t realise this was a thing that I have to deal with. What?”

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah!

Emma:
So what are you wanting to do moving forward? What are Drown This City up to?

Alex (Drown This City):
Ooooh! Quite a lot of things. We’re quite new, actually. So we withheld a lot of our online presence. We’ve been writing music together for a couple of years, sorta preparing our release. So since December last year we came out. And we’ve just tried to push it as hard as we can. But we’re just focussing on writing as much music as we can because I think that’s a downfall for a lot of bands.

Emma:
Yep

Alex (Drown This City):
They come out with this product and then they tour it, and then they have to take a break. They don’t have anything to put out there. And unfortunately content is key. If you don’t have the content people are just going to move on to another band and it’s quite crushing actually!

Emma:
Yeah!

Alex (Drown This City):
You’ve got these highs and these lows of people coming in and being so interested in what you’re doing – even in our short amount of time we’ve had ups and downs in interest as well. So we’re just writing as much as we can as often as we can. Always prepared for any opportunity coming up. But we’re playing some pretty good gigs for the rest of the year, we’ll announce some soon! We haven’t unleashed them yet. But we’re playing a really good festival next year which I think is the highlight, which is a Unify festival called Unified. And yeah, that’s another interesting point as well because there’s only two females playing that festival..

Emma:
Yeah! Right.

Alex (Drown This City):
There’s myself and another band called Savior who have got a female vocalist as well. A vocalist. (laughts) Not a female vocalist – just a vocalist.

Emma:
(laughs) Just a vocalist, yeah! Happens to have a vagina.

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah so out of 220 musicians playing there are only two females playing.

Emma:
Wow.

Alex (Drown This City):
So that received a lot of… that sort of sparked a big debate in the last couple months of “where are they.”

Emma:
Yeah well there’s been all those things of people removing all the male bands off festival posters and just leaving women ones on there and being like shrugs the posters are completely bare essentially. But I suppose that’s kinda like dominant in the metal scene, especially. There’s quite a lack of women.

Alex (Drown This City):
There definitely is.

Emma:
Like you go to the country scene and it’s quite even or even like rock.. i mean rock’s not even but it’s  way more women there… metal’s kinda like… even hip hop! Drum and bass. There are some specific genres that are massive genres. Like huge followings.. electronic, drum and bass and the metal scene have very loyal fanbases and huge followings and it’s like “where are the women at?” and there’s a lot of women fans, so?

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah!

Emma:
It’d be interesting – I don’t know how we’d ever find out – but women fans… whether they are in to women vocalists as well? Whether there is actual bias within audiences? but..

Alex (Drown This City):
Well when I was growing up I didn’t really like a lot of female vocalists. But it wasn’t because they were female. I didn’t go searching for it.

Emma:
No me either. I didn’t know that I should. Or I didn’t have influences that were women. But since starting this blog it’s like.. there are so many women artists out there!

Alex (Drown This City):
Yeah I know!!

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!

 

Gisele Marie Niqab Muslim Good For A Girl

Rocking out in Niqab

In light of recent events it was really timely for me to come across this video of Gisele Marie, a heavy metal guitarist who also happens to have a vag, on AJ+. Oh, and also is a practising Muslim who wears niqab.

And gives no fucks.

And just does what she wants because the majority of women worldwide are actually free to do what they want whether you like it or not, and no one else’s opinion actually matters so why even bother giving it?

As you can see; girl fuckin’ rocks it with her guitar which is aptly named Polka.

Gisele plays in a metal band called Eden Seed, and has been rocking her niqab since 2009. Gisele converted to Islam in 2009 from German Cathlocism after her father died; and everyone around her was totally chill with her choice and thought she looked badass in her niqab.

Gisele chose her faith for herself, and she chose to cover up in respect to her faith herself.

Some Muslim women choose not to cover up, and wear more ‘western’ fashion, that’s totally cool and respectable to their faith as well.

Some Muslim women choose to be chefs. Some Muslim women choose to be mothers. Some Muslim women choose to be astrophysicists, and some Muslim women like to serve their husbands. Gisele chose to be a professional musician! And 99% of these women will choose what they prefer to wear; whether it be religious garb or not.

Rocking Niqab Eden Seed Good For A Girl Gisele Marie Muslim Burka

You gotta admit; niqab is actually the perfect aesthetic for metal.

I choose to be a musician, graphic designer, blogger, and speed-eater. I wear the clothes I want, and I have the beliefs that I want. Sometimes my skin is covered up completely, and sometimes it’s questionable whether my attire is appropriate in a public space.

Sometimes, our western society still tries to police these things in me, also.

And just because this blog is on a roll with stalking Julia Deans, (making my blog the creepy culprit instead of myself…) I have to share this quote I saw her post this in a heated Facebook debate the other day over the ‘burkini’ saga;

‘Coercing a woman out of a burka is as bad as coercing her into one.
It’s not about the burka.
It’s about the coercion.’

– Arundhati Roy 

Get with the times, hums.

See the world through Gisele Marie’s niqab.

And like she says,

‘be yourself and peace for all’

Meg-White-Good-For-A-Girl-Emma-Cameron

Meg White “Sucking” = Meg White RULING.

So this actually started out as a post about women drummers in general, but when I got to Meg White I went so fucking overboard about her that I realised I needed to write a post about just her to get my feels out.

So, here are my feels, hums.

Meg White Emma Cameron Good For a girl

Meg White was the first female drummer I was exposed to directly in my childhood.

When the White Stripes first hit the global pop scene, I wanted nothing to do with them. Yep, I was too fucking emo at the time to give a shit about music like this as I was too busy listening to their Red, White and Black teen-angsty counterparts; My Chemical Romance.

I think you could even go as far to say that I strongly disliked them – especially because every dude who thought he could play guitar or bass would haphazardly bash out the riff to Seven Nation Army in the attempt to position himself as as-good-as, if not better at guitar than me. Good god. So naturally I developed an association of loathing for them via my feelings towards these clueless dudes. These.. Cludes.

In retrospect it’s partly a shame – if I’d have been able to let go of my desire to be emo as fuck and also ignore the Cludes being shit, I might’ve had a really cool modern woman drummer to look up to.

But you know what I also would’ve had as a young, impressionable female fan of Meg White and The White Stripes? The narrative that emerged between Cludes that Meg White is shit at drums. And the subtle implications that would arise that women are shit at rock music.

Meg White Drums Emma Cameron Good For a girl

So now looking back, I thankfully avoided that narrative until I was a bit older; the first exposure being when I was hanging out with some guy friends of mine. I don’t know how the topic got on to the White Stripes, but the general consensus was that they were shit because Meg was a terrible drummer and couldn’t drum for shit.

At that stage, a ripe age of very-early-twenty-something-potentially-even-very-late-teen-something, I still didn’t give a shit about the White Stripes. But it did strike a chord with me that they were ripping in to Meg in particular. It sparked a curiosity in me that made me go googling, which yielded hundreds – if not thousands – of results in forums and websites of people (namely Cludes) – just attempting to rip Meg a new vag-hole.

Just quickly, let’s travel back in internet time and find some page one gems.

In this “article” about the “top 10 douchiest drummers of all time” – they list a whole bunch of guy drummers who have exceptionally large kits, or do a gratuitous amount of fills, or show off their technical skills too much for the authors liking. But then Meg is just in there, basically asking whether the fact she sits at a drum kit, performs arena shows, tours the world, and has several commercial and highly-acclaimed album releases under her belt even qualifies her as a drummer. At the end of their truly insightful paragraph about her, they state that if women want to play drums, they should “play it with some balls.”

Err, no thanks. Really happy living my ball-less life right now.

Or how about this really super great forum post from a right Colin Smellyshirt after Meg and Jack performed live on the global stage of The Daily Show that, after saying how shit at drums they thought she was, gracefully states at the end of their grand critique that “that bright red skin-tight outfit was [also] very unflattering on her.”

Oh wow!! How surprising and unexpected – a comment on what a woman is wearing and absolutely nothing about her male counterpart’s greasy hair (sorry Jack. That’s my hairdresser coming out, it’s on me.)

Meg White Studio Emma Cameron Good For a girl

I get it, lots of people confuse being “great” at an instrument with technical and theoretical skill and knowledge. And this informs part of their distate for Meg as a drummer. But we can’t ignore that fact that on top of her simplistic style; she also has a vagina – which historically predisposes her to an extra layer of ridicule based on those features alone.

So years went by and I still didn’t give a shit about the White Stripes until earlier this year when I moved in to a place in which one of my flatmates has an electric drum kit set up in our music room, and my partner started wanting to jam with me and encouraging me to have a go on the drums.

I had not really touched a drum kit since I was around 10 years old (when I learnt drums briefly for a year) –  unless I counted the occasional private sit-down at Dan’s drumkit where I would attempt rock beat 1 for about 10 seconds and just wish I could be swallowed up in a hole at the embarrassment of how I’m not just smashing out the confident beats and fills and just killing it.

So usually when I sit at a set of drums, my natural reaction used to be a complete meltdown. I can’t drum with overt technical and theoretical skill, so therefore: I cannot drum.

Until my partner said these 7 words to me when I got really frustrated ant my technique (but also secretly enjoying just rolling with it): “No, it’s cool. You’re like Meg White”

What comes naturally to me, my natural instinct at a drumkit, is completely primal and child like. Using the floor tom as the kick pattern. Using the kick drum as a counter rhythm. Bashing the kick, floor and snare simultaneously because fuck it and it feels good. And because I have natural rhythm, I can make it work.

And this is exactly what Meg White did, as well.

THIS. The way she double hits the hi-hats in unison with the double snare hits – is exactly like me. I can’t get complete limb independence, but who gives a fuck! Just fucking drum with passion and to the song.

Jack White said about his rhythmic counterpart; “She was the antithesis of a modern drummer. So childlike and incredible and inspiring.”

I love that – the antithesis of a modern drummer. That right there sums up why she made so many Cludes feel so fucking uncomfortable. Her style CHALLENGED them. Her style proves that you can just do you, do it well and with complete confidence in yourself, and TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

And the fact she was a woman backs up Jack’s statement in 2 key ways;
1. A ‘modern drummer’ would 99% of the time conjur images of male drummers
2. Her being a woman meaning she was the literal antithesis to this ‘modern drummer = male’ imagery

Meg White Drum Emma Cameron Good For a girl

So thanks, Meg, for making me feel like I can forge my own path exploring the drums and (for the most part) keep at bay the feelings of inadequacy whilst my subconscious tries to hold me up to the standards of the male-driven narrative that puts the weight of respect on to highly technical skill over pure creativity, exploration, and the hard-working ‘doing shit instead of talking about doing shit’ artistry.

