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.

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