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
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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!

Ecca Vandal Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Ecca Vandal (@BIGSOUND)

ECCA VANDAL IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS RIGHT NOW

ecca vandal good for a girl interview

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal Interview Good For A Girl Bigsound Live Show Pandora

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

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

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

WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH ECCA VANDAL HERE:

ECCA VANDAL LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
iTunes
Spotify
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: ECCA VANDAL (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I was just hanging out.

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

Ecca Vandal:
(laughs) that’s hilarious

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I’ve got two sisters!

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

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

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

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

Emma:
Wow cool

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

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

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

Emma:
How can I combine them?

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

Emma:
And it sounds fucking awesome.

Ecca Vandal:
Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma:
That’s a conscious recognition.

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

Emma:
It’s refreshing

Ecca Vandal:
It is refreshing

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

Ecca Vandal:
Absolutely!

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah

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

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

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal:
This shit is real

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah, totally!

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

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

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

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

Emma:
Saw that!

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

Emma:
Looking forward to hearing more music!

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

Emma:
Any plans to come to New Zealand?

Ecca Vandal:
Not yet, but hopefully!

Princess Chelsea Good for a Girl Video Interview Emma Cameron Decades

Interview: Princess Chelsea (@Going Global)

I Met Princess Chelsea at Going Global 2016

Princess Chelsea Good for a Girl Interview Emma Cameron Decades blog

Princess Chelsea being magical and angelic in space

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

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

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

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

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

NOW YOU SHOULD WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH PRINCESS CHELSEA.

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

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

LISTEN TO IT:

Check out Princess Chelsea anywhere you please on the interwebz:

PRINCESS CHELSEA LINKS

Website
Facebook
Soundcloud
Twitter
Spotify

GOOD FOR A GIRL: PRINCESS CHELSEA (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
What got you in to music growing up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma:
So was this around your teenage years?

Princess Chelsea:
Totally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma:
(laughs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma:
Just sound dodgy.

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

Emma:
Exactly. And it can go either way.

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

Emma:
Oh yes!

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!!

Going Global and Bigsound Cunt Cakes Good for a Girl

Good for a Girl at Going Global and BIGSOUND!

Going Global and Bigsound totally kicked my ass.

For everyone who follows Good for a Girl over on Facebook, you will have seen that the last 10 days of my life has been pretty full on as I attended both the Going Global and BIGSOUND music conferences in Auckland, NZ and Brisbane, Australia.

If you recall from my blog post about my story as a woman musician not being controversial enough a couple months back, I vowed to tell the stories of other women’s experiences in the music industry, and by christ, I fucking did it.

And I did it with my #cuntcakes in tow.

Emma Cameron Good for a Girl Going Global and Bigsound

How else do you celebrate women than by immortalising va-jays in delicious fondant and then having other women eat them? You tell me.

So watch this space over the next ‘x’ amount of time (what…you think I actually had a plan for this chaos??) as I roll out interviews with some absolutely fucking awesome women I met at Going Global and Bigsound including;

Tali
Anna Laverty
Princess Chelsea
Possum Plows
(Openside)
Lisa Crawley
ECCA VANDAL
Alex Reade (Drown this City)
Hannah Joy (Middle Kids)
Bec Sandridge
Ellie Scrine (Huntly)
Chloe Turner (Listen)
Grace & Jenny (Wet Lips)
and, Caitlin Duff (Manor)

Here is a special “omg lol the universe” moment that happened just as I was about to begin filming with Ellie at BIGSOUND as a wee teaser to tie things over while I panic wildly about how the fuck I’m meant to edit 13 interviews 🙂 <—that’s a smiling on the outside/panic attack on the inside emoji.

Watch this space!

 

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

Meg White “Sucking” = Meg White RULING.

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

So, here are my feels, hums.

