PRISCILLA FRANK

A History Of All-Girl Bands And The Rock World That Tried To Keep Them Out

This post was originally published on Huffington Post

Written By: Claire Fallon

Women aren’t rejecting rock. Rock is rejecting women.

It was 1964 and singer Genyusha “Goldie” Zelkowitz had a problem. The all-girl band she formed in 1962 with drummer Ginger Bianco, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, had a major label record contract and an upcoming Las Vegas stint ― but the bassist, Nancy Peterman, had just told the band that she was pregnant. She’d formed an attachment to the organist of a band they’d been performing with; things had taken their natural course. In the 1960s, birth control for unmarried women was still illegal in certain states. Roe v. Wade was not yet a glimmer in the Supreme Court’s eye, and an attempt to get her an illicit procedure fell through. The situation was unsurprising, and the conclusion was unfortunate: Peterman had to leave the band.

Zelkowitz, who now goes by Genya Ravan, practically explodes with laughter remembering the incident now, 50 years later, during a phone conversation. “She kept saying she was ‘so lonely’!” Ravan hoots. “Had I known I would have bought her a vibrator.” A vibrator and a career, or a sexual partner and parenthood: That’s a choice The Beatles likely never had to make.

For Ravan, who was determined to make it in the music business, settling down wasn’t an option. After forming Goldie and the Gingerbreads, she saw the branding benefits of keeping the lineup all women, to capitalize on the exotic appeal of an all-girl rock ’n’ roll band. But over the years, they lost members, and it was difficult to fill all the parts in the group with women.

“A lot of the girls that were canned down the line … they wanted to have a family, they wanted to have children,” said Ravan. “There’s no room for that here.”

Womanhood used to usher women off the stage in fairly obvious, biological ways. But it’s 2017. Seven years ago, Pink put in a rousing performance at the American Music Awards while expecting a baby. In February of this year, Beyoncé performed gravity-defying moves during a Grammy performance while pregnant ― with twins.

Nonetheless, pockets of the music world remain startlingly male. Our greatest pop stars today might be women, but in instrument-heavy rock ― indie, punk, metal and beyond ― the standard-issue band is still a group of three to six guys. Less common: a group of male musicians with a female vocalist, or even a female keyboardist or bassist. Least common: a band comprised primarily or entirely of female musicians.

The music internet periodically offers up listicles of all-women bands to check out, which feature a common core cast of incredible indie groups: Hinds, Ex Hex, The Prettiots, Chastity Belt, Warpaint and so on. Plenty has been written about the the chart-topping pop-rock sister group Haim, but even in a diverse musical landscape of EDM, hip-hop, pop and hybrid music, a wide variety of all-male bands still flourishes. Why is the all-female band relatively elusive?

One might be tempted to blame women as a group. Perhaps we’re biologically uninterested in playing electric guitar, much like advanced algebra and video games. Maybe there simply aren’t girls out there with the chops and dedication to succeed. But ― much as with mathematics and video games ― a closer look at the picture suggests that the problem isn’t that women are rejecting rock. It’s that rock is rejecting women.

But how is the music world fencing women out? Picking on the visible gatekeepers is easy, and in many ways fair: Record labels, magazines and music festivals don’t tend to give women artists an equal platform. Last year, a HuffPost analysis of the gender breakdown of acts at 10 major festivals over the past five years found that the vast majority of performers were male. “[A]ll-male acts make up the overwhelming majority of festival lineups, ranging from 66 percent of all performers (Outside Lands and Governors Ball) to 93 percent (Electric Zoo),” HuffPost Women’s Editor Alanna Vagianos concluded. An LA Times piece on Coachella’s specific problems with women noted that, at the time it was written, only one female act had ever headlined the festival, out of over 40 headliners in its history.

Music media seems little better. In 2016, KQED Arts pointed out in December, exactly zero women made the cover of Rolling Stone ― no Beyoncé, no Rihanna, no Alessia Cara, no Hayley Williams. Women who do snag coverage by major outlets routinely see their musical chops downplayed in favor of their sex appeal, or wind up relegated to special women’s issues or listicles.

The problem, though, starts way before the point when the organizers of Coachella or Bonnaroo are scouting acts, and before magazines are picking out cover models. This isn’t an excuse for their paltry lineups of female artists; it’s just to say that there are other pressures guiding tastemakers toward men and guiding women to give up rock stardom.

Bands made up of all women are rare not because of a lack of talent, dedication or interest, but because women have been siphoned out of the pipeline at nearly every step of the way.

 

GAB ARCHIVE VIA GETTY IMAGES
A promo shot of Goldie and the Gingerbreads, which functioned from 1962 to 1967, consisting of three instrumentalists and a singer. It was considered to be one of the first all-female rock bands signed to a major record label.

Getting The Band Together

For young boys, forming a crappy band is as elemental a part of growing up as playing baseball, or quitting the baseball team to spend more time smoking pot. If you’ve ever known a handful of teenage boys, you probably know at least one who’s been in a jam band inspired by Phish, or a dude rock band inspired by Dave Matthews, or an indie rock band inspired by Weezer. Guys in bands stand to benefit from male bonding, creative self-expression, and cultivating a rock god image to attract romantic interests. As Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers told Billboard in 2016, “Even before success, pussy was number one … I wanted to hook up with hotter girls.”

The flip side, however, is that this gendered adolescent experience rarely includes a space for girls to be anything but doting audiences and, at worst, “pussy.”

“To me that was just kind of a given, guys were always starting bands and playing guitar in their bedrooms,” Allison Wolfe, the former lead singer of riot grrrl band Bratmobile and, most recently, Sex Stains, told me. She grew up in Olympia, home of artsy, crunchy Evergreen State College in Washington State, in the midst of the burgeoning ‘90s DIY punk scene. “I went to a lot of punk shows and saw guys playing. Olympia and Eugene were cool, not super macho like a lot of other places, but it still made me feel like I couldn’t really be a part of it.”

Suzie Zeldin, of the indie band The Narrative, spent her teenage years attending hardcore shows across the country, in Long Island, New York, that were packed with both male and female fans ― but vanishingly few female artists. “It was pretty rare actually to see a girl onstage,” she recalled.

And this was in the late ‘80s to early aughts. Decades ago, when rock ’n’ roll was really taking off, the scene was almost entirely male. “You go back to the ‘60s, and you’re talking about the dark ages of women in music, because the light that you’re putting out, there’s nothing to reflect it back,” said June Millington, co-founder and lead guitarist of the pioneering 1970s band Fanny. “You had to have the courage to walk into that cave that was completely dark.”

Her bandmate, drummer Alice DeBuhr, was blunt: “We didn’t think of ourselves as the beginning of or part of a tradition of women musicians. Because there weren’t any.”

As with any boys’ club, some determined and talented women have always fought their way in. But bands aren’t just about individual moxie. Forming a band requires collaboration. As a teenage bassist in Australia, music writer Anwen Crawford, author of a New Yorker article titled “The World Needs Female Rock Critics,” wanted that classic, adolescent band experience. The only problem? “I could never find other girls to play with, in those crucial years when you’re forming bands,” she told me. “Your teacher is likely to be male, your peers are likely to be male. It’s quite isolating.”

Just playing with her male peers wasn’t a solution either, she pointed out: “The boys around me didn’t really take me seriously, or thought I was a novelty.”

For many years, and even, to some extent, today, women who did seriously pursue rock music were less likely to find a thriving community of female peers to play with. Female stars like P.J. Harvey or Suzie Quatro, Crawford noted, typically ended up as solo artists or the sole women in mostly male bands. After Goldie and the Gingerbreads disbanded in 1967, Ravan joined a mostly-male band and later built a solo career.

 

ERICA ECHENBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES
Jean Millington (L) and Patti Quatro perform during a Fanny show in 1974.

 

The creeping, pervasive assumption that little boys learn drums and grow up to be rock stars while little girls play Barbies and grow up to be groupies can isolate and stifle young girls who do pursue music, or it can simply delay their start. Many talented female musicians don’t begin their careers until early adulthood, at the age when young people are exploring who they really are outside of their rigidly defined peer groups. By then, many of their male peers have been mucking around with their instruments and amateur bands for a decade ― but that gap isn’t an insurmountable obstacle.