And I hope more women and young girls see women like Meg and that encourages them to just give it a go and create their own style and confidence on the instrument of their choice!

Now I think the White Stripes are great. And they would be nothing without Meg White.

AGFAG: Sylvia Massy – Producer

Here I present my mortification of having not known of Sylvia Massy.

My lovely friend Phoebe Hurst aka Hunter tagged me in the below video the other week and I was left sitting there just thinking to myself: “holy shit.”

No other thoughts, just “holy shit.”

I’m a simple person.

Sylvia is an American entrepreneur, music producer, mixer and engineer, writer and artist in the United States.

AND she is a lady incase you hadn’t guessed already..

^^ Oh my god how fucking awesome is she?

Sylvia Massy is best known for producing Tool‘s 1993 debut album, Undertow, (which went bloody double platinum) and her work with other lilly wee boy bands you may have heard of such as System of a DownJohnny Cash and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Syliva Massy Good for a Girl Hugh Grant

Being a young recording artist myself, I have already been in my fair share of studios; and it struck me that I have not worked with a woman in recording before, or really ever seen another women in my vicinity whilst in that environment.

I have a sneaking suspicion they are actually quite rare.

The only other direct exposure I can think of for women in record engineering and producing was a TV ad years ago for the Open Polytechnic or something where there was a girl student talking about all she learned there about recording that she was going to bring in to the “real world.” I wonder what studio she’s working at now?

As you may be able to tell from the incredible video above of Sylvia talking about “Adventure Recording” and all the mental microphones and microphone techniques she has – she is well known for her quirky and creative approach to recording to create unique manual sounds.

You’ll also learn she is a killer illustrator as well! She has released  a book called “Recording Unhinged” – in which she’s drawn all the illustrations for it as well.

Syliva Massy Recording Unhinged Good For A Girl

Doing a bit poking around the internet about Sylvia, I noticed she too gets her fair share of bullshitty man-splaining and condescension despite her very apparent authority and talent in record producing.

I loved this comment I found in response to that which I could not have put in better words myself: “Gotta love the internet shitlords who seem to know better than a Grammy award level producer/mixer/engineer. Take your barely veiled misogyny and go listen to Undertow by Tool or Gilt by Machines of Loving Grace and realise this woman’s got bigger balls than all of you put together. Sylvia’s credentials are bulletproof. ”

Love it. Love her. Hope to meet her one day!

Learn more about Sylvia over at www.sylviamassy.com

And I’m off to go check other women producers!

Good for a girl woman amanda palmer regina spektor

(We Can Only Handle) ONE WOMAN AT A TIME PLZ.

Last week, I received a message from my lovely friend Katie Thompson, who linked me to a post made by Amanda Palmer, in which she makes fun of an email received from her agent where a festival booker is unsure of booking both Amanda and Regina Spektor – since they both have vaginas and play piano.

“I am tempted to ask if they have the same problem when they are confronted with two bands who BOTH contain men playing guitar” she says.

This is a dynamic that has irked (good word) me for some time, harking back to when my band were a baby trying to break on to the scene, and we were told we wouldn’t be able to break-through because it was ‘taking the piss’ of Paramore.

Though it was implied, it’s actually fucking true: there is no way there can be more than one pop-rock band fronted by a white girl at any given time.

If you hadn’t caught the memo, seemingly there isn’t allowed to be any pop-rock bands fronted by non-white girls at all…

Good For A Girl Kermit Sipping Tea Woman

There can’t be more than one woman with one particular musical skill set (i.e. playing piano. Or singing. Or playing guitar. Or having… hair) or hell will freeze over.

The apocalypse will be brought upon us.

Or even worse; Donald Trump will win the US election.

Dude. Jason Derulo sounds like The 1975 sounds like Chris Brown sounds like Joe Jonas sounds like Justin Timberlake. But we don’t have a shot ‘coz we sounded a bit like Paramore?

But Amanda Palmer potentially can’t be booked for a kick-ass show because Regina Spektors already on the bill?

I’m also recalling Keane, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay all being allowed to co-exist and sound like the exact same melancholic piano driven pop rock at once…

Female rock critic Evelyn McDonnell says in this article, “The men of power who are in this industry have this internalized, institutionalized sexism. They see men as having economic power and therefore get billed [over women].”

But I’m not convinced that’s the only factor.

I think it’s also that women in mildly similar genres or using similar instruments are simply not allowed to successfully co-exist in the psyche of people on planet earth.

Case in point: have you EVER IN UR LIFE watched a female-fronted, marginally pop, rock band on youtube and then read the comments? (This goes for other genres, but this one is relevant 2 my experiences)

1.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.20.44 PM

Pretty sure you just described a band that actually sounds nothing like Paramore. Huh.

……………………….

2.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.22.50 PM

Paramore should sound like not-Paramore!!!!!!! Makes total sense.

………………………

3.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.25.59 PM

Again, just cause there is a woman singing, doesn’t mean it sounds like Paramore.

………………………

4.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.26.37 PM

Believe it or not – i found this one on a Garbage music video.
On one of their songs from the 90s.

………………………

5.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.38.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.43.35 PM

These two were found on the same video…

………………………

6.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.49.16 PM

Ohhh I didn’t realise that’s how they got famous – I totally thought it was because they write really great pop songs and work fucking hard! Thanks for your insight. (Okay this one is a bit off topic but…)

………………………

And just because it looks like my blog is turning in to a “Emma loves Julia Deans a lot” fest, here’s the woman herself weighing in on the topic an article about Fur Patrol a few weeks back;

Good For A Girl Woman Julia Deans

So it seems we can only handle one woman doing one particular thing at a time.

Christ on a bike!

Goldie and the Gingerbreads Good For A Girl history lesson

Goldie & The Gingerbreads: A Classic Stitch Up (History Lesson Time)

Alright. It’s time for a women-in-rock history lesson. FYI I just learnt of this story a week or so ago – and it had me both cracking up at the social cliché of the situation, and also raging at the system that was taking away shit from women in music back then – and still is today.

Goldie and the Gingerbreads.

Goldie and the Gingerbreads Good For A girl History Lesson

Sparkly jackets and big hair: you can just see Amy Winehouse and Adele all up in this.

So, not the coolest band name on earth, but, a band with a pretty cool story!

As we know, there were shit tonnes of “girl groups” in late ’50s/early ’60s, but Goldie & the Gingerbreads was a bona fide rock and roll band and, get this: the first all-girl band signed to a major record label. Ever!

Epic. (not Epic Records, just epic in general… it is epic they were the first band to be… you know what I mean).

Goldie and the Gingerbreads Good For A girl History Lesson

Look at Goldie getting to be all cool with her exposed neck while the rest were forced to endure the horror that is turtle necks.

The Gingerbreads were formed when singer Goldie met drummer Ginger later in 1962. How rockstar are those names by the way? Another reason for me to curse my un-rockstar name of Emma (said in a drab tone to exaggerate effect, please).

Goldie had never met a female drummer and thought an all-female rock band would be fucking cool. She was right.

Then they added a keyboardist called Margo and and a guitarist called Carol. Those names make me feel better about my predicament.

The band’s first single was “Skinny Vinnie,” released in 1964.

I was kinda hoping this song would be making fun of a pussy-ass-guy but it turns out she loves him. I guess it was the 60s.

After seeing the band at A PARTY, Atlantic’s chairman signed the Gingerbreads to Atlantic subsidiary Atco (lol you don’t see that shit happen anymore).

They were then sent over to Europe for some reason, where members recorded “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat,” which was a Top 30 hit in the UK. Can’t shake a stick at that!

Goldie & The Gingerbreads enjoyed their greatest success overseas, touring with The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Beatles – holy shit balls.

So, now to the classic stitch up.

After G&TG fucking nailed it in the UK with “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”, they decided that they should definitely take that shit hot track back to their homeland of the US and nail it there, too.

BUT IN STEPS BAND WITHOUT VAGINAS, Herman’s Hermits (The 60s – wtf is wrong with your band names), and their shitty penis-version of the SAME SONG.

Just mere weeks before Goldie and her posse were about to drop their version in the States, Herman and his bloody Hermits release their version to great success, fucking up G&TG entire career and sending them in to financial ruin and legacy-oblivion.

Hermans Hermits Good For A Girl History Lesson

In no way has this image been tampered with. This is what Herman and his Hermits looked like.

No shit, if you google the song ‘Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” – the Herms’ come up. Not Goldie and her delicious Gingerbreads.

Back then the recording industry worked different; writers wrote songs and artists recorded them. So I get that Hermy didn’t steal the song and claim it as their own OG – it just blows my mind that there weren’t any sort of legalities in place to protect Goldie’s recording of it for a certain period of time while they were enjoying success with it.

But the insult to injury is that despite Goldie and the Gingerbreads having an incredible legacy of being the first ever all-girl rock band signed to a major label, when you google the name of their biggest hit, they don’t even come up first!

When you check out the Wikipedia of the song, it’s focussed on Herm’s version.

Sad face.

It’s the classic stitch up of men getting recognition for the same work that women do and get ignored or forgotten for.

I’m lucky enough to be in a band with dudes where we are all equally confused about who came up with what ideas and we’re usually trying to say someone else did instead of claiming credit.

Have any of our lady musicians reading this blog out there experienced their male colleagues taking credit for your ideas or your work?

Yesterday Julia Deans (swoon) posted this hilarious article titled “Nine non-threatening leadership strategies for women” and I found this particular graphic to be timely to me writing about Goldie and her Gingerbread’s story;

Good For A Girl History Lesson Men Steal Womens Ideas
I can’t find any comments from Goldie or her band members about the classic stitch up the Hermit’s did on them, so I’m guessing they went down the route of the right hand side of this graphic which, I guess, is to be expected in the 60s.

Girls, always be the image on the left. Protect your ideas, protect your content, protect yourselves!

Patti Smith The Womens Centre Good For A Girl

Raising over $5,000 for The Women’s Centre – A Set List

So last night was the Patti Smith fundraising gig for The Women’s Centre that I blogged about last week.

