Hegemonix is Here

Hegemonix is the solo experimental electronic pop project of Ava Vex. They have been making music under different project names for a couple years now and identify as trans femme non-binary. They just released their latest EP “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.” They make music to explore identity and politics and also to make people dance and have a good time.

Hegemonix in the studio by Ava Vex

QWIMB Q&A With Hegemonix

What brought you to Boston?

I’m from the area and have been an active member of the DIY music scene here for a couple years now.

Have you experienced a strong scene for Queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc.?

Yeah a great DIY scene that’s accessible and supportive for people starting out playing shows and new projects as well as connecting online to book shows.

Do you have any sense of a history of a Queer scene in the city?

I know a little bit about clubs like Machine and Jacques Cabaret but nothing specific.

What made you decide to join a band?

I started making music and performing and putting it out independently when I was 12 and have kept doing since. I started making and recording music to experiment with sound and also to explore my identity and relation to the world around me, which I’m still doing.

In Studio By Ava

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

There are a couple of cis male musicians who have influenced me sonically for a while like Aphex Twin, David Bowie and Beck but right now I find a lot of female and trans pop musicians like Sophie, Charli XCX and Black Dresses to be inspiring in terms of exploring identity and sound in new and exciting ways.

Do you think things are getting better for Queer performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

I think things are getting better in terms of there being more widespread acceptance and understanding of trans and gender non-conforming identities but also there’s still work to be done to diversify fields like music production and live sound tech.

What has been your proudest moment performing music or as a musician in general?

My performances over the past year of being more openly queer and trans have been great and very inspiring for me and others from what I can tell.

Hegemonix Taken by Elsie Hupp, live at Caffeine Underground in NYC

What advice would you give to a queer woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Personally I would say experiment and keep trying to find what works, just like I would say to people who are exploring their gender identity, there are no wrong answers, just options

Are there any other current or former bands or solo artists you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Butch Baby or Prior Panic?

Check Out More From Hegemonix:

Hegemonix on Bandcamp: https://hegemonix.bandcamp.com

SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/hegemonix

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2lqBThCgLAeJZvJ5Fk9hXX?si=rq_0RWRwQ1KQscefFAWR1g

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPzL-zWjxPKhqEqaay9KhjQ

Hegemonix by Erin Eris Kangas, live at Trendy Shit Town in Roxbury MA

Here’s the link to the newest EP: “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted EP” https://hegemonix.bandcamp.com/album/the-revolution-will-not-be-tweeted-ep

Lyrics from the new Hegemonix EP “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”

1. Revolution Is Gay

This is a double-edged song showing how a violent revolution can devolve into a sort of religiosity with the sing-song ending kind of substituting actual change, sort of an opiate of the masses obfuscating systemic changes. I imagined it as a queer Fight Club kind of revolt, like cis guys realizing their repressed gay and trans yearnings and finding solidarity in having gay sex instead of beating each other up in a masochistic display of irrelevance. Also for the record I don’t think Marx is wrong (that’s the narrator of the song speaking) although not entirely right but a useful figure to consider when approaching societal change and the emancipatory potential of labor. 

Well we burned all the factories tonight

Ran out in the street and had a fight

Pitting ourselves against one another

Hey man are you still my brother?

The police showed up and made a scene

Arresting us while we were peeing

On a monument of our boss

Guess it’s a symbol of our loss

I don’t care 

Anymore 

Revolution is here

We’re all queer

Well I’m sitting in a jail cell alright 

Talking to my comrades about our plight

Working class rebellion is the best

As long as you can pay the cost

The robot guards are on our asses

Telling us we’re unemployed masses

The revolt didn’t work and now we’re dead

This is the afterlife instead

All the time

We were lied to

Marx taught us wrong

Everything is a song

Sing for your life

Don’t be scared of the cause

Change everything 

Open up all your thoughts

Free love is here

If you want to be saved

Trust in the sound

Of your golden voice

Lyrics from the new Hegemonix EP “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”

2. White Lies

This is a song that I wrote one morning after reading about the the Tulsa race riots, which I recommend reading up on here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_riot

It’s been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history” as white authorities decimated what was then the most prosperous Black community in the U.S. I felt inspired to write the song to explore how racist systemic police violence is still very alive as we all know and to speak to how fundamentally violent the state is above and beyond supposedly “violent criminals.” I included a quote from the amazing Angela Davis from this interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIDgDFvyeS8&t=8s

I was wary about releasing this song at first because it’s written from a place of purposeful ignorance, a somewhat conscious citizen who insights violence without considering the racial dynamics of the situation. I just want to clarify that I don’t directly believe what’s stated as “I” statements in these songs but rather wanted to illustrate a somewhat flawed point of view that might be the more common understanding of such events as peddled to us by the mainstream media. 

Woke up this morning

With tears in my eyes 

I couldn’t see through

All of the lies 

Hundreds dead in 

The city tonight 

Police killing whoever  

They like

We must maintain 

Law and order 

To have a story 

For the reporters

The citizens have 

Gotten unruly 

Time to show

The power of cruelty

White lies 

Black lives

Violence lives

In hearts and minds

They say that it’s 

A story in history 

So why is it such

A big mystery 

Black citizens 

Killed for resisting 

White powers

Still insisting 

We’re making 

A movie about it

Promotional 

Responses are rabid

Profiting off 

Tragedy like this

Is how we respect

Whoever resists 

We like

Bad times

Stories thrive

That surprise 

Angela Davis: 

“Because of the way

This society is organized

Because of the violence

That exists on the surface everywhere

You have to expect that

There are going to be such explosions 

You have to expect things

Like that as reactions

If you are black person 

Who lives and walks out

On the street everyday

Seeing white policemen 
Surrounding you”

Whatever man 

Race is dead 

Violence is fine 

As long as it’s mine

Lyrics from the new Hegemonix EP “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”

3. Ode to the End

Haha the big finale and definitely the opposite of what I believe. This song is complete resignation and acceptance of the hegemonic order of understanding, that nothing can change and we should just accept societal decay and environmental collapse. No! Maybe there’s some acceptance towards the end of the song though, like transcendance through giving up and being born anew as an empty subject ready for sustenance through revolution, circling back to the first song on the EP. Shout out to Julian and the Strokes for inspiring this song and the first one, big inspiration and definitely someone whose fighting for truth in the face of lies and deception. Keep up the good fight and I hope you enjoy reading my lyrics and commentary! 

