Category: Interviews

August 8th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Rebecca Jones

Photo by Nate Lemuel.

            We first heard about Weedrat last year. It is one of many bands started by Rebecca Jones. Jones is a musician, teacher and activist. She is Native American, Navajo to be exact. Her new band Nizhoni Girls will be at this year’s Titwrench Festival. We are honored to be able to feature her. For info visit &
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
RJ: We usually have stuff that we work on at home and bring it to practice. From there, we work together to make it a song.
FEMMUSIC What is your vision of Nizhoni Girls vs your other projects? Tell me how the band came together?
RJ: Our vision for Nizhoni Girls is to bring representation to Indigenous folx so that they can start femme bands too! My other indigenous project is Weedrat and this band is my loud in your face punk band. I’ve always wanted to be in a punk band and Weedrat has really helped me develop my guitar and singing skills, also the dudes that i play with are very good musicians. The first band that I played in and still apart of is Litter Brain. It consist of 5 womx, and our genre is bratty-hardcore punk. Litter Brain helped me with my confidence and self esteem that doesn’t always come easy when playing in front of folx. My last band is Cat Teeth, and this band is my jam band, I’m in it with two other womxn who are in other awesome bands as well. Cat Teeth is fun, and I can really get creative with the other womxn in that band.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges did you face making all women Native American bands?
RJ: We haven’t had any challenges yet, and have received a lot of support. We’re still quite a new band and haven’t played very much shows. Personally, being a WoC in a band, I have experienced a lot of microaggression with non PoC and PoC as well. The scene is very much still run by hetero patriarchal folx and spaces are still predominately white. That’s why I feel it’s important to have representation for other POC folx, so that they can start bands and fuck up more shit!
FEMMUSIC: You recently had the Adszaa Warriors Festival. What motivated you to put it together? What was the biggest challenge with it? For info visit
RJ: Yes, the fest was in June and it was very successful. We were motivated by not seeing enough representation around Native womxn and the LGBTQ2+ community. We wanted to have a fest where we could empower our womxn and youth in the community, so that they could also start bands.
FEMMUSIC: I see you are involved in teaching music. How important to you in teaching young women about music and the arts? Why?
RJ: I did do a music workshop with my other band Weedrat. It was in Window Rock, AZ at the Navajo Nation Museum. We were in charge of handling the little kids and it was so much fun! I got to show the kids how to hold a guitar and how to strum. They really caught on and enjoyed playing. Weedrat got to play a set in front of the youth and I had one little girl come up to me and she said “I didn’t know you’re a rockstar. Is it ok if I sit by you?” She was so proud to sit next to me. I told her to keep up the music and she could become a rockstar too.
FEMMUSIC: What resources that are unique to your community have benefited you as an artist?
RJ: I do a lot of work with community organizations, so if I’m part of a planning committee for an event, I can usually help with the music portion. I do Sexual Health Education with Planned Parenthood, so I am definitely involved with a lot local community orgs.
 FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated againt?
RJ: Yes, definitely, especially as a WOC. I get mansplained to a lot and told I’m pretty cool for a girl. When I was playing a benefit show, I remember a dude coming up to me and and started messing with my pedal settings while I was in the middle of playing a song. I stopped and told him to stop, he said he knew what he was doing because he was a sound technician. As far as being a WOC, some people will avoid talking to me and talk to my other non-PoC band mates. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m glad I have amazing band mates who are great allies and comrades.
FEMMUSIC: If you could collaborate with, or tour with anybody, whom would it be & why?
RJ: I think it would be rad to tour with Downtown Boys because they are folx of color and they sing about all the things I care about, social justice!
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
RJ: Don’t be a sell out or a poser.

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August 7th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
charlotte kemp
            Charlotte Kemp Muhl is a rare artist who is skilled in many disciplines and active in all of them. She is a model, director and multi-instrumentalists. She is most well known for being part of Sean Lennon’s band Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger (GOASTT). She is part of Kemp & Eden. Recently she started Uni with David Strange and Nico Fuzz. The new band adds glam rock to insightful and humorous lyrics characterized by their lead single “What’s The Problem.” The band will be releasing an EP on Chimera Records later this year. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: You’ve worked with David Strange before. What made you decide to make Uni a permanent band?
CKM: I produced/arranged a solo album for David after hiring him to play guitar in my folk project, as a kind of barter system. We had so much fun that we started a side project called Uni, which recently turned into our main project because we wrote so many songs and it felt like it had a lot of potential.
FEMMUSIC: What was the vision of the band in style and music?
CKM: We were listening to a lot of Ziggy Stardust, T Rex, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Beastie Boys and The Kinks at the time, so there’s a lot of 70’s glam influences with rock/prog riffs and sometimes a 90’s flavor.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting process?
CKM: I write most of the music and riffs while David writes a lot of the lyrics. Nico came into the picture later but he played a lot of cool overdubs and wrote great harmonies. We love music gear so sometimes we’ll get inspired to write a new song when we get a new guitar or tape delay.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Uni EP?
CKM: Finding the right front man was a big thing. It was a miracle meeting Nico when we did! We quickly became an Adam’s family of sorts. Another challenge was figuring out how to modernize the classic sounds we love. We experimented with Nico playing electronic drums over the real ones, and sometimes using analog Moog synth bass in lieu of real bass.
FEMMUSIC: What are your own goals with Uni?
CKM: The idea was to have a pop project, but my idea of pop is verrry odd. Guess I’m really out of touch with the current pop charts of EDM music. I still think Ziggy is pop.
FEMMUSIC: You’ve worked with GOASTT and Kemp & Eden. What differences does Unihave in comparison? Any similarities?
CKM: Every group of people have a different chemistry and bring out different aspects in each other. Eden brought out the romantic Victorian quality in my songwriting and production. Sean and I were obsessed with 60’s psychedelia for the Goastt. Uni was more inspired by the early 70’s and our love of vintage gear.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the “What’s The Problem?” video? Does the final product match your vision for it, and the band’s?
CKM: It was our first video so my concept was to do it very cheaply in a tiny studio. Was inspired by Diane Arbus and Toilet Paper magazine. I shot it on 16 mill film so we only had 1 or 2 takes for everything. Was so fun bringing in all the different characters! Of course some of the vignettes were pretty scandalous and bizarre, so there were moments we would be duct taping up a naked girl and looking at each other like, we hope people see the comedy in this!!
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
CKM: Eh, there will always be a set of stigmas and challenges every group of people have to deal with. People can be condescending to me as a woman occasionally but I never feel like a victim. It just motivates me to beat them.
FEMMUSIC: If you could tour with, or collaborate with anyone, whom would it be and why?
CKM: My friends? I only like to tour with people who make me laugh. But I’d love to collaborate with so many people- mostly in the classical world. Writing for orchestra is my dream!
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
CKM: Everything!! It’s awful. So vapid and corporate. Kids need to be reeducated about what good music is, and its deeper function in culture to make people think/be uncomfortable, challenge status quo, and offer catharsis.

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July 31st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Hotel Sex – Augusta Wise
                    Sometimes the way to make the biggest splash is to break outside the barrier of limits. Hotel Sex does just that with their video “Explode.” The song itself is power pop with a great hook.  The video, directed by Rich Ragsdale pushes limits. It reminds us of Lady Gaga, Garbage, and P.J. Harvey. The band is made up of Augusta Wise and Linus Dotson. For more info visit

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
AW: For “Explode,” Linus wrote the music and basic melody first.  We had an idea of what we wanted it to sound like, and he created the track.  From there, I wrote the lyrics and we both tweaked them.  I went to school for creative writing, so I have a background in poetry and fiction writing.  It was super fun to take my style of writing and twist it, mold it, play with it and write lyrics.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Hotel Sex. How did you and Linus Dotson meet? What made you decide to make the band?
AW: We actually met a little over four years ago.  I was working at a bar in Dallas.  He was visiting Texas to work with and produce a band, and the guys in the band took him to the bar I happened to be working at.  Our connection was electric and immediate, and within a month I’d moved out to LA and we were living together.  We got married last year.  Hotel Sex was born out of our mutual desire to create something together.  Linus has been in the music industry as a producer/artist for many years, and I’ve been singing and dreaming up visual art ever since I was young, so it really just felt like a natural progression for us to start this crazy project.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making “Explode?” The song itself, not the video.
AW: For me, the biggest challenge was taking my writing style and experience and turning it to lyric writing.  Writing lyrics is so different than writing a poem or a short story.  You have to make a point/tell a story/create imagery in fewer words, and that was a little bit difficult for me.
You need to have maximum impact in a short amount of space.  It was a challenge in the best way though, and one I really enjoyed!
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the “Explode” video?
AW: The biggest challenge with the video was probably just making everything happen on a budget.  We had some pretty ambitious ideas and visuals that we wanted to achieve, and figuring out how to do that in an affordable way was definitely not easy.  But we made it happen, thanks to an amazing team of people and our network of incredible friends.
FEMMUSIC: How did you meet Rich Ragsdale? How did he become the director of the video?
AW: We met Rich when a mutual friend recommended him to us.  We watched some of his music videos and immediately knew he was the perfect fit.  We met up with him a week or so later to discuss our ideas, and everything just fell into place.  I knew from the second we started talking about all the crazy, creepy, cute visuals we could create, that he had to be the director.  We were so lucky to meet him – he’s an incredible artist and human.
FEMMUSIC: The video is a visual feast. Tell me about pre-production. How did you make the characters and the storyline?
AW: I knew from the outset that I wanted the video to be equal parts creepy and enticing.  I love the juxtaposition of cute with evil, and innocence with sexiness.  I also knew that I wanted the video to be super colorful – lots of pastels and bright imagery.  We wanted to create a kaleidoscopic, candy-coated sex dream.  Rich and I spent a lot of time exchanging shot ideas and concepts, and ultimately came up with all the crazy images you see in the finished video.  Breakfast cereal, lots of pentagrams, rainbow penis pops, all that good stuff.  As far as storyline goes, we came up with the idea of having a miniature me flipping through the TV channels of her older self…but in a twisted, wacky, fantasy world.  Rich came up with the concept of taking something innocent – like watching Saturday morning cartoons – and delving into the dark side of the childhood id.  I think it all came together in a visually shocking – but fun and kitschy – way.
FEMMUSIC: What’s next for Hotel Sex? What are your goals for the band?
AW: Right now we’re working on writing new songs, and we’re about to start filming a second video.  The goal is to start playing shows as soon as possible!
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
AW: I feel like I’ve been lucky so far.  The saddest thing I’ve noticed is that the majority of Internet hate I’ve received thus far has been from women accusing me of being a “slut.”  I don’t take that as an insult personally – I’m very, very open about my sexuality and am not shy when it comes to my body.  You can call me a slut, I’ve embraced that word whole-heartedly.  But it does suck when women try to tear other women down.  Thankfully most everyone has been super supportive, and I’ve received kind words from so many amazing women.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with?
AW: If I could tour or collaborate with anyone, I’d have to say Grimes.  She seems so cool and quirky, and I’m such a fan of her music and visuals.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
AW: We’d like to see songwriters and artists get compensated a little more fairly for our work.     