It was such a fucking great night full of hugely talented musicians and poets, many of which I had the pleasure of meeting, seeing, and playing with for the first time ever.

Truly amazing efforts from Adam McGrath & The Eastern crew for pulling together this show from the depths of their passionate and loving hearts to raise money for The Women’s Centre. Last thing I heard from Adam was that the show raised over $5,000 which is fucking STELLAR.

If you would like to raise this number even further, you can donate to The Women’s Centre’s givealittle page, which is permanently open, so please share it around and ask your network to donate!

Also notable mentions to Blue Smoke for hosting the evening in their beautiful venue, and hooking up all of the crew with food and beverages to sustain the magic, and to Ben Delaney and Joseph Veale for their talents on the sounds.

If you were in the audience, thank you for coming, you really helped make a difference in Christchurch last night and I hope you enjoyed all of the audio-visual delights as much as I did.

I thought I’d put together a quick blog of the set list from the night so you all can find all of the artists you enjoyed most, and hear Patti Smith’s original version of the pieces we all performed.

So, here it is…click on artist names to be taken to their resting place on the internet. Click play on the videos to enjoy the true good songs and the true good words of miss Patti Smith.

 

1 LINDON PUFFIN (with THE EASTERN)People Have The Power

 

2 THE EASTERNTrampin’  /  Babelogue (Read by AUDREY BALDWIN)  /  Rock ‘n Roll N****r

 

3 REBECCA NASHPoems

(sorry I don’t know what poems she read! If you know – let me know!)

4 EMMA CAMERONDANCING BAREFOOT

 

5 KATHRYN SHAWDEAD CITY (Slightly augmented..) / libya 

“This dead city
longs to be
this dead city
longs to be free

Seven screaming horses
melt down in the sun
building scenes on empty dreams
and smoking them one by one

This dead city
longs to be
this dead city
longs to be living

Is it any wonder
there’s squalor in the sun?
With their broken schemes and their lotteries
they never get nowhere

Is it any wonder they’re spitting at the sun?
God’s parasites in abandoned sites
and they never have much fun

If I was a blind man
would you see for me?
Or would you confuse
the nature of my blues
and refuse a hand to me?

Is it any wonder I’m crying in the sun?
Well I built my dreams on your empty scenes
now I’m burning them one by one

This damn city
this dead city
immortal city
shortfall city
orange cone city
CERA city
longs to be
longs to be
free”

 

6 JESSICA SHANKSKimberley

 

7 EMILY FAIRLIGHTPissin’ In A River

 

7 AUDREY BALDWINStar Fever (While brushing teeth)

“They can not harm me
They can not harm me
They can only
burn out my eyes
beat my limbs
black and blue
legs cant run
hands cant play
face cant sing
cant sing cant say
They can not harm me
They can only
turn in my eyes
rip out my teeth
spit pure ivory
carve my face like a clock
alarm me clock clock me
bleed me scape goat me
chain me to a rock me
rock me rock me
clever as a fox me
brand a star on/my left shoulder
a star on my left
clever as a fox
my spirit lights
behind the boulder
holding to my name forever
Knowing I’ll go on forever
Spirit laughing free as water
in a ring of fire
with its hair aflame”

 

8 AMIRIA GRENELL (with BRYONY MATTHEWS)Ghost Dance

 

9 ALICE ANDERSENPiss Factory

 

10 DAVEY BACKYARDFree Money

 

11 CARMEL COURTNEYFireflies

 

12 PAUL UBANA JONESThe Jackson Song

 

13 KIMBERLEY HOLMES (with House Band)February Snow

 

14 REB FOUNTAIN (with House Band)Privilege (Set Me Free)

 

15 ADAM HATTAWAY (with House Band)Ask The Angels

 

16 BRENDAN GREGG (with House Band)Mother Rose

 

17 RYAN FISHERMAN (with House Band)This Is The Girl

 

18 EVERYONE (Lead by REB FOUNTAIN)Gloria

 

19 EVERYONE (Lead by REB FOUNTAIN & ADAM MCGRATH)Because The Night

 

The House Band were:
ADAM HATTAWAY (Lead Guitar)
AJ PARK (Drums)
BRENDAN GREGG (Bass)
EMMA CAMERON (Rhythm Guitar)

The Runaways Live Good For A Girl Girl Bands

Girl Bands are Fucking Cool

Do you know what’s really fucking cool? Girl bands.

I was reading an article today about the history of women in rock,  which gets down to the point of the late 20th century where women started finding their voice more in rock in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and it quotes Chrissie Hynde (lead singer of The Pretenders) as saying “I’m glad there’s a lot of babes doing this shit [now], because it’s kind of lonely out there”, which made me think about my own position in an all-male-band-except-me and how most often we only get to play shows with all-male-bands.

And yeah, when I think about it, it does get lonely out there. I don’t mind hanging with the dudes, and given my history of playing music with almost exclusively men, if anything I’m geared towards it.

It made me begin to imagine how different the dynamic would be if my whole band was women, though.

It would be so awesome to all get ready for a gig together, talking about girl stuff (farts, poos and period problems), while doing our hair and warming up our instruments before a show.

What Decades’ music would sound like if we were all women? Weirdly I think it would be harder and faster, angrier and more political, with a fucktonne more hair (and boobs).

Decades Good For A Girl Girl Bands

WordPress auto-loaded in this caption for me: “Three girls playing the guitar, isolated on white background.” Yes, that’s EXACTLY what’s happening here. PS: This is barely even relevant, I should be in the image too if it’s of Decades as a girl band, but just the idea took me and I spent like 20 minutes on it and it’s so fucking funny so it’s in my blog. That’s how I roll.

The feminine energy of girl bands is so distinguishable. I find it hard to define, but there is something so very special about girl bands, and I’m only just at the tip of discovering what that is for me.

Here are 3 girl bands that have touched my psyche and subliminally influenced my development and perspective as a woman in rock music throughout my life.

 

…………………………………………

1. The Runaways

An obvious choice, the ladies in The Runaways blazed the way for women in modern rock music after launching their estrogen-filled punk tunes on to the world in the late 70s.

The Runaways Good For A Girl Girl Bands

My first touch point with The Runaways was via Joan Jett‘s song “I Love Rock and Roll” – which my Dad showed to me after Britney Spears released her sparkly cover of it to a 11-year-old pop sprogget Emma.

“Listen to the real thing”

Thank god for Dads.

 

…………………………………………

 

2. The Donnas

Sometimes I really fuck myself off. I remember when The Donnas released Fall Behind Me in 2005 and I LOVED IT. I was about 15 and it was around the time I wanted to start a band. Seeing these ladies rocking out on C4 (or whatever the fuck music TV was then) had a huge impact on me.

They were playing RIFFS. The song was COOL. They had PRETTY HAIR.

The Donnas Good For A Girl Girl Bands

It literally said to me: you are a girl and you can actually do this rock band thing while being a girl!!

But I never bought their albums or followed their career at all? I don’t know what is wrong with me (cough teenage malleable attention influenced by the societal hivemind men = better cough)

 

…………………………………………

 

3. Warpaint

In a time where I was feeling my most overwhelmed by the more negative impacts of our cultures stereotypical femininity (I was hairdressing, which for me meant everything around me was image focussed, judgemental, pop music, not-a-hair-out-of-place-or-you’re-gross sorta vibe), Warpaint called to be in their soft, dreamy, modern hippy female rock vibes from the TV screen in the salon.

I had no idea what C4 was doing playing this amongst the glitz and glamour of the Top 20, but it was so fucking refreshing, and I became obsessed with this track, and bought the album immediately.

Warpaint Good For A Girl Gil Bands

They have this effortlessly cool, don’t-give-a-fuck essence oozing out of all of them which feels really empowering in this modern age where a lot of women in music still feel the pressures of caking on the make up and wearing the tight clothing.

……………………………………

I’d also like to give local band Blue Ruin a shout out – a kick-ass modern all girl punk band from Auckland. I haven’t seen them live yet,  but I hope they continue and I’m looking forward to checking out some releases by them.

Blue Ruin NZ Band Good For A Girl Girl Bands

The girls in Blue Ruin with Cherie Curry from The Runaways earlier this year when they opened for her.

……………………………………

I’d love to know what girl bands you’re in to, please comment and link to the ones you dig in the comments!

I have another ask, since I’m finding it hard to articulate describing the unique vibe of girls bands. How you would describe the energy of girl bands? I would love to make some social media posts quoting your descriptions. That are better than mine.

So comment those below as well, and I might just share yours.
(and feel at-rest in my soul that I now have an accurate description of my feelings via you).

What I Don't Know About Patti Smith Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

What I Don’t Know About Patti Smith

Patti Smith: a name I’ve heard as many times in my life as I have strings on my guitar – well, up until last week when I was asked to take part in a charity gig honouring her music with all proceeds going to The Women’s Centre here in Christchurch.

I said yes.

Fuck. What was I thinking? I know nothing about this woman – how can I honour her artistry and her prolific legacy?!

I said yes out of a 50/50 mixture of  helping support a struggling women’s charity and pure me-me-me selfishness (how’s that for paradox).

I thought it would be a good challenge for me. Solo Emma – this never happens (cripes on a bike) and I’d get to hang out with a bunch of local musicians I don’t usually get to, all the while throwing coin at a worthy cause. It works!

So, shit, what better way to fast track my appreciation than forcing myself to write a blog post about the woman?

So here is a list of things I don’t know about Patti Smith.

1. She is known as The Godmother of Music

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

Fuck, that sounds like a pretty big deal. Cue anxiety of doing one of her songs justice. Her 1975 debut album, Horses, is widely considered one of the most influential albums of the New York City punk movement.

 

2. She is a Singer-Songwriter, Poet, and Visual Artist

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Art Photography

Ah, yes. What we call an “over-acheiver” – making the rest of us artists either feel fuckin’ useless, or fuckin’ inspired. I suggest to grab a hold of the latter, like myself.

“I don’t consider writing a quiet, closet act.
I consider it a real physical act.
When I’m home writing on the typewriter, I go crazy.
I move like a monkey.
I’ve wet myself, I’ve come in my pants writing.”

–Patti Smith

Sold.

