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.

Wet Lips Band Good For a Girl interview melbourne

Interview: Grace & Jenny from Wet Lips (@BIGSOUND)

WET LIPS ARE NOT A GIRL BAND.

Wet Lips good for a girl blog interview

“Wet Lips are a one-stop shop for getting off chops.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll spill your beer. Try on Try It Again.
A searing Melbourne anthem about seeing an old root out at every fuckin’ venue and thinking “y’know what, I’m DTF”.
Unhinged, unstoppable, as fun and sloppy as a 3am d-floor pash with some hot stranger.
Pucker up.”

I’m not usually as lazy as to just copy and paste a band’s bio – but this has got to be one of the best ones I’ve read in a while.

Wet Lips are a 3-piece punk band from Melbourne, inspired by the lack of non-male representation in the local rock scene. There is Grace on vocals and guitar, Jenny on bass and vocals, and soon-to-depart-on-other-adventures Mo on drums.

I had only briefly heard of them before heading to BIGSOUND after I had been searching for women on the festival line up to hang out with. I didn’t know much about them or their music, so while meeting and chatting with Grace and Jenny (Mo is gender neutral) I got to know how low-key hilarious these girls were, I was very intrigued to check out the fulle band at their showcase later that night.

Wet Lips Good For a Girl interview bigsound band

I had an absolute blast at their show! Grace saunters about looking over the crowd like she owns the fucking place (good), Jenny looks like she’s having the time of her life and has the best dance moves, and Mo provides the backbone with some beats that were hella fun to watch! But the best part of all is their on-stage banter, which is a string of hilarious exchanges between Grace and Jenny about a range of topics from how much they hate lanyards (they were around many necks at BIGSOUND) to Jenny’s parents. They also took the time to acknowledge that they were playing in a venue that is built on top of aboriginal stolen land and expressed their gratitude for the honour of playing there.

The entire crowd was enthralled by their set. It was v v fun to watch.

SO WATCH MY CHAT WITH GRACE AND JENNY FROM WET LIPS.

Wet Lips have just dropped a sweet new split 7″ single with Jenny’s other band, Cable Ties, and it’s a lil ripper. Listen to it below and check out Wet Lips on the interwebz.

wet lips good for a girl blog interview

WET LIPS LINKS

Facebook
Bandcamp
Instagram

………………………………….

INTERVIEW: GRACE & JENNY FROM WET LIPS [TRANSCRIPTION]!

Emma:
So I guess we will approach this individually – your influences and inspiration growing up. What music was surrounding you when you were kids or…

Grace:
A lot of when I was a kid, a lot of Australian stuff that my parents listened to. A lot of Aus-Rock like Crowded House and Paul Kelly. Then as a teenager I moved in to the whole Indie Rock, Brit Rock thing. Loved a lot of british bands and triple j bands. Then I discovered riot girl, so Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, and there was kind of… so Jenny and I met when we moved to college in Melbourne. And we started going and seeing local bands and that really just opened up, well, our brains, really! Yeah so bands that we loved were like Terrible Truths, then heaps of garage bands, um. Yeah… trying to think of other women bands that we went and saw…

Jenny:
Yeah so when we first started, cuz we’ve been playing for 4 years, so when we first started going out to see bands, we didn’t see many women. So we went and saw Terrible Truths a lot and we really liked them and they were really inspiring. And yeah, … but recently in Melbourne there has been a massive surge with women and gender non-binary and trans people..

Emma:
Yeah with LISTEN and stuff

Both:
Yeah!

Jenny:
Yeah so there’s this really amazing vibrant community and that’s where we get all of our energy and inspiration from now!

Emma:
Yeah! And so when you say that you guys met in college is that high school or university?

Grace:
Oh, like university, yeah

Emma:
Right!

Jenny:
We’re both from the country.

Emma:
Right

Jenny:
So I’m from Bendigo and Grace is from like.. south Queensland. So we started uni…

Emma:
And that was the connection like ‘we’re both from way out of town”

Both:
Yeah

Jenny:
So we moved in res accommodation and…

Grace:
And then moved in to a share house with our friend Maya from Habits. And yeah we all just little 19 year olds going and drinking $2 pots and seeing the same bands every night of the week!

Emma:
(laughs) Wicked! So what got you guys individually in to music? Like did you pick up instruments from quite a young age, or?

Jenny:
Well I actually played folk music before… so yeah my influences are a bit different because until I was playing in like a celtic folk band

Emma:
Wow!

Jenny:
Yeah and I was really in to folk music

Grace:
They were really really good

Jenny:
And um, yeah I just met Grace and liked Grace and..

Emma:
She brought you over to the dark side….

Jenny:
I went to gigs in to town and I was like “why does everyone sing out of tune and why don’t they tune their guitars?”

Emma:
(laughs)

Jenny:
But yeah and now I love it.

Emma:
“Now I love out of tune guitars!!” (laughs)

Jenny:
Yeah!

Emma:
How about you, Grace? What got you in to music, like actually wanting to perform?

Grace:
Ohhh just my um… my forever unsatisfied ego, really. Nah not actually… well, actually yes. Well yeah it was just this kind of thing where I’d always been really interested in rock music. And we started going to see all these bands and think I’ve always had this sense of like ‘oh they’re doing all these really cool things and they’re getting lost of attention and that looks really fun” Yeah and we really felt like there was a big gap in the Melbourne scene maybe 4 years ago, there weren’t many women. And it was just this real sense of ‘fuck that. let’s do it.’

Emma:
Yeah, so that was kind of the motive? Like you guys set out to start a girl rock band together?

Grace:
Yeah..

Jenny:
Kind of!

Grace:
Kind of.. I’m sorry I just realized everything I said revealed what a massive narcissist I am…

Emma:
(laughs)

Grace:
Umm I try and keep that under the surface most of the time.

Emma:
This is a safe space to be a narcissist

Grace:
Yeah.. I think it was more just like we want to start a band and we wanna do what all these other guys are doing

Jenny:
We looked at them and we were like ‘we can do that’ and so…

Emma:
And better..

Grace:
Yeah, well, we are better. And um..

Emma:
There it is again (laughs)

Grace:
Yeah so we started and we were so… well I certainly was really desperate for approval from all the people in that kind of scene. and you know we’d play shows.. and we’ve gotten so much shit over the years. We’re always on first. People would make disparaging remarks. And even like I think like 2 years ago I was playing through someone else’s amplifier and I was like ‘have you switched it on?’ and he said ‘yeah!’ and I leaned down and he was like ‘yeah and this is the volume knob, and this is the gain knob…’ and I was like yep yep I have this amp at home like this is the same amp and he’s like ‘and this is the tremolo…and this is…’

Emma:
“Did you even hear what I just said? Like… you know I’m about to play in a band.. like i do actually do the thing…’

Both:
Yeah

Emma:
Yeah I get that a bit too…

Jenny:
When we did get recognition, a lot of the time it was kinda like this quirky and cute thing that they were…

Emma:
A bit condescending

Jenny:
Yeah

Grace:
Yeah always the novelty. And so I think we’ve moved away, especially in the past 2 years, of seeking approval from that group. And going okay actually we don’t need you. And I guess we’ve been lucky we’ve been part of a big community and a lot of our friends have started bands in the last few years and we’ve reached out and yeah there are organizations like LISTEN and other kind of networks. And venues like tote that put on really great stuff… and.. yeah

Jenny:
And I’ll say at this point also like.. when we started… like, Mo, our drummer is non-binary so.. yeah we’re not a girl band

Emma:
Not a girl band, yeah sorry!!

Jenny:
No no you’re okay it’s fine!

Grace:
And there is such a vibrant trans and gender non-conforming community in Melbourne. As Chloe Turner from LISTEN said yesterday, they really are making the most innovative music at the moment.

Emma:
Yep!

Grace:
And there are artists like Simona Castricum who’s at BIGSOUND, Habits… and it’s really cool seeing it-

Jenny:
Chelsea Bleach!

Grace:
Just seeing it absolutely explode. And they’re starting to get some of the recognition they deserve

Emma:
Yeah well it’s brilliant that they’re showcasing here as well! It’s great. We kind do a similar little festival like this in New Zealand. It happens.. it was just at the weekend. They fly some of the panelist from here over there. And we showcased at that. And I was looking at the line up, only 12 artists play the whole time, it’s not like here. I realized that 50% of them had women in them, which was really cool cuz I feel like we’re at this critical period at the moment where we are starting to be listened to. And people are starting to kind of.. the conversation is not as scary to people any more. There’s been a lot of development and Melbourne is like a hub for that. It’s culturally very accepting and open, and it’s great that you guys are based there…

Grace:
Yeah it’s great! We love it! We feel like it has, in the past year just in terms of something tangible.. like often at the bigger underground venues like the tote and that kind of thing.. they don’t like putting on line ups that are all men. So they will often book a band that has at least one woman or a GnC person in there. But it’s at this stage where they’ll book that band but they’ll put them on first still

Emma:
Right so it’s like a step..

Grace:
Yeah it’s a step, and um… I’m really interested in.. cuz there was this kind of thing that happened in the 90s to a certain extent. And I’m really interested in how you keep that moving in to the future, and you don’t regress back to the indie rock scene of 10 years ago. Not that I was part of it, but it was very male dominated and people weren’t having these sort of conversations.

Emma:
Yeah

Grace:
Yeah so, I think we have made a bit of progress. But the music industry is still full of misogyny. And the vast majority of people still don’t respect women’s music. And they still see it fundamentally as something abnormal, and sort of just a novelty.

Emma:
Yeah definitely. And we have made steps with women but, like, as you say kind of the next thing is the GnC community and yeah… I hope that what everyone is learning from women starting to come to the forefront is that actually progress isn’t terrifying and actually like everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard.