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July 28th, 2017
Juanita Stein
by Alex Teitz
Howling Bells had 4 albums between 2005 and 2014  and attracted international attention. Formed by siblings Juanita and Joel Stein, they had a country goth flavor. Their last album was Heartstrings in 2014.
Now Juanita Stein is releasing her solo album America on Nude Records. America is inspired by the darker heart of America found in depression era photos, to the music of Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline mixed with idealism of the 50’s. In making this album, Stein worked with Gus Seyffert who recently worked with Haim and Michelle Branch on their albums. FEMMUSIC was honored to interview Stein. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
JS: Sporadic, highly inspirational. I’ve never approached song writing with a work horse mentality. I need to be struck with a melody or lyrical idea to carve something out.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making America?
JS: I suppose distinguishing myself and my music from the band I was in for so long. Finding my own voice.
FEMMUSIC: Were there any experiences that stood out in the studio making the album?
JS: Being in the vocal booth and doing that first vocal take of Cold Comfort, hearing the sublime country stylings of guitar legend Smokey Hormel. That felt pretty special, like i was doing something I’d truly always dreamed of doing. Listening back to Black Winds for the first time stands out to me, it gave me goosebumps!
FEMMUSIC: Why did you choose Gus Seyffert as producer? How did you meet? How was he to work with?
JS: We were connected through mutual friends. He’s a wonderful musician, his playing is sensitive and intuitive and he was completely locked into the type of record and sound I wanted/needed to make.
FEMMUSIC: Why did you sign with Nude Records for this release?
JS: Nude were completely committed to the record from day 1. I feel like they get what kind of artist I am and want to be and that counts for everything.
FEMMUSIC: I love the theme of the album, an America not as the ideal, but the grittier, shadier side. I was curious about how this came about in pre-production, and how you came to that vision as a non native.
JS: Honestly, it was not something I’d planned conceptually, the coming together of the album was entirely organic. It was only afterwards that I came to realize that every song on some level was directly inspired by American culture.
FEMMUSIC: How was the approach to doing this album different from a Howling Bells album?
JS: I mean, naturally, creating something independently is very different than doing so with a group. In equal parts it is liberating and frightening. So from that perspective, I had to approach things very differently. Straight off the bat, it’s the first record I made where I didn’t know the musicians playing on the record before hand (bar a couple) so that already makes for a different experience. Also, I tried to approach the vocals in a different way, perhaps treat the songs with a little more sensitivity.
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with?
JS: I recently played a festival at Hyde Park along with Tom petty and Stevie Nicks, so that’s a dream team right there!
Otherwise, I think it’d be amazing to play/write with AIR, Mac DeMarco or a film composer like Yann Tiersen or Gabriel Yared. I’m a sucker for French music all round.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
JS: I mean, in small doses. When I was younger there was definitely that “can i help you little girl?” thing that definitely does not happen to guys.
It’s assumed you need assistance in every possible situation. I’ve had to tell a few dudes where to go. But otherwise, it’s been OK. I think if you assert yourself from the get go it makes things easier. But heck, ain’t that how it goes in every Goddam industry.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
JS: We’ve arrived at a place where musicians are at the bottom of the food chain. The last to get paid, the first to be exploited. Especially if you’re attempting to establish any kind of notoriety in the start. If I could change one thing it would be that there were stronger guidelines in place for how much music you could exploit without the artist getting paid. There’s only so much you can prostitute yourself without any return!

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June 12th, 2017
By Alex Teitz
 The Velveteers
            One of the innovative new bands to come along in the Denver scene is The Velveteers. This 2 piece is comprised of Demi & Jack Demitro. Their music is heavy rock in the vein of AC/DC and Sleigh Bells. Last year they toured the UK with Deap Vally. They are now working on their first EP.  Look for them at the Denver Deluxe Festival on June 17 and at this year’s Westword Music Showcase on Saturday June 24. For info visit & &
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
DD: I don’t think I have a technique. It’s just kinda something I do and
every single time it’s different. The most important thing is liking
what you do, and I’m lucky because I absolutely love writing music. I
usually keep a general rule of thumb; If a song can’t move me, its not
gonna move anybody else.
FEMMUSIC: I understand you’re recording now. Will this be an EP or full
album? What has been the biggest challenge so far?
DD:It’s gonna be an EP. We can’t wait to release it. There hasn’t been
any challenges, its been smooth sailing.
FEMMUSIC: Are you using a producer for this project? How did you find them?
DD: On NYE we got to open for one of my favorite bands, Rose Hill Drive.
Daniel Sproul (guitarist of RHD) ended up really liking our set, which
was like the biggest complement ever. The next day Daniel reached out
and said he really wanted to work with us and produce us if we’d be
into it… one thing led to another. Daniel just gets us, and I think
it’s a perfect fit. I’m not really into working with producers because
I always have a pretty clear idea about what I want…But when you get
the opportunity to work with one of your biggest heroes, its a no-
FEMMUSIC: Last year you toured England with Deap Vally. How did that tour come about?
DD: We played our 3rd show ever with Deap Vally at Larimer Lounge. They
ended up digging us and reached out to do more stuff. We stayed in
touch and I sent them a couple of demos, which then led them to
inviting us on tour. When I first stared playing guitar one of the
first songs I learned was a Deap Vally song… I remember we were just
honored to open for them at Larimer Lounge let alone think they’d want
to work with us or tour. The whole experience came full circle was
super surreal.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge touring the UK? What do you wish you
knew before the tour, that you learned during it?
DD: I think in general it was just scary and exciting. It was our first
tour, ever. Not to mention both of our first times leaving the USA. We
were super lucky to be surrounded by so many awesome crew members not
to mention the people are in the UK are really into heavy music too,
so every show was crazy and the audiences were great. I think one of
the biggest challenges was the time change. The first few days we were
so messed up, It really took its tole… especially when we started
playing shows. We we got back to the USA I probably slept for 5 days
 The Velveteers
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
DD: Yes. One thing I get a lot is ” Wow, I can’t believe you are a girl
and know how to play the guitar”. I think also the fact that I’m young
and a female makes people think I’m naive. Its funny to see peoples
assumptions because they are usually way off.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with?
DD: Queens of the Stone Age.
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
DD : What really bothers me is when it starts becoming more about the money
than the music. We play music because its fun and that’s where our
hearts are. We will never be playing music for any other reason than
that. I know other people including myself who have been taken
advantage of by people who just want money and to screw you over…
Especially when people think you are naive cause you are young. You
just have to be really careful. The business side just depresses me,
but its an important side of being a musician that you have to be
aware of.