 

3.  She is a social and political activist

Patti Smith in an Iran War Protest, NYC 1975 Good For A Girl
Image: Patti Smith in an Iran war protest in 1975 (New York City)

Patti has been a vocal supporter of the US Green Party, was a speaker and singer at the first protests against the Iraq War as George W. Bush spoke to the United Nations General Assembly, and has toured in a series of rallies against the Iraq War, and called for the impeachment of George W. Bush (just to name a few).

Girl stands for justice. Dig it.

 

4. REM, Madonna, Courtney Love, U2, Morrissey and Johnny Marr all state her as their biggest influence.

Patti Smith Good For A Girl

Ummmmmm…. Me: immediately downloads all of albums to absorb what clearly must be Elixir of Greatness™

…………………………………………………………………………

So, basically what I didn’t know about Patti Smith is that she is fucking awesome and now I’m very excited about learning her songs and learning things from learning her songs.

I’ve gotta finish this post up here because now I’m gagging to get my guitar out.

The Songs and Words of Patti Smith; A Women's Centre Fundraiser

If you’re in Christchurch on Thursday 28th July, do come to The Songs and Words of Patti Smith; A Women’s Centre Fundraiser where I will be performing her song, Dancing Barefoot, and making my first foray in to publicly jamming with musicians that aren’t Liam, Dan and Curtis as part of the house band for the night!

Buy Tickets Here

All ticket proceeds go to The Women’s Centre in Christchurch – a place for women, run by women offering support, solidarity and resources. It currently faces an uncertain future due to funding cuts and budget shortfalls. In a terrible paradox, funding for mental health and well being providers is at an all time low when need (especially post earthquake) is at an all time high.

good for a girl blog girls that shred header

Girls That Shred: Guitar

This week I want to talk about girls that shred on the guitar. For those who are unfamiliar with the term “shred” as it relates to music:

Shred – verb
to play a very fast, intricate style of rock lead guitar.

So, I’ve put together a wee list of women guitarists who come to mind that have been on my radar throughout the years for you to check out and have your face MEEELLLLTTTEDDD by.

Fig 1. You. After You've Listened to these Girls that Shred.

Fig 1. You. After You’ve Listened to these Girls that Shred.

……………………………………………………………..

1) Jennifer Batten

Okay this is O.G. (that’s “original” for those who aren’t gangsta) guitar hero for me. Those of you reading who know me personally will be well aware I am a big  huge MASSIVE Michael Jackson fan. I grew up on Michael Jackson’s music. I absolutely loved watching his live concerts when they played on TV and my mind was BLOWN by this unicorn-bondage-amazonian woman, Jennifer Batten, who fucking SLAYED on the guitar as part of his band. Jennifer played with MJ on all 3 of his world tours.

Jennifer Batten Good For A Girl Girls That Shred

Image: And her look was incredible.

Looking back now I think, as a child, I may not have even realised she was a woman due to all the gears she wore at times and not to mention everyone else in the band being a dude so: child-like assumptions. But later on in life I did realise, and it became a fixation for me for a while to work towards eventually playing guitar for Michael Jackson when I “grew up” (still waiting for that to happen).

Anyway, Jennifer has had an illustrious, amazing career as a girl that shreds, including 3 studio albums of her own which you will really love if you’re in to music where vocal melodies are replaced entirely with guitar solos. Her early offerings were Above, Below and Beyond (1992), Jennifer Battens Tribal Rage: Momentum (1997). Then you’ve got her most recent release: Whatever (2007), which is an out-of-this-world experimentation of guitar solos mixed in with samples and covers (which I bet Michael Jackson would’ve loved the shit out of).

 

2) Orianthi

Okay if it’s not entirely apparent from the video still, Orianthi was also a guitarist for Michael Jackson. I thought it was awesome that Michael Jackson searched for new female blood to take the place of Jennifer for his cut-short This Is It tour, and I was quite obsessed with her and her talent after seeing the movie. Orianthi is from Australia and started playing music she was just 3 years old with piano, and moved to the guitar at age 6.

She has been playing in bands since the age of 14 and performed in her first stage show for fuckin’ Steve Vai at the age of 15! Orianthi met and jammed with Carlos Santana when she was 18! Can’t deal. This girl has incredible talent.

Orianthi Good For A Girl Girls that shred

Image: Alice Cooper thinks she’s alright, too.

Orianthi, like Jennifer, also has 3 studio albums, but she is also a pretty solid vocalist and writes her own songs. Check ’em out: Violet Journey (2007),  Believe (2009), and Heaven in this Hell (2013)

 

3) LITA FORD

Can we all just take a moment for this short 80s-dream of a clip? In the 70s, Lita Ford was the lead guitarist of the most successful all-girl band of all time; The Runaways. In the 80s she embarked on her solo career which is the deliciousness above. Lita started playing guitar at age 11, and at 16 she was recruited in to the Runaways who released their debut album 1 year later. Fuck I wish I had an album under my belt at 17.

Lita is featured extensively in the 2005 documentary film Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways, in which she spoke candidly about her time in the all-girl band. Among other things, she alludes to verbal and sexual abuse endured by the band members at the hands of their (male) manager, Kim Fowley. Fucker. I’m glad she called him out.

Lita Ford Good For A Girl Girls that shred

Image: Note to self – get name inlayed in to guitar neck so people know i mean bizniz.

In the late 80s she signed a management deal with none other than Sharon Osbourne, and released her most successful album to date, Lita. She has released 9 albums in total (!!!) – including Time Capsule which apparently is coming out this year.

 

4) Sophia Di

I want to get a little bit indie now; as a lot of the true, insane fucking shredders on guitar are quite often what is commonly referred to as “bedroom shredders.” This is most likely because these guitarists are so fucking talented, all they do is sit and play guitar in their rooms (or home studios) and practice the shit out of their instruments and film it for the world to enjoy (gawk at) on the internet.

Sophia Di is amazing. I have no idea where she is or what she is doing now, but I knew her briefly years ago in the Christchurch (yes, local!) metal scene. She played lead guitar in the Rockquest-winning youth metal band, Beneath the Silence, and fucking killed it.

Sophia Di Girls That Shred Good For A Girl

Image: Sophia being one of the coolest 15 year olds on the block

She went on to play in another band called The Omega Chronicles, which the solo in the video above is from. Sophia if you’re out there somewhere I hope you’re still shredding.

Side note – just had to have a laugh at this comment on the video:
“nice mastery at such a young age. see that? i didn’t say “because you’re a girl”. that’s irrelevant.”
Why did you still have to bring it up, then? He wants da gold starrrrs.

 

5) Juliette Valduriez

One more bedroom shredder for you: Juliette Valduriez. I followed Juliette’s classic punk and rock covers on youtube for years after Gibson Guitar posted the above video of her covering Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon on their Facebook page which went viral (for the times).

I’m not just impressed with Juliette’s skills; part of it is also how she just plays it like she doesn’t even know she’s playing it. Like in her head she’s just eating a sandwich, or reading a lovely book, or daydreaming out a window, but her hands are just shredding all by themselves.

About 4 years ago the videos stopped coming, which sucks. I just visited her Facebook Page to see she hasn’t posted there for years either and there are just a bunch of bewildered fans concerned for her safety…

That got dark quick. Well I hope she is just on a hiatus while she is creating a killer album and will emerge glorious when it’s ready to melt all of our faces w-w-w-w-worldwide.

……………………………………………………………..

So, those are a few female shredders I’ve come across in my journey of hurtling through the universe on this rock called earth.

Please send me links in the comments to girls that shred that you are in to! I don’t know enough of them!

PS when I was a student and had a lot more time on my hands I started getting in to more technical guitar work. Since then I’ve become even more lazy and pared Decades songs mostly down to single string simple riffs. Hence my admiration for female shredders!

Check out 19 year old me in my messy room with a shitty laptop mic:

Good For a Girl women-led bands Emma Cameron

5 Women-Led Bands I’m Digging Right Now

After sharing favourite women-led bands and musicians with commenters on my last few posts and new discoveries being made on both my side and yours, I thought, why not put together a public list of the 5 women-led bands I’m digging right now?

So.. yeah.. I’m doing that!

 

1) Courtney Barnett 

I first heard of Courtney Barnett a few years back when her manager was at a music conference I was attending, and he talked about how she was the next big thing. I was a cynical ass and never checked her out FUCK WAS I MISSING OUT.

I snapped up her latest album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit on CD when I was on holiday in Australia last year as I was going to be doing a bit of road trippin’ and my shitty rental only had a CD player. It is hands down my favourite album of 2015. Fuck this girl can play guitar and write a fucking TUNE. Pure love. I hope to see her live one day – she was actually playing in my city, Christchurch, when I was on this Aussie road trip i.e. the universe hates me.

Courtney Barnett Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to Courtney Barnett on Spotify

 

2) Marmozets (Becca MacIntyre)

Marmozets are like a white Jackson 5 of the 21st Century that play math-metal influenced pop rock music. And you can quote me on that.  I don’t even remember how I came across this family of musicians a couple of years ago but I’m so glad I did because Becca has the voice of an aggressive british angel and she writes some very down-to-earth and relatable lyrics that are a snapshot in to the life of being a young 20-something girl in a rock band. I like.

I especially like yelling this song manically in my car when I’m alone. Or with people; I don’t really care.

Plus it’s like God loved his creation, Shirley Manson, so much he was like “let’s make another one of those for the kids today.” Their debut album, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, is also a 2015 highlight for me. Also they played on the last night I was in Melbourne last year recording our album and I was horrendously sick and couldn’t go i.e. the universe hates me again.

Becca MacIntyre Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to Marmozets on Spotify

 

3) The Joy Formidable (Ritzy Bryan)

Whirring was the first song I ever heard by Welsh band, The Joy Formidable. I fell in love with Ritzy Bryan’s voice immediately. Her voice has this pixie-ish feminine charm which is so rad over some heavy single-string guitar bashing. Then I looked them up on the interwebz and was even more excited and inspired to find out she is the sole guitarist and knows her way around a fucking extensive effect-pedal rig. She literally made me more confident to start experimenting with pedals, so thanks wonderful human.

THE OUTRO IN THIS SONG THOUGH. Whirring is off their debut album The Big Roar, but they’ve since released another album called Wolf’s Law and they just released their latest album Hitch this year!