Grace:
Yep

Emma:
And yeah I think that’s slowly but surely happening. I don’t think it will regress back. I hope not anyway. Unless like Donald Trump comes in to power and everything turns to shit. Influences a whole bunch of other horrible white dudes (laughs)

Both:
(laugh) yeah!

Emma:
So what’s next for you guys? Have you got releases coming out? Records? Tours?

Both:
Yeah!

Jenny:
We’re doing a split 7” which is coming out in November. And so, the split on the other side is with my other band, Cable Ties

Emma:
Oh cool!

Jenny:
So that’ll be really good! And we’ve recorded and album and we will be releasing it but that will be next year and… we don’t know when

Grace:
Yeah! Hey if anyone runs a label… get in touch! Ah yeah, so we’ve got the album. We’ve mixed half of it and doing the other half in 2 weeks or something! And, yeah, we’ll just be trying to put that out. Maybe put out another single before it.

Emma:
Awesome!

Tali Good for a Girl Interview MC Tali Natalia Sheppard

Interview: Tali (@Going Global)

TALI IS ONE OF THE MOST PROLIFIC ARTISTS TO COME OUT OF THE DRUM AND BASS SCENE

MC Tali good for a girl interview

And she’s my mate – ner ner!! Tali, MC Tali, or Natalia Sheppard, is a babe of all babes. She is one of the most positive humans I’ve ever met, and her work ethic for music is relentless and inspiring. This girl will not quit, her passion for her craft is 5eva. Tali first rose to fame after she moved over to the UK and signed with label Full Cycle, releasing her Top 40 UK Chart hit, Lyric on My Lip in 2004. Check it out, if you’re not familiar with Tali at all, you probably will recognise this track!

I met Tali a few years ago now through some mutual musical Christchurch friends when she was down here visiting and probably performing a couple of sets. Being a young sprogget on the rock scene, I didn’t know who she was by face or name, but when she got up on the mic during a jam session and started singing and rapping – my mind was absolutely blown and in awe of her talent and more importantly; her complete confidence and ownership of the space when she performs. I became a Tali fan right then and there!

MC Tali good for a girl interview live

So when I was taking Good for a Girl interviews to Going Global this year, and Tali was going to be talking on a panel, I knew I had to get her in for a chat. I am very aware that the Drum & Bass scene is just as – if not more – male dominated than the rock scene. And knowing Tali to have a strong mind and heart, and a clear passion for women in music with a lot of her music mentoring and teaching work focussing on inspiring and empowering young women and girls in to a career in music, I knew this chat was going to be good. REAL GOOD.

WATCH MC TALI AND MYSELF TALK ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE AS A WOMAN IN THE DnB SCENE HERE

Since I’ve already mentioned how Tali is one of the most prolific and hard working artists in this scene, you bet your ass she’s just released even MORE new music for us to wrap our ears around.

Listen to her fresh new E.P. dropped just last week, called Keta, HERE.

Check out on of my fav lush tracks from the EP, How To Get High, below.

CONNECT WITH TALI ONLINE

Facebook
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Twitter
Spotify
iTunes

…………………

INTERVIEW: MC TALI (@GOING GLOBAL) – TRANSCRIPT

Emma:
So we’re just going to talk being ladies and vaginas and stuff! Sooo… do you…

Tali:
You don’t wanna talk about my penis then? (laughing)

Emma:
No, not really interested in that (laughing). So first I would just like to know about your influences. Even just as a child – like the music that was surrounding you growing up.

Tali:
So interesting because I look at a lot of genres of music now in sort of relation to the same genres of music I listened to as a child and what women are doing now as opposed to what they were doing then. I definitely listened to a lot more hip hop back then. And I say ‘back then’ because it’s 90s/80s.. mainly 90s. I’m quite young, actually (laughing). But um, yeah, so it was mainly… I listened to a lot of hip hop. That’s what I really really loved. Because there was a lot of strong powerful female rappers back then. And a lot of them who were sexy and confident but without being overtly…. naked? You know? Who kept their clothes on a lot but were still sexual and confident. so I listened to a lot of like, Salt N Pepa, En Vogue, Nenah Cherry, um, even Missy Elliot in the early 2000s. She was a massive influence on me.

Emma:
I love her.

Tali:
Yeah and she had the style steez, and she didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought about her, her size, or you know, she was just herself. And to me that was really inspirational, especially because I didn’t have.. you know, being a drum and bass artist, I didn’t have a lot of female influences so I looked at the hip hop girls. And I look at the hip hop girls now and there isn’t a lot of hip hop girls I relate to now at all.

Emma:
Right. So because I know that you’re really in to women in music, and you up that culture, when you were younger, were you consciously in to women role models for your music? Or was it just you were drawn to them? Or..

Tali:
Umm I think it was like… cuz I grew up in a house with a sister and two brothers. But we grew up on a farm. And so even though there was this side of me that was really girly and liked, like, dolls, there was also the side of me that loved building forts and playing in the river and hanging out with my dog. And neither side was never encouraged more than the other. It was very much about being free and especially living on a farm, you have the potential to do that. And so I kinda grew up with that attitude of sort of, never trying to be older than what I was or cooler than what I was. Just trying to be me. Obviously that changed when I got a lot older and you have society’s perceptions of how you should be as a woman and stuff so it did start to creep in, but, back then I would say I gravitated towards these women because 1) I loved rapping, I loved Mc-ing, I loved music and I loved fashion. And they encompassed all those things but they did it in a way that was relatable. It was cool, it was sassy, it was confident and it was them doing them. I didn’t feel like they were doing something because the record label told them to do that, I felt like they were genuinely doing that and saying that because that was who they were.

Emma:
And did that empower you as a young girl that wanted to get in to music? That you were like “i could be like that”

Tali:
Yeah!

Emma:
Like were there ever any male artists that made you feel “oh yeah I wanna do that too!”

Tali:
Oh yeah! No, there were. That was not so much as a child. As a little girl you definitely look to female artists, don’t you? But there were obviously guys who were making music, like, (laughs) like I definitely loved a lot of new jack swing, and I loved a lot of hip hop again, but then I got in to a lot of rock music.

Emma:
Right!

Tali:
Yeah like I loved Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I loved Tool, I loved all that music.. I know! Um, Offspring, Beastie Boys – which was a combination of hip hop and rock..

Emma:
But isn’t it interesting that all the rock bands you’re mentioning are all male rock bands, too?

Tali:
Yeah! So there was only… probably no female rock bands.. oh maybe! I liked L7, and I liked Elastica. Garbage I kind of got in to, No Doubt sort of a little but. But those for me, I was already on my path of getting in to electronic music at that stage. But those male bands I’m talking about – the reason why I loved them so much was the emotion I was connecting with. So when I was young I was connecting with women I could see myself being like, and then when I got in to rock music it was more music I felt emotionally stirred by. And it was at that time in my life where I was 14/15 so you know.. emotiooonnss.. (laughs) you know 16/17. And then I started to get in to hip hop again. So like Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and this time it was about artists who had a platform and were using that platform to say something of value to society. So this was when I was at university and I started thinking about ‘what is my role in this world, especially as a woman? How can I use my platform to say something?’ I mean, I didn’t have a platform at that stage, but it was definitely on my mind. And then when I eventually got in to drum and bass, there were literally no females. I mean, maybe there were two DJs; Chemistry and Storm. And one female MC, but I wasn’t in to her, I didn’t like her style. So I was looking at 40 year old black men from London and thinking I needed to sound like that.

Emma:
That’s really interesting to me because obviously a lot of my experiences and my blog talks about women in rock at the moment. But that’s why I wanted to talk to you because I also know drum and bass and the electronica scene is heavily swayed towards men as well.

Tali:
Yeah, totally!

Emma:
So, did you feel alone?

Tali:
Oh, god yeah! Oh my gosh, absolutely. I mean on one hand it was really nice because I was very coddled, in a sense. When I signed to Full Cycle, the boys who signed me, there were 5 of them on the label, and they were very protective of me. They would definitely protect me and give me a lot of advice but all of this perspective was coming from a male perspective. You know like, nobody ever gave me advice on how I should deal with male fans who speak to me inappropriately, or how I should deal with a male promoter who calls me a diva just cuz I ask for a dressing room with a mirror. It’s like, we’d just come off tour, we were on a tour bus, there was me and 2 backing singers who were females, we had a dressing room with no mirror in it, and we were expected to put on clothes and do make up. You know, it’s like, there is a standard. That to me is a standard, asking for a mirror is asking for a certain standard. It’s not ‘go and use the public toilets’ – no I don’t want to use the public toilets cuz the audience is arriving!

Emma:
It’s also the ignorance to there weren’t many women artists around, so they just think women artist need what men artists need. Or like ‘all artist just need the same thing’

Tali:
Yeah! ‘oh well we’re all equal here!’ and I’m like ‘umm I’m pretty sure the guys would want a mirror in their room too-‘

Emma:
If they were putting on lipstick!

Tali:
Yeah! It’s like, I don’t even have a compact, I don’t think I even had a mobile phone at that point, I think my phone had broken before I even went on tour. Anyway – it’s things like that where I definitely felt that I needed someone to guide me. And I didn’t have that guidance. And so therefore there were moments where I possibly made mistakes or said inappropriate things, but I very very quickly learned ‘oh okay I shouldn’t have said that’ or ‘I shouldn’t have done that’ and I took that and I rolled with it. And now that’s why I’m so passionate about trying to bring young women through in electronic music and taking them under my wing and giving them guidance. And why I love good for a girl, because, we don’t have these conversations. We don’t talk about these things. And unless we do, and young women have places where they can go and read this stuff and be like ‘oh okay..’