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June 8th, 2017
By Alex Teitz
Jack River
            Holly Rankin is a Sydney artist who performs under the name Jack River. Last year she released her first EP Highway Songs No. 2. She has a psychedelic tint to her music. We interviewed her earlier this year about both her EP and the Sydney music scene. She recently announced an all women tour called Electric Lady. In order to properly preview that, we are finally publishing the interview. For info visit &
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
HR: I have written almost everyday since I was 12, words and thoughts and dreams. Loads of melodies flow in and out of my head and I’ve learnt to record the ones that stick around, but usually a song is just born instantly from an overwhelming feeling.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Highway Songs No 2?
HR: Probably the waiting to get it out into the world, it is full of songs that were tempered through some really challenging times in my life & to release them is to release those times & to get to stand back and let them wander through the world.
FEMMUSIC: I see you worked with both John Castle & Xavier Dunn but Highway Songs No 2 was both mixed and produced by you. What were the challenges in doing that? Why did you choose to do it that way?
HR: In the beginning worked with John and Xavier separately on different tracks on the EP then took them between the two producers seeking their expertise on each track. John is brilliant at recording live instruments and Xav is an electronic genius, I am the overseer / vision kid /writer & it felt nice to keep control of the project in the space between these two amazing producers. I directed the overall production of each track, and layed down each idea and mix note then took the tracks home, mulled on them, recorded more & mixed the songs with Ben Allen, John and Xav.
jack river - highway songs
FEMMUSIC: Why did you sign with I Oh You? What benefits do you have signing with a label?
HR: I Oh You are my favourite label in Australia and are continually releasing records that feel real and like they haven’t been tampered with. In 2017 that’s a big call (not bending your artists toward a more commercial vein) so when Johann said he loved the tracks it was very obvious to me which label I should sign with. I have a pretty complete vision of Jack River & Johann and his team are totally supportive of that – def made the right decision. The benefits of having a label differ from label to label – but for me it’s having a team that cover production and distribution costs, publicity, creative knowledge and readymade credibility & an advance on future recorded music earnings to cover recording costs. On another level it’s just really rad to have a team that is wholly invested in what you do.
FEMMUSIC: What effect have Sydney’s Lock Out Laws had on the music scene?
HR: The lock our laws have caused the closure of so many of Sydney’s venues of all sizes. Its having negative effect on the creativity of what should be one the worlds best cities. Its becoming harder and harder for new bands to practice their craft. It can only have a negative effect on all parts of the industry if the lockouts continue the way they are.
FEMMUSIC: I see there was a compromise recently to extend the closings until 2am. Does this make a difference? What additional changes need to be made?
HR: I think that the lock out laws suck in general. The nannying of a city can never result in it flourishing culturally. CultUral and economic freedom shouldn’t be a challenge in a progressive city like Sydney. It makes for a venue culture of ‘let’s not even try..’. I spend a fair bit of time in NY where thousands of musicians have a job every night & hundreds of venues benefit from it. The face of the problem might be music but the reality is economy – the laws effect thousands of small business, it is no way to progress a modern city.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
HR: That’s a tough question as I think you’re only effected by it if you take it on and believe that it’s ok. Women are instantly sexualised in the entertainment industry, that annoys me, but also forces me to wanna boss that aspect of my self and career. On a business level, it’s a total boys club but that is changing rapidly. Girls communicate and do business differently, so the more girls in the music industry, the less we will have warped treatment and views of women.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with?
HR: I think Sia is a bloody amazing Australian woman. I look up to her badass spirit and how she broke from straya and killed it overseas. It would be pretty rad to collab with Sia on a song.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
HR: Everything. Over the coming years I think we will see the artist take back legal power in recording and publishing realms & the centralisation of all the parts of the machine that take pieces of the artists pie.

Thank you.

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June 7th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Jade McInally
Melbourne four piece Jade Imagine released their EP What the Fuck Was I Thinking in April on Courtney Barnett’s Milk! Records. The band is led by Jade McInally, who previously performed as Tantrums. McInally has also performed with Teeth and Tongue. She recorded many of the songs with Dave Mudie, drummer for Courtney Barnett.
Jade Imagine has not toured the US. We are looking forward to her following in Barnett’s footsteps in taking over the world.  We are pleased to present this interview with McInally. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
JM: There’s no real ‘method’ to my madness, although I have noticed a loose pattern developing lately…Usually it begins with me going for a walk, or doing something kinda monotonous (doing the dishes, riding my bike, showering, etc) and that’s about the time when a melody or a lyric or a rhythm starts working its way into my brain… next thing, I’m humming it. That’s when I’ll usually reach for whichever instrument feels appropriate, or my phone to record it. By that stage sometimes I have all the parts for bass, drums, and vocal harmonies in my brain and I have to work pretty quickly to catch it all! Very disruptive, this musical beast!
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making What the Fuck Was I Thinking?
JM: Having blind faith in the process and trusting that all the pieces will come together the way they should.
FEMMUSIC: It sounds like Dave Mudie became your producer by fate. How was it working with him?
JM Yes, well he produced a few of the tracks; Stay Awake and Esteem, and then did a bit of other stuff here and there (overdubs, guest percussion, piano, etc)… working with him was effortless, fun, intuitive and quick. He has a great flow and we got so much done in such a small amount of time. It was a very fortuitous thing that we met and that he was free and keen to collaborate!
The other producer I worked with was Tim Harvey (he produced Walkin’ Around, Tell Her She’s Dreamin’, God Is A Crown and You & I). He was really there for me throughout the entire process. A lot of the vibe of the EP is his production and playing!
FEMMUSIC: Given you were working with Mudie, signing to Milk! Records was not a stretch. What made you sign with them? What benefits do you see in signing with a label?
JM: I would only ever work with people who I trust and believe in. Working Milk! Records was a no brainer. Jen and Courtney are extremely talented, driven, intelligent and plus they’re powerful women – who wouldn’t want to work with such inspiring role models?!
To be honest I didn’t expect to release my record with any label, but when this opportunity came up I thought that I would definitely be mad to turn it down.
Working with labels isn’t for everybody – I would always assess it on a case-by-case basis!
FEMMUSIC: How do you think your own music and vision has changed since the Tantrums?
JM: I (like to) think that I have a more refined and direct creative vision. Tantrums was a steep learning curve and I think that it was important to learn some of those lessons early on in my music career.
My own music now feels more true to who I am and the music I want to make now. But that’s not to say that I wasn’t diggin’ Tantrums when I was in that band!! Just a different time and a different place… It’s good to be open to change when you’re an artist. That’s how you grow and learn and make killer art.
FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned that you wish you knew earlier?
JM: The most incredible song can start with just one line, one melody. But you’ve got to believe in that little seed of an idea otherwise you wont give it the chance to grow and be an awesome song (Sorry, so corny)!!
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
JM: Look, I think that I probably have. I know that I have been talked down to, treated as though I’m stupid, been ignored, been objectified… which, in the moment, is a horrible and angering feeling! But I also have been embraced, applauded, listened to and celebrated and I strongly believe that there are just downright dickheads out there who treat all people in a horrible way. I genuinely don’t think that me being a woman really changes anything. I like to see all people as equals. Gender issues and peoples senses of sexual-identity are becoming so fluid, broad and diverse that I really just think the best way to approach day to day life is to embrace and accept our humanity, above all else.
Jade McInally
FEMMUSIC: What’s one thing would you change about the music industry?
JM: Well for one, I would like to see the Australian Government demonstrating a higher appreciation and recognition of what the arts does for this country and for the world – and to support it more, financially.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with, and why?
JM: I would really love to tour and/or collaborate with Ty Segall. I really love his musical ideas – I have for years – and the one time I saw him live was such a killer performance. Seeing that for a whole tour would be a dream come true!
I would also love to collaborate with St Vincent… mainly just to see how she gets those EPIC guitar sounds. Haha.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

May 31st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
 Kayla Marque
There are few times when misfortune makes an artist stick out. Last year at Denver’s Westword Music Showcase a venue suffered a power outage. Some artists tried to continue normally and failed. A few used the opportunity to stand out. Kayla Marque caught our attention in an unamplified set that was majestic in power.
Since then she has released her debut album Live and Die Like This. Her music is a cross of R & B and alternative with emotional performance. . She is playing at the Capitol Hill Peoples Fair this weekend. For info visit &
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
KM: My technique has changed over the years, especially since adding guitar, I used to only write on piano.  Now-a-days, I keep a small journal with me at all times and I write down anything that strikes me.  Some pages only have one or two words, or just a phrase…then I sit down with these writings at the piano or guitar and just kind of play with them. figure out the tone, the mood the color…  Before they were more concrete ideas, but my writing seems to follow my identity (or where I am in life) and right now I am sort of lost so not having a definite direction is where I am at.  This process is always changing…and evolving I hope.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Live and Die Like This?
KM: The hardest thing was being patient.  This was my first solo project and my first time really being in the studio as much as I had to be. (I hated the studio, live performance is definitely more comfortable for me.) Going into the project I thought it was going to be done within a matter of months, and it took a couple years.  I didn’t realize it was going to take a considerable amount of time to create a sound that was unique to me.  I eventually learned that it could not be rushed and to be patient with the process.  I couldn’t be more proud of the Album!
FEMMUSIC: How did you meet Been Stellar & Sur Ellz? What made you decide to have them produce Live and Die Like This?
KM: I’d met them years ago, both through Jon Shockness and Air Dubai.  We became friends first…when Air Dubai ended Lawrence (Stellar) started producing, he first did Khalil’s Album ‘Magic’
It was kind of a no brainer, they are both genius…Khalil probably knows my music and writing style better than anyone, and Lawrence knows how to create practically any sound.  Put these two together and I had a dream team! And you know what, I am blessed, I didn’t really have to “decide” it was Lawrence’s idea to take the project on, I would have been a fool to say no.