Ritzy Bryan Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to The Joy Formidable on Spotify

 

4) St. Vincent

I’d heard people talking about St. Vincent a bit but hadn’t checked her out until I saw her self-titled album on the shelves at JB Hi Fi at the aformentioned Australian road trip so I picked that up too. Wow – this girl is fucking weird. I love her. She is a space alien guitar queen, and has such a unique and effect-heavy guitar style.

Check out this video of her out talking about her style – I am inspired by her confidence and open-ness to do whatever comes natural to her and not to emulate anyone with her instrument.

St Vincent Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to St. Vincent on Spotify

 

5) Middle Kids (Hannah ??????)

I put ???? after Hannah because I literally discovered Middle Kids today and I can’t find what her last name is! But I really fucking dig it – and so I wanted to share my newest discovery with you. They are from Sydney and are fresh on the scene, Edge of Town being their (as far as I can tell) debut single.

They are showcasing at the BigSound music festival in Brisbane in September which I’m heading over for, so I am super excited to check these guys out live!

I don’t have much more to add for them since I don’t know anything about them except for that this song is cool as fuck. Upon some quick googling I don’t think they’ve even played a live show yet, they are that hot off the press. So, enjoy!

Middle Kids Hannah Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to Middle Kids on Spotify

 

Well, that’s it! 5 fucking great women-led bands I’m digging right now – I hope you discover some new music that you fall in love with here.

What women-led rock bands are you in to at the moment? Please post ’em in the comments so I can discover some new ones!

Emma Cameron Good for A girl Blog Scandal

“We Want Scandal”

Starting this blog has been one of the more rewarding and exciting things I’ve done in my life.

Opening up the conversation about women in rock music (and I hope eventually once I become more “worldly” that I can expand my knowledge to other genres) has led me to some cool experiences and conversations already with a wide variety of women, men, and “the media.”

I didn’t think I would experience this so early in the piece, and I’m grateful for everyone who reads my ramblings. Love.

So, shortly after I launched this blog, I had a PR friend of mine contact me with a very exciting proposal they wanted to include me in.

They wanted to pitch an editorial piece on basically exactly what Good for a Girl is about – the absurd and often hilarious discrimination of women in rock music – to one of the most popular women’s magazines in Australia and of course I was excited.

They already had a slew of amazing women lined up and ready to share their tales, so I was like “hell yeah, mother fucker.”

I loathe typical women’s magazines, personally.

“how to get him to scream in the bed!” ..uh, stab him with a steak knife?

“how to get that bikini body”  …umm put a bikini on your body?

“How to get flawless skin” maybe stop encouraging women to cake on 3 tonnes of make up every damn day of their lives causing them skin issues and sadness?

But, the other women they had gotten on board are women I look up to in New Zealand/Australian rock music and I was honoured to have the opportunity to share my weird-ass voice alongside them to a market that all-too-often gets sold (and willingly buys in to) messages of “you’re not good enough.”

Well fuck, it turns out we weren’t good enough, either.

My mate got back in touch with me to tell me that the editor of this academically-regarded piece of fine monthly social commentary for women (sarcasm) turned down the pitch because she wanted “scandal.”

Emma Cameron Good For A Girl Sexism Meryl Streep The Devil Wears Prada

I pictured the editor to be somewhat like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada

I can just picture her (yes, her!!!) in the boardroom. All her writers sitting around the round table, while she enthusiastically shouts at them,

“I want RAPES!

I want MURDERS!

I want ‘the sound guy told me to wear a shorter skirt so i STABBED HIM!’

These are, of course, very real and serious issues that are still ongoing in the music industry (and beyond).

But what myself and the other women lined-up to share their stories wanted to talk about is equally important – because it’s about the overall passive lack of respect for simply being a woman, which is exactly what sets a mass mindset that manifests in to these more extreme situations.

It’s more culturally ingrained and it continues the harmful narrative; women are less-than and should be treated as such.

You gotta break this shit down from base level. From the level where Colin Smellyshirt hates your tights, or from where male fans think it’s okay to rub your butt.

These magazines aren’t helping anybody – man or woman. Not only did they turn down the opportunity to shed light on the culture of subtle sexism and help contribute to the conversation to shift this culture; they also turned down an opportunity to spotlight some talented woman living in their country, working hard, achieving their dreams. Creating pathways to inspire teenaged girls and even older women the confidence that they can TOO do anything.

And doesn’t that whack-ass editor realise that they would’ve looked fucking cool doing that?

Well if you’re going to do something right, you should do it yourself.

So, I will tell these stories. Keep an eye out for interviews coming soon. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but it’s going to happen.

And if you know of any women who would be keen to contribute their experiences – please let me know by contacting me.

 

Julia Deans Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

AGFAG: Julia Deans / Role Models for Young Girls

Julia Deans. Julia Fucking Deans.

I was too young to cotton on to Fur Patrol properly. To become a fan in all senses of the word.

Infact, I was 11 when their huge hit, Lydia, came out (which I loved, but didn’t have the age-appropriate tools or curiosity to obsess any further) and probably pushing 12 when their second track that I remember loving, Andrew, was released.

Fur Patrol Lydia NZMA 2001 Lydia Emma Cameron Good For A Girl

Fur Patrol accepting their Best Single award for ‘Lydia’ at the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards

So when I read that Fur Patrol were getting back together for what is essentially their last hoo-rah for the forseeable future, I knew I absolutely could not miss this opportunity at this time in my life, when I’d missed the WHOLE buzz in the early 2000s while I was too busy listening to fucking Simple Plan or some other horrific shit like that.

I personally know Julia a little bit through mutual friends and have met her a few times in the past year or so. I have had a passive respect for her from just knowing she was in Fur Patrol, and being aware of their general success and liking a couple of their songs in my awkward youth. So, there was an added layer of wanting to go see them play to support her as a (clueless) friend.

The show was on Friday 17th June, 2016 (as I write this; 4 nights ago).

What I anticipated was that I would enjoy watching a band play and recognise a couple hits and just generally have a nice time, hopefully get to say hi to Julia and have a few drinks then head home being like “that was an enjoyable experience, I think Fur Patrol are great.”

And that did happen. Quick review: the band are tight, the songwriting is incredible, the style development throughout their years of songs is inspiring. Julia is an incredible performer; her vocals are pitch perfect and so well controlled, and she moves SO WELL. She plays guitar like a boss and her on stage banter is funny and whip-snap fast.

Julia Deans Fur Patrol Andrew Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

Julia Deans in the “Andrew” music video – 2001. She is so fucking cool that she actually makes me consider cutting my fringe like that, even thought I KNOW I will look like a troll.

What I did not anticipate was how much of a profound effect actually seeing her perform on Friday night would have on me, and here is why.

As I watched Julia perform, I realised; I HAVE NEVER SEEN A WOMAN PLAYING GUITAR FRONTING A ROCK BAND WITH MY OWN EYES RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

The revelation almost brought me to tears. I found the inspiring and encouraging role model that I never knew that I clearly needed growing up and playing guitar/fronting a band.

Everywhere dudes look they can find role models; and all my life I guess I just subconsciously accepted that my role models were going to be the men and boys I was surrounded by both within my circle of musician-friends, and going to see other bands perform.

I now completely understand that girls need girl role models.

It sounds like a no-brainer, and it’s a feminist ideology I’ve always passively “pushed,” but didn’t even realise that I hadn’t had one myself all this time. And I now understand that that actually effected me growing up and trying to be a rock musician in a very heavy way.

Watching Julia perform had me going through all the thoughts and feels. Watching her made me feel empowered and validated.

That’s what I do!! She looks awesome doing it! That means I look (at least half) as awesome doing it! If I am amazed by her, maybe people can be amazed by me?

These are thoughts and affirmations I should’ve had access to since I started playing in bands from age 15! I can’t even imagine how much more confident I would be if I had had this revelation and encouragement from that age.

Holy shit!!

The quality and skill of this video I took is not only not good for a girl –
it’s fucking diabolical for anyone. It’s all I got – I am great.

My favourite part of the whole evening – which sounds fucked because the actual music and performance was incredible – was when Julia got her hair caught in a ring she was wearing on her index finger. That is such a thing that would happen to a woman in rock! Fuck! I am like her!

Seeing Julia play had an immediate effect of my confidence as a female musician.

After she played (sorry rest of Fur Patrol – you were great but you don’t have a vagina so you didn’t really effect me in profound ways BUT I had some real kicks out of a few of the bass riffs and beats) I had to boost off immediately as I was travelling out to a creative retreat with a bunch of local Christchurch musicians who form a collective called, Fledge.

These Fledge retreats are a bunch of musicians that get together and jam, non-stop, for days on end. I’ve only been to a couple since I met the crew in the last year or so, and I am usually paralyzed with fear to get up and jam. I have never done it. I usually listen and offer up ideas verbally (I like being bossy).

This weekend, I got up and I played guitar, I played drums, I played piano, I played bass, I sung. I was vulnerable and I was confident.

All because of seeing Julia Deans the night before.

/endJuliagush

I want to build more pathways for women in rock music.

More exposure. I don’t know when the next time will be that I get to see another prominent fucking woman wielding a guitar and fronting a rock band with my own damn eyes – and that is not right! I should be able to go see one as often as I go see a rock band with a dude in the front.

I’m going to go immerse myself in Fur Patrol’s back catalogue and attempt to make up for the years I missed out on.

The Morning Rumble: Periods are Metal. Period.

The other week I was listening to The Rock FM’s Morning Rumble on my drive to work, which is a show with great tunes and testosterone-driven hilarity and initiatives (seriously, how men come up with ideas like ‘CAR-B-Q’ – and then actually fucking execute them is beyond me).

On that morning they were joined in banter by their news reader, Jen, who was pulled in to a segment to help explain the seemingly bat-shit-crazy stuff women say or do to men, and she would bluntly non-explain why women did these things. She was as funny as she was unhelpful – she added to the men’s turmoil.

“Why does my wife nag me all the time?”

“Because we believe nagging helps.”

It was fucking hilarious.

I loved it – never reveal our true secrets, Jen.

Towards the end of the segment, Jen simply couldn’t explain one woman-like behaviour with anything else but “periods”.

“Euurrgggh!” cried Rog, Bryce and Tom in unison.

“Don’t say that word this early in the morning!”

“Just never say that word Jen!”

While their reactions cracked me up, It got me thinking; why are men so disgusted by periods? Especially men working in the rock music biz because:

Periods are metal as fuck.