Meg White Emma Cameron Good For a girl

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

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

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

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

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

Meg White Drums Emma Cameron Good For a girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meg White Studio Emma Cameron Good For a girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meg White Drum Emma Cameron Good For a girl

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

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

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

Good for a girl woman amanda palmer regina spektor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good For A Girl Kermit Sipping Tea Woman

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

The apocalypse will be brought upon us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.20.44 PM

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

……………………….

2.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.22.50 PM

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

………………………

3.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.25.59 PM

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

………………………

4.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.26.37 PM

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

………………………

5.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.38.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.43.35 PM

These two were found on the same video…

………………………

6.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.49.16 PM

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

………………………

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

Good For A Girl Woman Julia Deans

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

Christ on a bike!

The Runaways Live Good For A Girl Girl Bands

Girl Bands are Fucking Cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decades Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

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

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

 

…………………………………………

1. The Runaways

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

The Runaways Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

“Listen to the real thing”

Thank god for Dads.

 

…………………………………………

 

2. The Donnas

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

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

The Donnas Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

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

 

…………………………………………

 

3. Warpaint

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

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

Warpaint Good For A Girl Gil Bands

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

……………………………………

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

Blue Ruin NZ Band Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

……………………………………

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

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

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

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

What I Don’t Know About Patti Smith

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

I said yes.

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

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

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

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

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

1. She is known as The Godmother of Music

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

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

 

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

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Art Photography

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

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

–Patti Smith

Sold.

 

3.  She is a social and political activist

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

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

Girl stands for justice. Dig it.

 

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

Patti Smith Good For A Girl

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

…………………………………………………………………………

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

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

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

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

Buy Tickets Here

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

Good For a Girl women-led bands Emma Cameron

5 Women-Led Bands I’m Digging Right Now

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

So.. yeah.. I’m doing that!

 

1) Courtney Barnett 

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

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

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

Listen to Courtney Barnett on Spotify

 

2) Marmozets (Becca MacIntyre)

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

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

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

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

Listen to Marmozets on Spotify

 

3) The Joy Formidable (Ritzy Bryan)

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

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

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

Listen to The Joy Formidable on Spotify

 

4) St. Vincent

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

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

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

Listen to St. Vincent on Spotify

 

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to Middle Kids on Spotify

 

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

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

Julia Deans Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

AGFAG: Julia Deans / Role Models for Young Girls

Julia Deans. Julia Fucking Deans.

I was too young to cotton on to Fur Patrol properly. To become a fan in all senses of the word.

Infact, I was 11 when their huge hit, Lydia, came out (which I loved, but didn’t have the age-appropriate tools or curiosity to obsess any further) and probably pushing 12 when their second track that I remember loving, Andrew, was released.

Fur Patrol Lydia NZMA 2001 Lydia Emma Cameron Good For A Girl

Fur Patrol accepting their Best Single award for ‘Lydia’ at the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards

So when I read that Fur Patrol were getting back together for what is essentially their last hoo-rah for the forseeable future, I knew I absolutely could not miss this opportunity at this time in my life, when I’d missed the WHOLE buzz in the early 2000s while I was too busy listening to fucking Simple Plan or some other horrific shit like that.

I personally know Julia a little bit through mutual friends and have met her a few times in the past year or so. I have had a passive respect for her from just knowing she was in Fur Patrol, and being aware of their general success and liking a couple of their songs in my awkward youth. So, there was an added layer of wanting to go see them play to support her as a (clueless) friend.

The show was on Friday 17th June, 2016 (as I write this; 4 nights ago).

What I anticipated was that I would enjoy watching a band play and recognise a couple hits and just generally have a nice time, hopefully get to say hi to Julia and have a few drinks then head home being like “that was an enjoyable experience, I think Fur Patrol are great.”

And that did happen. Quick review: the band are tight, the songwriting is incredible, the style development throughout their years of songs is inspiring. Julia is an incredible performer; her vocals are pitch perfect and so well controlled, and she moves SO WELL. She plays guitar like a boss and her on stage banter is funny and whip-snap fast.