Endless wars

Burning Earth

We’re not gonna win

Anymore

The climate is done

It’s all a hoax

Like the moon landing

He says as he smokes

On a cigar

He bought from a store

Down the street

Next to the prison

Where they keep those

Who do not fit

Into the state’s

Definition of a citizen 

He wants you to cum

But you don’t care

Because you are

So debanoire

Part of the queer

Vanguard of hope

That will help us

Slacken the rope

All the

Time you spent

Is not 

Gone

It’s just part of

Experience 

That helps you

Move on 

Are you not

Entertained 

Anymore

Is this not

What you asked

For

What is this trauma

Processing grief 

Actor plays parts 

Reading out lines

I’m calling cut 

Redo the shot 

It was all wrong 

So I walk out

This movie is fucked

The plot is so bad 

It’s going nowhere

Now we’re all bored 

Talk to my shrink 

Who says hold on

Find a new cast

Rewrite the ending 

He wants a cut 

Of all the profits 

Withholds my pills

Until I sign off

Of course I agree

I’m not a fool 

Compromise 

Is my golden rule 

Finally

The grand

Premiere 

We’re all here

The audience

Just loves it

As they clap 

On cue 

Are you not

Entertained 

Anymore

Is this not

What you asked

For

Oh

The end

My friend

Once again

Oh 

The end

Begin

Pretend

Catch their next show at Outpost 186 on 2/14/20 with Fen Rotstein and Expletive. 

Say Hello to Fen Rotstein

Fen is a Latinx Jewish Trans woman making music and organizing shows in the greater Boston area. Known for a diverse body of work and a penchant for the weird, she’s found Boston to be immensely supportive, with a great deal of potential growth for its various scenes.

She got her start in the music industry at a young age playing to audiences around the country during the early days of the Brony fandom. Despite reservations and difficulties in a notoriously conservative scene, she was ultimately inspired by this burgeoning global creative network, and made use of her talents as a multi-instrumentalist and her years of classical vocal training to produce a wide body of work for the community in a variety of genres and styles.

Fen would go on to build a home and a network in Boston, MA, precisely the environment needed to spark a new burst of inspiration, both musically and emotionally. Through her Berklee education, Fen further developed a wide breadth of expertise covering composition, arranging, studio production, and engineering. And through her involvement in the local Rap, Rock, and Electronic scenes in Boston, she continues to explore vast musical landscapes, and hopes to increase her creative output and uplift the Boston music scene, a community that has supported her for years.

Photo by Echo Harris

QWIMB Q&A with Fen Rotstein

What brought you to Boston?

I originally headed out to Boston for school, but I’ve stayed here for the incredible music scene and the lovely queer community. It feels incredible to live in a city large and diverse enough for real connections to be made across various social, sexual, racial, and class-related boundaries; even more incredible to live in a city that’s also small enough for cross-city communities to become tight-knit, to grow while remaining close. Of course, the city and its various scenes have a whole lot of problems to work on, but there’s already such incredible momentum towards a better Boston; I’m overjoyed to get to stick around and see things develop!

Have you experienced a strong scene for Queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

While it may not be the biggest scene in the world, queer women are absolutely leading it! Boston music and queer women are inextricably linked; the best organizers, the busiest and most successful musicians, the hardest working and most stunning artists…they’re all queer women out here! To see someone like Brandie Blaze, or Dez Decarlo, take off and really shine…it’s just incredible; their hard work in the Boston scene makes that possible. It feels like we’re at the start of a new chapter for queer women in Boston.

Photo by Totem Fahey

Do you have any sense of a history of a Queer scene in the city?

I’ll be frank, being a relatively newer voice in the Boston scene, it’s hard for me to draw upon my own personal experience to give an idea of the history of queer music in Boston. However, I think its safe to say that a relevant chapter in this history is being written right now. More queer women are standing up every day, more black voices are being heard and celebrated, more safe spaces are opening up. An explosion of rap, rock, and electronic music lead by queer women is waiting to happen as we speak!

What made you decide to join a band?

While I’ve been working as a musician in one way or another, either solo or in a band, for around 10 years now, I found myself primarily doing solo work from the get go here in Boston. After a few years of solo work, I eventually came to the conclusion that collaborating and exploring music with a team of people might be exactly what I needed to progress, both within the scene and within the narrative of my own musical development. I started joining and/or starting bands here and there, and now I’m happy to say that I’m playing with Violet Not, and Pregnancy Mask; 2 rad bands filled with lovely people~

Photo by Sheri Furneaux

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

Oh most certainly! it’s easy to rattle off obvious influences, I mean I could hardly avoid mentioning Nine Inch Nails, or The Gorillaz, or Phy Life Cypher, or Aphex Twin, but ultimately, I think it’s always a bit more interesting to talk about what someone’s listening to when they’re walking home from work, or going to the grocery store. To that end, I’ve been listening to a lot of The Garden, Japanese Breakfast, Soweto Kinch, Ollie Byrd, and Pieta Brown— Really solid releases, songs that bring a sense of healing that I think is somewhat lost from a lot of what’s on the radio these days.

Do think things are getting better for Queer performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

I don’t really think those two things are mutually exclusive; there will always be barriers, but things are improving! More and more queer people are finding themselves accessing fame and mainstream artistic success that has never been known by the out queer people of generations past. Large parts of the US government are, on a federal, state, and local level, fighting hard to reduce our liberties as members of the LGBT community, and the damage being done is undeniable. From the place of privilege that many of us, myself included, find ourselves in, it can be easy to forget that countless queer people are living day-to-day, facing homelessness, poverty, starvation, constant and active threats…the struggle is absolutely real, particularly for the Black people and POC that make up the most significant parts of our communities. But the tide is turning, and legitimate positive change is being made on a societal level; bigotry is increasingly difficult in a world wherein people are personally familiar and supportive of queer people and the LGBT community. This is the role that music and other forms of art and media can play in our liberation.

Photo by Sheri Furneaux

What has been your proudest moment performing music or as a musician in general?

That’s definitely the toughest question for me out of all of these. For me, my musical career has felt and continues to feel like a never ending quest of growth and creative output; proud moments come and go, good performances are followed by bad performances are followed by great performances. Playing to crowds of a thousand or more, going on national tours, these are all definitely accomplishments I’m proud of, but I think my favorite moments in my musical life have been found while teaching. Teaching music and having the chance to feel like I’m helping people better understand music, even themselves, is possibly one of the most cathartic things I get to experience. Is it super corny? Oh most definitely.

What advice would you give to a queer woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Photo by Sheri Furneaux

Pick something up, anything that speaks to you. Block out naysayers, build your support network. Find your home, your family, and your practice space. Once you’ve got that, all you need to do is practice, and to build your relationships. The best thing about being queer, about being a woman, even in these tough times, is plain and simple: you have every reason to be friends, partners, bandmates, and family with your sisters. We can build, but only with each other; there’s nothing that will help you more than reaching out to the people around you, building relationships, and giving yourself to the art you love, no matter what form it takes. The first, most difficult step is allowing yourself to love something without shame. Once you’ve got that love, nothing can stop you.