We must contemplate the sheer badassery of women who bleed for around week straight once a month and not fucking die.

emma cameron good for a girl periods are metal kill bill blood bath

Although we can’t account for our victims.

If the devil himself sacrificed six-hundred-and-sixty-six demon goats, it wouldn’t be half as bloody as what a vagina expels each month.

The boys – hell, all of us – should be throwing horns when periods are mentioned; not recoiling in disgust like a bunch of pussies.

Actually, that’s an unfair simile… because pussies are tougher than Chuck Norris.

What else do you know that can take a solid pounding and not only live to tell the tale, but actually enjoy it?

A pussy wouldn’t recoil from the mention of a period. It’s clit would also throw horns and head bang at the mention.

Is the main issue the blood?

emma cameron good for a girl periods are metal the shining blood gif

NOT PREGNANT!

Blood has been a celebrated theme in almost every genre of metal since metal was born!

e.g:
– Slayer – Raining BLOOD (From the album Reign in BLOOD – it’s a blood fest)
– Cannibal Corpse – I Cum BLOOD (Bonus points for the blood coming out of a genital)
– Metallica – Pumping BLOOD (as if that’s not EXACTLY what our uterus is doing once a month)

For a lot of women, at least one period-day a month makes us feel like satan himself has set up firey house inside our abdomen, and has decided to redecorate by pulling down the walls with his jagged claws, and having a field day shoving them down the vagina-drain with a pitchfork.

emma cameron good for a girl periods are metal satan blood

Some women vomit until our throats are raw (think primal screams), some of us shit acid (feel free to use these lyrics) — we go through absolute hell, but all of us live to tell the tale.

Periods are beyond brutal, people.

So next time periods are mentioned on air, I challenge The Morning Rumble to simply react with; “hell yeah mother fucker, periods are metal as fuck” – then hit play on Blood and Thunder by Mastodon.

My Pre-Show Rituals

One thing I’ve been asked several times before, and I’m expecting it to come up a lot when we release our album or headline our first tour from press is; what are your pre-show rituals?

Every musician gets asked this; vag or peepee. But there is a super fun expectation that my rituals must be different because of vag.

“You must take way longer than the guys to get ready?”

And some of the questions are just… why does anyone even care?

“How long does it take to do your hair and make up before a show?”

I don’t know? However long I’ve got.

“How many outfits do you bring on tour?”

The same amount as the guys do but why don’t you ask them?

“How do you avoid getting sweaty?”

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Shelley Te Haara Sweaty Decades

Answer: I don’t avoid getting sweaty?? Photo by Shelley Te Haara

And I’ll re-wear sweaty outfits, I don’t have room for multiple “looks” and I don’t have time to do washing (despite being a girl – CRAZY I know!). I’m happy to stink in the name of rock.

So, what are the Pre-Show Rituals of Emma Cameron from New Zealand rock band, Decades?

I’ve decided to write them down once and for all so all journalists looking for my girly list of pre-show rituals that definitely differ from the guys I’m on tour with can just copy and paste from here.

1. I re-string my guitar
While I’m restringing my guitar with my vagina, I’m surrounded by cute little birds holding on to my various hardware while we sing a song together.

2. I warm up my fingers/guitar
I do this whilst simultaneously painting my 1/2-inch long finger nails a pretty shade of pastel pink

3. I do my hair.
But so do the guys – let’s just say my hair straighteners weren’t the only pair on tour with Villainy and City of Souls last month.

4. I do my make up.
Yo, has anyone heard of a little boy band named “KISS” ?
I put as little effort in to it as possible because I just sweat it off panda-style. If KISS used some sweat-resistant shit, let me know. I’ll buy it.

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Bradley Garner Sweaty Decades

Fig A: The sweaty panda. Photo by Bradley Garner Creative

5. I get changed in to my stage outfit.
While all the men on tour just perform in the stained track pants, ripped wife-beaters, and ‘i sat in the filth of these undies for a 6 hour drive to this venue’ they travelled comfortably in (sarcasm), I go through the grand ritual of putting on a different t-shirt. So girly.

6. I warm up my vocals
Unless guys have magical vocal chords that are constantly warm (ANOTHER WAY THE PATRIARCHY HAS A TOTAL FOOT STOMPED ON THE BACK OF WOMEN?????), I think this is not uniquely female.

7. I take at least 3 shits
Yup.

 

 

The Damsel In Distress

It was around 2009/2010 that I really started taking on the identity of being a vocalist in our band. Not just a guitarist who happens to also wail in to some beat-up town-bicycle-style microphone because no one else in the band can be arsed doing it.

I had aspirations to develop my voice to be front-person worthy. Strong, reliable, and impressive. And so I started googling vocal tutor’s on youtube (as if my poor arse could actually afford a real-life tutor) and I started asking our live sound guy to record our gigs so I could hear problem points that I needed to work on.

After playback of several of these recorded live gigs where it sounded like I was singing under water with a mouth stuffed full of the dicks of my enemies – so, not my ideal scenario – I expressed my horror to our sound guy (and long time good friend and ex-band member). He agreed that he always struggled to get my voice to cut-through past the guitars and drums using your humble and common SM-58’s found at most venues.

We both agreed it was time for me to get my own microphone if I wanted to guarantee I had the ideal vocal sound and cut-through at all future gigs no matter what venue we played at.

Not to mention that using the supplied SM-58s at most venues can be a horror story. The SMELL some of these venue-owned microphones can have. Good lord; you’d think vocalists have a natural disposition to apocalypse-level gingavitis.

Good For A Girl Emma Cameron Blog Smelly Microphone

This is what I envision people with bad breath purposefully do to those venue-owned microphones.

Yeah, it is enough to inspire you to drop that cash-monies on your own mic and inject it with your own familiar throat-funk. You have only yourself to blame.

So this good-friend-sound-guy let me come and hang out with him at his workplace (one of the best sound companies in the country) for an afternoon so I could do a shoot-out of about 5 different microphones that the company had in their arsenal. We tested them with rock music playing so we could hear that A) my vocals cut through music clearly and B) my vocals sounded tiiiight.

And so it was decided; An Audix OM-7. Crisp, clear, fucking magnificent. A well-informed decision at the aid of a professional.

I purchased one immediately much to the dismay of my bank account, and I was beyond amped to use it at our next gig which happened to be about a week later.

Damn, my voice was going to sound HELLA CRISP at this gig, man.

Good For A Girl Singing Passion

How I imagined I would feel when singing through my fucking great new microphone.

I road tested this microphone to the best of my abilities at band rehearsals with no technical issues and with admiration from the guys as to how insanely ace it sounded.

We showed up to soundcheck to a this gig in which we were a support-act for. The sound guy was someone we’d never met or worked with before, but that was fine. It’s always great to meet and work with new people and expand your network.

He was in the process of setting up the mic’s for our check, when I said to him,

“I won’t need that 58 – I’ve got my own mic”

“Aw, nice one love, plug it in”

[I get out my shiny new amazingness of a microphone]

“Wait – no no what is that”

[me, very proud and confident]

“an Audix OM-7! It’s brand new, I’m very exci-”

“Oh no, that’s not any good you don’t want to use that one.”

 

Before even getting to excitedly tell my story about how I came to acquire this microphone, he completely shut me down. He used his position of power as a grown-ass-man to shut-down a young girl. He made the assumption that I had bought this microphone with no knowledge about it because what would a young girl know?

Well, I was younger then and didn’t have the confidence to stand my ground and prove that my vagina and youth hadn’t hindered my ability to make educated decisions about the gear I use. But, from memory I ended up being “allowed” to use my microphone and he just did his fucking job and made it sound good.

Guys like this are the sole reason I still – to this day – lack confidence in my own knowledge, experience and self-attunation (IT’S A WORD… THAT I MADE UP) when it comes to music and gear.

Guys like this are the reason why I still sometimes catch myself feeling like I don’t know what’s best for me, and sometimes even apologising for not-knowing something (which, I do actually know, I’m just scared to enter a debate that I can’t be fucked with and in which it is assumed I am in the position of “wrong” for simply having flaps in the place of a sausage and there will be no winning).

And I know this doesn’t just apply to me, I fear many young girls are made to feel this way by condescending (older) men in the music world.

I don’t know many guys who are scared to be wrong – most guys I know have unquestionable confidence in their gear of choice and this is a quality I’ve always envied in men.

If this scenario were to happen to me again tomorrow, I would assert that perhaps he was just a bit of a pussy and didn’t actually know what he was doing if he couldn’t deal with a microphone that wasn’t a 58, and I would give him the context of how I came to own this microphone and why I know it is the best choice for me.

I’m stoked that now I am mostly surrounded by male musicians and other industry workers who just treat me like a musician, not a damsel in distress, and start at a base assumption that I do know what I’m talking about (even when I don’t – but in turn providing me with a space where I don’t feel like an idiot for not knowing).

But it’s taken me a long time to get even here, and I still question myself and feel sheepish and like a “silly girl” at times – for absolutely no fucking reason except for that I’ve grown up feeling that I should.

I can’t imagine the steroid-level of self confidence I would have when it comes to choosing and using my gear if it had been assumed from the start that I am allowed to have the knowledge and confidence to make my own decisions.

As it turned out, about a year after this incident my microphone was stolen by a sound engineer and replaced with the same brand of microphone but a lower end shitty model. That sound guy clearly knew what the fuck was up. Fuck that guy, but thanks for affirming that my microphone was the tits.

RIP Microphone.

AGFAG: Annabel Liddell

My association with the New Zealand band, Miss June, started off on a foot of pure. fucking. envy.

I knew that the Foo Fighters were after a rock band with a girl at the helm to open for them in their most recent stadium shows in New Zealand, and Miss June took out pole position.

Miss June Annabel Liddel Good For A Girl

Miss June. L-R: James Park, Annabel Liddell, Chris Marshall, Thomas Leggett. Photo: Cleo Barnett

I immediately googled their name and this video came up of a live 95bFM performance for their song “Drool.” I was immediately pissed off at how cool they were and how the front woman, Annabel Liddell, could effortlessly pull off Mom Jeans.

Determined to not be a cry-whinge-baby, I headed to the Christchurch show early to make sure I didn’t Miss (lol) their set.

It was suuuuper hard to be a cry-whinge-baby after that.

I immediately fell in love with Annabel’s undeniable stage presence, and the band’s overall youthful and hectic energy.