Augusta Koch, the guitarist and vocalist of the pop-punk band Cayetana, readily admits that she “didn’t know how to play guitar” when Cayetana was born five years ago. Koch and her bandmates were all out of college and dreaming of starting a band when they met at a party in Philadelphia. They decided to join forces and polished their skills together, through years of intense solo and band practice.

Mindy Abovitz, drummer and founder of Tom Tom Magazine, started her first band in college, not long after she’d surreptitiously begun to learn drums. “It would have made zero sense to be in a band with a guy at that time, because all my guy friends who were musicians had been in bands since they were 12,” she told me.

“I played music in school band, clarinet and bass clarinet, but it wasn’t until much later that I thought I could do something like be in a band,” recalled Bratmobile’s Wolfe. “But I think I was very lucky to grow up in Olympia.” In the midst of a music scene that prided itself on counter-culturalism and anti-professionalism, “anyone could do anything, and it would be considered music,” she said.

Wolfe went to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon, but many weekends she’d return to Olympia with her friend and future bandmate, Molly Neuman, to hang around the music scene. They met Kathleen Hanna, then a student at Evergreen. Wolfe began to notice that women around her were forming their own bands ― and not cute, smiley bands. One day, the summer before college, she peeked into Hanna’s art gallery, Reko Muse, and saw a band rehearsal in progress. “There was Kathleen, onstage,” recalled Wolfe, “and she was just yelling at the top of her lungs, with her veins popping out of her neck, and her face was all red … It was really confrontational, and intense.” Hanna’s band, Bikini Kill, ended up becoming early supporters of Wolfe and Neuman’s nascent group.

Wolfe and Neuman wanted to be involved in the scene ― they were already referring to themselves as a band around Olympia ― but they didn’t actually begin writing and performing music until a friend asked them to play a show he was booking. Despite Bratmobile’s slapdash beginnings, their first show was a rousing success.

“I don’t think it would have happened outside the Olympia scene, because I don’t think we would have had the encouragement,” she admitted. “People would have laughed us off the stage. But instead we had Bikini Kill there cheering us on.”

 

STEVE EICHNER VIA GETTY IMAGES
Bikini Kill consisted of female members Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail, as well as male member Billy Karren.

Keeping The Band Together

Getting an all-girl band together is a magical achievement, but it’s only step one. Rock bands are notoriously fragile things. Internal power struggles, ego trips and artistic disagreements tear many of them apart. For women, though, the stress of fending off inappropriate behavior, condescension and disdain rooted in their gender often ends up compounding the ordinary struggles faced by every band.

Having overcome years of overt or implicit discouragement to choose a musical career, female musicians face exhausting assumptions: That they don’t understand their own gear or craft; that, if they came later to mastering the art form, they are perpetual amateurs; that they’re just hanging around the scene to get male attention. Cayetana’s drummer, Kelly Olsen, pointed out that “women getting into relationships with musicians… get looked at in a very different way than men that do. And I know that we have been judged by who we date, like, you’re just doing that to get close to this band. And it’s like, actually, no! I have my own self and my own power in my own scene.”

The assumption, however, generally remains that women don’t belong onstage unless they’re accompanied and overseen by men. Lydia Night, the teenage frontwoman of The Regrettes, caught the rock fever early ― she’s been playing guitar since the age of six and has not only attended years of music classes but performed in several bands. Nonetheless, she’s noticed, sound technicians often assume she can’t handle her own equipment. The sexism is difficult to ignore thanks to one simple fact: The band has one male member, drummer Maxx Morando. “We’ve met so many amazing sound people,” she told me, “but we’ve met so many annoying sound people who just assume that … oh, of course Maxx knows how to set up his drums, but she must not know how to set up her amp.”

Though many of the women I spoke to said that they felt respected and appreciated by their male peers in the industry, the spaces men make for themselves aren’t always welcoming. Women might be left out of bands and tours by men who want to keep the fratty vibe, or who don’t want their significant others to worry about infidelity. “Tour buses are definitely places where women get excluded,” Abovitz said, referencing a situation she’d recently advised another female musician about. “They don’t get hired. They just get left off.” Her acquaintance and the other woman in her band weren’t invited on a bus due to this reasoning; in the end, they had to drive themselves separately for the entire tour.

When it’s not the men directly involved in the industry, it’s the press. Music journalism, a field that was carved out and is still largely populated by white men, has historically been hostile at worst, and patronizing at best, to female artists. “The assumption [was] that interviewers and other people could treat us with condescension and that was the norm,” says Millington. “That condescension was pretty lethal, because it can come at you in so many different ways, even the subtle ways cut ― at least 50 percent, 60 percent or more of the time, the condescension had to be there even if [critics] said they liked us.”

Critics and journalists might cover a girl band with a tone of surprise that a group of women could even play competently, or fixate on the band members’ sex appeal and gendered characteristics.

Plus, female artists were played off each other, creating the impression that in the massive rock universe, there was only room for one woman star. “It was never about the music,” Raven remembered of her early reviews. “They always had to compare me with somebody.” Usually, the times being what they were, that somebody was Janis Joplin. In 1969, legendary rock critic Robert Christgau described her as “this group’s resident Janis Joplin” in a review of Ten Wheel Drive, a jazz-rock band she joined after Goldie and the Gingerbreads broke up. Joplin comes up yet again in his review of one of her solo albums, “Urban Desire,” in addition to the accusation that “she oversings.” (Christgau’s oeuvre is a trove of chauvinistic criticism, which is rarely subtle; he takes pains to graciously judge that Fanny’s “execution is competent enough.”)

In the early days of rock ’n’ roll, even audiences who presumably showed up to enjoy these shows were sexist by default. Millington and DeBuhr both vividly recalled one particular compliment from male listeners that seemed to dog Fanny throughout its run: “Not bad for chicks!”

No matter where they performed, “that was the best compliment we could get through the early ‘70s. Isn’t that incredible?” Millington told me. “And we almost always smiled and said ‘Thank you.’” Worse, Fanny often confronted the assumption that they couldn’t play their own songs. “I can’t remember how many times people asked us, ‘Who were the male musicians playing on the album?’” DeBuhr remembered. To a group of women who practiced and performed tirelessly and who took pride in their music, this question was particularly galling.

In the punk era, disdainful audiences could be more aggressive. Wolfe half-seriously insisted that her nearsightedness and poor hearing protected her ego from the vitriol of sexist crowds. “A lot of the time I was saved by the fact that I couldn’t see or hear what was going on in the audience,” she said. After Bratmobile’s second show, Kathleen Hanna met them offstage and asked if they were OK. Unbeknownst to them, some “scary metalhead dudes” in the crowd had been hollering death threats at the band throughout their set.

Harder to ignore: An incident at a show during Wolfe’s time in the late-’90s band Cold Cold Hearts, when a man grabbed her ass while she performed. “I actually started laughing, because it was just too shocking,” she said.

 

JEFF KRAVITZ VIA GETTY IMAGES
“Growing up, there were a lot of girl artists like the Spice Girls, Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child,” Alana Haim told Lip Mag in 2014. “But none of them really played instruments and I would always look up to Stevie Nicks and Blondie – they are dope female musicians. So I just see us as a band. When people call us a girl band, I take it as an insult – being a girl in a band shouldn’t be a thing. It seems so medieval.”

 

Some women involved with the music world saw a relatively egalitarian, non-threatening environment, at least in specific scenes. Punk historian Gillian McCain, co-author of the oral history Please Kill Me, pushed back on the idea that the early punk scene could be sexually exploitative. “The girls were enjoying their sexual freedom as much as the boys were,” she wrote in an email. “None of the women we interviewed saw themselves as victims.”

But there’s no denying that some women in the music industry have been victimized, and that the experience can directly affect their careers. Pop star and songwriter Kesha, the most infamous recent example, follows in a long line of women whose voices were snuffed out thanks to male exploitation. Due to her ironclad contract and current legal battle with her former producer, Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of sexual and other abuse, Kesha is reported to be sitting on at least 22 new songs she’s not allowed to bring out.