Kayla Marque
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
KM: I think I am discriminated on all the time because I am a woman.  I haven’t experienced any really heavy situations, but I’ve had plenty of minor ones, which I just find to be more of an annoyance than anything.  Last year, I played divide music festival in Winter Park, my team and I were hanging out at the hotel pool just having some fun, I went back to my room to grab something, and in the elevator there were a group of guys…they started talking to me about the festival because they saw that I had the “Artist Badge” on, so the asks “oh which artist do you work for?”  I asked why he asked that and he points at the badge and repeats himself…I tell him I am the artist and he literally says ” wow, I thought you were like some bad ass personal assistant.” So, yeah.  A lot of times I am the only woman on a lineup and I am still mistaken for the ‘Secretary’ 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
KM: Can I only choose one thing, because I can probably think of a few! I’d like the lifestyle to be more healthy.  Physical health and mental health.  There has always been that lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, I have experienced some of that lifestyle first hand and what starts out as fun can quickly become dangerous.  I’m not sure if that lifestyle will ever play itself out in this industry, but it is something I have changed for myself personally.  Just self care in general, we as human beings and artists have so much to offer the world, and we should give ourselves the chance to be alive and well to do it!
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with, and why?
KM: I’d love to tour with my friends, it is something we’ve talked about for a while now. A small tour with Sur Ellz and Kid Astronaut would be magical! As far as people I don’t know, music acts that have strong lead women like Alabama Shakes, Banks, FKA Twigs…just to name a few. 
FEMMUSIC:  What have you learned now, that you wish you knew earlier? 
KM: Gosh, I have learned so much already and I still feel like I know nothing lol.  But one thing that I’ve learned that sticks with me, is that I am going to change a lot and that is ok.  I used to think that I had to be one way all the time, now I know it is ok to be confused, lost, experimental etc, because that means I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone, which means I am growing. 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

May 1st, 2017
 Shawna Potter - war on women
By Alex Teitz
            War On Women is a Baltimore 5 piece band led by Shawna Potter. The other band members are Brooks Harlan on guitar, Nancy Hornburg on guitar, Suzanne Werner on bass and Evan Tanner on drums. In 2015 they released their self-titled debut on Bridge 9 Records.
            A War On Women show is a balls to the wall dive into women’s issues and politics. The songs take on abortion, rape, and more with a brutal honesty that should have most men leaving the show with their tail between their legs. Where many artists may have a song or two on empowerment, War On Women are ready to wage war and not take prisoners.
             FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Shawna Potter as part of our Vans Warped Tour preview. Look for War On Women at VWT this summer. For info visit &
FEMMUSIC: Your album came out in 2015. Are you working on new material? Have the events of 2016 helped?
SP: Yes, we will be recording a new record this year. Honestly I’m so revolted by our current dictator, on a personal level, I don’t actually want to have anything to do with him, I don’t even want to write songs about him. I guess I’m still in denial on some level that this is happening.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? 
SP: It varies, for sure, but usually someone has the bulk of a song written, and we all get together and edit, add, improve, etc. Sometimes I have words worked out and I wait until I have the perfect song to put it to, other times I write lyrics and melody after a song is finished. I try not to hinder my writing process by assuming it should be one way or the other – however this stuff wants to come out, I let it, and then work to make it as good as I can.
FEMMUSIC: Why did you sign with Bridge 9 Records?
SP: They really believed in us and were excited about partnering up with us, and I’m really happy they agreed to sign us! It’s been a great working relationship. If only more people would buy our actual records, then we might deserve the attention Bridge 9 gives to us.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
SP: Dr. Luke? Like for real, fuck that guy. But honestly, one thing, one person won’t change anything. There’s too many little ways to fuck over women and people of color. The best thing that could happen is people that listen to music, who buy music, use their dollars to affect change. In a capitalist system, large corporations only “do what’s right” when it makes financial sense to do so. Which means WE have the power to diversify music, prioritize woman- and black-owned businesses and artists. We have to actually support good music, made by socially conscious people, and then when corporate media sees there is money in it, then they will shift their focus and throw real money at bands like us, Downtown Boys, & GLOSS, so we can survive on our art. When is the last time you bought a feminist band’s record? Or asked your local radio station to play a feminist band? We can make them change, but we have to put in the effort.
FEMMUSIC: If you could collaborate or tour with anybody, whom would it be?
SP: We’re very lucky to have toured with some great bands, but I think I’d love to do a full run with the Refused. (We only played a few shows with them). Also Against Me. But I kinda think us, Priests, and Downtown Boys would be a killer fucking tour, too!
FEMMUSIC:  You’re on Vans Warped Tour this year. What are you most looking forward to with it?
SP: I’m looking forward to bringing our pet project, Safer Scenes 2017, with us. We are literally bringing experts with us, on our little bus, to table for us and teach kids the skills they need to intervene when they see sexism, racism, transphobia, islamaphobia, etc, in their local scenes. We want everyone to go home from Warped with active bystander skills, so all the future shows they attend, play, or book are more fun, more tolerant, and more punk. For anyone interested in that idea, whether you like our band or Warped tour or not, we want these folks to be able to pay rent while they are gone, and be able to eat and all that, so we need your help and donations. Please check out our fundraiser and share it with all your friends!
FEMMUSIC:  What is is about the punk and hard rock community that has made them embrace your music? Do you think the reaction would change in another genre?
SP: I don’t know, hopefully they think our music is good and they like our message. Ask them! haha.  I know not everyone that likes heavier music likes our band, for various reasons, but I do wish classic hardcore fans would give us a shot, as well as folks that are into softer female-fronted music. I think people that have wanted to listen to music that aligns with their feminist values haven’t been given much of a choice as far as musical styles go, so I’d like to invite all the Ani Difranco fans to come over to the thrash side.
FEMMUSIC:  I was recently at a show that emulated the Girls to the Front movement of the 90’s. I was wondering if you could tell me about your own feminist experiences in music, before the band started?
SP: Well I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14 – in the 90s. Usually with other women, but not always, sometimes I wanted to celebrate or bring attention to being a woman in music, sometimes I wanted people to forget or not make a big deal out of me being a woman playing music. It can be tough, plenty of sexist bands, sound engineers, and even bandmates! I think I always had to stand up for myself, have a feminist perspective, because no one else would let me forget I was female, you know? So instead of shrinking into the background, I went the other way, like “yep, I’m female, and I’m a badass, and by the end of this set you are going to love my band”. 
FEMMUSIC:  What is your view of feminism in 2017? What has it does that is positive? What still needs to be done?
SP: Well this question assumes that feminism is this tangible, conscious being that makes it’s own decisions, but it’s not. It’s a movement, an ethos, a way of looking at the world, all interpreted by individuals, whether they identify as a feminist or not. So, any stereotype or idiotic idea about feminism, any co-option of it, is not “feminism’s fault”, you know? It simply means the equal treatment of all. Full stop. It’s brought us the vote, funding for women’s shelters, a more accurate legal definition of rape, access to education, the ability to plan when and how we have a family if at all, and so much more. But when everyone is still fed this idea that women are less than, that we just aren’t as capable or as smart or we don’t deserve full control over our own bodies, no matter how many legal advancements we might achieve, there are still too many ways to harass, discriminate, or harm us. As a movement, feminism can always be made better by addressing the needs of all femmes, not just white cisgender women.
FEMMUSIC: There has been a resurgence in protest music since the Election. What role does War on Women take or want to take in this? What more do you want to do musically, socially & politically in the future?
SP: Protest music is not new, I just think we have never lived through something in the States this fucked up. It’s hard to say. I mean, I know any bad decision or policy made by this administration effects everyone but the 1%, but damn, this dude has sexually assaulted people, bragged about it on tape, and was still supported by an overwhelming number of people. Looking at him, thinking about him, makes me ill. I certainly use this band and our shows as a cathartic release, and I am always happy if others can, too. And grateful. I really want others who aren’t personally affected by sexism to perk up though, listen to what we’re saying, and stand up for others. This is the time of the bystander to get active and accept the power you have to make things better. I guess, as far as the future goes, as long as there is sexism, there is War On Women.