Simply put, they fucking kicked ass.

The next night, because I was so excited about this new Girl Lead Rock Band®, I went and checked out their local side-show they had booked at the darkroom in Christchurch.

I loved that EVEN MORE since it was more a vibe suited to their grass-roots, DIY, riot grrrl vibes and I left with a major girl crush and a fucking cool t-shirt (and so did my boyfriend. Matching. TRULUV.)

Annabel Liddell Miss June Georgia Schofield

Annabel being a badass goddess. Photo by Georgia Schofield

Annabel is quite a bit like me, in the respect that she started learning guitar at age 9 but doesn’t really have much to show for that in terms of technical skill (I read an article where she said that about herself so do not smite me). We’re both just girls who love playing guitar, singing our lungs out and writing songs about things we’re passionate about.

In true punk form, and particularly in the vein of riot grrrl punk, Annabel’s song writing focuses heavily on questioning societal norms and issues that effect women and girls (YASS).

Matriarchy was the first single of their debut EP of the same name, which is a short but absolutely killer punk track calling out dudes who ridiculously think feminism is threatening to men in any sort of way.

It’s perfect, and I was stoked to join in on the festivities of the video when Annabel put a call out on her Facebook for girls to send her clips of them dancing in their undies to the song.

She made the music video herself as well.

I feel aligned with her in her commandment of her own art, and being the boss of her own creative outputs. I don’t make our music videos, but I make everything else for my band. And I’m very proud of myself and other women in rock music who are driving their own ships.

I really look forward to more music and more killer shows from Annabel & her boys in the future.

 

 

 

 

NO GIRLS ALLOWED.

This is the earliest tale of when my vagina got in the way of fulfilling my dreams.

I started learning guitar when I was 9 after my parents told me that perhaps violin (my chosen instrument to learn) was going to be too hard. In retrospect, I think they were just angling for me to do something that was cool.

My Dad had always wanted to learn guitar, and fair enough; he wanted to live vicariously through me. Just as I will pass my own regrets on to my children, and so is the circle of life.

I was a natural at guitar; I picked it up almost immediately and was well on my way to super stardom at age 9.

By the time I started high school; I was done with lessons. I saw no need for them anymore because I could just figure everything out myself. I was a fucking guitar GODDESS.

After showing my parents that I “took guitar seriously” (had to be playing for more than 5 years), they bought me my first electric guitar at age 14. It was a 3rd-hand Mexican Fender Stratocaster. It was cool as fuck, I felt cool as fuck.

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Fender Stratocaster

As a young teenager; I was at the FOREFRONT of the creative selfie. Some legend would have it that I created the selfie.

It was at this point that I decided guitar lessons would be good again. I’d worked out bar chords and power chords ALL ON MY OWN (so proud), but I wanted to get in to some more technical stuff and learn proper technique for said technical stuff.

My new tutor saw that I had pretty decent chops and immediately moved me up in to the top group-lesson for my age group with two other guys that were in my music class.

These guys weren’t impressed. What on EARTH was I doing in their class? She’s not as good as us!

I actually dreaded going to guitar lessons because of the weird exclusive attitude. I decided against learning much more about being a lead guitarist, I wanted to do rhythm guitar while singing simultaneously and absolutely had to join a band, so I dropped out of the lessons.

It just so happened these guys were in a band with 2 other guys (a bassist and a drummer) in our music class. Perfect opportunity! I could jam with them, girl guitarists in rock bands are cool as, right?

Both of them were super “I can shred harder than you” – so they needed a rhythm guitarist!

Wrong. I was not allowed to join Amplitude (lol band name).

The vibe was that girls absolutely weren’t allowed. I was uncool and I would taint the bands street-cred.

Being in a band was a special club that I didn’t have the secret password to: a penis.

I was heartbroken, I felt there was no other opportunity for me to start a band in high school. At that point in time there were no other girls I knew of who I could start a vag-band with.

Guys; I NEVER GOT TO DO THE RITE OF PASSAGE THAT IS ROCKQUEST.

A year or so later, I decided being emo was totes cool, So I became a bit of a street rat and spent a lot of time in the city and at local AA gigs hanging out with other defunct youth just looking to fit in.

I met this older dude who had dropped out of high school and was studying music and playing guitar at a local music college.

One night he invited me along to “jam” (foreign words to me at the time) with a drummer he studied music with. The drummer was a lot older than us and his name was Dan.

The very Dan that I still do music with today. This was the start of Ashei, which – 10 years later – turned in to Decades.

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Decades Ashei Throwback

16 year old Emma and 21 year old’s Liam and Dan. (far left was our original guitarist, Jono). 2006. My face says it all: “Suck it, Amplitude.”

Looking back now, I think Amplitude were just intimated by my vagina-fuelled greatness.

Amplitude could’ve had it all, but now they’re rolling in the deep.

 

 

Which one is your boyfriend?

This is a deeply personally alarming question I get a surprising amount:

“Liam… he’s your boyfriend, right?”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“And is Liam your boyfriend?”

“Which one is your boyfriend again?”

Hell-to-the-no Liam is not my boyfriend, and what exactly makes people assume that I am dating someone in the band?

It’s almost like I can’t be in a band without one of the men in there being my partner, who let me in at the immense punish at the rest of the members. Like I’m Yoko Ono. Fucking hell, John.

The Beatles and Yoko Ono 1969

WHY.

We’ve been a band for 10 years and not once have we released any content which features Liam and I looking even remotely romantic.

The closest Liam and I have ever got to heavy physical contact was after the earthquake here in Christchurch which happened as I was heading to his house for a writing session, and he said “er… do you want a hug?” when I showed up and I responded “It’s okay, I know that would be weird” and he was like “okay cool”.

If you asked both of us if we were dating, you would physically see us recoil in an awkward pool of slight disgust – but like a love-infused disgust. And when I say love I mean like asking your 9 year old son to hug your 6 year old daughter and they’re like eewwww noooooo. Not love-love. Just have to make that clear because it seems people can’t tell the difference.

I’ve never dated any of the guys in my band, nor would I ever. They are cootie infested – it’s a fact.

If I had brothers, they would be them and it would be like dating them.

Have you dated your brother before? No, I didn’t think so. It’s pretty gross. It’s frowned upon, actually.

Emma Watson Harry Potter Rupert Grint Daniel Radcliffe Kiss Incest

Emma Watson having to kiss Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint in the later Harry Potter movies = she gets the “IT’S MY FUCKIN BROTHER!!” cringe vibes

And looking at bands we all know and love with men and women in them that dated, it simply does not work.

WE ALL KNOW WHAT WENT DOWN IN FLEETWOOD MAC.

Although if we were to analyse bands with these hetero-romantic dynamics, we can see that whilst almost ALWAYS ending badly, they actually tend to bring out the best fuckin’ heartbreak songs ever.

No DoubtDon’t Speak
Fleetwood Mac – Actually; that whole fucking Rumours album
Paramore –  Aaaannnnd the entire Brand New Eyes album, too…

…uh, if you can get an entire album out of a break up, maybe it’s worth it?

I’m not planning to trial-run it anytime soon.

AGFAG: Possum Plows

I’m wary of placing Possum Plows of New Zealand pop-punk band, Openside, in a box.

Possum identifies as gender-non-conforming, and this is also part of the reason why; she is fucking awesome.

She is just the kind of human we need more of in the public forum to engage an audience with her art while simultaneously opening the doors for our youth culture (and humanity at large) to work towards a deeper degree of acceptance of diversity in all forms.

I first started following Openside when they were still called ‘Maybe Rave!’ – a super young, 4-piece pop-punk band hailing from Auckland.

They caught my attention because of the similarities I could draw with my own band at the time; a girl at the helm,  3 boys faffing about in the background (jussssst kidding), and a clear appreciation for melody and merging that with rock music.

openside possum plows band

Openside L-R: PJ Shephard (Guitar/Vocals), George Powell (Drums), Harry Carter (Bass) and Possum Plows (Vocals/Queen).

A couple years later and they, like my own band, have rebranded and chosen a more clear direction for their sound. In our case it was get rockier, and in their case it was get poppier.

My god can this girl write a pop tune.

In 2014, Possum won Auckland University’s Popular Music degree’s Songwriter of the YEAR while doing her Bachelor of Music. That was enough for me to start following her and her boss-ass budding career with extreme intent.

I then went on to learn more about Possum’s personal message, which resonates so strongly with me.

Possum’s writing is strongly focussed on relevant social commentary which both supports the youth generation and educates a slightly older demographic who may still fall in to the scope of their target audience.

In one of their latest songs, Worth It, she talks about themes of consumerism and corporate greed preying on our self-worth and need to fit in. I like that she talks about themes not prevalent in your regular pop music which more often than not; encourages consumerism and pushes lavish lifestyles.

Openside Possum Plows Shave Head Worth It

“You cut your hair off any they call it a trend” – Worth It

“But wait, we’ll sell you what you need
Though it’s temporary..

We got our ways to make you feel good
Make your dream life take flight
Just follow the leader
We got the goods to make you feel strong
Make you see more of what you want

Cause you deserve it
Darling, you’re worth it”

She follows on from themes Lorde approached in her rise to fame, but Possum has an extra angle of straying from the norm when it comes to her personal identity, and I really look forward to seeing her develop this more in her lyrical themes.

The band has just signed to Warner, raising the opportunity for Possum to spread her culturally-relevant and socially-necessary messages far and wide.

Bring it on.

 

Hi, My Name Is Non-Human Public Property!

Being on the live music scene you tend to come across a lot of drunk people, and half of the time, I’m one of them myself. But I showed some great restraint on the Dead Sight Tour with Villainy last month in my attempt at creating the most amount of sleep for myself and the least amount of crying while driving to the next city at 9am in the morning.

Dealing with drunk people (and being a drunk people) is all part of the music scene and 9 times out of 10 it’s an enjoyable and entertaining experience – it just gets draining when certain individuals cross a line – and there was one guy in Tauranga who really just got me wanting to cut a bitch.

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“MAAAAAARRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHH” in Tauranga. Photo by: Richard Robinson Photography

 

Let me set the scene: I was hustling CDs at the end of the show at the exit to the venue. I was engrossed in the task, pushed-up against one of the doors to allow people to flow in front of me and pick up a CD or have a chat.