Are there any other current or former bands or solo artists you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Oh for sure; right off the bat, y’all should contact Dez Decarlo and Brandie Blaze, and the bands WIMP and Ansonia! They’re lovely people and performers all around, and they most certainly deserve the attention. There’s a whole lot of amazing and talented queer women in Boston; people with real roots in the scene, like Dez for example, act as an inspiration to many of us. There may not appear to be a scene packed to the brim with queer women, but there are so many of us slowly rising to the surface. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see things blow up in the next year or two. If you’re at all concerned about finding great queer artists, I can confidently say, you’ve got nothing to worry about~

Photo by Echo Harris

For more on Fen, read Fen’s Interview with Boston Hassle

You can find the FEN Instagram and Facebook here: https://www.instagram.com/ohfenfen/  |  https://www.facebook.com/ohfenfen/

You can find the Pregnancy Mask Instagram and Facebook here: https://www.instagram.com/pregnancymask/  |  https://www.facebook.com/pregnancymask/

You can find the FEN soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/f3nning

FEN’s band, Pregnancy Mask has a new album coming out soon! Buy the album on Bandcamp! You can find the Pregnancy Mask Bandcamp at the following link here: https://pregnancymask.bandcamp.com/

Pregnancy Mask has a show coming up 2/16/20: https://www.facebook.com/events/122825892324624/

Flier by Fen

Introducing Amber Sage

Bio: Amber Sage is a singer/songwriter, as well as visual artist from Boston, Massachusetts. Sage’s style is occasionally categorized as ethereal wave, but consists more so of signatures found in Neo-Goth Pop. 

Inspiration is often drawn from her experiences with romance; occasionally involving both sapphic and heteronormative themes. Depression/PTSD are also  topics woven in throughout Sage’s discography. 

Amber Sage by Joseph Ramah

QWIMB Q&A with Amber Sage:

What brought you to Boston?

I am from Massachusetts originally! I grew up here and have lived here for most of my life. The LGBTQ community here is very much a strong community locally and I’m lucky to live in a place where people are supportive for the most part.

by Joseph Ramah

Have you experienced a strong scene for Queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

I feel like we are lacking representation of queer/trans/poc women in the local music scene and just women in general really. I do feel like the majority of LGBTQ representation is for white queer men and it would be a beautiful thing to see everyone be given the same amount of opportunity. I have been turned away from certain opportunities in the music industry that were then given to a man. 

Amber Sage

Do you have any sense of a history of a Queer scene in the city?

From what I have known, the queer community in boston was mostly underground around the 90’s and only in the 2000’s has it been a more widely known and supported thing. I feel like for a while there was not too many opportunities for queer folk.

What made you decide to join a band?

It was mostly my influence from 90’s grrrl bands that got me interested in doing music. I was in a few bands in highschool but none that were long term. My first real band was KK Slider (named after the animal crossing character). We were a band for about 2 years and then our guitarist moved to LA and things got a little complicated and I decided I wanted to pursue a solo career. My old bandmates are still in bands though that are really good!

Another reason why I make music – growing up I was always pansexual. I would fall for girls (and boys) and feel like I had no one to relate to and no love songs that felt accurate for me. I wrote a lot of my own songs about my first girlfriend at the beginning of my music career. And it was healing to write about that breakup.

Amber Sage by Joseph Ramah

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

So growing up I listened to a lot of “riot grrrl” music that was from the 90’s, a time when women’s rights were trivialized. Some of those bands were bands like L7, Babes in Toyland, and Hole. I found it to be be so empowering to see women out there being badass and fighting for equality. The only thing is I wish that there was again more representation for queer women and women of color. Was it progress for women to have that movement in the 90’s? Hell yeah. But there is still a problem where the narrative is mostly coming from women that are white or cis, and I think in 2020 we absolutely need to see more variety 100%. Also I love Kim Petras.

Do think things are getting better for Queer performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

I absolutely think there’s still barriers to overcome. More shows that feature LGBTQ people in general is needed in my opinion. 

What has been your proudest moment performing music or as a musician in general?

It hasn’t happened yet honestly.

by Daniel Nyman

What advice would you give to a queer woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Do it! Life is too short to feel discouraged or to let fear hold you back

Are there any other current or former bands or solo artists you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Lusus

by Joseph Ramah

Interviews with Amber:

http://bostonvoyager.com/interview/life-work-amber-sage/

Interview in Boston Voyager

Interview in Underground Vampire Club
Amber Sage
Amber Sage
Amber Sage

Check out Amber Sage’s music on Spotify.

Welcoming 2020 at the Rock Mansion

Have you been to a show at Rock Mansion? If you haven’t, you’re missing out! Amy Tyson rebuilt the Dorchester home herself over a period of years and it’s the most welcoming place in town to play a show. She sets up her PA from her home studio in the dining room and it’s an instant safe space for Queers, misfits, artists, and their allies to debut new material, new projects, and show off their talents.

Pam Nicholas welcomes you to Rock Mansion

On December 31, 2019, Rock Mansion welcomed the end of a tough year by celebrating 3 bands and one artist. Up first was New Recording 23, which is Pam Nicholas from Pop Smear, Shiva Speedway, and the current Dowager, and Amy Tyson of Fur Purse and Rock Mansion ownership. They are an instrumental rock project and are amazing. Pam is a force on the drums and Amy Tyson wails on her Ibanez like nobody’s business.

New Recording 23

David Champagne played solo next. He was a small package with a lot of heart and I linked here to his web page for more info about his music and upcoming shows with his other projects. Most of his other shows, if not all, are sold out, but you can get a sense of his sound at the link provided.

David Champagne

After a short break came Bicker. According to Eve Belfer-Ahern, Bicker can be described as, “Bicker is me n claire (Passey) (of FurPurse with Eve and Amy Tyson) and Ella from lady pills and Adam from Stompbox and Chris from black cat guitar, FIRST SHOW!!”

Bicker at Rock Mansion 2020

Bicker at Rock Mansion 2020

Bicker ruled! If you like Fur Purse, watch out for Bicker! I took like 50 photos I swear to God. I wish I had a video, but you’ll just have to keep your eyes open for their next show.

Claire, Ella, and Adam of Bicker

Eve of Bicker with the crowd

If you want to see New Recording 23 again, you have to bother Amy and Pam to keep it up, which they better!

New Recording 23 at Rock Mansion 2020

Holy Ghost was supposed to play, but one of the women, Mary Beth Cahill got sick. Suzanne Hinton says about Holy Ghost, “This will be the first show for Holy Ghost, me and Mary Beth Cahill (we used to have a band called Looker).” I hope to see Holy Ghost come together again in the new year.

New Year’s Eve at Rock Mansion 2020 Flier by Suzanne Hinton

The final band of the night, Argo Arkestra, was supposed to bring the extravaganza with sci-fi covers and the like, but I missed it because I had to leave before they went on. Christopher Carmelovich describes the Argo Arkestra as, “Argo Arkestra is Noell Dorsey (Guillermo Sexo/Major Stars/Beautiful Weekend), Aaron Bennett (Crystal Understanding/Death Shepherd/Planet of Adventure), Ernie Kim (Tristan Da Cunha), me (Planet of Adventure), Adam Brilla (Broken River Prophet), Bear Brown (Ho-Ag/Gun Mother), Tyler Derryberry (Ho-Ag/Planet of Adventure/Squirty Worm), and Brian Church (Tristan Da Cunha, who won’t be there this time).”