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November 14th, 2016
Prinze George
Interview by Alex Teitz
Prinze George is a 3 piece pop band from Maryland. Kenny Grimm, Naomi Almquist and Isabelle De Leon. The group began generating buzz last year. They released their debut album Illiterate Synth Pop this year on Sounds Expensive. They had a headlining tour and festival appearances this summer. Prinze George’s music is an addictive mix of charging drum and guitar synthed into something more. This interview was conducted via e-mail to include all members. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique; How does a song form within the group?
Kenny: It’s different every time, usually I start with a production idea with a beat and bring in to the group. Sometimes, Isabelle lays down keys and we work together on beats. We try to keep it open.
Isabelle: A lot of times Kenny and Naomi start an idea, because they are always together. When they start an idea first, it actually makes it easy for me to lay down drum parts separately. It really is different every time; sometimes I lay down a progression and we build a song together from the ground up when we find time to be together in the same place.
Naomi : I have my corner for the most part with writing vocals/lyrics, but my role bleeds over a bit too, like Kenny and Isabelle’s. There have been times when I write a hook on the piano and show it to 
Kenny, and then he builds a whole sonic landscape around it. Sometimes Isabelle jams on the drum pad while Kenny jams on beats with his production software. We do check in with each other a lot while we are creating, and like to make several strong ideas at a time instead of focusing too much time on one song, mainly because the time the three of us can all create together is limited.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Illiterate Synth Pop?
K: I think we tried to evolve sonically with this record from our previous releases; we just really wanted more live elements. It was the first time we were combining electronic drums with acoustic drums, so that took some time to figure out.
I: Post production, but also in the sense of perfecting each part and selecting the songs that fit the best together.  It was challenging to remain patient regarding the timeline of release, especially because the time between tracking everything and the album’s actual release was long.
N:  The biggest challenge I noticed in making this record was in post production. Kenny and I just agonized over every single song in the mixing process and it took a really long time to get it right.
FEMMUSIC: What experience or experiences stood out the most in making Illiterate Synth Pop?
K: Entering our manager’s house where we made the record for the first time was really inspiring.  I was exhausted, but we entered this massive house with an Airstream that had a control room inside of it and synths everywhere. It was the first time I had ever gone somewhere just to record an album, so that was really exciting.
I: I agree with what Kenny said; it was very much a retreat for us and getting to be in that amazing space with the purpose of recording an album was so inspiring and definitely made for a productive first week. Whenever we are there we relive that week and feel lots of emotions because of how memorable that first week was.
N: I was definitely excited about the house, especially the Airstream, because I got to record all of my vocals in there. I think tracking vocals in the Airstream with Evan was the experience that stood out the most for me; not just because of the physical space but also because of the space that existed between Evan and I during that process. He really pushed me to do my best takes; there were all these private moments occurring between us in the studio and we were complete strangers at the beginning of that week. Evan wasn’t uncomfortable asking me what these songs were about and he wasn’t uncomfortable with my answers. He didn’t dwell on shit either, he just asked, listened, and kept telling me to go back there. It was really cathartic for me and our exchanges definitely made the vocal performances what they are on this record.
FEMMUSIC: How was it working with Evan Bakke? What did you like?
K: We met Evan the first night we got to our manager Nate’s house. Nate had hired Evan to track everything for us while we made the record. Since Evan has a lot of experience recording live rock bands and “Prince”, recording the drums with him was great because he had a very live approach to tracking, opposed to a super produced/studio approach. Evan was also able to get rough mixes together of each song almost immediately after we’d tracked everything, which allowed us to conceptualize what we wanted the final versions to sound like from the beginning.
I: The first time we met Evan, we didn’t realize he was the actual engineer. Evan is really young and very laid back, and didn’t make any formal introductions, so we didn’t know he was our guy for the first couple hours. He just started setting stuff up and we just assumed he was a friend of Nate’s, because Nate always has people coming through the house. We didn’t expect the engineer to be so down to earth. What I really liked about working with Evan is that he pushed us to do our very best takes. As a drummer, that was a new experience for me. We would keep going until we had a take that we both liked, instead of just letting OK takes slide by like I have in the past with other engineers.
N: I like that he doesn’t waste time in the studio, but he’s also silly and fun. He’s straightforward and professional and ruthless about getting everyone’s best work out of them. Also see above answer.
FEMMUSIC: Why did you sign with “Sounds Expensive”? What benefits does it bring?
K: “Sounds Expensive” is a label run by our manager; he outsources all the services of a normal label himself. It’s essentially like having everything a label offers, but without having to give away a lot of ownership and gives us the ability to maintain creative control over our music. At the end of the day, were very good friends with Nate and completely trust him to do his job and lead us in a good direction.
I: The benefits of signing with “Sounds Expensive” are that we have that credibility to our name that a label gives you, but going the independent route as far as being able to control a lot of aspects in the creative process is invaluable. When we first met Nate, we were impressed not only by his experience, but also by the effort he put into helping us out even before we had officially signed with him. Another benefit of being signed with a label like “Sounds Expensive” is that we have reassurance knowing that Nate and the rest of our team believe in us and are working to promote our music; which allows us to focus on creating.
 N: Signing with “Sounds Expensive” was the right fit for us. Its nice to be able to just answer to Nate and not have to deal with a bunch of middlemen when making creative decisions. We’ve also learned that especially when you are a newly signed artist, it’s very common at label’s to encounter a loss of coordination within the same label between one office to another, which can waste a lot of time and jeopardize releases; no matter how “impressive” the label is.  We feel good about “Sounds Expensive” because we feel good about Nate; he’s highly experienced and motivated and never tries to change us or the music; which is everything.
FEMMUSIC: I was reading about Naomi & Kenny’s project “Kin Heads” in a prior interview, how has the music changed since then and what changes would you still like to make?
K: “Kin Heads” was actually our former band that included Isabelle and two other members. It was a rock band, with only minimal synths on the recordings. The ways I’d like for us to grow sonically in “Prinze George” mainly involve adding instruments while preserving the sound that it is now.
I: Yeah I was actually in “Kin Heads too, which is how I met Kenny and Naomi. For me, coming from a primarily rock/pop/jazz background, “Prinze George” brought me a new challenge in that writing drum parts wasn’t just about technicalities, but supporting the production as a whole. The drumming that I do for “Prinze George” seems a lot “simpler”, but its a good way for me to think about composing a piece of work holistically and adding textures and sounds as needed. The three of us have a lot of different influences in our writing and we keep it pretty open, so I wouldn’t particularly say that there are changes I want to make to the music, more of discovering ways we can continue growing and fusing our influences.
N: I agree with them. I think we have established a sound on this record that we’d like to keep intact, but I’d also like to keep playing with and adding new instruments to compositions and continue to grow together as a band, which will intrinsically affect the music.
FEMMUSIC:  As women in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?
N: In subtle ways, yeah. I’ve gotten comments a few times at venues during sound check, when the house engineer can’t figure out how to get the balance right with everything were doing and its always a dude, and he usually says “well, you sing really soft, so thats why the mic is feedbacking and we are having trouble getting the right balance.” Most of the time its a non issue, because the sound engineers are good and they can figure it out like they do for every other band that plays their venue, but I doubt that they say that shit to male singers. Even if they do, I am not a male singer.  We have different anatomy; I can’t smoke and scream night after night and hit the range of notes that I have to hit in a performance. At the end of the day though, I am a white woman who’s business partner is a white man, so I don’t worry about being heard. Besides, all that matters to me is getting shit done. Half the time I go through Kenny to translate or just verbalize to certain men what it is I’m trying to say; which I have found to be highly effective and efficient!
I: I wouldn’t say I’ve been discriminated against in the sense of feeling excluded or restricted from something, but I have felt a different set of expectations that I think, if not met, can ultimately lead to discrimination against women in the industry. Being a female drummer, you have to prove that you’re capable of playing in the first place, then you have to be better than average to be acceptable. I’ve encountered people who express disbelief in my ability to play until they see me get up on stage and perform, and I’ve also had people tell me that I’m “not just a good girl drummer, but an actual good drummer.” There are definitely different standards for women musicians on a technical level, and then there’s also pressure to have an image, specifically to be hot, dress sexy, etc. I don’t think my fellow male drummers encounter that type of skepticism regarding their abilities, and you definitely don’t hear people categorizing “male drummers.” I will say that I’ve been extremely lucky with the amazing support system I’ve had with my family and mentors, where those kind of objections don’t really bother me, especially since I’ve dealt with it my whole life, so I’m more than grateful to be where I’m at, doing what I do.
FEMMUSIC: Who would you most like to collaborate with?    
K: Probably The National.    
I: Beyonce.                        
N: Jack White.
FEMMUSIC: What would you change about music industry?
K: I wish streaming services made artists more money. It’s really tricky because its really good for the consumer, but not as good for the artists. Right now, Spotify is the best way to get people to listen to your music immediately; if you make it on a Spotify playlist its excellent exposure, but you don’t make hardly anything per stream.
I: Transparency. I know so many talented musicians and artists who have been at it for so long and have not had the “break” in their career that they deserve. I feel like the music industry is such a nebulous, confusing place where people don’t know how to get the next level and have to figure it out on their own. I wish there were resources that serious artists could access in order to get that information and guidance about how to take the next steps.
N: I would love to see Top 40 radio not controlled by the gatekeepers that only allow the same shit to play all the time. Its great that we have stations like Sirius XM and others that play alternative music and independent artists, but getting played on Sirius XM doesn’t catapult your career into the next level when you are starting out. It sucks that you ultimately have to go through a major label to get played on the biggest stations, because it makes it so political and not about the quality of the music. It can also stunt musical progress and evolution because Top 40 radio still has the biggest reach/ most clout in effecting tour and album sales, so there are tons of “accomplished” writers stuck in a time warp trying to make a thousand versions of the same song because it pays so well. It’s really depressing.