Julia Deans Fur Patrol Andrew Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

Julia Deans in the “Andrew” music video – 2001. She is so fucking cool that she actually makes me consider cutting my fringe like that, even thought I KNOW I will look like a troll.

What I did not anticipate was how much of a profound effect actually seeing her perform on Friday night would have on me, and here is why.

As I watched Julia perform, I realised; I HAVE NEVER SEEN A WOMAN PLAYING GUITAR FRONTING A ROCK BAND WITH MY OWN EYES RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

The revelation almost brought me to tears. I found the inspiring and encouraging role model that I never knew that I clearly needed growing up and playing guitar/fronting a band.

Everywhere dudes look they can find role models; and all my life I guess I just subconsciously accepted that my role models were going to be the men and boys I was surrounded by both within my circle of musician-friends, and going to see other bands perform.

I now completely understand that girls need girl role models.

It sounds like a no-brainer, and it’s a feminist ideology I’ve always passively “pushed,” but didn’t even realise that I hadn’t had one myself all this time. And I now understand that that actually effected me growing up and trying to be a rock musician in a very heavy way.

Watching Julia perform had me going through all the thoughts and feels. Watching her made me feel empowered and validated.

That’s what I do!! She looks awesome doing it! That means I look (at least half) as awesome doing it! If I am amazed by her, maybe people can be amazed by me?

These are thoughts and affirmations I should’ve had access to since I started playing in bands from age 15! I can’t even imagine how much more confident I would be if I had had this revelation and encouragement from that age.

Holy shit!!

The quality and skill of this video I took is not only not good for a girl –
it’s fucking diabolical for anyone. It’s all I got – I am great.

My favourite part of the whole evening – which sounds fucked because the actual music and performance was incredible – was when Julia got her hair caught in a ring she was wearing on her index finger. That is such a thing that would happen to a woman in rock! Fuck! I am like her!

Seeing Julia play had an immediate effect of my confidence as a female musician.

After she played (sorry rest of Fur Patrol – you were great but you don’t have a vagina so you didn’t really effect me in profound ways BUT I had some real kicks out of a few of the bass riffs and beats) I had to boost off immediately as I was travelling out to a creative retreat with a bunch of local Christchurch musicians who form a collective called, Fledge.

These Fledge retreats are a bunch of musicians that get together and jam, non-stop, for days on end. I’ve only been to a couple since I met the crew in the last year or so, and I am usually paralyzed with fear to get up and jam. I have never done it. I usually listen and offer up ideas verbally (I like being bossy).

This weekend, I got up and I played guitar, I played drums, I played piano, I played bass, I sung. I was vulnerable and I was confident.

All because of seeing Julia Deans the night before.

/endJuliagush

I want to build more pathways for women in rock music.

More exposure. I don’t know when the next time will be that I get to see another prominent fucking woman wielding a guitar and fronting a rock band with my own damn eyes – and that is not right! I should be able to go see one as often as I go see a rock band with a dude in the front.

I’m going to go immerse myself in Fur Patrol’s back catalogue and attempt to make up for the years I missed out on.

My Pre-Show Rituals

One thing I’ve been asked several times before, and I’m expecting it to come up a lot when we release our album or headline our first tour from press is; what are your pre-show rituals?

Every musician gets asked this; vag or peepee. But there is a super fun expectation that my rituals must be different because of vag.

“You must take way longer than the guys to get ready?”

And some of the questions are just… why does anyone even care?

“How long does it take to do your hair and make up before a show?”

I don’t know? However long I’ve got.

“How many outfits do you bring on tour?”

The same amount as the guys do but why don’t you ask them?

“How do you avoid getting sweaty?”

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Shelley Te Haara Sweaty Decades

Answer: I don’t avoid getting sweaty?? Photo by Shelley Te Haara

And I’ll re-wear sweaty outfits, I don’t have room for multiple “looks” and I don’t have time to do washing (despite being a girl – CRAZY I know!). I’m happy to stink in the name of rock.

