Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All-Female Is Not A Genre

I came home from a two week tour a few days ago and went to my parents house to relax before heading back to NYC. They live near the water and are pleasant people so it's a pretty ideal environment. My parents like to keep up with my band and the situations we get ourselves into so they kept an eye on what was happening at South by Southwest. Nearly immediately upon my arrival my father wanted to know what i thought about the Prettiots. I don't really have an opinion - they are a cute folk pop band that is pretty twee with an almost musical theater quality but with biting lyrics. The conversation continued into dinner though - the Prettiots were everywhere at SXSW and my father thought it was definitely a talking point for the festival and had a lot to do with my band considering they were ---- all-female. In fact, yes i've heard a lot about them, my other two band members even brought them up when we were leaving Austin - almost in disdain. Not because they are a poor band (they're not), but because we are easily being lumped into the same category as them, when in reality, we have nothing to do with them. And here's the truth we came to : All-female band is not a genre.

We were recently put on Billboard's Best All-female Band list excellently compiled by Maria Sherman. We were very grateful for being included, especially along side bands such as Sleater-Kinney, The Coathangers, Pussy Riot, Dum Dum Girls and all the others - but i couldn't help feeling that i couldn't wait for the day when the title "all-female band" became redundant. Granted, I recognize the need for these bands to be grouped together right now. All female acts are still underrepresented in music and there is currently a rennaissance like uprising and demand that seems to be coming into place like never before. It's fantastic and a huge breath of fresh air. However, even thinking back to Riot Grrl, which I hold on a tier next to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the suffragists in its influence on females in music, I still can't help but point out that, arguably, Le Tigre was electro punk, Babes In Toyland was grunge, Bikini Kill was pop punk, etc. Riot Grrl was a moniker and an absolutely gutsy and brave statement for an ART MOVEMENT that was completely necessary at the time. To be honest with you though, my direct influences for the band i'm in are more along the lines of The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Spacemen 3, Can, and Les Rallizes Denudes. I feel that my project, if categorized at all, belongs somewhere along that lineage. Noticeably absent are female acts, and i reiterate -- that's why there is a demand for these bands right now. Our history is nearly void of female music. There is no room left for the boy's club mentality - and yes, ask any female act around that comes from underground culture and they will tell you it still exists.

  I can speak for my band when i say that we support all women in music and maybe more so the all female projects out there because we know from six plus years of experience how difficult and how long it takes to be taken seriously (we're not even there yet). We admire completely the work of Savages, who in their gothic post punk glow give the best live performance I have personally ever seen; Dark Sister, an up and coming southern rap duo who are fierce in radical verse and gorgeous beats; Teen, a mind blowing emotional force, feeding straight up Lou Reed-like zeal and Bowie-like music detail ; Palberta, math rock meets no-wave in chaotic ordered execution. These bands are incredible, but the only thing they all have in common aside from making quality, maybe even thought provoking, emotionally expansive music -is that they all have vaginas and can maybe each grow a baby in their bellies some day.
   I am writing this in hopes that we can further along the process of seeing past the gender binary and come to the realization that all-female, all-male and mixed gender bands are all on the same playing field. I write this in hopes that little girls will be encouraged and inspired to make music with other little girls (and anyone for that matter) let alone be inspired to make rock and roll music themselves in the first place.That they can make music on their own terms without being marginalized.
      In general, the gender binary has to die. There is no need to separate men from women in ANY profession anymore.


-Amanda Salane

Ps.  ADVAETA has decided to not break up this year. Instead we are getting married in a giant homo polygamous ceremony. 

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