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!

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.

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 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!

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.

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.

 

 

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.