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November 14th, 2016
Mr. Little Jeans

photo credit Nolwen Cifuentes

Interview by Alex Teitz
It has been 2 years since PoketKnife was released. Mr Little Jeans is back with a new EP, Fevers, and new tour. Mr Little Jeans is Monica Birkenes, originally from Norway, now in LA. Her music is synth pop with a magic feel. FEMMUSIC was able to have a brief e-mail interview leading up to her Denver show. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
MLJ: I like to go in the booth and freestyle over a track that we make in the studio that day. Could just be a beat and a bass line. It helps a lot if I like it and also helps if it’s fairly stripped down as it makes it easier to write to for me. Then me and the producer generally spend some time piecing together all the mumblings that I recorded and see if it makes a melody. If it does I take it home and write the lyrics. If it doesn’t then we keep going, make another track and see if I get any ideas from that. I generally like to write the lyrics at home and take my time with it if I have the opportunity to.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Fevers EP?
MLJ: We originally had a different  production of fevers (the song) which we loved, but felt like it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the songs. So we spent a long time trying to figure out a balance of keeping what we loved and making if flow with the rest of them. Worked out in the end!
FEMMUSIC: How was your approach to Fevers different from PocketKnife? What do you think you learned making PocketKnife?
MLJ: Well with Pocket Knife I had a whole new world to figure out as I’d never made a record before and I was still figuring out how to write songs. But I think one of the hardest part of making PocketKnife was finding the right people to play the different parts; like producers and mixers and labels for example. With Fevers I already had a great team in place, but the thing that is always a challenge is the songwriting. It’s a hard to control and I never know what’s gonna happen, how I’m gonna feel  or what’s gonna come out so it’s always a little nerve wrecking before you get some actual songs down.
FEMMUSIC As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
MLJ: I think I’ve been lucky to be shielded from it as both me and my manager work hard to screen who I’m surrounded by both business-wise and creatively. I would never let anything like that pass as ok, and so far I’ve felt nothing but respected.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
MLJ: I think there is a lack of long term support for the artists at most record labels these day. It’s less about developing artist and more about throwing a bunch of shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. Most artists/bands need a little more support than what’s given to them and it feels pointless singing so many acts without even the intention of getting behind it properly. Sign less and develop and support more would be my wish to the record labels specifically. It would also be nice if the majority of the money made would go to the artists themselves rather than everyone else but.

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October 31st, 2016
Tristra Newyear Yeager
Interview by Alex Teitz
            World music is a broad term that can include eccentric artists in the US to traditional artists in a home country to genre mixing in the world. Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) is a publicity firm based out of Bloomington, Indiana that specializes in world music. Whenever you see a non-mainstream artist on FEMMUSIC from Africa, Asia and elsewhere there’s a good chance we heard about them from RPS. These artists can be striking for us and change the perspective of the listener. Our preview of WOMEX in the October issue is directly a result of RPS.  
            For the November 2016 issue, we wanted to get a different view of artists in the world and Middle East. Meet Tristra Newyear Yeager. FEMMUSIC is honored to have her in this issue. For info visit
rock paper scissors
FEMMUSIC: What is Rock Paper Scissors and what is its mission statement?
TY: RPS sprang from our CEO and founder Dmitri Vietze’s love of music and social justice activism. He found working with and promoting artists from other cultures, countries, and musical backgrounds engaged both of those passions. I joined the team more than ten years ago for similar reasons: I wanted to share my love of music with origins outside of my cultural community with others, to let them see the great beauty and appreciate the humanity of people that may appear very different on the surface. Music can help erode long-held assumptions and often hits us where it hurts, in the heart.
 FEMMUSIC: How did RPS end up in Bloomington vs NY or LA?
TY: Our CEO had family connections here. There’s also Indiana University, which has a large number international students. Bloomington is a small town, which makes it a nice and relaxed place to live, but has some of the cosmopolitan perks of much larger cities.
FEMMUSIC:  How did you come to RPS and what attracted you to it?
TY: I answered an ad in the local paper for a “world music publicist.” I had a background in the world music business, and I applied, though I had never considered publicity PR as a career option. I originally came to Bloomington for graduate school, but needed to get a job while finishing my dissertation. I finally defended and got the PhD (in Siberian history, for what it’s worth), but liked the work at RPS enough to stay on. I love getting to listen to music from all over, talk to people from across the globe and from all walks of life. I learn something every single day, and that’s a huge gift.
FEMMUSIC: How is an artist selected for RPS? What do you look for?
TY: There are two elements in marketing and PR: the music itself, which is the final deciding factor for any potential fan or journalist, and the story that surrounds it. If both are strong, and especially if they buck expectations, that can make for a great PR campaign. I listen for technical accomplishment, production quality, artistic vision, and cultural significance or relevance. Sometimes I love the music and really respect the artist, but I know the journalists we work with regularly may not get what they are doing. Good music is essential, but not the only factor.
FEMMUSIC: In the wake of 9/11 there is a different perception of world music(especially artists from the Middle East) and politics. Do you see that having any effect on RPS and it’s artists? Has it changed anything on how you work in the past 15 years?
TY: There have been some shifts in policies that make it very difficult for artists from Muslim-majority countries to come to the US. The visa process for artists is intense, expensive, and time consuming. Add that to the basic expenses of transporting a group to North America and getting from city to city once here, and you’re looking at a major investment, before a band even plays their first gig. Most world music artists have very limited budgets and often get paid significantly lower fees than rock or other musicians for similar gigs.
There are also positive changes. Many artists from the Arab or Muslim world are energized and want to reach people who may feel anxious or fearful about their cultures. They want to use music as a way to inspire positive connections and shift the conversation. More generally, the walls that used to separate genres and non-English-language music from the mainstream are slowly crumbling. I feel like younger music fans are open to new sounds and to exploring the world. I wish they got more information and exposure to the amazing music being made out there, but hopefully that will come with time, as the new streaming-based paradigm of music discovery comes into its own.
FEMMUISC: RPS does a unique showcase at SXSW. Tell me about the Pakistan showcase. How did it come about & how did you select artists for it?
TY: We worked on producing the showcase with partners in Pakistan, including the US Embassy in Islamabad, which has a really exciting set of initiatives to encourage musicians and musical events. The Pakistani partners chose the artists, which were a mix of pop, rock, and traditional performers. It was such a thrill to see festival goers getting down to qawwali music, or to devotional folk songs from Sindh. I really loved working with these artists and programmers; they are amazing, generous, warm people.
FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest challenge working at RPS?
TY: Publicity is a peculiar game. You can work really hard at something, and not end up with results that reflect that incredibly investment. Sometimes, on the contrary, a project clicks and coverage seems to build on its own, with you simply arranging the details. That said, I often feel frustrated, as do many music journalists and fans for that matter, that there seems to be so little interest in covering complex, nuanced, or lesser-known music. People in the media are under tremendous pressure to produce rapidly, or to attract a gazillion eyeballs. Yet you’ll never learn how awesome Sudanese hip hop or Bengali jazz can be unless someone tips you off to it, and that will never lead to massive numbers of impressions or clicks. We need some other metrics and we need dedicated gatekeepers, friendly and thoughtful ones, pro and amateur, to spread the word and keep the conversation lively. Otherwise, it feels like one long Drake and Taytay fest, you know?
FEMMUSIC: What experience(s) have stood out for you since you’ve worked at RPS?
TY: There are so many! The first time I heard a story I pitched on NPR. I love getting to hear artists’ early mixes and watch an album take shape. I have had seriously moving interviews with artists for press releases, when I found myself weeping or laughing so hard my belly ached. I have made true friends thanks to my work and learned more about places like Algeria, Pakistan, and Colombia than I ever imagined. My life is infinitely richer for the people I’ve met and their work.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry? 
TY: I am really looking forward to a unified, reasonably transparent and just system of royalties/payments for creators and artists. The fractured and confusing legacy of the pre-digital industry hamstringing independent musicians and smaller labels, the exact people who are doing some of the most creative work out there. There are lots of proposals (block chain, for example, and global databases of various kinds) but artists and those who love them need to push hard for solutions that will actually take their careers into account and thus benefit them. Collective action is key, I think.