Argo Arkestra by Georgia Young

There could not have been a better party with a better group of people to ring in 2020. The Rock Mansion 2020 is a place to watch. Words can’t really describe what the Rock Mansion means to me and I hope you have the chance to experience it for yourself so you don’t have to wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s not open to the public,it’s a private home with small private parties,  but if you’re nice and get to know these amazing women, maybe you’ll be invited to the next show.

Say Hello to Solo Sexx

Bio:

Forged deep in the psychedelic undertow of UMass basements, sticky floored queer clubs, house parties, porches, and backyards, Solo Sexx has been serving rude and riotous Salt-n-Pepa-meets-Buzzcocks-meets-Shangri Las realness since 2008. Since then, they’ve glittered and grinded all up over New England and beyond, performing at the Boston Freedom Rally, touring the East Coast, rocking festivals and events for the likes of Girls Rock Camp Boston, the Human Rights Campaign, Yes All Women, and more–all while bringing their unique brand of fearless flavor to audiences who leave wondering how they ever survived sans-Sexx. With a fearless sense of humor and a no-holds barred attitude, Solo Sexx turns the hip-hop hypocrites on their head and leads fans to a whole new horizon: with home cooked beats and outta sight rhymes covering everything from being broke (not for long), being white (last they checked), and being free to perform the self pleasure their name is shouting, Solo Sexx proves that the alternative to the add-water-and-stir rap chumpitude is funkier, fresher, and just plain sexxier than ever before.

QWIMB Q & A

What brought you to Boston?

Heather Mack: I grew up in the ‘burbs, moved out to Wild Western Mass to get weird for 5 years, then when I graduated from UMass decided it was time to take my chance on the “big” “city” of Boston. I’ve been here ever since!
OBriensBestJPG

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

Heather Mack: I think Boston is incredibly lucky to have a fierce faction of queer feminist badasses involved in all aspects of artmaking, from promotions to production to burlesque to punk rock and everything in between. The best part is, although the queer scene is relatively small, people are LOUD about it–in one week you might have Queeraoke, WTFQueerlesque, and Pink Noize, all unapologetically loud and raucous queer, feminist events happening at all different parts of town. And for the most part it’s pretty inclusive, like a big weird rainbow family you just might not have met yet. We freaks tend to stick together, and it makes a big difference.

Do you have any sense of a history of a queer scene in the city?

Heather Mack: The first “queer” event I ever attended in the city was probably Rocky Horror back when it was in Harvard Square–I was just a little tyke back then! Since then I’ve felt incredibly blessed by all of the opportunities I’ve had to be involved in the queer scene, as a performer and as a fan. I’m not so sure about the scene’s “history”, since I didn’t really start identifying as queer until college out in W.Mass where I frequented queer events for the first time, and only since coming to Boston about 5 years ago have I gotten really involved in this scene in particular. Either way, I’m pumped to be out here making new queer history with so many awesome artists and visionaries, and I gotta say, the future’s looking bright!
Julezcloseup

What made you decide to join a band?

Julez:Being around creative people during those crucial college years who were also experimenting with music and constantly producing art of all genres. For me, the beats came first and I owe a lot of my early inspiration and motivation to that core group of creative friends.

Heather Mack: Julez really says it best, we were just incredibly lucky during our college years to have been part of a chaotic cotillion of psychedelic musicians, artists, visionaries and weirdos that had our own unique culture and community where everyone was not only free, but encouraged to experiment with everything, especially art. I had started a punk band when I was in high school called The Bush Administration and even though we didn’t take ourselves seriously I was really addicted to the feeling of shocking people onstage with something they didn’t expect, or would otherwise dismiss. I also already had an instinct for having a fully female fronted band performing songs that were filled with innuendo, and that riotous, raunchy energy provided the foundation for my later music.  In college I was part of a crew of dudes who were into hip hop and freestyling, then Julez transferred to UMass and everything got kicked into overdrive. She went home for winter break and taught herself to make beats, by the time she got back we were writing songs for just the two of us. That’s when we created “Solo Sexx”–the name is a reference to going solo, pleasing yourself first, and knowing that sometimes you just gotta do it on your own, you know?

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

Julez: DJ culture has always been a big influence on me. I was always trying to recreate the way DJs mix different sounds and samples together. So our beats reflects that.

Heather Mack: AAAH! So many. Rupaul, Kate Bush, GG Allin, TT The Artist, Rye Rye, Santigold, MIA, Buzzcocks, 90s house divas, Cakes Da Killa, PWR BTTM, David Bowie, Amanda Palmer, Missy Elliott, Downtown Boys, Mykki Blanco, Big Freedia, the Shangri-Las–bands who challenge the status quo, defy gender roles, and just make badass music that challenges you to think critically while also having an absolute blast on the dance floor.

Do think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

Heather Mack: The internet is bringing things to a whole new level in a really positive way–I think queer female performers are getting much more visibility, and more and more celebrities are coming out as genderqueer and trans and sexually fluid, so that’s helpful in terms of breaking down old narratives and stereotypes around gender and sexuality. I also think there’s been a push to create intentional queer DIY spaces where those artists are not only welcome, but explicitly sought out and celebrated. The more visibility there is, the more we are able to give permission to other queer female or trans or genderfluid artists to be fully, wildly themselves–and to support one another in the process. I’m also pumped that venues tend to be really open to having queer events or having queer identified bands perform, and I’m happy to be able to host events like that too–like our upcoming Queer Women in Hip Hop night.

closeupHeatherYAW

Are you in any other bands?

Heather Mack: Nope! But I am in the Boston League of Women Wrestlers.

What has been your proudest moment as a member of a band?

Julez: Performing on stage at the weed rally in Boston a few years back! Such a huge crowd- felt like a rockstar.

Heather Mack: My favorite part of being in a band is the reactions we get from the crowd. Although every single show we invariably have some crew of (usually) dudes come up and say some version of “I thought you were gonna suck, but you were amazing!” and it’s always satisfying to know that you smashed a stranger’s perception of you, that’s not what makes me proud. What’s really incredible is when young women come up to us and tell us that we showed them that it’s possible to be a woman who raps and rocks crowds, and that we inspired them to try to make music too. As much as we do it for ourselves (hence the name, again), those moments are what sustains us and make us really proud of what we’re doing. That’s why we also love to do events for badass organizations like Yes All Women, Human Rights Campaign, and Girls Rock Camp Boston–because we know we’re offering up our art to help contribute to a positive, supportive community where people of all genders and sexualities have the resources they need to rock out in whatever way they choose.