Emma:
‘other women have this stuff..’

Tali:
Yeah! Yeah. If they don’t have that, then they will make those mistakes, and I want to be able to prevent people from.. I mean it’s good to make mistakes! But, at the same time, it would’ve been nice if someone had said to me, ‘hey, maybe tell him to fuck off that’s not appropriate’ you know, ‘it’s okay!’

Emma:
And do you have any kind of key moments in your career where you went ‘okay.. that’s fucked.’ Like… something where you’re just like ‘are you fucking kidding me?’ you know, to do with being a woman..

Tali:
Yeah! Well, to do with being a woman and not to do with being a woman. I mean, sometimes it was because I was alone, like, because I didn’t have somebody there or security or anything so people felt like they could approach me and speak to me. But I’ve also seen them approach men and speak to men like that as well. So it’s like, there’s definitely been situations that come down to the fact of being an MC and people come up to you and are like ‘gimme the mic man, gimme the mic. I wanna MC, gimme the mic’ and you’re just like ‘I don’t walk in to your job and ask to fricken start… serving people?’ I mean like go away! Definitely moments where as a woman I was like like ‘wow..’ I like, really did not expect that I mean… how long have we got?

Emma:
(laughs) as long as you want!

Tali:
(laughs) well I remember there was this one promoter, in Liverpool, and I’d already had a bit of a shit night because this one guy had come up to me and he’d asked me if he could have the mic. and I said ‘no… you can’t have the mic’ and then he was more aggressive like [british accent] ‘yah gimme the mic man yeah, I’m gan spit some rhymes and ting’ and I was like ‘no! fuck off, I’m doing a job!’ so he threw a bottle of water at me, and I think it hit me in the stomach or the chest, like a full bottle of water – plastic bottle  – but still fucking hurt. And i looked around and there was just all dudes and people didn’t know what to do. Nobody approached him, whether they didn’t want to start something, but nobody stepped in and was like ‘that’s not cool.’ So I was like, okay, what am I going to to do? So I just ripped the shit out of him on the mic. I proceeded to MC and cuss him, freestyle, and everyone just started laughing at him. And he got really angry and at that point the security guard had come through, and I said this guy threw a bottle of water at me la la la anyway, later on that night the promoter was like ‘oh I’m really sorry about what happened’ and I was like ‘oh that’s okay!’ and he was like ‘I’ll walk you back to the hotel’ and I was like ‘yeah cool.’ We were getting on really well, having this great conversation. And he was like ‘I’ll walk you to the hotel, you don’t mind do you? That’s alright isn’t it?’ And I was like ‘yeah that’s fine that’s totally cool’ and he’s like ‘I’ll take you up to your room, you don’t mind do you?’ and I was like ‘no no, no that’s cool, you can walk me up to my room!’ So he takes me up to my room and then he’s like ‘can I come in for a minute? Is that alright, do you mind?’ and I was like ‘no! you can come in for a minute, I’m going to make a cup of tea would you like a cup of tea?’ and he’s like ‘I’d love a cup of tea’ so we sit there and we’re talking and I’m like ‘I’m gunna go to bed now’ and he’s like ‘I’m just gunna lie down here, you don’t mind do you?’ (pause) yeeaaaah. it’s time for you to go now. You know?! He just got to that point like..

Emma:
Oh, he was sooo subtle about it.

Tali:
But I mean it’s kind of funny like I have had numerous times where there’s been a knock on my door at 4 in the morning and I’ll look through my peephole and there’ll be a certain DJ or 2.. who I cannot name.. who’s been like (whispers) ‘Tali. Are you awake?’ and I’m like ‘Not appropriate! It’s 4am!’ you know? All calling my room ‘yo man do you need some company?’ I’m like ‘nah bro I’m good.’ I want to be taken as a professional!

Emma:
Exactly, are they doing that to the other guys you’re on tour with?

Tali:
I wanna be seen as a professional, treat me as a professional. You might be attracted to me – call me when we’re off tour, and we’ll talk about it!

Emma:
Right now we’re working

Tali:
Not while we’re on tour and we’re working. Cuz it’s definitely not hap – you think I got this far and now I’m going to jeopardise it? And the amount of people who have said to me ‘she got where she is from sleeping with people’ or ‘she must have slept with the entire label to get there!’ and I’m like ‘Yes!! Because I have a magic vagina! My vagina is so magic that I just go wooooo’ and everyone goes ‘give her a record deal!’

Emma:
(laughs)

Tali:
What is the logic in this!? If you look at the back story, you’ll see that the back story is quite exciting. And the reason that I got here is quite exciting

Emma:
Oh no that’s doesn’t matter.

Tali:
Hell no, cuz I just woooooooo

Emma:
It’s actually just how pretty you are and whether you put out, basically

Tali:
I’ve had entire threads and forums dedicated to the way I looked. And things like ‘yeah I’d do her with a paper bag over her head’ and ‘she sounds like a cat being dragged through a lawnmower backwards’ and you know I don’t really mind if people don’t think I’m a good MC or they’re not into my music because it’s all subjective you know? It’s completely up to personal taste. But when people start talking about me like I’m an object and what they want to do to me? Like I cried absolute tears when I read those forums because I was new in my career and I was reading this shit and thinking ‘is this…?” and as a … what’s the word, where you go against that? I would be determined to dress as boyish as I could. So I would wear tracksuits, cap, big ponytail, big earrings and that and I would get on stage and have such a fierce attitude because it was like I wanted to push away the idea of seeing me as an object. I tried to make myself more male I guess. And sound more male. And because the only role models I had were males – you know everyone was like ‘you’re such a little tomboy’ and I’m like ‘underneath – I wanna wear a sparkly skirt!’

Emma:
(laughs)

Tali:
And a boob tube! And I can’t – because I don’t wanna be seen as an object. but as I got older, and I earned my stripes, as we say, this little soldier earned her stripes, it became apparent that  and also Roni Size who signed me to his label and he was like ‘babe what you need to understand about these people who are writing these forums; they’ve got one hand on their dick and one hand on the computer. And usually they wanna do you, or be you.’ and that’s what it comes down to. They’re jealous because they can’t have you, and you’re in a position that they don’t think you should be in. Especially because you’re some white little female from New Zealand, how dare you? You know?

Emma:
Yep!

Tali:
So, there was that, and he was like ‘stop reading the comments because that will drive you crazy’ and then secondly as I got older and matured more and became more comfortable in myself and my sexuality, I was like ‘you know what? If i wanna dress like this and you wanna see me as a sexual object, that’s your problem. It’s not my problem.’

Emma:
Because the important thing is you feel good!

Tali:
I wanna feel good! And you know, I am a sexual person. And I love being a female. And I don’t dress for me, I dress for other women essentially!

Emma:
That’s a huge thing men don’t understand! Even when it comes to make up. “Oh she’s wearing way too much make up. I like girls that don’t wear make up.”

Tali:
I don’t care what you like, I didn’t put this make on for you! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah or okay dude don’t wear make up then, you don’t have to, if you don’t like make up just don’t wear it … but I do…

Tali:
It’s my choice! (laughs) But yeah I definitely feel like there’s this fine line as well because society kind of tells us that in order to be attractive, and to be successful that we have to act a certain way and be provocative in a certain way. And I think there’s nothing wrong in being sexy and being provocative as long as that’s truly who you are. And you’re doing it for the right reasons. You’re doing it because it does make you feel empowered, not because you feel like you should be doing it. And this is why we should have things like Good for a Girl and people like you and I who speak out about this and let young women know that it’s okay. And there’s other ways to be empowered.

Emma:
And don’t let it get you down, and trust treat it like … well most people are fucking idiots. Don’t let it get to you, because .. you’ve fuckin’ got your eye on the prize and focus on that.

Tali:
Yep and I hate the way as well the minute that other women started to MC, and there were other female vocalists it suddenly became like this competition? ‘oh what do you think of Jenna G do you think she’s a good singer? Oh what do you think of–’ I think they’re all fuckin awesome! ‘Oh yeah but don’t you care that she played this festival and you didn’t?’ No! Stop trying to create this competition between us. I’m not a jealous person and I’m not a competitive person. I am me, I do me. You know, what really gets my goat especially is line ups. Festival line ups. And it’s really important we talk about this too. Because – you know this too – I’ve had instances where we cannot be put on a line up because there’s already a female on the line up!

Emma:
Yep.

Tali:
And especially for me, as an MC, I’m like ‘I’m sorry? I don’t see any other female MC’s around here. I’m like the only one and yet I can’t be on this line up because there’s another female who’s a DJ and plays house music?!’ You know? I’m a Drum n Bass MC! It’s completely different.

Emma:
Yep!

Tali:
You’ve got 5 white dudes, who all MC over Drum n Bass and who all pretty much sound the same. (whispers) Where is the logic in this? It just gets me so wound up! Because like.. ‘oh well we’re just booking the artists that are successful. We’re just booking the artists that make money. We’re booking the artists, the headliners that are touring at the moment.’ Bullshit! Do your research! There are other artists out there who are female, who are touring, who are making money, who if you gave them the opportunity, people usually go; ‘OH MY GOD A GIRL MC!! YEAHH!” and all the chicks push their way to the front and all the guys are like ‘wow this is amazing all these women!’ and the promoters are like ‘this is great, it’s heaving it’s going off, we’ve got females and guys’ – I put them there, Mofo! I did that! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah, cuz you’re never gunna have people come away from a festival like ‘you know what? It was cool aye but there was just too many girls there.’

Tali:
Yeah.

