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.

Gisele Marie Niqab Muslim Good For A Girl

Rocking out in Niqab

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

And gives no fucks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Arundhati Roy 

Get with the times, hums.

See the world through Gisele Marie’s niqab.

And like she says,

‘be yourself and peace for all’

The Runaways Live Good For A Girl Girl Bands

Girl Bands are Fucking Cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decades Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

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

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

 

…………………………………………

1. The Runaways

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

The Runaways Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

“Listen to the real thing”

Thank god for Dads.

 

…………………………………………

 

2. The Donnas

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

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

The Donnas Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

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

 

…………………………………………

 

3. Warpaint

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

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

Warpaint Good For A Girl Gil Bands

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

……………………………………

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

Blue Ruin NZ Band Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

……………………………………

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

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

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

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

What I Don’t Know About Patti Smith

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

I said yes.

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

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

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

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

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

1. She is known as The Godmother of Music

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

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

 

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

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Art Photography

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

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

–Patti Smith

Sold.

 

3.  She is a social and political activist

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

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

Girl stands for justice. Dig it.

 

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

Patti Smith Good For A Girl

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

…………………………………………………………………………

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

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

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

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

Buy Tickets Here

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

good for a girl blog girls that shred header

Girls That Shred: Guitar

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

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

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

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

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

……………………………………………………………..

1) Jennifer Batten

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

Jennifer Batten Good For A Girl Girls That Shred

Image: And her look was incredible.

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

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

 

2) Orianthi

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

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

Orianthi Good For A Girl Girls that shred

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

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

 

3) LITA FORD

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

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

Lita Ford Good For A Girl Girls that shred

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

In the late 80s she signed a management deal with none other than Sharon Osbourne, and released her most successful album to date, Lita. She has released 9 albums in total (!!!) – including Time Capsule which apparently is coming out this year.

 

4) Sophia Di

I want to get a little bit indie now; as a lot of the true, insane fucking shredders on guitar are quite often what is commonly referred to as “bedroom shredders.” This is most likely because these guitarists are so fucking talented, all they do is sit and play guitar in their rooms (or home studios) and practice the shit out of their instruments and film it for the world to enjoy (gawk at) on the internet.

Sophia Di is amazing. I have no idea where she is or what she is doing now, but I knew her briefly years ago in the Christchurch (yes, local!) metal scene. She played lead guitar in the Rockquest-winning youth metal band, Beneath the Silence, and fucking killed it.

Sophia Di Girls That Shred Good For A Girl

Image: Sophia being one of the coolest 15 year olds on the block

She went on to play in another band called The Omega Chronicles, which the solo in the video above is from. Sophia if you’re out there somewhere I hope you’re still shredding.

Side note – just had to have a laugh at this comment on the video:
“nice mastery at such a young age. see that? i didn’t say “because you’re a girl”. that’s irrelevant.”
Why did you still have to bring it up, then? He wants da gold starrrrs.

 

5) Juliette Valduriez

One more bedroom shredder for you: Juliette Valduriez. I followed Juliette’s classic punk and rock covers on youtube for years after Gibson Guitar posted the above video of her covering Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon on their Facebook page which went viral (for the times).

I’m not just impressed with Juliette’s skills; part of it is also how she just plays it like she doesn’t even know she’s playing it. Like in her head she’s just eating a sandwich, or reading a lovely book, or daydreaming out a window, but her hands are just shredding all by themselves.

About 4 years ago the videos stopped coming, which sucks. I just visited her Facebook Page to see she hasn’t posted there for years either and there are just a bunch of bewildered fans concerned for her safety…

That got dark quick. Well I hope she is just on a hiatus while she is creating a killer album and will emerge glorious when it’s ready to melt all of our faces w-w-w-w-worldwide.

……………………………………………………………..

So, those are a few female shredders I’ve come across in my journey of hurtling through the universe on this rock called earth.

Please send me links in the comments to girls that shred that you are in to! I don’t know enough of them!

PS when I was a student and had a lot more time on my hands I started getting in to more technical guitar work. Since then I’ve become even more lazy and pared Decades songs mostly down to single string simple riffs. Hence my admiration for female shredders!