So, what are the Pre-Show Rituals of Emma Cameron from New Zealand rock band, Decades?

I’ve decided to write them down once and for all so all journalists looking for my girly list of pre-show rituals that definitely differ from the guys I’m on tour with can just copy and paste from here.

1. I re-string my guitar
While I’m restringing my guitar with my vagina, I’m surrounded by cute little birds holding on to my various hardware while we sing a song together.

2. I warm up my fingers/guitar
I do this whilst simultaneously painting my 1/2-inch long finger nails a pretty shade of pastel pink

3. I do my hair.
But so do the guys – let’s just say my hair straighteners weren’t the only pair on tour with Villainy and City of Souls last month.

4. I do my make up.
Yo, has anyone heard of a little boy band named “KISS” ?
I put as little effort in to it as possible because I just sweat it off panda-style. If KISS used some sweat-resistant shit, let me know. I’ll buy it.

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Bradley Garner Sweaty Decades

Fig A: The sweaty panda. Photo by Bradley Garner Creative

5. I get changed in to my stage outfit.
While all the men on tour just perform in the stained track pants, ripped wife-beaters, and ‘i sat in the filth of these undies for a 6 hour drive to this venue’ they travelled comfortably in (sarcasm), I go through the grand ritual of putting on a different t-shirt. So girly.

6. I warm up my vocals
Unless guys have magical vocal chords that are constantly warm (ANOTHER WAY THE PATRIARCHY HAS A TOTAL FOOT STOMPED ON THE BACK OF WOMEN?????), I think this is not uniquely female.

7. I take at least 3 shits
Yup.

 

 

The Damsel In Distress

It was around 2009/2010 that I really started taking on the identity of being a vocalist in our band. Not just a guitarist who happens to also wail in to some beat-up town-bicycle-style microphone because no one else in the band can be arsed doing it.

I had aspirations to develop my voice to be front-person worthy. Strong, reliable, and impressive. And so I started googling vocal tutor’s on youtube (as if my poor arse could actually afford a real-life tutor) and I started asking our live sound guy to record our gigs so I could hear problem points that I needed to work on.

After playback of several of these recorded live gigs where it sounded like I was singing under water with a mouth stuffed full of the dicks of my enemies – so, not my ideal scenario – I expressed my horror to our sound guy (and long time good friend and ex-band member). He agreed that he always struggled to get my voice to cut-through past the guitars and drums using your humble and common SM-58’s found at most venues.

We both agreed it was time for me to get my own microphone if I wanted to guarantee I had the ideal vocal sound and cut-through at all future gigs no matter what venue we played at.

Not to mention that using the supplied SM-58s at most venues can be a horror story. The SMELL some of these venue-owned microphones can have. Good lord; you’d think vocalists have a natural disposition to apocalypse-level gingavitis.

Good For A Girl Emma Cameron Blog Smelly Microphone

This is what I envision people with bad breath purposefully do to those venue-owned microphones.

Yeah, it is enough to inspire you to drop that cash-monies on your own mic and inject it with your own familiar throat-funk. You have only yourself to blame.

So this good-friend-sound-guy let me come and hang out with him at his workplace (one of the best sound companies in the country) for an afternoon so I could do a shoot-out of about 5 different microphones that the company had in their arsenal. We tested them with rock music playing so we could hear that A) my vocals cut through music clearly and B) my vocals sounded tiiiight.

And so it was decided; An Audix OM-7. Crisp, clear, fucking magnificent. A well-informed decision at the aid of a professional.

I purchased one immediately much to the dismay of my bank account, and I was beyond amped to use it at our next gig which happened to be about a week later.

Damn, my voice was going to sound HELLA CRISP at this gig, man.

Good For A Girl Singing Passion

How I imagined I would feel when singing through my fucking great new microphone.

I road tested this microphone to the best of my abilities at band rehearsals with no technical issues and with admiration from the guys as to how insanely ace it sounded.