Emma:
Like that’s never gunna happen. I don’t know why promotors or festival organisers worry about there – whether they actually consciously worried about that or whether it’s just when they’re confronted by it and they’re like ‘ooohhh i have to make up an excuse’ that’s kinda what I like about Going Global showcases because when you breakdown the 12 artists, 6 of them have women in them so it’s 50/50.

Tali:
Yes! Definitely!

Emma:
There needs to be… some major festival somewhere just quietly, not announce it, just for their next festival book 50% of their acts with women in them. Not say anything about it, just do it.

Tali:
Yeah!

Emma:
And then let the media take it once the festival line up is announced, and it the people notice then that’s cool, and then if it’s a major festival that does it all the smaller ones will follow on..it’s the power of influence as well is really important.

Tali:
Totally!

Anna Laverty Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Anna Laverty – Producer (@Going Global)

ANNA LAVERTY IS A PRODUCER, MIXER, ENGINEER, & WRITER

Anna Laverty Producer Good for a Girl Interview
Anna producing or engineering (maybe mixing but prob not in this pic)

After discovering women producers (I know.. sounds ridiculous) via a video shared with me about Sylvia Massey – I was suddenly very excited and aware to find more.

The universe heard my call and responded just a few short weeks later by the ways of a Going Global panel announcement that Australian producer, Anna Laverty, was going to be spreading her wisdom at the conference.

Bonus: my manager was also speaking at Going Global and so introduced us, which was great because it meant I could avoid over-excitedly nerding my way over to her and having her say no to an interview. i.e. Tom buys me cool points. Yas.

So Anna has an awesome story. Which you’ll hear in much more detail in our interview below; but basically, she hit up London after graduating engineer school (tech term) and was taken under wing by some kick ARSE producers over there, and just bossed the shit out it now she’s a full-fledged producer in her own right back home in the land-of-down-under, working with some incredible up & coming and established talent and basically is just about 100 times more awesome than the rest of us.

Check out some of the artists she’s worked with below;

She also recently produced a GFAG fav of mine, Courtney Barnett, as part of a Grateful Dead covers album that The National put together to raise money for HIV/AIDS research.

Anna also runs a fantastic twitter called Audio Women which shares info and achievements about and regarding women working in the audio engineering industry – which is great. She hopes to inspire more young girls to explore a career in audio! YUS.

So without me waffling on for much longer;

WATCH MY CHAT WITH ANNA LAVERTY – PRODUCER HERE:

ANNA LAVERTY LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Anna’s Twitter
Audio Women’s Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: ANNA LAVERTY (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
[talking about my Sylvia Massey blog post] … I wrote this blog about her because I realised that I’ve never ever worked with a woman in a recording setting or even a live sound setting.

Anna Laverty:
Oh, you haven’t? There’s a couple of live sound girls around, but not in the studio, yeah.

Emma:
So when I found out you were going to be at Going Global this year, I was like “hang on a second… a woman producer! Now I get to ask them questioooons!” So, when [my producer]  Tom was like “do you want to interview Anna?” I was like “yesssss.”

Anna Laverty:
Yeah!

Emma:
So, I’m really interested in just how you got in to recording growing up. Growing up; whether you had any influences that got you in there or whether you just found yourself there?

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, no, I didn’t find myself there! I always wanted to be a sound engineer. I can’t explain it. I didn’t know any sound engineers, my parents aren’t in the business, like I don’t have any of that stuff. Whenever I saw on telly,  someone being interviewed in the studio or working in the studio, it just, I just felt like that was my calling. And so when I was about 15 I started going to the open days at the performing arts uni where I lived in WA. And he was like “too young, too young” – and then when I got to year 12 I applied and got in – there was only 10 people that got it so it was pretty amazing. On my first day somebody told me I only got in because I was the “token girl.”

Emma:
Right.

Anna Laverty:
Which really fucking pissed me off. Am I allowed to swear?

Emma:
Fuck yeah! CUNT!

Anna Laverty:
Yeah so that really pissed me off. And it really pissed me off because I had basically done work experience and gone and worked for free every school holidays for 3 years to get in to this course, and I feel like I really got in off my merit. And to have someone to say that is like… really??

Emma:
“Actually it’s because you have a vagina.”

Anna Laverty:
Yeah. So whatever. So I did that course then I moved to London and got work experience in a studio and was just doing that for a while. Well, after 2 weeks they offered me an assistant engineer job and I started working with a bunch of really cool producers and haven’t really stopped! But now obviously I have been climbing this little invisible ladder over the years and now I’m a producer in my own right!

Emma:
So when you started being a studio assistant and an assistant engineer, were you working around many other women at all?

Anna Laverty:
No, there is none. The only other female producer/engineer that I’ve come across was at the same time that I was assisting Paul Epworth and Ben Hillier in London, Catherine Marks, who’s a girl from Melbourne but who lived in London was assisting Flood. And our 2 studios were like sister studios, so we would occasionally see each other. It was very weird because we were both from Australia and we were both working London. We were like the same person! It was like Shelbyville like in The Simpsons. It was pretty cool.

Emma:
That’s really cool! And did you find that when you worked – like obviously it’s majority men – did you come up against any sort just.. bullshit?

Anna Laverty:
A little bit. Yeah. I mean I’ve come up against a little bit of bullshit but not as much as you would think, actually! I think its because it’s music, it’s the arts. People that work in music and the arts generally aren’t dickheads. Um, so that’s pretty cool. I have had a couple of instances – and it was when I was a bit younger too – a couple of instances of people saying really inappropriate things. And not like sexual things but things that were, just… it’s that whole saying like “you only got in to this because you’re the girl,” you know that stuff. And it’s like “you have no idea how hard I worked for this!” So you know… whatever.

Emma:
(laughs)

Anna Laverty:
But both times that that happened to me, I was just like “yeah whatever, dude.” And it actually doesn’t really bother me that much because I just know that it’s not true. But it’s pretty inappropriate. So the two times that that happened, I didn’t do anything about it, but other men that were there! Like in one example I was an assistant engineer and some guy told me I should be making everybody dinner in the studio instead of being in the studio. And he was serious. It wasn’t like a joke.

Emma:
(laughs)

Anna Laverty:
And I was like “okay! cool!” and then all the other guys that were there – I didn’t know this – but went and told the studio owner. And he told that producer – who was a big time producer – he was doing a huge, huge record – told him that if he ever said anything like that to me again he wouldn’t be welcome back at the studio. And I just thought that was so cool. I was like the junior assistant engineer, and for him to just be like “that is unacceptable” – I just thought that was really cool.

Emma:
There’s some angel men out there.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah! Yeah for sure. and obviously all my mentors have been men, so yeah.

Emma:
Can you actually cook? That’s the real question.

Anna Laverty:
I can cook, yeah!

Emma:
I feel like if it was me I would’ve been like “challenge accepted.” And then I just would’ve made the worst fucking meal they’ve ever had in their lives and they would never ask me again.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, no… it’s just yeah the funny thing was at the time in that studio we did all make dinner for each other. That was a big part of the culture because we would be there all day. So everyday it would be someones job to go and make the dinner, you know? And I was like “I don’t wanna go make the dinner now, it’s making me all self-conscious!” (laughs) Yeah.

Emma:
Do you find that you have more women artists approaching you at all?

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, I think I do now, actually! I work with a lot of young women. And then also more experienced women who are like “oh my god it’s so amazing!” I actually did a Christmas song with Tina Arena one year..

Emma:
Get out of town! (laughs)

Anna Laverty:
(laughs) Yeah and she was like “this is the first time I’ve ever worked with a female engineer.” And she’s been doing it since she was seven! and I just couldn’t believe that.

Emma:
But that’s what blew my mind about finding out about Sylvia Massey. I was like “oh yeah okay what records has she worked– TOOL?!” I didn’t even know that, I was just like holy shit.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah and she like, ran that studio out in Weed (LA) for like a loooong time. Like she was a big deal.

Emma:
Crazy eh. And I’ve never seen another woman – I mean my career is still really young, I’ve just recorded an album and an EP and a couple of singles – but I’ve never seen another woman in that environment while I’m there and I’d just kind of accepted it’s a dudefest. It didn’t even cross my mind. That I could purposefully seek out women producers and engineers and bring them in. Even if say, I wanted to work with my current producer, but how about we get women in engineers or like.. you know? I’m kind of seeing you coming in to my sphere of influence and then the Sylvia Massey thing and going and doing some research about more women that work in that industry and I’m like okay for my next record I do want women involved.

Anna Laverty:
Yeah, I mean I love to do things like this [speaking at Going Global] because I love the fact there might be a young girl in the audience that might be like “well I wanted to do production but I didn’t because I felt like I couldn’t! But hey, maybe I can!” I think that’s pretty cool. I like the role modelling stuff.

Bec Sandridge Good for a Girl interview

Interview: Bec Sandridge (@BIGSOUND)

I discovered BEC SANDRIDGE on a Spotify playlist

Bec Sandridge Good For A Girl Interview Emma Cameron Decades

Quirky, Catchy, Disco Spaghetti-Pop Ridge in all her glory

Who and what is this? I thought as I tabbed back across to Spotify one day at work.

You’re a Fucking Joke / BEC SANDRIDGE read the information panel on Spotify.

I tabbed back across to my web browser and typed those exact words back in to the google machine and up popped…

THIS

Shit, this girl is cool. And those guys look fucking fabulous in their Bec Sandridge make up. 

Cue more google stalking and I discover that 1) she is from across the bloody ditch in Straya, mate. 2) She was headlining BIGSOUND.

Fuck yeah. Let’s meet her!