Many of these people were understandably drunk as shit after enjoying an absolutely killer show. Being “HEYYYYY. YOU’RE THAT burp-hiccup-hybrid CHICK violent sway FROM THAT BAAAANDD  spit got me right in the eye” is an experience I actually really enjoy engaging with nightly.

Shout out to those guys who are trying really hard to pretend not to be drunk – we all know drunk people have subtlety down to a fine art.

Actually, it’s more like a 4 year old’s attempt at drawing their mum which just looks like a circle with some lines coming out of it, but it’s still art, and they’re super proud of it so don’t say anything.

kids drawing of mum

This actually fucking came up when I googled “4 year old’s attempt at drawing their mum”.

But when it turns in to silently innapropriately touching me is where shit starts to get a bit… shit. So, back to the cunt-ass-guy.

He was the Picasso of drunken subtlety as he squeezed passed behind me, making sure to get his crotch really pressed in to my (admittedly, magnificent) butt.

Let’s note that there was a vast amount of space larger than the grand canyon to simply walk in front of me without touching me altogether.

As my brain registered this, I confusedly looked over to him walking towards his mate doing that “cowabunga dude” hand wiggle signal with his tongue poking out, genuinely proud he’d pulled off the most “subtle” sexual harrassment of a woman without her noticing.

Good For a Girl Emma Cameron Drunk Guy

A scientific graphic I’ve put together for you to explain this guy

 

Oh, I noticed.

“OI!” I yelled at him which either fell on deaf drunken ears, or was ignored out of not wanting a very public confrontation with me.

My pal who was helping me throw CDs at unsuspecting individuals (a fucking angel queen) caught on to what happened after some very expressive facial expressions from myself and yelled out “that’s fucked up, man. You’re fucked!”

Still nothing.

I didn’t want to cause a scene, but in retrospect I really wish I had. Like when you have an argument with someone and you come up with the perfect response 4 hours later. (THE WORST.)

It’s quite hard in the blink of a moment to decide whether or not causing a scene in front of fans will strengthen their respect for you, or in our weird-ass culture which shies away from confrontations and loud women, will cause them to dislike both myself and my band.

But it’s coming to the realisation that for some reason when you’re a “public personality;” like a musician, tv presenter, actor, a kardashian, you all of a sudden become an object without feelings to grope and hump and pretend it’s a life achievement.

What is that? Will we ever figure it out? Will Donald Trump ever die?

Anyway, fuck those guys.

I loved performing in Tauranga, the staff and crew were fantastic and the vast majority of the fans were absolutely delightful.

10/10 except douche-nozzle guy gets a solid zero. Don’t be that guy.

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Fig. 3: The butt. Photo by Matt Henry Photography for Muzic.net.nz

“You Don’t Look How I Want You To”

It takes a special kind of person who decides to start up and operate a live music venue.

I happened to meet one of these very special individuals after a show on the Dead Sight Tour with Villainy a couple weeks back.

Let’s call him Colin.

Colin gives off the vibe that he’s one of those venue owners who’s just kind of over it. Perhaps he still loves live music but he acts like he fucking hates it and fair enough I guess, after 2745 weeks of owning a venue.

After the show had finished and members of all bands and crew were in the green room celebrating with a rainbow of drinks and banter, he decided to drudgingly approach me for a chat while I was mid-pack-up-my-shit-mode (a mode I take very seriously and do not like to be interrupted).

I could see him out the corner of my eye; a waft of old ciggies and booze was preceding his arrival.

In no way was this approach bright-eyed or enthusiastic. More so it was clear he had something he felt he really, seriously, needed to tell me to help me advance my career.

Cue Colin.

“Yeah, I thought you guys were alright. Some parts I liked, some I didn’t. The thing that I really didn’t like though was the image. To me it doesn’t match up with the music”

“The image of the whole band?”

“No. Just you.”

“Right.”

“It’s a bit too much like that Devilskin bird for me”

He says as if that’s a bad thing.. Anyone who’s ever seen Jennie up on that stage knows she somehow manages to fucking kill it while donning heels, stockings and corsets. She looks hot as fuck.

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The resemblance is uncanny.

He’s also seemed to have forgotten that little stage prop I have called a guitar.

I realise that he’s just meaning my ripped stockings. That’s the only common factor between Jennie and I that I can think of. Here I am in a baggy man’s t-shirt as a dress (thanks boyfriend), ripped stockings, and Doc Martens.

I look him up and down and wonder if it’s been two weeks or three since he last washed his 20+ year old, faded and stained, stretched and contorted, button-up polo shirt.

“So are you going to go give your fashion advice to the dudes in this room as well?”

“No, they don’t need it”

Ah… ha.

“Well cheers dude, I really appreciate the honesty.”

Sometimes I really regret being nice and not just saying what I actually think. Which would have been along the lines of “and who made you the next Karl Lagerfeld of New Zealand?”

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The offending outfit.

You run in to a lot of men like this being a vagina-owner in this industry. You don’t match what their ideal woman should look like, which grinds their gears, and they think that saying it out loud to you counts as “constructive criticism” for your music.

I might start asking them if they would be interested as coming on board as my personal stylist.

I thought I could handle it myself but it seems Colin has other ideas.

 

P.S. Not two days later did I see Jennie absolutely fucking kill it on the rock stage of Homegrown, 21 weeks pregnant – no less.
Ironically because of this, she was actually wearing an outfit similar to my own instead of her regular corset and heels get up.
She’s in it for comfort for an actual baby bump, I’m in it for hiding my food-baby & poo-baby bump.

AGFAG: Jennie Skulander

I can’t remember how I heard about Devilskin.

It was like they exploded into the stratosphere out of (seemingly) nowhere for me. All of a sudden, they were EVERYWHERE with songs and music videos all over the airwaves, and selling out shows left, right and centre.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Devilskin are a four-piece alternative metal band from Hamilton, New Zealand, formed in June 2010. The band consists of Nail (lead guitar), Paul Martin (bass, backing vocals), Nic Martin (drums), and most importantly; Jennie Skulander (lead vocals).

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L-R: Paul Martin, Jennie Skulander, Nick Martin, Nail. Photo by Steve Dykes

Jennie’s vocals impressed me from the start but it was safe to say Devilskin weren’t my cup of tea.

They obviously were the perfect cuppa for a huge amount of rock-starved New Zealanders, but I continued to be baffled and amazed at the response to the band.

That was up until recently, when it truly clicked with me at Homegrown.

Jennie’s a fucking badass.

She alone sold Devilskin to me with her pure badassery.

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What the fuck is this? How is she so cool? Photo by Bradley Garner Creative

I was privileged to have been handed an artist pass to Homegrown (despite not actually performing.. I spent most of my time drinking all the other bands’ beer..) , which meant I could go ANYWHERE I WANTED. THE POWER.

Naturally I spent the majority of my time between the free drinks and the free food areas.

But I did saunter up side-stage on several occasions to get an insight in to New Zealand’s most successful rock acts’ stage dynamics.

There are a lot of things you miss when you’re in the audience just consuming a show.

There was one major thing I would’ve missed with Devilskin’s show had I not been side of stage, and this was: Jennie is 21+ weeks pregnant.

jennie skulander devilskin

Here is Jennie setting the FUCKING BAR for women in music. I salute her.

Holy shit. This woman is incredible.

Here she is running off stage periodically while the guys do their instrumental thing, to cradle her tummy and smash back a banana (this was initially fucking hilarious to unsuspecting me; but now I understand it’s good for vocals. She’s a professional; I’m a person who laughs at people eating phallic objects).

Then she just goes the-fuck-back-out-there, infront of thousands of people, pregnant as shit, screaming the hell outta her lungs, stomping and twirling around, just generally absolutely killing it as if there isn’t a tiny human in there wondering ‘what the fuck is happening out there?!’ at all.

I’m a Jennie fan. Devilskin win.

 

 

The Musician’s Girlfriend™

I love that my boyfriend is a musician.

He’s one of the most talented and exciting guitarists and songwriters I know. When I first ever saw him perform in his band I just knew that I was going to bonk him one day.

One of the things I appreciate about him is that he is the FIRST to champion me and Decades. He will tell everyone about my achievements and our music before his own.

One hot summer’s night a few weeks back, he and I were mincing and rinsing at a waterfront bar in Akaroa called Harbar (you gotta smash those fish tacos… innuendo not intended but encouraged) while our friends played an acoustic gig as we overlooked the ocean and got eaten alive by mosquitoes (cunts).

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The scene of the crime – awful isn’t it? PS fuck seagulls.

Over the course of the night, our table seemed to accumulate a vast array of locals; two women in particular stick out in my mind due to how they reacted when another local jovially told them, “you’re sitting with a group of world-class musicians here!”

The two women looked across at us: me, my boyfriend and our male (relevent) mate.This was one of those nights where I was assumed; The Musician’s Girlfriend™.

The two women looked absolutely ecstatic, “Oh my gosh, how exciting, what kind of music do you guys play?” etc. The gushing went on for a while as they eyeballed the boys and occasionally would shoot me glance that seemed to say: “These guys are so cool!”

I relish these occurrences like a delicious pasta, slurping as I mull over the fun I can have before they find out I am also a musician and not just The Musician’s Girlfriend™.

I leaned in to the women and said “I know, and obviously I am just a secretary for some dude or something, feeling pretty privileged sitting at this table with these world class musicians!” insert fucking oscar-winning twinkly eye look of idolisation at the boys

“Oh, darling – talk yourself up! You’re an executive to the manager!”

“Oh yes, absolutely.”

I eat the assumptions up. Cue another 10 minutes of them back-and-forthing with the boys about how amazing they are, without the boys having much luck getting a word in edgewise. I could see my boyfriend just frothing at the bit to scream his praises about me.

It didn’t actually happen until a couple hours later when all had been forgotten and several more bottles of whatever-the-fuck had been consumed later at the table when I saw our song pop up on the streaming app of a major radio station here. (Yes I psychotically check because being on the radio is insanely exciting for 10 year old me who lives deep down inside my blackened-cynical-adult-heart).

I discreetly and excitedly leaned over to show my boyfriend this micro-development in my evening – internally filled with narcissistic supply, and he grabbed that as his moment.

“EMMA’S SONG IS ON THE RADIO RIGHT NOW” he yells at the entire table while holding up my phone for all to see.

The looks on those women’s faces… absolutely delectable.