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Julez:YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE! Seriously don’t be afraid to take that first step, and don’t doubt yourself too much. And if you’re lucky and the ideas and creativity starts flowing early on DON’T SLEEP ON IT! Make the most of it- it’s a precious commodity.

Heather Mack: DO IT! Make mistakes. Write a song, then scribble it out and start over 20 times. Then stop scribbling things out and embrace every flaw as a foundation for something fabulous. Go see local shows and discover new heroes. Make friends with your heroes. Book shows with your heroes! Don’t wait for other people to do things for you–learn everything you can by throwing yourself into it. If you feel like there aren’t enough cool venues in Boston, create one. If bookers don’t want to book a hip hop show, bypass them and book shows yourself. Make other amazing friends who create weirdo art and love you for it and hold you accountable to your aspirations. Be reckless, fearless, and bold–even if you’re terrified. There’s no time like the present–and life’s too damn short to be boring!

Are there any other current or former bands you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Heather Mack: Check out Afro Panther (iamafropanther.soundcloud.com) and Billy Dean Thomas (facebook.com/billydeanslist), two artists who will be performing along with us at our upcoming Queer Women in Hip Hop showcase at the Lilypad, January 30th!

For more from Solo Sexx:

Meet Leigh Cheri’s Kelsie Hogue!

Leigh Cheri is a Boston-based noise pop band. Vox: Kelsie Hogue, Guitar: Mike Levinsohn, Bass: Chris Centeno, Drums: Billy Nichols

QWIMB gave Kelsie some questions to answer about Boston and queerness. Here’s what she came up with:

What brought you to Boston? 

I came here for Boston University’s BFA Acting program which I just graduated from last Spring.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc? 

I’m still in the discovery process of that. I’ve experienced great spaces in JP, Somerville, and Allston, and awesome festivals like Smash It Dead and takeover nights like Queeraoke (which we’re playing Halloween week!!). Always on the boi scout for more, never too many queers in one room!!

Leigh-Cheri-bostoncalling

Do you have any sense of a history of a queer scene in the city? 

That’s something I’d like to know more about. Tutors/den mothers welcome!!

What made you decide to join a band? 

Lisa Simpson whispered to me through the television via her saxophone  when I was five.

Leigh-Cheri-cuisineenlocaleAre there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music? 

Yoni Wolf of Why? is my favorite lyricist of all time. I think Gerard Way is my generation’s misunderstood Freddie Mercury and was in retrospect my third femme boy crush (behind Axl Rose and Peter Pan). I bless the satin-lined riffs of kweens like Mariah, Christina and Whitney (RIP queen). Big Boi is the most underrated rapper, Kendrick is just plain important, Mykki Blanco is fucking shit up in the best way, and Missy Elliot is the most powerful bulldyke in the game. Comedians Tim and Eric and Tig Notaro made high school and college better. Queer/Trans activists/artists Darkmatter and Kat Blaque continue to teach me a lot.

 

Leigh-Cheri-lasthausDo think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

I think in large part to the Riot Grrrl Movement, things have gotten fairly better for white queer girl/genderqueer performers. As one myself, it’s a constant conversation understanding the layers of privilege I benefit from in performance settings. I have easily performed nude/barely clothed in both music and theatre spaces. The degradation I receive is in the form of sexualization or my queerness being written off as a trend/experiment. While those are still things to challenge of course, that’s nothing compared to the every day micro-aggressions towards QPOC to the rapidly rising murders of Trans Women of Color (a matter nearly neglected by mainstream media). I’m interested in listening and supporting Q/TWOC musicians specifically, as I think there is work to be done with creating a safer and more visible space for everyone (both in the music scene and in general). I would love to see the conversation begin with intersectionality, instead of sidelining it as can tend to happen in white-centric queer spaces.

Are you in any other bands?

 I have two queer as hell side projects in the works called Pillow Queen (with Birthing Hips’ Carrie Furniss) and CHOIRBOI (with Anjimile’s Anji Chithambo), Mike (guitarist) and Chris (bassist) play with gRAD pARTy, and our drummer Billy Nichols has a solo project under his name.

What has been your proudest moment as a member of a band?

Playing our first live show this past April; file under “v tender.”

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument? 

Let me know if you need to borrow my bass or guitar!! Find allies in the scene (swipe right on me bb)!! Let’s make this scene too queer for its own good!!

Are there any other current or former bands you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

I’m gonna give Anjimile and Birthing Hips a #double #shout #out

Wanna get to know Leigh Cheri better? Check out the links.

You also catch them at The Midway on Oct 29, 2015 before Queeraoke and November 19, 2015 at O’Briens. 

An Interview With Kristen Ford

What brought you to Boston?

I had moved back to Western Massachusetts, (where I grew up) to work on an album on Many Doors records. I would commute 2 hours to Boston to go busking, and was dating a girl out there. Eventually it was like, this is ridiculous, let’s pull a U Haul and move in. It didn’t work out with the girl but it did with the city. That was 6 years ago, and I’ve been on the road full time the past year.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

kristenfordportrait
Photo credit: Menelik Puryear

I think the answer to that is yes and no. There is a really big DJ scene with the weekly dance parties, and I find certain musical genres are really friendly to queers and you’ll find your people at those shows. However having a specific place to go and see queer women play, or a consistently gay ladies live music scene is not something I’ve encountered.

Do you have any sense of a history of a queer scene here?

Boston is the land of history! Depends how far back you dig how far into the closet they may have been, but there are vibes.

 What made you decide to start performing?

kristenford
Photo credit: Menelik Puryear

I didn’t have a choice. Just loved being a ham and getting attention since I was tiny. When I was 16 I saw an Ani Difranco show at the Avalon (now the House of Blues) and something struck me like​ a lightning bolt. That’s it. That’s what I have to do. She wielded so much power over us all with just her voice and a guitar. One of the greats.

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

I was mentored by June Millington; she was in the first all-female band to be signed to a major label called Fanny- absolute bad ass and she has transformed my music and my life. I also am a huge Radiohead fan, and recently as a one woman band I’ve been very inspired by Audrey Ryan and the way she changed the game.

Do think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

kristenford
Photo credit: Menelik Puryear

I was at SXSW recently, and it’s pretty appalling how few women there are onstage or working the technical aspects of the show. It’s not even a queer issue, it’s a women’s rights issue. And I do think there is a lot of external pressure for gay performers to be “pretty” and stereotypically femme in order to get ahead. I mean even Ellen has a makeup sponsorship. Long way to go- but that’s why we must fight for the kind of performers, clubs and scenes we want to have, until the mainstream is ready.

Are you in any other bands/performance acts?

Currently living out of a van and touring full time keeps me busy only playing my own stuff. But in the past I played drums in Tilt-A-Whirl and The Grooves Moons- you can find us on Spotify and iTunes.

What has been your proudest moment as a performer?

Hard to choose just one, so many great experiences. Last summer I played mainstage at National Women’s Music Festival, and that was pretty grand. To have this incredible (all woman) tech staff making us sound and look great, a huge stage to bound across and being given the space to be really appreciated as a rock star from the audience was huge and really fun.