Bec was so lovely to chat to, and I couldn’t wait to catch her live set. Both herself and another artist that I wanted to see at BIGSOUND were playing at the same time, so I had to bolt half way through the other set to make it 5 minutes down the road in Fortitude Valley to get to her show half-way through.

This girl is outrageous live.

Picture this; a 6 foot tall woman towering over the crowd – luminous in her personal style; dressed in an eccentric yet refined aesthetic of select primary and secondary colours, teased platinum blonde hair glowing under the brightly coloured lighting production, strong painted on eyebrows drawing you to her stare out in to the crowd demanding your attention, wielding an absolutely gorgeous white fender telecaster, mixing up a dynamic and effortless physical flow to her performance from undulating sways to tippy-toe skips on the spot, backed up by a live band of  3 dudes slaying on their instruments, pulling together to form an incredibly tight and engaging musical performance topped with pitch-perfect quirky vocals like you’ve never heard in your life.

That was Bec Sandridge’s set (and also my attempt at a pretentious over-described live performance review).

 NOW YOU BEST WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH BEC SANDRIDGE!

Bec released a new track at the end of last month called ‘High Tide’ and it’s dreamy as fuck.

So if you like what you hear (of course you do…), check Bec Sandridge out online!

bec sandridge LINKS

Website
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: BEC SANDRIDGE (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
So the first thing I wanted to ask you is what were your inspirations and influences from a really young age? What got you in to wanting to do music?

Bec Sandridge:
I think growing up, initially, my Mum listened to a lot of Donna Summer and Aretha Franklin. Whereas my Dad loves really easy-listening rock. I have that kind of.. disco rock…

Emma:
Like Air Supply or something? (laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
Yes! Essentially.

Bec Sandridge:
I’m obsessed with Cydni Lauper. I found out she has a reality TV show which I am potentially obsessed with.

Emma:
Like binge-watching?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. It’s real. So Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac..

Emma:
So you have quite a lot of women influences?

Bec Sandridge:
Oh yeah, for sure.

Emma:
See that’s quite different from me because I… it wasn’t til after I started doing this blog I was like ‘well now I’m interested in finding other women musicians.’ And I was like ‘I don’t think I’ve ever had women influences growing up!’ and getting in to rock music. So were you conscious of that ever? Did you seek out women influences or was it just natural?

Bec Sandridge:
I think I’m drawn to female voices which is really interesting because guitar’s my main instrument – I’m not actually a singer, I don’t think. So for me I found it hard.. there was a lot more men playing guitar. So I would people like BB King, George Benson, Bruce Springsteen, and they would kinda be like my ‘guitar dudes’ which kinda sucks.

Emma:
Did you ever start getting in to women that play guitar?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah! I think one of my favourite musicians is someone like Leslie Feist – she’s an amazing guitarist.

Emma:
Is she just ‘Feist’ ?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, Feist. But a lot of her earlier stuff is folky, singer-songwriter-y stuff but she’s actually an amazing guitarist. So people like her, I love. I just think it’s really cool when someone has mad guitar chips and they manage to just simplify it down to a singer-songwriter kind of thing.. and it’s like.. you’re sneaky! You know what you’re doing.

Emma:
(laughs). So with the style of guitar you play, cuz your music’s quite rhythmic and jaunty.. did you have any influences on guitar that played music like you? Or was it just more like.. you saw dudes playing guitar and were like ‘oh yeah i can do that too’ or ‘i’m gunna do my own style’ or… when I think of you I think of St Vincent as well.. kinda doing your own style.

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. I only recently got in to St Vincent. Um, but originally I learnt the whole Blink 182 discography. (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah me too (laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
So Blink, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Buckley is kinda where I started on. Wipeout and What’s My Age Again were the first two songs that I Iearned. Then after that I wanted to learn more jazz kinda stuff but I didn’t fully delve in to it. Someone said to me ‘if you want to do jazz, you need to do jazz’

Emma:
Yeah, like proper!

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, I’m not that committed, so.. so then I learned a bit of classical guitar. But recently I’ve really looked in to St Vincent stuff, and really you know… dig in to guitar. Like when you’re like eurgh that sounds.. horribly… great.

Emma:
(laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, so i guess that’s something that I like. I like pretty gross sounding sounds.

Emma:
Like gross but interesting

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. I think it’s really interesting when something really aggressive but really intricate or something. I write a lot on Garageband and use guitar midi things. And this synthesizer that’s called Massive Trance Pad.. which is awful. But fun! Check it out!

Emma:
But fun? (laughs) So when did you start doing your own music? Was it in high school?

Bec Sandridge:
I played guitar in year 9 and I was too scared to sing. And I just played guitar in a band.

Emma:
What kind of band was it?

Bec Sandridge:
It was like a blues and roots thing..

Emma:
Really?!

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah! And the singer went overseas for 6 months and then our booking agent called us up with a really cool gig and I wanted to do it. My family were like ‘you don’t have the guts to do it!’ so they placed money bets on me. I wanted to do it at the time, so I wrote 3 songs and then.. yeah. Kinda just went overseas and tried to play as much in front of strangers. So that’s kinda how it happened!

Emma:
Cool. Have you found, cuz this blog talks about being a women in this industry, have you found that you’ve experienced any sort of personal controversies  or things that have come at you that you know it’s cuz you’re a girl?

Bec Sandridge:
Oh, of course. Yeah of course. Especially – I’ve just released my new single… I dunno if I’m allowed to say it

Emma:
yep!

Bec Sandridge:
“You’re a Fucking Joke”
and like, every single interview’s been like ‘so what’s it like as a woman in the music industry’ and it’s like.. how many dudes are asked that?

Emma:
‘Well what’s it like being a dude in the industry?’

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah! What’s it like having privilege in the industry? Which I think is really interesting. And it sucks because you want someone to consider your song first but at the same time it’s important that there’s inequality.

Emma:
We wanna get to a point where we don’t need to be asked that.

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah and sometimes you need to make a note of like, ‘yes, I am a guitarist and yes I am a female’ – just to point out that there’s an inequality. But at the same time it sucks because I would consider myself a ‘guitarist’

Emma:
Yeah, me too. I’m like well I’m just a musician. But it crops up so much.

Bec Sandridge:
And just day-to-day things like people asking ‘oh, are you playing?’ or ‘do you need a hand plugging it in?’ ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’

Emma:
‘Do you know how to tune your guitar? Do you need help tuning your guitar??’

Bec Sandridge:
When I used to play folky stuff I had this parlor guitar and everyone would be like ‘oh so is there a pick up? can you play it live?’ and I’d be like ‘yeah! of course I can!’

Emma:
(laughs) yeah uh I know my own instrument…

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah.

Emma:
Did you find that you were more accepted as a girl when you were doing folky stuff? Cuz I feel like with folk and country that kind of genre there are a lot more women there so it’s kinda just accepted. Whereas… cuz what sort of genre would you describe your music now?

Bec Sandridge:
Um, well I’ve coined it as Disco Spaghetti Pop..

Emma:
(laughs)

Bec Sandridge:
I find it really interesting because I feel like a folk singer-songwriter, you’re very much like.. you stand there and you don’t take up much space. Whereas my new stuff is a lot more rocky.

Emma:
In your face

Bec Sandridge:
And I’m like a 5’11” / 6′ woman taking up space on the stage. So it’s kind of maybe somewhat confronting as opposed to a dainty..

Emma:
Folk singer-songwriter..

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. And i think folk music is beautiful, its one of my favourite things. But i think of maybe taking up space and not being afraid to whilst being a woman on the stage.

Emma:
Own you space!

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah. Whereas dudes maybe don’t even have to consider that it’s just expected. Which is kind of interesting.. maybe?

Emma:
(laughs) I reckon. So what’s next for you with your music? You got more releases coming out?

Bec Sandridge:
Yeah, releasing my next single in a couple of weeks. Then we’re going on Montaigne’s national tour. And then a couple of festivals, and hopefully writing an album! It’s in the works.

Emma
That’s exciting!

Bec Sandridge:
Very.

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!

Chloe Turner LISTEN Good for a Girl interview

Interview: Chloe Turner from LISTEN Organisation (@BIGSOUND)

LISTEN ARE A ORGANISATION BASED IN MELBOURNE

LISTEN organisation good for a girl interview

BIGSOUND Friends?” was the subject of the email I received from a gal named Chloe Turner from an organisation named LISTEN just a couple weeks out from my trip to Brisbane.

“Hilarious bio. Wanna grab a drink at BIGSOUND? I think we’d have a lot in common :)” Well, she had me at “hilarious bio” – but I was really intrigued to find out what LISTEN was. It was a familiar name to me, and I’d seen the logo somewhere on the ‘webz prior. After some really quick googling and a good old fashioned stalk of Chloe’s bio on the BIGSOUND website, I replied “ABSOLUTELY” and asked her if she would be keen for an interview as well!

Chloe herself is a hugely talented human. A super human and just 22 years old, Chloe is a musician, co-founder of a record label, involved in operations for Music Victoria, and of course hugely involved in LISTEN. I’m sure she’s got a whole lot more talent up those sleeves, as well!

Chloe turner listen good for a girl interview

Chloe Turner just being casually badass.

So what is LISTEN, exactly? Well it all started with the artist Evelyn Morris – also known as Pikelet – sharing her frustrations online with the lack of inclusion in the music industry for women and gender-non-conforming people.

“So tired of male back-patting and exclusion of anything vaguely ‘feminine’ in subculture. We get it. You think you’re all awesome and we’re all just kinda average. Unless we sound like you. Ladies of Melbourne… Let’s please reject this culture.”

(Yaaaaaaaassss!) Naturally, this caused quite a stir, and after the ground swell of support she received, she went on to create the LISTEN organisation as a space for women and gender-non-conforming people in the Melbourne and Australia-wide music community to share their stories and experiences. With the purpose of historical documentation, visibility, and inclusion.

“We want to become visible – historically and in the present day – in our own words, on our own terms.”

I had a great time chatting to Chloe about LISTEN and further on from that, her own personal experiences working in the music industry in fields other than just the artistry!

CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEW WITH CHLOE TURNER FROM LISTEN ORGANISATION!

IN MELBOURNE THIS WEEKEND? Well you should absolutely head along to the annual LISTEN Conference!

Listen Conference Feminist Futures Good for a girl

This year it is titled Feminist Futures, and is a three day feminist music conference featuring keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops and live performances. Writer and feminist activist Clementine Ford and performer and activist Alok Vaid-Menon of Darkmatter (USA) will serve as keynotes!

What the heck are u waiting for?! Buy your tickets HERE immediately.

Intrigued to learn more about LISTEN or find out how you can get involved?

LISTEN LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: CHLOE TURNER OF LISTEN (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
Well it’s kind of different talking to you from the other artists I’m talking to because.. well i dunno! I don’t even know your background, by the way! So the first thing I wanna talk about with you is what do you do, what’s your background in the industry?

Chloe (Listen):
Okay! In high school I used to play music. So when I was in my first year of uni I released an EP and used to gig. Played folk music and stuff. Pretty chill, folk music cutesy stuff! And then kinda grew out of that. I think everyone kinda goes through a folk music phase (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah (laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Grew out of that and then graduated uni and started interning at Chapter Music with Guy and Ben. And they introduced me to heaps of stuff. They introduced me to Pikelet and Evelyn Morris who is one of the co-founders of LISTEN. And the conversations we’d have around the office about queer people and representation in the music industry and females and stuff. Just kinda opened my eyes to stuff that I hadn’t really thought about in music before. Because at uni we talked about misogyny but it was like how women are represented in pop and hip hop music videos. It was a different kind of thing. And I was about to go in to this real world working in the music industry and I was like “eh it doesn’t exist. What’s the gender pay gap?” and now here I am! (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah! Started interning with Guy and Ben and was working at a record label then too called Deaf Ambitions which was my friend Aaron’s label.

Emma:
What was your role there?

Chloe (Listen):
I was kind of like the assistant manager I guess. So he would do, he’s sign the acts and do most of it but I’d help out with publicity and I was managing one of the acts, too.  And then from there just was also working for a music festival called Inca Roads – which got cancelled – then through that I started working for Paradise Music Festival and I’m there now. So I work one night a week as an artist coordinator for Paradise. And then full time I work for Music Victoria which is the state peak body for contemporary music. And then… LISTEN! In all the other time! (laughs)

Emma:
Yes! So tell me about LISTEN. Give me the full elevator pitch. Like obviously I’ve been to the website, I’ve read about it, but let’s tell the people what LISTEN do because I think it’s awesome.

Chloe (Listen):
Cool. So LISTEN started maybe just over 2 years ago now. It was co-founded by 3 musicians Erica Lewis, Evelyn Morris and Antonia Sellbach. Evelyn – Pikelet – she’s been playing in heaps of punk and hardcore bands her entire life. Pikelet is her most easy-listening pop project. She was written about in a book called “Noise in my Head – The Stories of the Ugly Australian Underground” and it was very… I guess her response to it was she was written about in a way that she wasn’t happy with that being documented. Like in a really masculine, men-dominated way. The book was quite male dominated, didn’t have much queer representation. So she just wrote this Facebook post that went viral. And it was kind of like, her action was like to start documenting our own history as women and queer people in the Victorian and Australian music industry. Particularly the underground and independent part. So from there they started running LISTENing Parties which are a monthly gig that we have, and they started publishing articles on the website. And then it just kinda grew. There was this big Facebook group where everyone would chat about stuff, post articles and generate discussion. But as Facebook’s do, they got a bit controversial and out of hand. It was hard to manage, it was like a full time job. It was just so stressful trying to moderate it and then people would get pissed off with you personally, because it was something someone else said but because you work for LISTEN it was your fault. Classic. So we kind of closed down the Facebook forum and had a real-life LISTEN Conference with the idea to have these discussions from online where people may not understand the emotion or tone or stuff like that – we wanted to have those discussions face-to-face. so the LISTEN Conference started! There’s also a record label which I run, LISTEN Records, which is separate to LISTEN but still affiliated obviously.

Emma:
And you guys have that big roster of artists? Like you were saying on the panel yesteday…

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah! So as part of that Facebook group there was a big resource generated which people could just add their bands to these huge lists in each state. And we’re in the process of updating the website so you are able to be like “okay I’m a festival booker maybe I should check this list out and make sure I’m being diverse at this festival”

Emma:
That’s fantastic!

Chloe (Listen):
So by the end of the year that will be up on the website. It’s just a long process with busy… stuff.

Emma:
(laughs) Lots of busy stuff.

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah!

Emma:
So you personally, because you’ve worked obviously in the music industry from quite a young age it seems..

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah, I guess, yeah!

Emma:
Have you ever personally experienced direct sexism towards yourself personally or is it more just the conversation interests you?

Chloe (Listen):
A couple of subtle things like working in an office with men. And you know, working – I’m young, I’m 22 so a lot of people don’t take me seriously they just think I’m like the “Facebook Youth”  who just sits on the computer and does social media. And it’s like actually, I run the entire awards and I do all this other stuff with Music Victoria, I do lots of things and it’s hard to be taken seriously. So there’s that kind of subtle misogyny I guess where people don’t shake my hand they shake my bosses hand. And they don’t bother introducing themselves to me because I might just be an assistant or that kind of thing. I get a lot. But then also I remember once I was booking a music festival and I called this booker, it was like a Sunday as well. No he called me – that’s right. Cuz I was trying to talk him down on a price for a band because it was a very tiny music festival and he was like “$4000!” and I was like… “$400…”

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
And he called me and he was so condescending, and was like “you don’t know how it works in this industry sweetheart” like just real jerky. But then turns out the band really wanted to play and by him doing that he kinda fucked it up for them. And he sent me an email later like “happy to accept the offer!” Cuz I was pretty firm on the phone but I was still really upset about the fact he would speak to me like that – but stayed firm. But then he ended up groveling back cuz he was texting me like “Hey Chloe did you get my email? We’re happy to do it!” And I was like.. I’m going to reply to you tomorrow.

Emma:
(laughs) I’ll let you wait until you sweat. Yeah I found that a lot too. I actually wrote a blog post about it because Moses is a musician as well and he’s quite well known in the scene in CHCH and NZ at large and people will come up and talk to him like how’s your music going blah blah blah and I’m just standing there. Or there will be a group of us and we’re all musicians and if I’m the only girl standing there it’s just kind of assumed I’m just his girlfriend. Like “oh it’s just his girlfriend who kinda just follows him round all the time” and stuff. So it’s just.. like the things like “people assume I’m the assistant” or that kind of stuff.

Chloe (Listen):
It is interesting. I haven’t really had direct experience with any harassment or anything. It’s just the subtle misogyny and even – like yesterday I was talking about on the panel – the internalised misogyny of older women in the music industry where it’s competitive for them. Which is interesting and annoying to deal with (laughs).

Emma:
Yeah I kinda get it too because they really had to struggle to get there and we’ve come up with a bit more of an accepting society so we’ve had it a little bit easier but it feels like a threat to them. Whereas we’re like “no but, we’re all –”

Chloe (Listen):
“We’re in this together!”

Emma:
“We’re embracing women now and we’re trying to do this thing!” I understand that a lot of them would feel that way but they obviously are not trying to be that way. It’s just that ingrained thing. And it’s the same with that guy on the phone calling you sweetheart and condescendingly talking to you. It’s like I don’t think they’re actively trying to be cunts – it’s that subconscious setting.

Chloe (Listen):
Yep! And then if you call them out and it can go one of two ways. They’ll either be like “Oh yeah sorry, I get that… my bad” or they’ll be like “oohh you’re a drama queen aren’t you? You’re getting a bit emotional. Calm down!” and it’s like… fuck you…

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah it’s hard.

Emma:
So what are the goals for LISTEN – the big overall umbrella goals?

Chloe (Listen):
So I guess one of the main actions from starting out was to publish a book in response to that other book. So documenting female and GNC, queer and marginalised groups in the Australian music industry. Their stories, interviews. Documenting our own history. But at the moment it’s just heaps publishing heaps of stuff on the website; essays, articles, interviews, anything. Anything to do with music and feminism… gender. And I guess once we get enough we’ll apply for some grants and try and get a book thing happening. That’s going to be Evelyn’s thing.

Emma:
Rad.

Chloe (Listen):
The Conference is going well. So that’s another project that’s sprung up. We’ve got some grant funding this year. We’ve got two keynote speakers! We’ve got Clem Ford.

Emma:
Wicked!

Chloe (Listen):
And Darkmatter. Have you heard of Darkmatter?

Emma:
No!

Chloe (Listen):
So they are a trans duo from the US. We’re bringing one of them out and they’re just amazing. They do poetry performances. And just work a lot on discussing issues of trans people and people of colour and feminism and gender and stuff. So it’s not specific to music but it’s good to bring that in to the arts for a lot of people who may not have come across that before. And then we’ve announce 51 speakers a few weeks ago! So there’s going to be lots of panels on things like call-out culture and confidence, and race and sexism within music. There’s a lot!

Emma:
Yeah it sounds awesome – sounds massive!

Chloe (Listen):
Then there’s 3 nights of entertainment as well. So it’s 3 days of panels, keynotes and… it’s like a mini BIGSOUND but with no clashes!

Emma:
Okay good!

Chloe (Listen):
So instead of 3 things happening at once there is just one thing happening all the time.

Emma:
Ahh we have a music conference in New Zealand, it happens the weekend before this. They do they too – they try to make nothing clash with the showcase.

Chloe (Listen):
Same with us! It’s not competitive then, it’s just chill.

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!!

Good For A Girl Interview Possum Plows Openside Emma Cameron

Interview: Possum Plows from OPENSIDE (@Going Global)

I FINALLY GOT TO SEE OPENSIDE PLAY AT GOING GLOBAL 2016

Openside Possum Plows Interview Good For A Girl

Openside L-R: PJ Shepard, Possum Plows, George Powell and Harry Carter

I’d been following Openside for a few years (back when they had another name), had been in online cohorts with their singer Possum for a wee while, and still hadn’t managed to catch any of their highly energetic and outrageously fun live shows (so they were described to me by others).

Until we were on the same showcasing bill as them for Going Global this year – and they did not disappoint me, at all. Not even one bit.

Safe to say Openside’s performance was a fucking fun-fest of sparkly pop-punk goodness that, unless you were a buzz-kill-absolute-corpse-drag of a human, had people dancing in no time.

Openside Possum Plows Good For A Girl Live

It was also really nice to meet band mates Harry, PJ and George for the first time and find out they are top-qual lads, and even nicer still to finally get to hang out with Possum in the flesh and talk to her about… her!

Usually I would chuck a wee gush and a bio in here, but I actually loved all up on Possum a few months back here – so read that if you wish, and come back!

NOW YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH POSSUM PLOWS OF OPENSIDE.

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

We don’t have to wait at all for new music from Openside, since they have just released their brand spankin’ new EP, Push Back, last week! If you’re in to pop-punk that’s more on the pop side, with a bit of beats and electronic goodness, you’re going to love it.

YOU CAN ALSO CATCH ‘EM THIS WEEK OPENING FOR ELLIE FUCKING GOULDING in Christchurch (Thurs 29th) and Auckland (Sat 1st). Pick up your tickets here

OPENSIDE LINKS

Website
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Snapchat:
weareopenside

…………………………………………………

GOOD FOR A GIRL: POSSUM PLOWS FROM OPENSIDE (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
So the first ting I would like to learn about it is your influences growing up – what kind of made you want to get in to music?

Possum (Openside):
For me, it was a lot pop punk and the earliest band that I really connected to was Fall Out Boy when I was probably 11 or 12, and I think it was around the time they released “Infinity on High

Emma:
Right! Okay, so a bit later

Possum (Openside):
Yeah, and then after that kinda went back and some other albums to listen to which is always nice. whispers people are looking at us….

Emma:
(laughs) it’s okay!

Possum (Openside):
I think they can hear us!

Emma:
Maybe they can hear us..

Possum (Openside):
Sorry! Um, yeah. But Fall Out Boy for me was like a good combination of complicated lyrics that really talked about quite personal, emotional things. Stuff that normally people won’t really talk about. And then also the sort of high energy, you can sing it really loud in the car when you’re driving. And that’s how I learnt to sing harmonies, listening to Fall Out Boy.

Emma:
Yeah, me too! Pop punk bands, emo bands, all those guys that sing really high (laughs)

Possum (Openside):
Yeah!

Emma:
Really good for girl vocalists

Possum (Openside):
Exactly! That’s what blows my mind now; when I go through and actually play out those melodies and realise they’re hitting high B’s and high C’s like it’s nothing and it’s quite impressive, but that was just the style at the time so you totally take it for granted.

Emma:
Totally.

Possum (Openside):
But yeah, Panic! At The Disco and I used to listen to New Zealand bands like Goodnight Nurse, they were a huge influence. And that’s why it’s cool to be back now and doing that genre.

Emma:
And making it new, as well!

Possum (Openside):
It has come back in to fashion, so to speak. And a lot of younger kids are rediscovering those bands like, 10 years later which is crazy! A lot of the Openside fans, i feel like they go through and they experience things very similar to the way I did when I was their age. It’s really cool.

Emma:
So those bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, were you around 10/11?

Possum (Openside):
(nods) Mmm!

Emma:
What about younger than that? Like growing up, not even starting your music career or even not even thinking about a career in music – what kind of music were you surrounded by growing up?

Possum (Openside):
Before that, you know, it’s always what your parents are exposing you to. My Dad was really big in to The Smiths, so I listened to a lot of The Smiths, in to my teenage years as well. And a lot of songwriter types like Bic Runga, and Carole King, even as a young person, it sort of made me want to write songs because I used to have really bad trouble getting to sleep when I was a kid. And I couldn’t get to sleep without listening to something otherwise I’d get scared of monsters.

Emma:
It’s a good distraction!

Possum (Openside):
Yeah! And I used to listen to Bic Runga albums and Carole King albums when I was falling asleep and it was really comforting.

Emma:
So there were some women musicians in there. Like even with your pop punk influences – like, were Paramore a big thing?

Possum (Openside):
Yeah, definitely!

Emma:
Even though around that genre they were kind of one of the only stalwart..

Possum (Openside):
They were in the forefront.

Emma:
Then came like, Hey Monday and We Are The In Crowd… was it We Are The In Crowd? They have a girl in the band don’t they? Or was that a different band…

Possum (Openside):
Oh, yeah, a little bit later I’d kinda deviated…but Paramore was definitely a big influence on my young bands when I was like 13. And even now, with Openside, definitely for the other members of the band, Paramore was a big influence on them. Cuz they’re like.. 4 years younger than me. When we were liking the music when I was 12, which was like 2006, that was the music that was cool, but for them, like 3 or 4 years later it was kinda a bit more niche and they had a slightly different experience of it. But that’s why we ended up being a band even though we have this age difference, because we have this mutual love of pop punk. (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs) Yeah, that’s cool! So it’s interesting because I feel like there probably weren’t that many women around – there weren’t that many women around – in pop punk. So you weren’t really even subconsciously being exposed to a lot of women in that genre being the main influence for your music. Now you’re a bit older do you seek out women influences? Are you conscious of that at all? Or are you kinda just like ‘whatever comes…’

Possum (Openside):
I think you do become more conscious of that. Partly being older and partly just the culutral context that we’re in now.

Emma:
Yeah because you are a frontwoman, now.

Possum (Openside):
Yeah! And, that diversity element. And also the topics people talk about. Like a lot of traditional emo was like ‘white boy problems 101.’ And we can laugh about it now but at the time that was seen as the ‘be-all-end-all’ like, “this girl, I liked her but then she wouldn’t call me and now I’m really depressed and I wrote a song about it” and there is some problematic content in there, and it’s just being able to identify that and still appreciate it for what it is. And in terms of seeking out diversity, it’s the same with race in pop punk. Pop punk is so white. So any time there’s somebody doing something different with race and gender and queerness in music – which is happening more and more across genres – put more value on that! Not just for the sake of it but also because their perspectives are often more nuanced and what they write about is offering more to the conversation than the same old 4 stock standard white boys, you know?

Emma:
(laughs) over and over again

Possum (Openside):
And I definitely try to do that in my music with talking about the queer experience as much as anything else. And I think that has really translated in to our audiences. Because I think pop punk audiences often were – like there were a lot of queer folk.

Emma:
But especially because a lot of those audiences are teenagers at that really sensitive stage where they are trying to figure out like “is it okay if I wanna be different? Or do I have to put myself in to one of these boxes?”

Possum (Openside):
Totally. And it’s just interesting that even though these bands were so homogenous, the audiences weren’t reflected in that. The audiences were much more diverse so it’s nice to see that changing.

Emma:
Cool! And as a frontwoman, have you ever experienced any discrimination at all? Or any ridiculous things where you feel like you weren’t respected because of who you are? Cuz you’re not a white dude with a dick?

Possum (Openside):
(laughs) One of the things I think about is that my gender effects my experience. It effects the way people interact with me. It effects how my music is received. But also people who are cisgender men, it effects their experience too but they don’t know that it’s happening. So the difference is that people often ask how your gender effects your experience so you’re thinking about it all the time – you’re aware of it. But one of the privileges you have when you’re not a minority is just thinking that it’s not effecting your experience when it is. And that I would just like to see more white people and men and cisgender folk being asked to examine how those things are effecting them.

Emma:
Yeah cuz it’s like positively effecting them – cuz they dont realise the opportunities they get.. they just think that’s the default experience when we experience maybe less-cool stuff. As opposed to thinking no everyone has an experience, but yours is always positive because of who you are.

Possum (Openside):
Yeah! And they think about their struggles, becase you do. You’re gonna focus on the things that disadvantage you more than the things that advantage you – and that’s the whole constant examination of privilege. But I feel like part of making things move forward isn’t just talking about how when you’re a minority – how that effects your experirence – but actually asking for that to be spoken about more widely.

Emma:
So moving forward with your artistry and your band, do you think that you’ll focus more on the queer experience and women’s experience? Do you feel like you have any sort of agenda to communicate that with your audiences or are you just kinda like… it’s not really a thing that crosses your mind?

Possum (Openside):
No, I definitely think about it! Partly when we first started to get a little bit more successful I wasn’t really out yet. And there was a part of me that’s going “okay, i don’t know if i should talk about this” if this is going to compromise some opportunities I’m getting. And you feel scared like “is this label going to want to sign us” or “are people going to be scared of this thing?” especially being non-binary, is quite new to the mainstream, and people don’t know what it is. But then after I did talk about it, and I realised how much of a positive thing that can be for the people who listen to your music. And some people may come up to you and thank you for being ‘out’ and “thank you for wearing the trans symbol on your t-shirt” and what it means to them. You can’t not do that. It’s always gotta be part of it. And why else are we really making music? Like there’s lots of little things but the way you connect with people and the way you help people – the way people helped you when you were listening to music. When you were watching people who were trans, or just be ‘out’ and be confident in who they are and say “okay this is part of me, but it’s not my whole story I’m still this musician and I’m doing my thing and that can be for you as well!”