We showed up to soundcheck to a this gig in which we were a support-act for. The sound guy was someone we’d never met or worked with before, but that was fine. It’s always great to meet and work with new people and expand your network.

He was in the process of setting up the mic’s for our check, when I said to him,

“I won’t need that 58 – I’ve got my own mic”

“Aw, nice one love, plug it in”

[I get out my shiny new amazingness of a microphone]

“Wait – no no what is that”

[me, very proud and confident]

“an Audix OM-7! It’s brand new, I’m very exci-”

“Oh no, that’s not any good you don’t want to use that one.”

 

Before even getting to excitedly tell my story about how I came to acquire this microphone, he completely shut me down. He used his position of power as a grown-ass-man to shut-down a young girl. He made the assumption that I had bought this microphone with no knowledge about it because what would a young girl know?

Well, I was younger then and didn’t have the confidence to stand my ground and prove that my vagina and youth hadn’t hindered my ability to make educated decisions about the gear I use. But, from memory I ended up being “allowed” to use my microphone and he just did his fucking job and made it sound good.

Guys like this are the sole reason I still – to this day – lack confidence in my own knowledge, experience and self-attunation (IT’S A WORD… THAT I MADE UP) when it comes to music and gear.

Guys like this are the reason why I still sometimes catch myself feeling like I don’t know what’s best for me, and sometimes even apologising for not-knowing something (which, I do actually know, I’m just scared to enter a debate that I can’t be fucked with and in which it is assumed I am in the position of “wrong” for simply having flaps in the place of a sausage and there will be no winning).

And I know this doesn’t just apply to me, I fear many young girls are made to feel this way by condescending (older) men in the music world.

I don’t know many guys who are scared to be wrong – most guys I know have unquestionable confidence in their gear of choice and this is a quality I’ve always envied in men.

If this scenario were to happen to me again tomorrow, I would assert that perhaps he was just a bit of a pussy and didn’t actually know what he was doing if he couldn’t deal with a microphone that wasn’t a 58, and I would give him the context of how I came to own this microphone and why I know it is the best choice for me.

I’m stoked that now I am mostly surrounded by male musicians and other industry workers who just treat me like a musician, not a damsel in distress, and start at a base assumption that I do know what I’m talking about (even when I don’t – but in turn providing me with a space where I don’t feel like an idiot for not knowing).

But it’s taken me a long time to get even here, and I still question myself and feel sheepish and like a “silly girl” at times – for absolutely no fucking reason except for that I’ve grown up feeling that I should.

I can’t imagine the steroid-level of self confidence I would have when it comes to choosing and using my gear if it had been assumed from the start that I am allowed to have the knowledge and confidence to make my own decisions.

As it turned out, about a year after this incident my microphone was stolen by a sound engineer and replaced with the same brand of microphone but a lower end shitty model. That sound guy clearly knew what the fuck was up. Fuck that guy, but thanks for affirming that my microphone was the tits.

RIP Microphone.

AGFAG: Annabel Liddell

My association with the New Zealand band, Miss June, started off on a foot of pure. fucking. envy.

I knew that the Foo Fighters were after a rock band with a girl at the helm to open for them in their most recent stadium shows in New Zealand, and Miss June took out pole position.

Miss June Annabel Liddel Good For A Girl

Miss June. L-R: James Park, Annabel Liddell, Chris Marshall, Thomas Leggett. Photo: Cleo Barnett

I immediately googled their name and this video came up of a live 95bFM performance for their song “Drool.” I was immediately pissed off at how cool they were and how the front woman, Annabel Liddell, could effortlessly pull off Mom Jeans.

Determined to not be a cry-whinge-baby, I headed to the Christchurch show early to make sure I didn’t Miss (lol) their set.

It was suuuuper hard to be a cry-whinge-baby after that.

I immediately fell in love with Annabel’s undeniable stage presence, and the band’s overall youthful and hectic energy.

Simply put, they fucking kicked ass.