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October 21st, 2016

Nataly Dawn

Photo by Jeffrey Marini

Interview by Alex Teitz
            If you’ve seen Pomplamoose you’ve only scratched the surface of Nataly Dawn. Pomplamoose is Nataly Dawn and her husband Jack Conte. They’ve surged on YouTube with unique videos that have attracted worldwide attention. It makes up a third of what Dawn really is about.
             The second element is My Terrible Friend, a folk duo, that Dawn does with Lauren O’Connell. They released an EP in 2010 and will be releasing another one next year. Look for the video in November.
             Third, Dawn has her solo albums. On October 29 she releases Haze. Dawn has a relaxed style on stage. Her stagechat is humorous and occasionally self deprecating. The music flows easily. Pay attention to “I Won.” The comparisons fit to Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky. Dawn is on a limited tour with Lauren O’Connell with the remaining dates of:
November 10—Los Angeles, CA—The Hotel Café
November 15—San Francisco, CA—The Chapel
November 18—Portland, OR—The Old Church
November 19—Seattle, WA—Barboza
              Nataly Dawn is one of those pure elements in music. She invites the audience in like family. If there is an example for artists to aspire to, it is Nataly Dawn. For information on Dawn, Haze and the tour visit
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does it change in collaborations?
ND: Songwriting begins with what comes most naturally to you, and then you make it harder on yourself. I struggle with both parts of the process. The “easy part” and the “making it harder on myself,” because there’s a lot of beauty and simplicity in what comes naturally, but there can also be a lot of redundancy and you don’t grow if you aren’t challenging yourself. For me, the easy parts are melodies, harmonies and structure. The hard parts are lyrics and production. I often collaborate with people to make up for my weaknesses. I’ll work with someone who’s excellent at lyrics, like Lauren O’Connell, or someone with serious production chops like Jack Conte. For this record, I slapped some duct tape onto my crutches and did it all myself. Am I an amazing producer? Nope. Do I write great lyrics? Maybe after several painstaking hours. Are these songs good despite that? Somehow – miraculously – I think they are.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge in making Haze?
ND: Being left to your own devices for three years is a scary thing. Sitting alone in a room and wondering if anything you’re doing is good enough. I feel like every tiny decision is followed by “Fuck it. It’s fine.” And then you move on. Collaborating is so much easier. It’s so comforting to work with someone else. Agreeing with a person on an artistic choice makes it feel way less arbitrary. But I also feel like necessity is the mother of invention, and working alone pushes you to the limits of what you think you’re capable of. If you don’t have a drummer, you can still make a beat. The good news is, it won’t sound like anyone else’s beat, and most people won’t be able to tell if it’s Matt Chamberlain or just you frantically tapping a launchpad.
FEMMUSIC: What one positive experience stuck out making Haze?
ND: Half of me will always question what I’m capable of and whether anything I make is “good”, but the other half is really proud of this record. I don’t feel like an “expert” but I do feel like I can write, produce and mix a track from start to finish, and that’s something to be proud of. Three years ago, I switched from Pro Tools to Ableton. Three years ago, I felt like an imposter. I needed to work with other people to make something and was convinced that their efforts were what made it good. And now I can stand on my own two feet, and point proudly at the crayola-drawing on the fridge that I made “all by myself”!
Nataly Dawn
FEMMUSIC:  How did you choose Beau Sorrenson to produce Haze? How did you meet him?
ND: The record is actually mostly self-produced. I wrote and recorded almost all of it in my home studio in San Francisco. And then, three years later, I wanted to scrap everything. I was so sick of everything. So I called my friend Olivia Lee and asked her if she would help. We’d never worked together, but I knew from her music and her work with my friend Lauren O’Connell that she possessed strengths that I lacked. She came on as assistant producer and introduced me to Beau Sorrenson, who mixed the tracks. Together, they renewed my faith in the album. I am so grateful to them. So many of these songs would’ve never seen the light of day without their fresh perspective.
FEMMUSIC:  You & Lauren O’Connell are working on another My Terrible Friend release. What can you tell me about it? How is working with Lauren different vs Haze & Pomplamoose?
ND: I am so excited about the songs Lauren and I have written together! There will be two My Terrible Friend music videos coming out in November while we’re on tour, and I’m so proud of these songs. Lauren is an incredible producer, with unflinching musical taste. She is a genius. Everything she makes turns my soul inside-out. Also, she’s one of my closest friends. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such inspiring friends. When Lauren and I work together, we come to each other with bits of ideas: maybe a chorus, maybe a riff or a lyric. Then we hand it over to the other person, let them mess around with it for a week, and see what they come up with. Once we settle on melody, harmony and basic instrumentation, Lauren takes over the production of the song. She is a killer producer and does everything from her home-studio. Then we hand it over to a mixer (Beau Sorrenson once again! He’s just so good…) For Haze, I relied on myself for most of the production, and would reach out to people for help on things like drums (Louis Cole), string orchestration (Anton Patzner), additional production (Olivia Lee), and mixing (Beau Sorrenson). With Pomplamoose, we start with a melody or a riff. Then Jack does something super funky with the harmonies. Then I add a weird bass line. Then Jack produces the heck out of it, while I write lyrics. We’re like a machine. We’ve gotten so good at communicating over the last decade. It usually takes us three days to make a song, from start to finish. We try stuff, make fast choices, take it apart, rebuild it, and then we put a bow on it and call it done.
FEMMUSIC:  You’ve worked with Nonesuch Records in the past. You now fund your work through crowdfunding & Patreon. What benefits do you see to this funding mechanism? Would you sign to a record label? Why or why not?
ND: Nonesuch was a great label and I feel lucky that they took me on. When I signed with them, neither the label nor I were quite sure what we were signing up for. In the end, we both agreed that it wasn’t a great fit. I think that my mistake was not knowing what I expected from the label. You can’t just sign with a label and expect things to happen (though that is usually what artists do). I have a much better sense of what I want now. As it turns out, I’m not a big fan of touring, which is not the case for most artists. Live shows are a great way to connect with your fans, but in my experience not a great way to reach more people. Also, touring is such an arduous process. You’re away from loved-ones for extended periods of time, getting no exercise, eating terribly, never getting enough sleep. It’s just not how I want to live my life. Making music is what I love to do. I want to make as much music as possible. Patreon allows me to do that. Every time I release a music video, my patrons give me a certain amount of money. Right now I have 1,280 people contributing around $6,000 toward each video that I make. Which makes it sound like I make a shit ton of money. But really, I’m running a small business. Everything I make gets poured back into the art and the business of making art. It’s not a popular thing to talk about. People have very strong opinions about where art and money should meet. I try to release three videos per month. And part of not having a label is hiring people to handle the business. That means business managers, booking agents, lawyers, mixers, cinematographers, editors, graphic designers, web designers and other musicians. Most of these people take a fee or percentage. This month I hired my first full-time employee, and she is kicking butt. I feel so lucky that I get to work with these people. Without them, I would never find time to make art.
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?
ND: I think there are two main forms of discrimination that drive me up the wall. The first is the assumption that there’s a guy somewhere doing all the work behind the scenes. People rarely think that I’m the one producing and mixing the music, and directing and editing the videos, but I usually am. Only very recently have I started hiring other people to help me with that stuff. The other frustrating thing is that because I’m in a relationship with Jack (the other member of Pomplamoose), people are always asking about him. There will inevitably be a comment under my solo videos that reads, “Where’s Jack?” or “Are you two still together?” And if – God forbid – there’s another guy in the video – a guy who is not Jack – people are even more vocal. It’s so frustrating. And such a double standard. When Jack releases a video, I feel like more people respect his solo channel, and don’t expect there to be a girl there.
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you like most to tour with or collaborate with?
ND: It would be really fun to work with Vampire Weekend, Vulfpeck or Blake Mills. I’d also love to collaborate on a track with Greg Kurstin. His production blows my mind. And while we’re shooting for the moon, a tour with Gillian Welch would be a dream come true. But the truth is, I’ve been repeatedly astonished by how much talent there is in the world. The Bay Area and the internet are full of people who may never win a Grammy, but who are insanely good at what they do. Those are the people I love working with.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
ND: There are so many myths in the industry, so much false information perpetuated by “common knowledge” and Hollywood. I just want every musician in the world to know that no one will ever discover you. It’s not about writing a hit song, or having a great manager, or working with a famous producer, or getting on the cover of Rolling Stones, or opening for Gillian Welch. It’s about working your ass off, and constantly trying new things, and breaking down walls, because everyone will say “no”. Work hard, be generous, publish your art and move on. You are the only one who can make shit happen.

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September 9th, 2016
by Alex Teitz
Anna Morsett
            A music scene has many parts from the club owners, the press, the promoters and most importantly the musicians. Anna Morsett is that musician that you always see playing in the next biggest project. She is the stable hand in the chaos. Her main band is The Still Tide which she shares with Jacob “Jake” Miller. She can also be found in Ark Life, Porlolo, the Brent Cowles band, and with Natalie Tate. She can plays guitar & bass. She also does background and lead vocals. This interview was conducted via e-mail as Morsett was on tour with the Tallest Man on Earth as a guitar tech. Below are links to all of the projects:
FEMMUSIC: How did you first become interested in music as a career? Who fostered your growth in music the most?
AM: I’d day dreamed about being a full time musician probably since I was in middle school? Ha! I surely didn’t quite see it as a reality for myself until many many years later of course, probably not until I was in my mid-twenties when I was around people who WERE making it a career. I’d say my close friends were – and are still – the ones who have helped push me along and through all the self-doubt you wrestle with when you’re first starting out. My parents too have always been kind and supportive and that’s certainly helped.
FEMMUSIC: You play a number of instruments, Do you have a favorite? Why?
AM: Guitar is and has always been my home base and where I do most of my writing. I often use open and alternate tunings, easiest to do on guitar, and found that to be a wonderful writing tool. That’s why it’s been my favorite; I’m always inspired by what I find when I have a chance to sit down and experiment with those different combinations. Bass is a close second though and I’ve definitely been writing more on that lately.
FEMMUSIC:  You work in a number of bands. Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does it vary from band to band?
AM: I really only write songs for The Still Tide which is a different head space than writing the bass parts and harmonies that I have for the other bands I play with (Ark Life, Brent Cowles, Porlolo, Natalie Tate) so the creative process is quite different. When writing parts for other projects I have to think more in terms of what will best serve and elevate the song and focus on how I should fit into what someone else has already created. Whereas when I’m writing for Still Tide I’m the one creating that landscape and can do whatever I want with that wide-open space until the song evolves into something I feel comfortable bringing other people – usually my bandmate Jake – into.
FEMMUSIC:  What is the biggest challenge being involved in multiple projects?
AM: Scheduling! Trying to make time for everyone, including my own project, can definitely be a gigantic struggle. I want to be equally present for each project but there is only so much time and energy.  
FEMMUSIC: What is your biggest challenge in musical career growth? What are your goals to overcome it?
AM: Touring is great and I love it but it’s hard – at this level – to take a band out consistently enough to keep your reputation strong in each of the cities you tour through. I think presently that’s one of the bigger challenges for us in terms of growth. If you only get to those cities you tour through once a year, if even that, it can be really hard to sustain the enthusiasm within that city for the next time you come through. And as we get older and are less excited about crashing on a series of floors and couches (as you often do on the road) it becomes harder to sustain overall even though we all know how important touring is to do. Goals to overcome it? Be smart about how we tour and try to make it and the band itself as sustainable as possible.
FEMMUSIC: You’ve toured through a number of music scenes beyond Denver. What, in your opinion, makes a good music scene?
AM: For me, and what Jake and I found in Denver and fell in love with immediately, it’s how inclusive and supportive the people involved in the music scene are. In Denver other musicians have definitely made us feel welcome (especially as we only landed here about 3ish years ago) but it’s also so many of the other members of this music community that really do make it a true community and one that we’re proud to be a part of. I’d very much longed for that for many years.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against? Do you think it has changed over time?
AM: Yes, but I do think that’s changed over time just as I too have changed over the last decade of working in music. The more confident and experienced I’ve become the less of that gender barrier I’ve felt, in the larger sense. If you come into a space, a venue, a conversation knowing who you are and what you’re doing people often – not always – respond to that and not so much your gender. At least that’s been my experience so far, I can’t speak for everyone else.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
AM: I would love to live in an era where musicians just got to be musicians. Where there was less of a concern about finances and climbing any kind of ladder and more just the joy of playing music without the stress of how to carry on when times are thin. I know there’s an argument for the kind of great work that can come from struggle (yeah, sure, I get it) but personally, I would get a lot more done creatively/musically if I didn’t have to worry so much about how to pay the bills. Perhaps that’s something that would need to change culturally and not just within the music industry itself.
FEMMUSIC:  If you could tour or collaborate with anyone, whom would it be?
Ah, so many people, that’s a tough question. I’ve been really into Wye Oak, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile for a while now so  . . . that’d be cool?! I’m already so lucky to tour and collaborate with so many of our local gems, for now I’m pretty well satisfied.
FEMMUSIC: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out? 
AM: Just keep going and be courageous.