Check out 19 year old me in my messy room with a shitty laptop mic:

Good For a Girl women-led bands Emma Cameron

5 Women-Led Bands I’m Digging Right Now

After sharing favourite women-led bands and musicians with commenters on my last few posts and new discoveries being made on both my side and yours, I thought, why not put together a public list of the 5 women-led bands I’m digging right now?

So.. yeah.. I’m doing that!

 

1) Courtney Barnett 

I first heard of Courtney Barnett a few years back when her manager was at a music conference I was attending, and he talked about how she was the next big thing. I was a cynical ass and never checked her out FUCK WAS I MISSING OUT.

I snapped up her latest album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit on CD when I was on holiday in Australia last year as I was going to be doing a bit of road trippin’ and my shitty rental only had a CD player. It is hands down my favourite album of 2015. Fuck this girl can play guitar and write a fucking TUNE. Pure love. I hope to see her live one day – she was actually playing in my city, Christchurch, when I was on this Aussie road trip i.e. the universe hates me.

Courtney Barnett Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to Courtney Barnett on Spotify

 

2) Marmozets (Becca MacIntyre)

Marmozets are like a white Jackson 5 of the 21st Century that play math-metal influenced pop rock music. And you can quote me on that.  I don’t even remember how I came across this family of musicians a couple of years ago but I’m so glad I did because Becca has the voice of an aggressive british angel and she writes some very down-to-earth and relatable lyrics that are a snapshot in to the life of being a young 20-something girl in a rock band. I like.

I especially like yelling this song manically in my car when I’m alone. Or with people; I don’t really care.

Plus it’s like God loved his creation, Shirley Manson, so much he was like “let’s make another one of those for the kids today.” Their debut album, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, is also a 2015 highlight for me. Also they played on the last night I was in Melbourne last year recording our album and I was horrendously sick and couldn’t go i.e. the universe hates me again.

Becca MacIntyre Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to Marmozets on Spotify

 

3) The Joy Formidable (Ritzy Bryan)

Whirring was the first song I ever heard by Welsh band, The Joy Formidable. I fell in love with Ritzy Bryan’s voice immediately. Her voice has this pixie-ish feminine charm which is so rad over some heavy single-string guitar bashing. Then I looked them up on the interwebz and was even more excited and inspired to find out she is the sole guitarist and knows her way around a fucking extensive effect-pedal rig. She literally made me more confident to start experimenting with pedals, so thanks wonderful human.

THE OUTRO IN THIS SONG THOUGH. Whirring is off their debut album The Big Roar, but they’ve since released another album called Wolf’s Law and they just released their latest album Hitch this year!

Ritzy Bryan Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to The Joy Formidable on Spotify

 

4) St. Vincent

I’d heard people talking about St. Vincent a bit but hadn’t checked her out until I saw her self-titled album on the shelves at JB Hi Fi at the aformentioned Australian road trip so I picked that up too. Wow – this girl is fucking weird. I love her. She is a space alien guitar queen, and has such a unique and effect-heavy guitar style.

Check out this video of her out talking about her style – I am inspired by her confidence and open-ness to do whatever comes natural to her and not to emulate anyone with her instrument.

St Vincent Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to St. Vincent on Spotify

 

5) Middle Kids (Hannah ??????)

I put ???? after Hannah because I literally discovered Middle Kids today and I can’t find what her last name is! But I really fucking dig it – and so I wanted to share my newest discovery with you. They are from Sydney and are fresh on the scene, Edge of Town being their (as far as I can tell) debut single.

They are showcasing at the BigSound music festival in Brisbane in September which I’m heading over for, so I am super excited to check these guys out live!

I don’t have much more to add for them since I don’t know anything about them except for that this song is cool as fuck. Upon some quick googling I don’t think they’ve even played a live show yet, they are that hot off the press. So, enjoy!

Middle Kids Hannah Good For A Girl 5 Women-Led Bands I'm Digging Right Now

Listen to Middle Kids on Spotify

 

Well, that’s it! 5 fucking great women-led bands I’m digging right now – I hope you discover some new music that you fall in love with here.

What women-led rock bands are you in to at the moment? Please post ’em in the comments so I can discover some new ones!

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.

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.