The next night, because I was so excited about this new Girl Lead Rock Band®, I went and checked out their local side-show they had booked at the darkroom in Christchurch.

I loved that EVEN MORE since it was more a vibe suited to their grass-roots, DIY, riot grrrl vibes and I left with a major girl crush and a fucking cool t-shirt (and so did my boyfriend. Matching. TRULUV.)

Annabel Liddell Miss June Georgia Schofield

Annabel being a badass goddess. Photo by Georgia Schofield

Annabel is quite a bit like me, in the respect that she started learning guitar at age 9 but doesn’t really have much to show for that in terms of technical skill (I read an article where she said that about herself so do not smite me). We’re both just girls who love playing guitar, singing our lungs out and writing songs about things we’re passionate about.

In true punk form, and particularly in the vein of riot grrrl punk, Annabel’s song writing focuses heavily on questioning societal norms and issues that effect women and girls (YASS).

Matriarchy was the first single of their debut EP of the same name, which is a short but absolutely killer punk track calling out dudes who ridiculously think feminism is threatening to men in any sort of way.

It’s perfect, and I was stoked to join in on the festivities of the video when Annabel put a call out on her Facebook for girls to send her clips of them dancing in their undies to the song.

She made the music video herself as well.

I feel aligned with her in her commandment of her own art, and being the boss of her own creative outputs. I don’t make our music videos, but I make everything else for my band. And I’m very proud of myself and other women in rock music who are driving their own ships.

I really look forward to more music and more killer shows from Annabel & her boys in the future.

 

 

 

 

AGFAG: Possum Plows

I’m wary of placing Possum Plows of New Zealand pop-punk band, Openside, in a box.

Possum identifies as gender-non-conforming, and this is also part of the reason why; she is fucking awesome.

She is just the kind of human we need more of in the public forum to engage an audience with her art while simultaneously opening the doors for our youth culture (and humanity at large) to work towards a deeper degree of acceptance of diversity in all forms.

I first started following Openside when they were still called ‘Maybe Rave!’ – a super young, 4-piece pop-punk band hailing from Auckland.

They caught my attention because of the similarities I could draw with my own band at the time; a girl at the helm,  3 boys faffing about in the background (jussssst kidding), and a clear appreciation for melody and merging that with rock music.

openside possum plows band

Openside L-R: PJ Shephard (Guitar/Vocals), George Powell (Drums), Harry Carter (Bass) and Possum Plows (Vocals/Queen).

A couple years later and they, like my own band, have rebranded and chosen a more clear direction for their sound. In our case it was get rockier, and in their case it was get poppier.

My god can this girl write a pop tune.

In 2014, Possum won Auckland University’s Popular Music degree’s Songwriter of the YEAR while doing her Bachelor of Music. That was enough for me to start following her and her boss-ass budding career with extreme intent.

I then went on to learn more about Possum’s personal message, which resonates so strongly with me.

Possum’s writing is strongly focussed on relevant social commentary which both supports the youth generation and educates a slightly older demographic who may still fall in to the scope of their target audience.

In one of their latest songs, Worth It, she talks about themes of consumerism and corporate greed preying on our self-worth and need to fit in. I like that she talks about themes not prevalent in your regular pop music which more often than not; encourages consumerism and pushes lavish lifestyles.

Openside Possum Plows Shave Head Worth It

“You cut your hair off any they call it a trend” – Worth It

“But wait, we’ll sell you what you need
Though it’s temporary..

We got our ways to make you feel good
Make your dream life take flight
Just follow the leader
We got the goods to make you feel strong
Make you see more of what you want

Cause you deserve it
Darling, you’re worth it”

She follows on from themes Lorde approached in her rise to fame, but Possum has an extra angle of straying from the norm when it comes to her personal identity, and I really look forward to seeing her develop this more in her lyrical themes.

The band has just signed to Warner, raising the opportunity for Possum to spread her culturally-relevant and socially-necessary messages far and wide.

Bring it on.