In 2015, the original bassist of The Runaways, Jackie Fuchs, accused the band’s late manager, Kim Fowley, of raping her soon after she joined the band in 1975. She quit in 1977. In a HuffPost Highline feature, Jason Cherkis documented multiple alleged victims of Fowley’s sexual violence, primarily Fuchs and Kari Krome, a precocious songwriter Fowley began grooming at just 13 years old. By the time Cherkis spoke to Krome, some 40 years later, she had been out of the music business since her teen years, instead writing boxes full of unpublished lyrics. “[S]he couldn’t shake the idea that Fowley never believed in her talent, that he only wanted to sleep with her,” he wrote. “She ended up abandoning her dreams of becoming a successful songwriter.”

Though it’s impossible to say how many women’s careers have been stunted or destroyed by sexual predation, even those who remain and succeed continue to face gendered criticism and abuse. With few other options, women musicians often embrace determinedly nonchalant attitudes toward their harassers and critics. “It’s hard to play a show when someone screams ‘you can’t play guitar’ or ‘you’re hot,’ but at the same time,” said Koch, “we try to not let it ruin us.”

During the riot grrrl movement of the ‘90s, women on the scene tried to find safety in solidarity. After the butt-grabbing incident at her Cold Cold Hearts show, Wolfe remembered, “The amazing thing is I didn’t have to do anything. It was a girl power show; all the women bounced him out in two seconds.” By urging “girls to the front” and forefronting feminism, riot grrrl created a safer space for women in rock ― at least temporarily.  In other times, in other cases, playing through the pain simply led to burnout. “I left Fanny in ‘73, because I was just tired,” Millington told me.

When women aren’t kept out of rock genres through sheer discouragement, exclusion or harassment, the malleable nature of the genre can also be used against them. Women artists may be edited out of the rock annals simply through gendered perceptions ― what men play is rock and what women play is pop. Nowhere is this more evidently the case than with black women, who, like black men, often find themselves reflexively categorized as R&B simply because of their race. As Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos wrote in 2016, the white appropriation of rock has been so total that it “box[es] black performers into R&B and soul categories no matter how genre-bending they are.”

“Though largely forgotten in our whitewashed annals of history,” LaTonya Pennington wrote in The Establishment, “black women helped create the genre of rock, which has its roots in blues, country, jazz, gospel and R&B.” Just as many pioneers of rock were black men ― Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Bo Diddley ― many of the early female pioneers, like “Godmother of Rock ’n’ Roll” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, were black. White women were also often complicit in undercutting black women performers. The first recording of “Piece of My Heart” was performed by Erma Franklin ― known as an R&B singer ― yet it was white singer Janis Joplin ― known as a rocker ― whose rendition rose to fame.

The contributions of black women have been routinely swept under the rug and written out of rock history. But Pennington, Spanos and other critics have seen black women reclaiming their place in the rock genre in recent years, from undeniably rock acts such as The Alabama Shakes (fronted by vocalist and guitarist Brittany Howard) to indie darling Santigold to, yes, Beyoncé.

In “Lemonade,” the pop icon dabbled in country and rock ’n’ roll to great effect. “Beyoncé… provided one of the year’s most memorable rock moments with ‘[Don’t] Hurt Yourself,’” Crawford argued. “Here we have a song by a black woman artist (Beyoncé), who has not typically been ‘seen’ as a rock musician, which appropriates white rock masculinity in order to emphasize that the origins of rock music (in the blues) lie with black women, whose music was, in turn, appropriated by white men.” The all-important visuals work fluidly with the song to reinforce this message, she added. “The film clip … which begins and ends with a young black woman sitting behind a drum kit, makes literally visible this lineage of largely disregarded and historically invisible black female musicianship.”

 

CHRIS MCKAY VIA GETTY IMAGES
Brittany Howard performs during an Alabama Shakes show at a 2016 music festival.

Passing The Torch

With all the obstacles and forms of discouragement women in rock have faced over the decades, rock is no longer the coolest nor freshest genre. Does it even matter how inclusive it is to women anymore? Crawford, though she qualifies that it’s important for women to have equal opportunity in any genre, suggests women look elsewhere. The masculinization of the scene has been so entrenched, and the genre itself seems so archaic, that she “wouldn’t necessarily advise [a young woman today] to pick up a guitar. I think of rock music like the realist novel ― it’s fun, people are still doing it, but why?” And though “other genres have their own problems,” she pointed out, there’s a less lengthy and calcified history of exclusion to undo. Women have been making huge amounts of exciting, boundary-pushing music in electronic music, in pop and beyond ― rock just hasn’t been as welcoming.

Conversely, McCain downplayed the severity of the obstacles faced by women in punk rock ― though the punk scene was predominantly male. “Unfortunately that’s the case in a lot of vocations,” she wrote in an email. “I think there were barriers to both men and women making it in punk music! […] In some ways the women may have held an advantage as far as getting more media attention.” McCain cited breakout female stars of the era, from Patti Smith to Tina Weymouth, who remain popular today. As Ravan realized in the 1960s, being a woman in a man’s world could be a great marketing tool.

Still, staking a visible claim to rock music isn’t just an ego trip for marginalized artists: It clears the path to stardom for those that follow. Not only does it make it easier for audiences and critics to conceptualize, for example, black and female artists as rockers, but it helps future musicians to avoid the derision, harassment and sense of alienation that has afflicted many.

Even today, women deal with gendered belittlement and abuse on tour. But audiences have seen enough female rock musicians to mitigate the level of scorn faced by individual artists. Where Fanny and Goldie and the Gingerbreads often felt like their gender was so unusual that it was simply treated as a gimmick ― the only reason people bothered to book them as opposed to the many male bands ― women who are currently early in their music careers see a more diverse scene. Night told me that The Regrettes perform alongside “a lot of women … super badass women.”

Zeldin has also toured with a number of bands with one or more woman. “There are a lot of bands that have at least some female presence. It’s nice to see that happening more and more,” she said.

Part of the more welcoming environment for women and gender non-binary individuals in rock has to do with changing norms, like a better understanding of the harm caused by sexual assault. Recalling her time in Fanny in the ‘70s, DeBuhr describes a scene that was not only permissive of male urges, but that lacked a language to talk about it critically. Though sometimes she felt deeply uncomfortable with the sexualized atmosphere, she told me, “At the time, I don’t think we called it sexual harassment … It was creepy, I didn’t like it.” Creepy behavior might still be fairly common in the music industry, but women musicians do have the vocabulary to talk about it. Take music publicist Heathcliff Berru, once a power player in the field. He fell precipitously from grace after a raft of female musicians and industry professionals ― most notably Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors ― publicly accused him of various forms of sexual misconduct.

Even the idea that women can be rebels and artists as well as homemakers, mothers and playthings needed to emerge over the past few decades. Not only were the first all-girl bands were presented as gimmicks, they were often presented as sexualized ones. Fowley notoriously positioned The Runaways as a clique of sexy jailbait rather than serious musicians ― and that’s a temporary brand at best.

During high school, in 1960s Iowa, DeBuhr played in a girl band called Women. (“We were a gimmick,” explained. “That was the attraction, it was all girls.”) While at an Iowan club, teenage DeBuhr saw a female drummer in a jazz trio. The drummer was older, “maybe 40,” she recalled. “I said, ‘I will quit when I‘m 30. I won’t be an old lady playing the drums.” She did end up hanging up her drumsticks not long after Fanny broke up. Now, she says, she regrets it.

To a young DeBuhr, that solitary, middle-aged woman drummer may have seemed like an oddity at the time; the lack of visible female rock icons inevitably perpetuates the assumption that women don’t belong onstage, unless they’re go-go dancers or sultry vocalists. Even serious bands like Fanny and the Gingerbreads faced pressure to go onstage scantily clad ― which they resisted to varying degrees.

 

SCOTT DUDELSON VIA GETTY IMAGES
Night (L) and Genessa Gariano of The Regrettes perform at a Planned Parenthood benefit.

