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!

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.

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!!

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

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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!

 

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 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.

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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.

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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: