Music journalist at Noisey & Paste Magazine
Who are you?
I’m a freelance journalist and copy editor. I started a personal music blog several years ago, then started writing album reviews for online sites and regularly wrote features on music artists for a statewide newspaper. I currently write occasionally for Noisey, Paste, and a few other sites.
I see from your articles at Noisey that you're clued into the rock music world, a historically male dominated genre. How much do women play a role in the rock scene these days?
Since I began to focus full time on music journalism, I’ve noticed an increase of women in music who are stepping into traditional male roles. For instance, Grindmother (who is 67 by the way) is a grindcore singer from Canada. Grindcore, an extreme genre that mixes thrash, hardcore and crustpunk with grinding, distorted vocals, is almost exclusively male-dominated. Grindmother just decided to blast out some lyrics with her son’s band, and the band was cool with that. But how many other guys would welcome a female singer to such an abrasive type of music? As far as her message, Grindmother decided her music would call attention to the environment and political discourse in Canada. I’ve noticed other female musicians who are using music to communicate their concerns about the world. Saltlands is a project by another Canadian woman, Rebecca Foon -- a classical cellist and post-punk experimental artist who seeks to bring awareness to the fight against climate change with her moody, strings-driven album. Then there’s the Swedish electropop musician Vanbot recorded an album entirely on the Trans-Siberian Railway, as an alternative to creating songs in a traditional studio. Women are making serious headway, but it doesn’t mean things are going to balance out any time soon.
As a music journalist, what are your thoughts on the overall media representation of women in music?
The editors I write for say they still get pitches from writers starting with “as an all-girl band...” Those stories have been way overdone, but they keep popping up. We can’t even get past the “wow, look, it’s girls” phase of creativity. We’re still stuck in the ‘90s. We should be far beyond that “shock factor” stage of hearing about women in rock music. Women have been there for decades; it’s just that sometimes, they were behind the scenes, or simply not common enough to raise nationwide attention. It’s time to put that “girl” designation aside and focus strictly on the talent and creative goals of a band, regardless of their genders.