 

Perhaps the most important evolution has been the determined, serious incursion of women into the genre, a genre that at first seemed to have no place for them. Though Ravan and Millington cite a few forerunners as inspirations ― Etta James, Lillian Briggs ― they saw their own music as something different. They were playing rock ’n’ roll in bands, just like the boys.

Today, budding musicians have a pantheon of women rockstars to draw inspiration from and emulate. “When I was five, my dad took me to a Donnas concert … and I just fell in love with it,” Night told me. “The turning point for me ― I think I was 10 ― my mom took me to see a movie about the drummer of Hole. I started listening to a lot of Hole, Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland.”

A push for mostly all-women bands may be unlikely today because, in a more inclusive scene, female musicians see less of a need to huddle together. When Night initially fell in love with The Donnas, she longed to start an all-girl band; now, she says, she doesn’t even think about gender when forming a band. Zeldin, who has always worked with male musicians, felt the same. “I’d totally be down to do a girl band,” she told me. But she wouldn’t be motivated to do so “just because it would be all girls.”

The success of “girl rock” can come in waves. For groups like Fanny and Bratmobile, being all women was part of the point; at those times, it felt like both safety in solidarity and a way of making political statement. “If the whole point was giving voice to girls, then yeah, we wanted to play with other girls,” said Wolfe. After the overtly feminist, but flawed, riot grrrl scene faded, punk and indie rock seemed to contract around men again.

“I feel like riot grrrl ended in the mid-’90s, and by the late-‘90s there was a lot of backlash,” said Wolfe. “Suddenly there were a lot fewer girl bands in the punk scene, and it was like, what happened?” The backlash to riot grrrl, which she concedes had its own problems, still felt “like sexism. Or just dissing feminism.”

Though juggernaut all-women bands like Sleater-Kinney arose from and survived riot grrrl, they were more the exception than the rule. By the early aughts, critics were commenting on the almost startling sexism of the ascendant emo and punk scene. Andy Greenwald’s Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo noted the dearth of women on popular emo labels, as well as the overtly resentful and objectifying view emo artists took of women: “Now emo songwriters were one-sided victims of heartbreak, utterly wronged and ready to sing about it, with the women having no chance to respond.”

In an essay on emo misogyny from her 2015 book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, titled “Where the Girls Aren’t,” music journalist and critic Jessica Hopper remembered growing up in the era of riot grrrl. “For me, even as a teenage autodidact who thought her every idea was worthy of expression and an audience,” she wrote, “it did not occur to me to start a band until I saw other women in one.” Watching female fans at emo shows where all-male artists sang about cardboard-cutout women who had hurt them, she thought, “I don’t want these front row girls to miss that. I don’t want girls leaving clubs denied of encouragement and potential.”

The clock couldn’t simply be turned back to the 1950s after the riot grrrl era ended, though. Bikini Kill records were still out there. We knew about the Bangles. Zeldin, who grew up frequenting the emo and hardcore scene, took the rarity of women onstage at those shows as a challenge. “I think that’s probably partially what drove me to do it, aside from having the inclination,” she told me. “It was more like ― I don’t see girls doing so let’s do it.”

Abovitz, who launched a whole publication to cover female drummers, believes fervently in the power of modeling. “There’s this sort of thing that every female drummer I know does: Go out and play a show not just for herself, but for every other female drummer,” she said. “You just want to do it, so that people will get over it already.”

The scene already looks less homogenous than it did 10 years ago, despite the daunting machismo of the aughts. Earlier generations of women musicians have sought to further their gains by promoting their own legacies, and even by educating new generations. Millington started the Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) with her partner, Ann F. Hackler, in 1986. The institute runs rock camps for young girls, among other initiatives to support women in music. Camps like the IMA’s have begun to bear fruit ― like Night’s The Regrettes, formed by three girls and a boy who met in an LA School of Rock.

Though the genre has put up walls against women for decades, women have refused to stay out ― and the more they refuse, the more open the music industry becomes to all women.

“You gotta keep writing songs that speak out about this stuff, or keep being in bands, or whatever it is that you do,” said Wolfe. “Being there, inserting yourself in a space that isn’t common for women to be.”

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I’ve been subconsciously stalking lisa crawley and her music for years.

Lisa Crawley Interview Good for a girl

How’s that for a headline? But it’s pretty much true. When I decided that I wanted my band to ‘give it a real go’ – I had to turn and watch other New Zealand musicians who were killing it independently to set the bar for myself, and follow their lead as best I could through the public-facing social media side of their careers. And Lisa Crawley was definitely one I had my keen stalkerish eye on from the get-go.

Lisa is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand – now based in Melbourne – who has one of the most impressive string of achievements of any artists I know. Two albums, 3 EPs, winner of Top Tune, sessioning for some of NZ’s most legendary acts, a working musician who works ruthlessly, and just an artist who knows who she is and what she wants

Given the content of a lot of her songs talking about being a woman in show biz or music, I knew she was definitely one lass I HAD to catch up with at Bigsound. And also given my years of casual stalking, I was quite excited to finally meet Lisa in person and have a chat to her about her unique experiences in the music industry, being that she is a solo artist and has been such a right blimin’ go-getter – which means she was pretty much guaranteed to have had to deal with her fair fuckin’ share of vag-related shit storms.

WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH LISA CRAWLEY BELOW:

We won’t have to wait long to see Lisa back home in New Zealand – as she has said she is currently finalising January tour dates! Yus!

Make sure to get your own personal version of your hot-stalker-self on, and check out Lisa on the internet and beyond!

LISA CRAWLEY LINKS

Website
Facebook
Youtube
Instagram
Spotify
iTunes

Interview: Lisa Crawley (@BIGSOUND) – Transcription

Emma:
So the first thing I want to ask you is about your influences and inspirations from childhood – what kind of music were you surrounded by; growing up?

Lisa Crawley:
Um, I was surrounded by, well I had a lot of music lessons from when I was 4. So the sound of the recorder I started playing (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs) Was that your flagship instrument? Your first instrument?

Lisa Crawley:
(laughs) Yeah I still play it sometimes! For like, random stuff. I played it in the Tim Finn band, and there’s a song called Six Months in a Leaky Boat and it’s got a whistle solo in it so I play that on the recorder. But it’s probably not the coolest thing to voice… (coughs) anyway…

Emma:
(laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah I had, I dunno my parents never really listened to many bands. And we kinda just had really cheesy compilation CDs for when my parent’s friends came over.

Emma:
Right

Lisa Crawley:
And I was quite involved with playing music at church when I was younger as well, so a lot of that music. A lot of.. kind of.. I wanted to be doing theatre stuff when I “grew up” so a lot of that stuff… not very.. cool..

Emma:
(laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
I don’t think I discovered The Beatles until I was 15 or something like that. But yeah I went through all the phases ass a young teenager. The first CD I bought was Mai: Street Jams, so a lot of hip hop.

Emma:
Yeah? Wow

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah and lot of just kind of.. 90s music.

Emma:
Do you feel like you had any role models of people you looked up to that made you go “I wanna be a musician I wanna be like that” ?

Lisa Crawley:
Um, I really loved.. well, even New Zealand musicians like Bic Runga and artists like that, who I still really enjoy listening to. Um, yeah. And I went to jazz school as well so listened to some jazz vocalists, but went through heaps of phases. I mean I loved the Jagged Little Pill album by Alanis Morissette and played that to death.

Emma:
Well actually Elly, before, said ‘the first tape I ever bought was Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette’ – I feel like a lot of young girls got in to Alanis which is cool!

Lisa Crawley:
Totally! Yeah! I just remember thinking it was so rebellious having swear words. Because, I had a relatively sheltered upbringing I suppose so it was like ‘ooh! wow! that’s a bit racey!’

Emma:
Which it kinda was, right!

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! And then like.. I dunno I was in a band called Velez at high school and we did like.. the Rockquest and started playing in bars when I was like 15, 16…

Emma:
Right, that’s interesting, it’s kinda similar to my experience. I started playing in bars around that age too because the guys in my band were older.

Lisa Crawley:
Did you have to bring your parents?

Emma:
Yep!

Lisa Crawley:
Yep! (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah my dad came to all the shows and like watched them (laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Go Dad!