What advice would you give to a queer woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Do it! Work hard and make friends with other people out there in Indy bands. I think too many people get caught up in being competitive, how many Facebook likes do you have and such, and come to my show blah blah blah, without going out to support other local acts, nurturing your own scene and giving as much as you hope to get.

Are there any other current or former bands/solo acts you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Bethel Steel, Laura Grill, What time is it Mr Fox, Jonny Blazes, Jade Sylvan and as a promoter, Kristen Porter.

Thanks for the interview!

I also would like to say I’m having a very gay show at Club Passim Sunday August 16th, with Bern & the Brights from NYC and What Time is it Mr Fox. You can get your tickets at http://clubpassim.org/

Call Me Doxy

Call Me Doxy is an angsty, feminist interpretation of classical motifs in a Cabaret coated, rock n’ roll context. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Call Me Doxy may be better described as the musical equivalent of an unlaced corset, or a cacophonously sultry orchestra of ne’er-do-wells. Prompted to action by misogynists everywhere, Call Me Doxy often explores (and dispels) the concepts of gender roles, sexuality, and empowerment with the combined musical forces of five unlikely partners in crime.

What brought you to Boston?

Initially, college. But good friends, good music, and the warmth of the Boston community have kept us (Call Me Doxy) here.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

Yes, to a certain extent. Most people in Boston are incredibly welcoming and tolerant. That being said, I don’t personally feel like I have enough of an awareness of/connection with other queer musicians. I would like that to change. Our band has been playing together for a little over a year at this point, but we rarely play shows with fellow members of the queer community. We would love to play a stronger role in advocating for the freedom to express sexuality and gender in less binary ways: it’s a huge part of why we make the music we make.

What made you decide to start performing?

We share the same ideals and the same message: people are people. All of us have been pigeon-holed at one time or another because of our gender or sexuality. All of us (regardless of whether or not we all identify as queer) want to advocate for social change, feminism, and a heightened awareness of the way bigotry has crept into cultural normalcy (and how to stop that.)  And it just so happens that all of us wanted to communicate this through classically influenced, cabaret-rock music.

What has been your proudest moment as a band?

Honestly, every moment we play together is the proudest moment. We rehearse twice a week, we play at least once a month, and yet the novelty of being able to share space with each other has yet to wear off. Just being in the same room as them makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s pretty gross.

What advice would you give to a queer woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Do it. If you have the slightest inkling to do it, DO IT.  Music should be music, regardless of your gender or sexuality. So do it. Worst case scenario, you’re learning something new. That’s a pretty innocuous worst case scenario.

In Thrust We Trust : Q&A With Thrust Club

Thrust Club is a four piece band hailing from Boston, which band member Sally Bunch describes as:

Thrust Club’s sound is a garage dance party where everyone is invited—a kick-drum that lifts you out of your seat, crunchy guitar chords under a layer of keys that’s sometimes smooth, sometimes ominous, and vocals that coo, scream, and everything in between, warning and complaining about but also celebrating the experience of being a woman. Thrust Club formed in February 2012 at Ladies Rock Camp, a 3-day fundraising event for Girls Rock Campaign Boston where women pick up instruments they have likely never played, form bands, write a song, and perform it live. After rocking the showcase at TT the Bear’s with “In Thrust We Trust,” singer Bethany Leavey, keyboardist Bonnie Joyce, drummer JC Climent, and guitarist Sally Bunch decided they were having too much fun to call it a weekend.

In spring 2012, they began practicing in a JP basement and pulled together a 5-song set to play at their first show, at the Middle East Upstairs in July 2012. Since then, Thrust Club has performed at Great Scott, the Midway, Milky Way, O’Brien’s, Precinct, and elsewhere, and in July 2013 released the EP Greetings from Mt. Thrustmore, available by download at http://thrustclub.bandcamp.com/. All members volunteer at GRCB’s summer sessions for Girls and Ladies Rock Camp, and believe in demonstrating and promoting girls’ and women’s to express themselves through music and other means.

The ladies answered some questions for us about Boston, queerness, women, and rock n’ roll.

What brought you to Boston?

Bethany: I was born and raised in the Boston suburbs and went to college at Northeastern University. With the exception of a short six-month stint in Chicago, I’ve never lived anywhere else. I’m what you’d call a lifer 🙂

Bonnie: My family moved to Ipswich when I was 16 and I bopped around throughout Massachusetts then finally moved to Jamaica Plain when I was 25. My brother’s girlfriend at the time had a room in her apartment that needed subletting, and I had a wad of cash in a tissue box rather than a bank account. I stuck around!

Sally: I came here in the 80s to attend BU and after graduation I made Boston my permanent home. I knew I wanted to attend college in a city, to be near cool radio stations, clubs, and bands, though I didn’t start venturing out to the Rat or TTs and other clubs until I was a senior.

JC: I moved here on a whim with my boyfriend 12 years ago for absolutely no reason other than we had a brief discussion one night where I said, “I’ve always wanted to live in Boston…” and he said, “me too…” and then we just did it! We move here in the middle of a blizzard in February 2003 with $500 savings, no job prospects and no friends here. I think we’ve done pretty well for ourselves.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

Bethany: Ladies Rock Camp Boston and Girls Rock Campaign Boston have introduced me to the HUGE number of queer women involved in the Boston music community! It seems like I hardly ever go to or play a show where there isn’t at least one queer woman on the bill.

Bonnie: Thrust Club has been living in a bubble of it for the past two years, so I’ll have to say yes, because it’s something we’ve gravitated towards. We’ve been mentored and supported so well by the Girls Rock Boston community. We’ve played exactly one show where there weren’t women in any of the other bands on the bill and I’d like to keep it that way.

Sally: I do, and feel part of this growing community of bands I go see and play on the bill with, including Fur Purse, Weather Weapon, Viva Gina, Sleep Crimes, Kitchenettes, etc.

JC: I hadn’t paid attention until I attended my first Ladies Rock Camp (LRC) in February of 2011 and met the most amazing group of women I have ever known! I have since done LRC twice more and now consider myself a retired camper. I still volunteer for LRC and Girls Rock Campaign Boston (GRCB), where I teach bass and coach bands.

at rock camp officialDo you have any sense of a history of a queer scene here or is the past a faded memory?

Bethany: Like Bonnie said, the queer scene wasn’t something I really knew a whole lot about until I became involved in GRCB/LRCB. I was aware of a handful of queer women in the folk and singer/songwriter scene, but I didn’t really have a sense of a queer presence in the Boston rock scene until the last few years.

Bonnie: I don’t have a sense of it, but I wasn’t so keenly paying attention until a couple years ago.

Sally: I don’t have a sense of it; there may have been stuff going on that I wasn’t aware of, particularly in the nineties and early 2000s when for various reasons I wasn’t paying attention

JC: There is definitely at least a mini queer scene happening here! Bands like Viva Gina and Unstraight are definitely holding it down.