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!

Emma Cameron Good for A girl Blog Scandal

“We Want Scandal”

Starting this blog has been one of the more rewarding and exciting things I’ve done in my life.

Opening up the conversation about women in rock music (and I hope eventually once I become more “worldly” that I can expand my knowledge to other genres) has led me to some cool experiences and conversations already with a wide variety of women, men, and “the media.”

I didn’t think I would experience this so early in the piece, and I’m grateful for everyone who reads my ramblings. Love.

So, shortly after I launched this blog, I had a PR friend of mine contact me with a very exciting proposal they wanted to include me in.

They wanted to pitch an editorial piece on basically exactly what Good for a Girl is about – the absurd and often hilarious discrimination of women in rock music – to one of the most popular women’s magazines in Australia and of course I was excited.

They already had a slew of amazing women lined up and ready to share their tales, so I was like “hell yeah, mother fucker.”

I loathe typical women’s magazines, personally.

“how to get him to scream in the bed!” ..uh, stab him with a steak knife?

“how to get that bikini body”  …umm put a bikini on your body?

“How to get flawless skin” maybe stop encouraging women to cake on 3 tonnes of make up every damn day of their lives causing them skin issues and sadness?

But, the other women they had gotten on board are women I look up to in New Zealand/Australian rock music and I was honoured to have the opportunity to share my weird-ass voice alongside them to a market that all-too-often gets sold (and willingly buys in to) messages of “you’re not good enough.”

Well fuck, it turns out we weren’t good enough, either.

My mate got back in touch with me to tell me that the editor of this academically-regarded piece of fine monthly social commentary for women (sarcasm) turned down the pitch because she wanted “scandal.”

Emma Cameron Good For A Girl Sexism Meryl Streep The Devil Wears Prada

I pictured the editor to be somewhat like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada

I can just picture her (yes, her!!!) in the boardroom. All her writers sitting around the round table, while she enthusiastically shouts at them,

“I want RAPES!

I want MURDERS!

I want ‘the sound guy told me to wear a shorter skirt so i STABBED HIM!’

These are, of course, very real and serious issues that are still ongoing in the music industry (and beyond).

But what myself and the other women lined-up to share their stories wanted to talk about is equally important – because it’s about the overall passive lack of respect for simply being a woman, which is exactly what sets a mass mindset that manifests in to these more extreme situations.

It’s more culturally ingrained and it continues the harmful narrative; women are less-than and should be treated as such.

You gotta break this shit down from base level. From the level where Colin Smellyshirt hates your tights, or from where male fans think it’s okay to rub your butt.

These magazines aren’t helping anybody – man or woman. Not only did they turn down the opportunity to shed light on the culture of subtle sexism and help contribute to the conversation to shift this culture; they also turned down an opportunity to spotlight some talented woman living in their country, working hard, achieving their dreams. Creating pathways to inspire teenaged girls and even older women the confidence that they can TOO do anything.

And doesn’t that whack-ass editor realise that they would’ve looked fucking cool doing that?

Well if you’re going to do something right, you should do it yourself.

So, I will tell these stories. Keep an eye out for interviews coming soon. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but it’s going to happen.

And if you know of any women who would be keen to contribute their experiences – please let me know by contacting me.

 

My Pre-Show Rituals

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know? However long I’ve got.

“How many outfits do you bring on tour?”

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

“How do you avoid getting sweaty?”

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Shelley Te Haara Sweaty Decades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Bradley Garner Sweaty Decades

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

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

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

7. I take at least 3 shits
Yup.

 

 

The Damsel In Distress

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

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

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

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

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

Good For A Girl Emma Cameron Blog Smelly Microphone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good For A Girl Singing Passion

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

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

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

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

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

“Aw, nice one love, plug it in”

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

“Wait – no no what is that”

[me, very proud and confident]

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP Microphone.

NO GIRLS ALLOWED.

This is the earliest tale of when my vagina got in the way of fulfilling my dreams.

I started learning guitar when I was 9 after my parents told me that perhaps violin (my chosen instrument to learn) was going to be too hard. In retrospect, I think they were just angling for me to do something that was cool.

My Dad had always wanted to learn guitar, and fair enough; he wanted to live vicariously through me. Just as I will pass my own regrets on to my children, and so is the circle of life.

I was a natural at guitar; I picked it up almost immediately and was well on my way to super stardom at age 9.

By the time I started high school; I was done with lessons. I saw no need for them anymore because I could just figure everything out myself. I was a fucking guitar GODDESS.

After showing my parents that I “took guitar seriously” (had to be playing for more than 5 years), they bought me my first electric guitar at age 14. It was a 3rd-hand Mexican Fender Stratocaster. It was cool as fuck, I felt cool as fuck.

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Fender Stratocaster

As a young teenager; I was at the FOREFRONT of the creative selfie. Some legend would have it that I created the selfie.

It was at this point that I decided guitar lessons would be good again. I’d worked out bar chords and power chords ALL ON MY OWN (so proud), but I wanted to get in to some more technical stuff and learn proper technique for said technical stuff.

My new tutor saw that I had pretty decent chops and immediately moved me up in to the top group-lesson for my age group with two other guys that were in my music class.

These guys weren’t impressed. What on EARTH was I doing in their class? She’s not as good as us!

I actually dreaded going to guitar lessons because of the weird exclusive attitude. I decided against learning much more about being a lead guitarist, I wanted to do rhythm guitar while singing simultaneously and absolutely had to join a band, so I dropped out of the lessons.

It just so happened these guys were in a band with 2 other guys (a bassist and a drummer) in our music class. Perfect opportunity! I could jam with them, girl guitarists in rock bands are cool as, right?

Both of them were super “I can shred harder than you” – so they needed a rhythm guitarist!

Wrong. I was not allowed to join Amplitude (lol band name).

The vibe was that girls absolutely weren’t allowed. I was uncool and I would taint the bands street-cred.

Being in a band was a special club that I didn’t have the secret password to: a penis.

I was heartbroken, I felt there was no other opportunity for me to start a band in high school. At that point in time there were no other girls I knew of who I could start a vag-band with.

Guys; I NEVER GOT TO DO THE RITE OF PASSAGE THAT IS ROCKQUEST.

A year or so later, I decided being emo was totes cool, So I became a bit of a street rat and spent a lot of time in the city and at local AA gigs hanging out with other defunct youth just looking to fit in.

I met this older dude who had dropped out of high school and was studying music and playing guitar at a local music college.

One night he invited me along to “jam” (foreign words to me at the time) with a drummer he studied music with. The drummer was a lot older than us and his name was Dan.

The very Dan that I still do music with today. This was the start of Ashei, which – 10 years later – turned in to Decades.

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Decades Ashei Throwback

16 year old Emma and 21 year old’s Liam and Dan. (far left was our original guitarist, Jono). 2006. My face says it all: “Suck it, Amplitude.”

Looking back now, I think Amplitude were just intimated by my vagina-fuelled greatness.

Amplitude could’ve had it all, but now they’re rolling in the deep.

 

 

Which one is your boyfriend?

This is a deeply personally alarming question I get a surprising amount:

“Liam… he’s your boyfriend, right?”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“And is Liam your boyfriend?”

“Which one is your boyfriend again?”

Hell-to-the-no Liam is not my boyfriend, and what exactly makes people assume that I am dating someone in the band?

It’s almost like I can’t be in a band without one of the men in there being my partner, who let me in at the immense punish at the rest of the members. Like I’m Yoko Ono. Fucking hell, John.

The Beatles and Yoko Ono 1969

WHY.

We’ve been a band for 10 years and not once have we released any content which features Liam and I looking even remotely romantic.

The closest Liam and I have ever got to heavy physical contact was after the earthquake here in Christchurch which happened as I was heading to his house for a writing session, and he said “er… do you want a hug?” when I showed up and I responded “It’s okay, I know that would be weird” and he was like “okay cool”.

If you asked both of us if we were dating, you would physically see us recoil in an awkward pool of slight disgust – but like a love-infused disgust. And when I say love I mean like asking your 9 year old son to hug your 6 year old daughter and they’re like eewwww noooooo. Not love-love. Just have to make that clear because it seems people can’t tell the difference.

I’ve never dated any of the guys in my band, nor would I ever. They are cootie infested – it’s a fact.

If I had brothers, they would be them and it would be like dating them.

Have you dated your brother before? No, I didn’t think so. It’s pretty gross. It’s frowned upon, actually.

Emma Watson Harry Potter Rupert Grint Daniel Radcliffe Kiss Incest

Emma Watson having to kiss Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint in the later Harry Potter movies = she gets the “IT’S MY FUCKIN BROTHER!!” cringe vibes

And looking at bands we all know and love with men and women in them that dated, it simply does not work.

WE ALL KNOW WHAT WENT DOWN IN FLEETWOOD MAC.

Although if we were to analyse bands with these hetero-romantic dynamics, we can see that whilst almost ALWAYS ending badly, they actually tend to bring out the best fuckin’ heartbreak songs ever.

No DoubtDon’t Speak
Fleetwood Mac – Actually; that whole fucking Rumours album
Paramore –  Aaaannnnd the entire Brand New Eyes album, too…

…uh, if you can get an entire album out of a break up, maybe it’s worth it?

I’m not planning to trial-run it anytime soon.