Emma:
So when you were kind of in that scene, you were quite young, were the other members of your bands girls as well?

Lisa Crawley:
No, I was the only girl. And I experienced from quite a young age; the complex of being the young girl in the band situation.

Emma:
Yep

Lisa Crawley:
Um, people that would book us, you know like… who were in hindsight very seedy some of them. And had a lot of interesting comments about being a girl in a band, and how they have some idea of what that would be like without actually knowing anything about you.

Emma:
Yeah. Do you have any specific experiences where you like… always will remember it to this day? Cuz you’re like ‘what the fuck?’

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! I have quite a few actually. Because in that kind of really… we were playing in this, the band Velez, we played at a venue called The Temple a lot which was this great original music venue on Queen Street in Auckland that were really supportive, but also a lot of ‘5 bands for 5 bucks’ type things, and yeah I remember a particular guy getting me to come upstairs to chat to him and being like ‘oh I’d like you to do some backing vocals for me’ and it was just so seedy and a really awkward situation to be in because I was like, 16, it’s like what do you say to that?

Emma:
Yeah, such a vulnerable age for girls as well, and especially in the music scene it’s kinda like.. you kinda just take it cuz you don’t know you can be like ‘oi dude, what the fuck?’

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah and I guess I wasn’t very used to conflict and stuff like that so. And on the other end of the spectrum I was playing music at church in that stage of my life and it was like these two worlds and I couldn’t win in either of them. And I really let it get to me much more than I would now. I would play – that band Velez – we ended up earning money, we discovered ‘oh we can be earning money playing covers!’ and stuff so even before 18 playing covers until 3 in the morning and like, in bars right next to strip clubs and stuff like that and people would look at you and treat you the same way. And it’s like.. whoa.

Emma:
Yeah…

Lisa Crawley:
And then I would get up at 7, go to church, and then I remember someone in the congregation who was also a musician saying, calling me aside, saying ‘oh I just think your skirts a bit short to be playing..’ that kind of thing. Little did I know that he was the one who had the problem and ended up not being faithful to his girlfriend..

Emma:
(laughs) Yeah! Right!

Lisa Crawley:
So it was obviously his problem looking at my legs and like.. [does creepy guy impression] and it was just like, what?! Cuz the night before I remember someone saying ‘oh, pretty girl but you could do with sexing it up a bit’ and, sex was this foreign thing to me then! I was still..I dunno…

Emma:
Innocent little Lisa!

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! Yeah. So it was like, what? I can’t… what? So it’s taken me a while to not worry about that. I was too scared to take my jacket off at church because I was the one playing music in the background, while the sermon was playing. And even now if I’m taking off my jacket during a gig I’m like ‘ohh… is this…’ you know? And I’m like ‘shut up, brain!’ it’s all good.

Emma:
Ah, I know. Yeah but it’s interesting because I feel like women, we do all think about this stuff when we’re musicians. Like dudes don’t ever have to think about these sorts of things.

Lisa Crawley:
That’s right, yeah!

Emma:
Clothing and image and stuff comes up a lot and being comfortable in your own skin with a lot of women I’ve talked to. And my own epxerience.

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! Yeah it’s.. pretty shit (laughs).

Emma:
Yeah! But the annoying thing is it doesn’t really come from us. It’s bred in to us habitually by comments like, you know ‘your skirts a bit too short’ or ‘you could sex it up a bit’ you know? Like we don’t bring that on ourselves.

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! I’m sure, in hindsight, the god I believe in or believed in or whatever, would be much more offended by his comment than my legs.

Emma:
Yeah!! He created these legs.. (laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
(laughs) saying that, the same thing happened at a school I was working at. I was taking the choir, I’d come in on my day off, taking the choir and the reverend said the same thing! But it was a knee length skirt down to here [gestures].

Emma:
Oop! No! Can’t do the knees!

Lisa Crawley:
I know! And she was wearing Crocs. And I’m like..

Emma:
(laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Come on, what’s more offensive? But yeah I took it on board and was like ‘what’s wrong.. what have I done wrong’ and I got really upset because I take quite a lot of pride in how I present myself and I really love doing the mentoring aspect of songwriting. I’ve done a lot of that in New Zealand actually, working at schools, LOVE working with girls and helping them create music. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of image you’re putting out..

Emma:
Yeah.

Lisa Crawley:
It’s hard because sometimes, you know, you see Instagram and it’s so easy to compare yourself to other people or think ‘oh maybe I need to be putting a photo up where I look filtered’ or you know.. it’s like.. ugh. But then you think about, you know, is this contributing to a better society for female musicians or not?

Emma:
Yeah.. who knows, really?

Lisa Crawley:
It’s a complex.

Emma:
So with your mentoring you say you work with young girls quite a bit; are you quite conscious of like, not warn them, but kinda just let them know about the industry as a whole and like don’t be discouraged if a guy tells them ‘your skirts too short’ like those things are going to happen, do you ever talk about that kinda stuff as well?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah I do talk about that kind of thing as well, cuz I mean, but I also don’t want to sound like I’m this old bitter has-been or something

Emma:
(laughs) yeah!

Lisa Crawley:
Cuz I’ve done quite a bit of work as a session musician, playing keyboards and singing for those talent shows like X-Factor and that sort of thing, and there is that side to be weary of where people can get ripped off – guys and girls – but that’s another sort of thing. Yeah. I worked so hard doing shitty jobs to pay for my first couple of music videos before I got any funding or assistance and a guy, I was just sort getting my own stuff out there more, someone who had their own label showed interest. This really kind of awkward… ‘let’s have dinner and chat about it’ and it’s such a grey area. Cuz you’re like ‘ok… cool..’ but then you feel like.. i dunno. Just the way that that’s set up. Is that appropriate?

Emma:
Yeah like dinner… is this weird, are you going to hit on me?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah!

Emma:
Is this actually secretly a date? And if you go there alone as well it’s so vulnerable and hard to get out of as well

Lisa Crawley:
That’s right. And yeah, and it’s hard cuz you don’t want to assume the worst. You want to be confident in your art and what you’ve done. But funnily enough, this guy turned up drunk at a gig that I did and hit on me. And I didn’t respond. And then those music videos were no longer on TV.

Emma:
Really?!

Lisa Crawley:
Just a couple of them. That was one experience. But it’s just like.. really?

Emma:
Yeah that’s part of it as well. Cuz obviously with this blog and talking about women in the industry, I think there’s a lot of fear that even if we do talk about it, people might be like ‘you can’t talk about that! I’m not going to work with her.’ Which is why I’ve tried to make it like an inclusive conversation and it’s not aggressive in any way. But that’s a big thing that comes up too; being scared to sabotage your career if you don’t let a guy hit on you who’s apparently influential in some way.

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah you can like, laugh it off awkwardly, but it will get to a point – I have got to a point sometimes where I’ll just snap – especially I’ve always supplemented my own music by playing in hotels and stuff.  So I was working at The Ritz hotel in London, like in the VIP area, and you think that would be a place with some class…

Emma:
Yep.

Lisa Crawley:
But it’s just the same everywhere. You know I was playing piano for 5 hours I think, and singing for 5 hours…

Emma:
Wow…

Lisa Crawley:
Someone tipped… I had a tip jar cuz it didn’t pay very well so that’s another way of earning money. He goes ‘can you continue playing because I’m really enjoying it’ and I was about to have a break, and then, you know, expected after I finished a conversation. Wanted me to sit down, he had a wine for me, and I’m like I’m not an escort?! You know like I’ve seen escorts in these places but I felt like I was being treated the same way. And someone in that actual Ritz hotel came up to me and said ‘I’ve always wanted to fuck a girl on a piano.’ It’s like…

Emma:
Holy shit!

Lisa Crawley:
Wow! Okay! Good for you – I’ve always wanted to punch someone in the face!

Emma:
Yeah!! (laughs)

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah it’s like.. I dunno.. but because I’m there in a black dress and like..