What made you decide to join a band?

Bethany: I joined my first band in high school (Holla, LittleMatchGirl!) I’ve always felt like being in a band was an inevitability for me. I knew that I wanted to make music, but I didn’t know quite how to go about it. I was lucky enough to have a few friends who felt the same way, and we decided we’d figure this whole “writing music” thing out together. We were an all-girl band by default because none of the guys we knew wanted to play with us.

Bonnie: Man! For a while there I was going out to see bands play like every dang night. I knew I wanted to do it but I had this really limited view like all the people who were in bands probably started out when they were wicked young or were so much more talented than I could ever be or whatever. I was hanging around with Radio Control and Streight Angular a lot, both bands with lady drummers–Kristina Otero and Theresa Polk, and was really inspired by them. Kristina blew me away with this story about playing a show on a Brookline Community Access TV show after having only a very brief experience of playing drums. My memory is fuzzy but it was something like a few weeks or months. (NOTE: I have contacted her asking for details but it’s early on a Saturday morning so I haven’t yet heard back)

When I heard about Girls Rock Camp I had a reaction you hear about a lot of women having, like, “Ugh! I wish they’d had this when I was a kid and then I’d be living in this alternate reality where I’m in a band!” And then the next year they ran it for adult ladies but I was too shy to do it. I became friends with Charlotte, Stud, and Tam, who were involved as campers and counselors and they urged me to sign up. I’m so lucky Thrust Club wanted to stay together!

Sally: I had these opportunities through Ladies Rock Camp that I never thought I would have. I just thought I’d come away with some friends to see other bands with. But in 2011 two of my rock camp band mates invited me to join the band they were forming. And then the following year Thrust Club wanted to keep going, and though at the time I didn’t really think of myself as a guitarist in the long term, I’m glad we’re still at it.

JC: After my first LRC, I realized that I wanted to start a band but didn’t really know how or whom to ask. I was already in Adam PC, but I wanted my own thing too. When Thrust Club formed during my second LRC in 2012, I got extremely lucky to join a band where all the members were local, we were making music we were all into, and decided to keep going!

dolled up

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

Bethany: I would not be the vocalist that I am today without Monique Powell of Save Ferris and Beth Ditto of Gossip. Bif Naked, Gwen Stefani, and Carrie Brownstien taught me how to yelp and twist my voice and, of course, Kathleen Hannah showed me how to scream my head off.

In terms of songwriting, I really admire the poetic simplicity of Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, Kimya Dawson, The Moldy Peaches, The Mountain Goats and The Ramones.

The Ramones and Velvet Underground have served as a general inspiration for me – They didn’t have any special musical training, they just had instruments and a desire to make noise.

Bonnie: Like Sally, a lot of my longtime listening has been to dudes. Whatever, I’ll name them. I love Bruce Springsteen, Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, The Mountain Goats, The Magnetic Fields, The Kinks. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to make my keyboard to make sounds like The Doors made.

Since becoming a lady in a band I’ve become more lady-centric in my tastes. I’ve loved Tegan and Sara forever and I’m super enjoying this pop turn they’re taking these days. We can sound pretty Riot Grrrl but I’ve only started listening to a lot of those bands once we’d already begun doing it. We just like yelling, so that’s how it turned out. There’s a lot to yell about!

A lot of my idols are Boston women in bands who I’ve actually had the chance to interact with, and who over time have become my peers.

Sally: I must admit that most of the music I listened to when I was younger was created by dudes, with a few exceptions including Tina Weymouth, Chrissy Hynde, and of course Patti Smith. I guess I identify with Patti the most because she’s a writer who stumbled into playing music. Going back now and listening to some of the female bands like Sleater Kinney made me realize how they are influencing me know. And I have guitarist envy every time I see Marisa Paternoster play.

JC: When I was about 6 or 7, I wanted to sing like Debbie Gibson! But I’ve also been into Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, and Heart for as long as I can remember. Kathleen Hanna has been a huge influence on me ever since I discovered Bikini Kill around the age of 16. Kim Deal is my biggest bass inspiration and Janet Weiss is my biggest drum inspiration! And I’ve had a crush on Carrie Brownstein since high school.

roller derby

Do think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

Bethany: There are always barriers to overcome, I think, but it seems like things are getting better. There is definitely a growing queer female presence in the Boston music scene with performers going out and supporting each other.

Bonnie: I hope so, because it’s something that we’re actively trying to achieve. You’ve got to do a lot of good stuff to edge out the bad stuff. There’s nothing like a shopping trip for your gear to remind you that discrimination still exists, though.

Sally: I imagine they are, though I’ve only been at it for a couple of years and we’re in a progressive city and part of this amazing, supportive community.

JC: Things can ALWAYS get better for females and for queers everywhere! But I think as long as we have each other’s backs and continue to nurture and support our scene, shit is good.

Are you in any other bands?

Bethany: In addition to Thrust Club, I front Boston riot-doom band Sleep Crimes. I also have several ongoing side projects: The Sitcom Moms, my acoustic, punk rock, mashup cover band with my hetero lifemate (and former LittleMatchGirl bassist ) Eve Gravel, Das Oopsie, a ukulele duo with Rainy Logan of Eye Witness/Rotating Strawberry Madonna, and Muscleshucker, Sleep Crimes’ acoustic corporate events alter-ego.

Bonnie: Not right now, but I would be open to it. In 2013 I played bass in a second Ladies Rock Camp band, a hip hop band called Slam Juice. We had a mere 3 days of bliss and sort of tried to stay together after camp, but it didn’t happen. Ladies if you are reading this, know that I still love you and would jump at the chance to reunite.

Sally: Until last summer I played bass in another band, Seamstress, with two other women from my LRC band and another friend on accordion. We had a unique sound and I was proud of what we accomplished those two years we were active.

JC: I am also in Adam PC, where I play bass and some percussion, as well as do back-up vocals.

What has been your proudest moment as a member of a band?

Bethany: Oh my gosh, so many! I don’t think I could ever pick just one. My very first show with my very first band was huge for me. It sort of felt like we were pulling off this huge ruse, like “Oh my God, they actually think we’re a BAND?!?!?” Playing NYC on Thrust Club’s first band-iversary was so amazing. I was standing on stage thinking “…A year ago, we didn’t exist, and now we’re recording and EP and playing Brooklyn!” It is also the most amazing feeling to have people singing the words of your song back to you. I don’t think that will ever get old. AND HOW COULD I FORGET OPENING FOR JD SAMSON & MEN?!?!?!? That might be my biggest fangirl moment.