Emma:
Just…being a girl

Lisa Crawley:
It’s this awkward situation you know? I’m finishing at 1 in the morning in London getting the night bus. I hate that situation that you’re put in. I’m like am I here because I’m a girl or because I’m actually fucking good at what I do? And you have to reaffirm that all the time and it gets really tiring.

Emma:
Yeah “it’s not cuz I’m a girl. It’s not cuz I’m a girl.”

Lisa Crawley:
I mean there’s nothing wrong – I love being a woman! And celebrating other women’s talent. But yeah it feels yuck when that happens. I get a lot of winks and stuff like that and it’s like… I dunno. I get really angry. But i also know fantastic men out there that have been supportive, but unfortunately um, yeah the people that I sort of let assist me have ended up being slightly disappointing as well in the way I’ve seen them treat other women. It’s like ‘oh man…’

Emma:
Yeah. We will get there…

Lisa Crawley:
Indeed!

Emma:
The conversation is the important part, and just letting people know that shit like this happens. Those are some brilliant, awful stories (laughs).

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah.. we’ll hang out later and I’ll tell you more!

Emma:
Yeah, brilliant. So what’s next for you? Have you got some releases on the calendar?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! I’ve just started to rent a studio space so I can actually make a job out of going there and writing everyday. I put out an EP at the end of last year  and toured with that. And I’ve been living in Melbourne for about 2.5 years now. And there’s some great other musicians I’ve met, there’s a great community. there’s people going out on weeknights watching music. I don’t feel like I’m an outcast because I’m not married with kids… like all of my friends back home! It’s been good for me in that respect and also because I’ve been making music in New Zealand for a long time; being in Australia’s really…

Emma:
Refreshing?

Lisa Crawley:
Yeah! And not being that girl that played at church and not be the lounge singer. Just be me. Write new music. The gigs are getting better and better and I’m getting better at recording my own stuff, so, don’t have to be at the… be able to my own demos and stuff. So hopefully a new album next year is the plan..

Emma:
Wicked

Lisa Crawley:
I’ve done 2  so far, but it’s pretty expensive. And I continue to choose to work playing music that I don’t always care about that much like weddings and stuff. And I really have to monitor how much of that I let in because I am normally the only girl and it is a bit of a boys club. And watching these guys even just rate the women that are there makes me so mad!

Emma:
And probably also doing a lot of shows like that, you can’t get too stuck in that world cuz it kinda takes away from your own inspiration. Cuz when you do shows like that are you doing covers?

Lisa Crawley:
The weddings? Yeah so the weddings… I’d be a singer or something, you’d be on guitar, we shakes hands and say nice to meet you cuz we’ve probably never played together, and we’ve got to play for 6 hours. Just have to know a heap of songs.

Emma:
Wow.. that’s intense..

Lisa Crawley:
A highlight this year was arranging one of my songs for the Auckland Symphony

Emma:
Wow! That’s amazing!

Lisa Crawley:
Stuff like that I go ‘actually know, you are good at music cuz you can arrange bits and pieces’ and I’ve never done that before

Emma:
That’s awesome!

Lisa Crawley:
It’s a very up and down thing, you know? I did a stadium tour opening for Simply Red which are like… do you know them?

Emma:
Yeah (laughs) of course!

Lisa Crawley:
It was kinda random, you know, but cool to play to that many people. But the next day I’m playing to no-one and possibly earning more doing that… it’s just like a bit of a head fuck.

Emma:
That’s great though, I think there’s something about…I mean playing big shows is massive but there’s something about playing small shows that kind of keeps you grounded in the whole thing.

Lisa Crawley:
Oh yeah it’s like ‘that’s right… this is my life’

Emma:
And that kinda makes the dynamic of it!

Lisa Crawley:
Exactly.

Ellie Scrine Huntly Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Elly Scrine from Huntly (@BIGSOUND)

Huntly are a 3-piece electronic-pop-r&b BAND making ‘doof you can cry to’

huntly ellie scrine good for a girl interview
“Hey… what’s this? Good For a girl… ” Elly came out of seemingly no where in the empty hall I was positioned in setting up for the interviews that were ahead of me at BIGSOUND that day. We had a back and forth about how Good for a Girl was my blog and I was interviewing women in music to talk about their experiences in the industry; and how she was part of LISTEN who are doing a similar thing in Melbourne with all non-male artists. We came to a quick conclusion that we should definitely hang out and chat and so thus this awesome interview was born!

huntly ellie scrine good for a girl interview video
But a little about Elly and her band Huntly before we get to that! Huntly comprise of Elly, Charlie and Andrew and are self-described ‘doof music you can cry to.’ I’ve actually been listening and enjoying their music for months on Spotify playlists without even realising, and that description is 1000% accurate. Very emotional heart-driven personal and private lyrics, over lush and chill dance beats with wonderful tints of R&B in the vocal melodies.

They’re based in Melbourne and are involved in the solid movement there that is bringing more attention to non-male artists on the scene. Elly is particularly passionate and involved with her work for LISTEN organisation. I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts and opinions while she was speaking on a panel at BIGSOUND about gender representation and discrimination in the Australian industry.

huntly live ellie scrine good for a girl interview video

The other month when I was driving to Wellington with Villainy we drove through Huntly and it took all of my will power to not take heaps of photos and spam Elly on the internet. They should perform a show in their namesake town.. I didn’t ask her where the name came from but it’s hard to imagine it would be inspired from anywhere else, right?! This was just a side note i felt deeply compelled to pointlessly add in to this blog post… ANYWAY.

Watch my video interview with Elly from Huntly!

New music from Huntly is flowing – they just released a fresh jam on the 21st November called Please; with more new tracks to follow in quick suit!

To keep up with Huntly, chuck ’em a follow on Spotify or check out their links below!

Huntly links

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Spotify
iTunes

INTERVIEW: ELLy SCRINE FROM HUNTLY (TRANSCRIPTION)

Emma:
So, what I want to know about you first is your inspirations and influences in music from a really young age! What was surrounding you in music when you were little?

Elly (Huntly):
Mmm. Um my first CD ever was Alanis Morissette; Jagged Little Pill

Emma:
Awesome!

Elly (Huntly):
Looking back, still a great album. What a beak up album! Um, but outside of that, I mean a lot of male influence. which, you know I only started picking up on in recent years when I became an adult and realising that a lot of my kind of “serious” music love was… yeah a lot of men. And when I started getting in to electronic music, particularly so. Yeah, people like James Blake, Radiohead’s electronic stuff, Flying Lotus. Yeah.

Emma:
That’s been coming up a lot with a lot of chicks I’ve been talking to – just talking about their influences. And I go, well were there any women? Cuz they’ll start naming all these guys and bands with guys..

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! yeah.

Emma:
And they’re like ‘yeah…that’s all we really have’ – there isn’t much visibility for women.

Elly (Huntly):
Yep. Yep. Yeah absolutely – you really have to seek it out. Which I do now, which is great. I kind of made a promise to myself at the start of this year that I would not go out of my way to download any men’s music

Emma:
(laughs)

Elly (Huntly):
But it’s interesting just how it creeps in. Like I keep looking through my my Apple Music playlist and I’m like.. “Fuck how did that happen it’s all men again!?” (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah!

Elly (Huntly):
But yeah, I do make a big effort now and I have like a lot of good women and gender non-conforming artists in my playlists. And I’m DJ-ing on Friday night and doing all those kind of artists. Bangers.

Emma:
That’s awesome. Like I kinda find that too, like I’ll go ‘oh i’m gunna drive and listen to music’ and I’ll chuck on one of my favourite bands and it’ll be a guys band. But since I’ve started this blog, being more aware of women in music where – I was saying to Moses last night – it’s almost gotten to the point where if I go watch a guys band play now, I’m actually kind of judging them from the perspective that we would usually be judged on?

Elly (Huntly):
It’s very uncomfortable, I think, once you – I guess that’s the process of a journey of feminism – is kind of uncovering all of this stuff that is normalised and naturalised. And the fact that you would see an all-male band your whole life, if you weren’t really tuned in to that stuff, and never really question it. Whereas now when I see all-male bands. I’m very impatient (laughs)

Emma:
Yep (laughs)

Elly (Huntly):
Um, and I am kind of just like ‘yup, cool you’re doing the same thing that has been done forever and you haven’t made an attempt to destabilise.’ And I have a problem with that.

Emma:
Yeah, totally. Cuz you’ve got 2 guys with you in Huntly, right? Do they embrace feminism in music as well?

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah absolutely, they’re really good allies. And I guess like they’re, gender identity, isn’t quite as simple… it doesn’t really feel like… well we’re not two straight cis guys with one queer woman. So yeah, it’s kind of a bit more complex than that in our project. But certainly they have lived with male privilege their whole lives and they’re pretty good with recognising that and being called out. It’s definitely a process of.. you know when I say ‘you know when you use that phrase? It makes it sound like you automatically know more than me..’ and I’ll just kind of make those kinds of calls, and generally if one of them doesn’t get it the other one will..

Emma:
And they can just work it out amongst themselves (laughs)

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah. Yep.

Emma:
So what actually inspired you to get in to music? How young were you when you started wanting to be a performer and a writer?

Elly (Huntly):
I was pretty young! I was always singing and playing. Actually, I played the flute in high school and was doing all the classical music stuff. But I loved singing Jazz, and I went on to study a Jazz vocal degree. And it was then that I started playing piano because I didn’t want to be like… the kind of woman singer…

Emma:
Token singer…

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah, especially in the Jazz environment where the women are predominantly singers. Which, that’s absolutely not to undermine their strength and power doing that because I think that’s incredible, but I wanted to be able to accompany myself and so I started playing keys, and that’s when I started songwriting. And then I guess as I got more in to exploring, the gender stuff became more of a problem and I felt myself pulling out of the jazz world because it’s just such a, like, boys club.

Emma:
Yeah, so when you say ‘problem’, were there kind of like specific experiences that were just ridiculous, or?

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah. Yeah just starting to tune in and realise like, the only women here are singers and they’re treated like decoration. And you know, part of me wants to change that and interrupt those kinds of narratives. But, the other part of me was like ‘fuck it, I’ll just get out.’ (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs) Yeah, and have you found a similar vibe doing the music you do with Huntly now? Or have you found that to be just a more welcoming environment in general?

Elly (Huntly):
I mean in Melbourne there’s a lot of – there’s a great scene, particularly around.. yeah really supportive feminist scene. Because of LISTEN. Um, and, so yeah there’s definitely been more efforts made. And that’s really important. But as I was saying before, as you go up to the top, like you know when people are like ‘Oh you sound like James Blake’ or.. I mean Little Dragon is probably another influence and there’s a woman in that band. But that’s kind of.. yeah, one of our only people we’ll get likened to. Like big, bigger acts that actually have a woman in them. But then again, other acts in Melbourne that are not all-male acts, that we’ll get… that we really look up to. And they’re bands like the Harpoons, and Friendships and Habits who are both here [Bigsound]. There is incredible music for us even to look up to just in Melbourne.

Emma:
Yeah I’ve been to Melbourne a couple times and I’m always really impressed with the scene there. Like the diversity of the scene, and how friendly everyone is when you go to a gig. I don’t know if there has been any experiences you’ve had living there where you go to a gig and there is, you know, total sexism or fucked up dudes doing shitty things? But I haven’t really ever experienced that in that city.

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah. There’s definitely a movement against that. I’m part of a club night called Cool Room and it’s like techno music, but there is a priority for DJs like non-male DJs so we’ve got a lot of women and a lot of queer people and trans and gender non-conforming DJs who from internationally and locally who get booked. And then the space is deliberately set up to be a safe space, so I’m one of the safety coordinators along with others. And it’s basically set up so people can approach us if they’re ever made to feel uncomfortable; which in venues and at gigs has gone on forever and it’s kind of been left unquestioned and yeah, there’s a real movement to change that in Melbourne.

Emma:
Yeah, awesome! I’d also like to talk about your role with LISTEN. So what do you do with LISTEN?

Elly (Huntly):
Well, LISTEN is fantastic because it’s quite open, if you want to get involved and use your skills you can. So I started going along to meetings a bit over a year ago and have since then been involved in booking. I’ve booked a few LISTEN parties with a focus on women and GNC acts. And, the biggest project this far is probably our conference which is happening in October. Chloe and I are coordinating that with a bunch of people and so we’ve got key notes speakers and lots of panels along with live showcases at night.

Emma:
Yeah yeah!

Elly (Huntly):
Kind of like BIGSOUND but with a focus on feminist thought. So yeah there’s panels from like.. I’m moderating a panel speaking with school-age feminist in music, and safer spaces, and yeah.

Emma:
That sounds fucking awesome! And lastly, what’s next for you and your music with Huntly? Are you guys putting out a record soon?

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! So we released our debut EP this year, it’s called ‘Feel Better or Stop Trying’

Emma:
(laughs) that’s a cool name!

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! So we are actually going to follow it up pretty quickly with another couple of tracks. We finished recording and will be putting them out before the end of the year!

Emma:
Sweet!

Elly (Huntly):
Yeah! And got a couple of festivals we’re playing over the summer, and yeah I think we’ve got a big summer ahead and I guess looking towards an album for next year, as exhausting as that sounds!

Ecca Vandal Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Ecca Vandal (@BIGSOUND)

ECCA VANDAL IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS RIGHT NOW

ecca vandal good for a girl interview

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal Interview Good For A Girl Bigsound Live Show Pandora

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

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

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

WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH ECCA VANDAL HERE:

ECCA VANDAL LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
iTunes
Spotify
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: ECCA VANDAL (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I was just hanging out.

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

Ecca Vandal:
(laughs) that’s hilarious

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I’ve got two sisters!

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

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

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

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

Emma:
Wow cool

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

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

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

Emma:
How can I combine them?

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

Emma:
And it sounds fucking awesome.

Ecca Vandal:
Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma:
That’s a conscious recognition.

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

Emma:
It’s refreshing

Ecca Vandal:
It is refreshing

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

Ecca Vandal:
Absolutely!

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah

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

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

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal:
This shit is real

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

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

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

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah, totally!

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

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

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

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

Emma:
Saw that!

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

Emma:
Looking forward to hearing more music!

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

Emma:
Any plans to come to New Zealand?

Ecca Vandal:
Not yet, but hopefully!

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.

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!

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

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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!”

Going Global and Bigsound Cunt Cakes Good for a Girl

Good for a Girl at Going Global and BIGSOUND!

Going Global and Bigsound totally kicked my ass.

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

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

And I did it with my #cuntcakes in tow.

Emma Cameron Good for a Girl Going Global and Bigsound

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

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

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

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

Watch this space!

 

Good for a girl woman amanda palmer regina spektor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good For A Girl Kermit Sipping Tea Woman

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

The apocalypse will be brought upon us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.20.44 PM

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

……………………….

2.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.22.50 PM

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

………………………

3.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.25.59 PM

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

………………………

4.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.26.37 PM

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

………………………

5.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.38.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.43.35 PM

These two were found on the same video…

………………………

6.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 6.49.16 PM

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

………………………

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

Good For A Girl Woman Julia Deans

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

Christ on a bike!

The Runaways Live Good For A Girl Girl Bands

Girl Bands are Fucking Cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decades Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

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

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

 

…………………………………………

1. The Runaways

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

The Runaways Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

“Listen to the real thing”

Thank god for Dads.

 

…………………………………………

 

2. The Donnas

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

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

The Donnas Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

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

 

…………………………………………

 

3. Warpaint

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

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

Warpaint Good For A Girl Gil Bands

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

……………………………………

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

Blue Ruin NZ Band Good For A Girl Girl Bands

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

……………………………………

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

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

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

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

What I Don’t Know About Patti Smith

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

I said yes.

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

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

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

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

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

1. She is known as The Godmother of Music

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

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

 

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

Patti Smith Good For A Girl Art Photography

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

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

–Patti Smith

Sold.

 

3.  She is a social and political activist

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

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

Girl stands for justice. Dig it.

 

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

Patti Smith Good For A Girl

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

…………………………………………………………………………

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

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

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

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

Buy Tickets Here

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

Good For a Girl women-led bands Emma Cameron

5 Women-Led Bands I’m Digging Right Now

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

So.. yeah.. I’m doing that!