Bonnie: This is a really tough question, because there have been so many and I always feel so lucky to have them. Sorry, Tina, I can’t pick a single proudest moment so here’s a list. Playing our first show at the Middle East Upstairs was a huge honor. Being asked to open for JD Samson & MEN was another thrill, and I tip my hat to our drummer for having the guts to send them our music when they put out a call. JC is a promotional dynamo. Our first band practice after we got the news, we kicked things off with a group squeal. I was a nervous wreck at the show itself and could barely speak to JD Samson, but I’m proud I managed to eke out a thank you. Playing the TomTom/GRCB Lady Drummer showcase was certainly a highlight, and watching the video that was made at that show makes me so happy. I’m excited we’re booked to be a lunchtime band at Girls Rock Camp in July. Anytime we’re mentioned in print or on blogs, I’m like, “What?! This is happening?! Cool!”

Sally: I’d have to agree with JC about playing that show with JD Samson and Men is up there, as well as earlier that month playing at the Tom Tom/GRCB benefit. In addition, having our first post-LRCB gig at the Middle East, and pulling that together. I could go on…I guess the whole Thrust Club experience has been one proud moment.

JC: I think the biggest “holy shit!” moment for me was Thrust Club being asked to open for JD Samson & MEN for their Boston tour date at Great Scott. The proudest moment is every single second I spend with Thrust Club and being grateful/ astonished at how well the four of us work together.

men and thrust club

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Bethany: Do it. Just get out there and do it. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re good or bad or not sounding the way you want to. Get involved in GRCB/LRCB. You will meet so many inspiring women, even if you just come to an event. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, either.

Bonnie: You don’t have to lock yourself in a room until you’re perfect before you start performing. Just get out there. As for the people you form a band with, just go with your gut. Have patience with yourself when you’re struggling on the learning curve. If there is someone at a show you’d like to emulate, go up to them and talk to them. Most people in bands are just regular people and they’ll be friends with you. Blab nonstop about what you’re doing. Write to Thrust Club. We’d love to book a show with you.

Seek out spaces where you truly feel like anything goes. If you can swing it, get your butt to Ladies Rock Camp. It is both the most fun and the most empowering thing I’ve ever done. If you can’t afford it, volunteer for them. They still need volunteers for the Girls’ sessions in June and July. If that’s not possible, go to a GRCB-affiliated event and talk to everyone; we’re a friendly bunch. We got really advice at Rock Camp that I often think of to this day. One of Thrust Club’s band coaches, KJ Parish, was a taskmaster extraordinaire that weekend, and she said, “Being in a band is all about making decisions and moving on.” Just keep at it. Another bit that stuck with me is when Angela Sawyer of Weirdo Records told us something along the lines of, “It is your job as a musician to be as yourself as you can possibly be.” I think back to that one whenever I start to feel inadequate or like I ought to affect more of a persona or look better onstage.

Sally: I would say just go for it. Get involved with Girls Rock Campaign Boston to meet other female musicians and help inspire girls. If that’s not available, go see and support other bands and get to know them. And if there’s some little gremlin on your shoulder saying you’re not good enough at your instrument or you’re too old tell it to shut the fuck up.

JC: JUST GO FOR IT!!! Attend a rock camp session, meet some ladies, go to all the rock shows, meet some more ladies, practice your instrument, sing in the shower or in front of the mirror, and don’t ever be embarrassed or let anyone tell you that you can’t do something

at rock camp

Are there any other current or former bands you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Bethany: Well, Sleep Crimes DOES have the Improper Bostonian’s Most Eligible queer woman banging the skins 😉 Viva Gina is a fucking force of nature, I would like to see them featured everywhere.

Bonnie: Sleep Crimes. Haven’t you heard that their drummer Jasmine Hagans is the most eligible lesbian in Boston?!

Sally: Any of the above-mentioned bands who haven’t been featured. Also others we haven’t played with including Unstraight and Wet Dress.

JC: Definitely loved the features on Fur Purse and Shepherdess.

Q & A with Reba of the Kitschenettes

reba
Reba

The Kitschenettes are a 4 piece, “quiet grrrl” band based in Somerville and Jamaica Plain. All four band members are long-time volunteers for Girls Rock Camp Boston and all have been active in the Boston music scene for many years. Band member, Reba Mitchell, was kind enough to answer some questions about Boston and queerness for us.

scene? Has it changed over time?

RebaI’m not really sure how to identify the queer music scene. I mean, I know a lot of local musicians who identify as queer, but I’m hesitant to slap that label on their bands because of it. I’m also not super in touch with local music. I am, however, in touch with cable tv, snacks, and going to bed early on weekends. Is there a Queer Women in Pajamas blog?

What brought you to Boston? Are you local?

RebaI came to Boston because New Hampshire is terrible. Kathleen went to school in Boston, and she is from New York. Ashley is from the area. Slamber has lived in California and Texas, but has been in Boston for some time.

Artists inspired you personally or musically?

RebaWhen I was 15 or so, I was fortunate to have been introduced to a lot of riot grrl/queercore bands. The Internet had a lot to do with that– I was really into Lookout! Records and pop-punk stuff, and somehow that lead me to riot grrl chat rooms on AOL. I met a lot of people that way– some of whom are still my best friends. I was hugely influenced by Team Dresch, The Third Sex, Helium, Bikini Kill, Excuse 17… but at the same time I was also listening to like, Steely Dan. So I can’t pretend that I was ever really that cool.

What do you want people to remember about your band in the years to come?

RebaWe all met as volunteers for Girls Rock Campaign Boston, which –I think it’s safe to say– has inspired all of us to play music. Personally, I had a few years where I stopped playing music… for stupid insecurity reasons. Playing music with Slamber, Ashley, and Kathleen has allowed me to relax a little bit and just have fun. For once I’m not thinking about how I look on stage, or if the audience is dancing or not, or if the audience even exists in the first place. It’s just fun. I hope that people pick up on that and are inspired to start a band of their own, the way that GRCB bands have inspired us.

Why did you join a band and what instruments do you play?

RebaAfter a session of Ladies Rock Camp (a GRCB fund-raiser) had ended, I found myself inspired but also kind of restless. I saw a lot of talent and was given this new energy during Camp, and I wanted to keep it going. So we (our original drummer: Tanya Palit, Ashley, Kathleen, and I) just got together and played some cover songs one evening. We didn’t have any expectations other than to challenge ourselves and maybe build some new friendships. Tanya (<3) had to step away from drums to focus on some other projects, so Slamber joined us just after our first show.

We rotate vocals and instruments in the band. Ashley, Slamber, and I move between guitar/bass/drums– for selfish reasons… so we don’t get bored. Kathleen keeps anchor on keys because she is better at it than any of us. I’ve learned a ton from watching Slamber play drums and guitar. And Ashley is always encouraging us to move around and loosen up on stage. Kathleen has pipes like woah. It’s great to be able to try new things and learn from each other.

female members we should know about?

RebaI’m hesitant to pigeon hole anyone if they don’t feel comfortable with the label. I guess I’d just encourage people to support women in music in general… or just support women in general… and we’ll all benefit from it either way.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Cuisine en Locale on Highland Ave in Somerville.