 

1) Courtney Barnett 

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

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

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

Listen to Courtney Barnett on Spotify

 

2) Marmozets (Becca MacIntyre)

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

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

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

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

Listen to Marmozets on Spotify

 

3) The Joy Formidable (Ritzy Bryan)

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

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

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

Listen to The Joy Formidable on Spotify

 

4) St. Vincent

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

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

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

Listen to St. Vincent on Spotify

 

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to Middle Kids on Spotify

 

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

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

Julia Deans Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

AGFAG: Julia Deans / Role Models for Young Girls

Julia Deans. Julia Fucking Deans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Julia Deans Fur Patrol Andrew Good For A Girl Emma Cameron

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

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

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

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

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

I now completely understand that girls need girl role models.

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

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

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

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

Holy shit!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

All because of seeing Julia Deans the night before.

/endJuliagush

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

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

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

My Pre-Show Rituals

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know? However long I’ve got.

“How many outfits do you bring on tour?”

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

“How do you avoid getting sweaty?”

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Shelley Te Haara Sweaty Decades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma Cameron Good For a Girl Bradley Garner Sweaty Decades

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

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

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

7. I take at least 3 shits
Yup.

 

 

The Damsel In Distress

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

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

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

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

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

Good For A Girl Emma Cameron Blog Smelly Microphone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good For A Girl Singing Passion

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

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

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

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

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

“Aw, nice one love, plug it in”

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

“Wait – no no what is that”

[me, very proud and confident]

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP Microphone.

AGFAG: Annabel Liddell

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

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

Miss June Annabel Liddel Good For A Girl

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

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

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

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

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

Simply put, they fucking kicked ass.

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

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

Annabel Liddell Miss June Georgia Schofield

Annabel being a badass goddess. Photo by Georgia Schofield

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

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

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

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

She made the music video herself as well.

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

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

 

 

 

 

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.

Hi, My Name Is Non-Human Public Property!

Being on the live music scene you tend to come across a lot of drunk people, and half of the time, I’m one of them myself. But I showed some great restraint on the Dead Sight Tour with Villainy last month in my attempt at creating the most amount of sleep for myself and the least amount of crying while driving to the next city at 9am in the morning.

Dealing with drunk people (and being a drunk people) is all part of the music scene and 9 times out of 10 it’s an enjoyable and entertaining experience – it just gets draining when certain individuals cross a line – and there was one guy in Tauranga who really just got me wanting to cut a bitch.

Decades Emma Cameron Tauranga Mount Maunganui Richard Robinson Photography Muzic

“MAAAAAARRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHH” in Tauranga. Photo by: Richard Robinson Photography

 

Let me set the scene: I was hustling CDs at the end of the show at the exit to the venue. I was engrossed in the task, pushed-up against one of the doors to allow people to flow in front of me and pick up a CD or have a chat.

Many of these people were understandably drunk as shit after enjoying an absolutely killer show. Being “HEYYYYY. YOU’RE THAT burp-hiccup-hybrid CHICK violent sway FROM THAT BAAAANDD  spit got me right in the eye” is an experience I actually really enjoy engaging with nightly.

Shout out to those guys who are trying really hard to pretend not to be drunk – we all know drunk people have subtlety down to a fine art.

Actually, it’s more like a 4 year old’s attempt at drawing their mum which just looks like a circle with some lines coming out of it, but it’s still art, and they’re super proud of it so don’t say anything.

kids drawing of mum

This actually fucking came up when I googled “4 year old’s attempt at drawing their mum”.

But when it turns in to silently innapropriately touching me is where shit starts to get a bit… shit. So, back to the cunt-ass-guy.

He was the Picasso of drunken subtlety as he squeezed passed behind me, making sure to get his crotch really pressed in to my (admittedly, magnificent) butt.

Let’s note that there was a vast amount of space larger than the grand canyon to simply walk in front of me without touching me altogether.

As my brain registered this, I confusedly looked over to him walking towards his mate doing that “cowabunga dude” hand wiggle signal with his tongue poking out, genuinely proud he’d pulled off the most “subtle” sexual harrassment of a woman without her noticing.

Good For a Girl Emma Cameron Drunk Guy

A scientific graphic I’ve put together for you to explain this guy

 

Oh, I noticed.

“OI!” I yelled at him which either fell on deaf drunken ears, or was ignored out of not wanting a very public confrontation with me.

My pal who was helping me throw CDs at unsuspecting individuals (a fucking angel queen) caught on to what happened after some very expressive facial expressions from myself and yelled out “that’s fucked up, man. You’re fucked!”

Still nothing.

I didn’t want to cause a scene, but in retrospect I really wish I had. Like when you have an argument with someone and you come up with the perfect response 4 hours later. (THE WORST.)

It’s quite hard in the blink of a moment to decide whether or not causing a scene in front of fans will strengthen their respect for you, or in our weird-ass culture which shies away from confrontations and loud women, will cause them to dislike both myself and my band.

But it’s coming to the realisation that for some reason when you’re a “public personality;” like a musician, tv presenter, actor, a kardashian, you all of a sudden become an object without feelings to grope and hump and pretend it’s a life achievement.

What is that? Will we ever figure it out? Will Donald Trump ever die?

Anyway, fuck those guys.

I loved performing in Tauranga, the staff and crew were fantastic and the vast majority of the fans were absolutely delightful.

10/10 except douche-nozzle guy gets a solid zero. Don’t be that guy.

13096305_10154073278021788_7652765231158514583_n.jpg

Fig. 3: The butt. Photo by Matt Henry Photography for Muzic.net.nz

AGFAG: Jennie Skulander

I can’t remember how I heard about Devilskin.

It was like they exploded into the stratosphere out of (seemingly) nowhere for me. All of a sudden, they were EVERYWHERE with songs and music videos all over the airwaves, and selling out shows left, right and centre.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Devilskin are a four-piece alternative metal band from Hamilton, New Zealand, formed in June 2010. The band consists of Nail (lead guitar), Paul Martin (bass, backing vocals), Nic Martin (drums), and most importantly; Jennie Skulander (lead vocals).

jennie skulander devilskin steve dykes

L-R: Paul Martin, Jennie Skulander, Nick Martin, Nail. Photo by Steve Dykes

Jennie’s vocals impressed me from the start but it was safe to say Devilskin weren’t my cup of tea.

They obviously were the perfect cuppa for a huge amount of rock-starved New Zealanders, but I continued to be baffled and amazed at the response to the band.

That was up until recently, when it truly clicked with me at Homegrown.

Jennie’s a fucking badass.

She alone sold Devilskin to me with her pure badassery.

jennie skulander devilskin bradley garner homegrown

What the fuck is this? How is she so cool? Photo by Bradley Garner Creative

I was privileged to have been handed an artist pass to Homegrown (despite not actually performing.. I spent most of my time drinking all the other bands’ beer..) , which meant I could go ANYWHERE I WANTED. THE POWER.

Naturally I spent the majority of my time between the free drinks and the free food areas.

But I did saunter up side-stage on several occasions to get an insight in to New Zealand’s most successful rock acts’ stage dynamics.

There are a lot of things you miss when you’re in the audience just consuming a show.

There was one major thing I would’ve missed with Devilskin’s show had I not been side of stage, and this was: Jennie is 21+ weeks pregnant.

jennie skulander devilskin

Here is Jennie setting the FUCKING BAR for women in music. I salute her.

Holy shit. This woman is incredible.

Here she is running off stage periodically while the guys do their instrumental thing, to cradle her tummy and smash back a banana (this was initially fucking hilarious to unsuspecting me; but now I understand it’s good for vocals. She’s a professional; I’m a person who laughs at people eating phallic objects).

Then she just goes the-fuck-back-out-there, infront of thousands of people, pregnant as shit, screaming the hell outta her lungs, stomping and twirling around, just generally absolutely killing it as if there isn’t a tiny human in there wondering ‘what the fuck is happening out there?!’ at all.

I’m a Jennie fan. Devilskin win.