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September 2nd, 2016
by Alex Teitz
SpokesBUZZ ,, is a Fort Collins, Colorado based non-profit that sought to improve the scene, the economy and the artists through a number of programs. On July 15, 2016 the organization sent out an e-mail saying they were ceasing operations on September 1, 2016.
FEMMUSIC has had frequent contact with SpokesBUZZ over the years. Led by Dani Grant, who also runs the music venue The Mishawaka , SpokesBUZZ was a band incubator, promoted SXSW showcases, and worked to increase the profile of Fort Collins and Colorado. As SpokesBUZZ approaches its final days, FEMMUSIC was honored to talk with Dani Grant about the ups and downs.
FEMMUSIC: What motivated you to start SpokesBUZZ?
DG: Originally (2009) I was asked by some people at Bohemian Foundation  to review and experience SXSW and come back and tell them how to make Fort Collins a music City.  I went to SXSW and came back and said, we need to market ourselves there and do a show case of our talent.  I wasn’t able to get them to fund me to do it so I did it myself.  2010 was the first SpokesBUZZ showcase in Austin.
I wanted to create more opportunity for the musicians in Northern CO, amplify the burgeoning scene and develop the talent that was so abundant yet very green industry wise.  Most people in Fort Collins didn’t realize there was a music scene here, it was underground.  I wanted to bring it out and generate more platforms for musicians to experience and grow more support for the local scene
FEMMUSIC: What were the biggest challenges in the beginning?
DG: Our concept was to market our city’s musical asset outside our city.  No one could get behind that financially, they didn’t get it.  It was a new idea to not just create a local even within the city limits but to take locals to other places and show off what we have.  People didn’t want to fund something they couldn’t attend and they didn’t see the value in it for the city.  Our events that happened all over the country catapulted our notoriety as a music region.  The city of Fort Collins and New Belgium brewery were the only ones brave enough to support us.  We killed it:)
Another challenge was trust.  Everyone thought I was trying to rip them off.  Musicians were wondering when I was going to charge them a hidden fee and others thought I was lining my pockets with donations.  It was unbelievable.  Someone in the industry actually went to a board meeting of the City run organization Beet Street and told the board I was a crook.  They didn’t want me to continue the project.  I did anyway and I did it 100% transparently and I have never in 6 years been compensated by SpokesBUZZ.
FEMMUSIC: How did you find people for SpokesBUZZ (Board, staff, volunteers)? What were you looking for in them?
DG: They found me for the most part, except for Julie who I knew was perfect for my partner.  Everyone who worked with us started as a volunteer, including Julie.  Most of our staff have been musicians, past incubator band members, interns from CSU with a passion for music or events.  I looked for people I liked to work with.  Hard workers, in it for the artists and for the love of the industry.  
FEMMUSIC: What programs did you start with? What programs did you develop later and why?
DG: First was SXSW, the showcase provided a learning experience for the bands and a marketing platform for our scene.  It grew exponentially each year.  This morphed into the CO Music Party in 2013 to expand our artist profile in Austin and our regional presentation.
Next was the Incubator program that held the educational elements for the artists.  Monthly sessions to identify gaps in their knowledge and help them see their bands as businesses and provide skills to run them that way.  Creating an annual compilation CD was a part of that program.  We also worked on strategic plans and financial plans etc.  This became a really robust program with access to project management software, celebrity speakers, networking opportunities and more.  At the end we had CSU providing us with a shared revenue plan to do 18 on line courses offered in their badge system. It would have been so amazing to provide a low cost 101 curriculum to artists, agents and managers.
Later I developed BandSwap and Convergence.  BandSwap was an incredible multi city import/export program.  It had shared performances, networking and education opportunities that were unprecedented.  The city to city network was innovative as well.  Now Madison’s cultural affairs person could talk with Fort Collins office of economic development, share best practices and more.  Some of the bands that swapped still share the stages on tour with each other and still connect with bands they met through the program.
FEMMUSIC:  What challenges manifested after you’d been doing SpokesBUZZ for 2-3 years? 
 DG: Money and resources were always the problem.  It didn’t matter how great everything we were doing was, we never got enough support to do it and not be flat out broke and broken after every program execution.  We kept thinking the money will come, keep working at it and making it great, the money will follow.  We even created the documentation of our success, we quantified our impact, we tracked the data and still, no one wanted to put any real money behind us.  I used to daydream that Jack Johnson sent me 1 million dollars.
FEMMUSIC:  What memorable experiences have stood out with SpokesBUZZ?
Speaking at the Brighton Conference for Music Cities at the the Great Escape.   I was speaking with the head music honchos of Canada and Australia and cities like Berlin and Liverpool about our music scene and our organization.  People were blown away by our programs.  In those countries, there are funding sources that would have showered us with funding.
Dinner with The Yawpers  when they were signed by Bloodshot (Records) and hadn’t gone public yet.  We were in Austin and it was such a motivating evening for me.  Those kids had made it.  They had done it.  It was all happening and we felt like we had a role in the rise.  It felt wonderful.
FEMMUSIC: What lessons have you learned running SpokesBUZZ?
DG: Never give up on your dreams.  When you find there are obstacles in your way, you are on the right track – people get territorial when you are really good and they are nervous you are making them look bad.  Do it for the artists and no one else because no one else fucking cares really.  I wish I was a billionaire and I hate politics.
FEMMUSIC:  If you could rewind to the beginning, what would you do differently?
DG:  I’d have made it a for profit thing and work harder on creating a solid sustainable revenue product that would have funded the programming so I didn’t have to spend half my time begging for money.
FEMMUSIC:  What is SpokesBUZZ’s successor? What are you doing next?
DG: The Fort Collins Music District has taken our proof of concept and rolled out 2.0 with full funding and new ideas:)  Its a great opportunity for musicians.  I’m hopeful it will be a positive influence on the music economy. 
I’m working on Mishawaka and trying with all my might to let my kids and family absorb my newly found free time.  They deserve some undivided attention for a minute:)

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August 16th, 2016
Lion Babe
By Alex Teitz
Lion Babe is Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman. The pair came together in 2011 and have been shooting like a rocket ever since. The pair released their full length album Beginearlier this year featuring production input from Pharrell Williams, among others. They were signed to Interscope Records in 2013 and have released an EP and other digital material.
Lion Babe is a powerhouse of beats and soul. Hervey’s vocals touch the heavens. Goodman’s beats and production are more Motown than pure electronica. FEMMUSIC was able to interview Jillian Hervey via e-mail. For info visit
Lion Babe is at the Fox Theatre in Boulder tonight, August 16, 2016. Doors are at 8 & show is at 8:30. For tix and info visit
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
JH: Our techniques vary, but it usually starts with the music first. It could be a sample loop, chord progression or just a vibe and then from there we will record a vocal freestyle and then listen back and pull out moments that stand out, whether it is themes, melodies, or just an ad lib. From there we start figuring out the structure and will fill in whatever is missing.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Begin?
JH: Begin was our biggest learning experience to date. We went into making that record with a label with just one song under our belts so that alone was a challenge. There are a lot of opinions and a lot of songs that were in debate so the biggest challenge was balancing our growth and experiences while also remaining true to what brought us there in the first place.
FEMMUSIC: For Begin, you wrote and produced the entire album with few exceptions. What benefits do you see in doing it yourselves and were there any drawbacks?
JH: Lion Babe is what happens when Lucas and myself come together, so the benefit of having the majority of the records done by us means that it was our album. Our authenticity remained and we we’re able to show our span of sound.
The main drawback or reality of it means that it was a lot more work for us. We would of loved to do more collaborations but a lot of factors play into those opportunities and you have to pick your battles.
FEMMUSIC: Are there any producers you would like to work with in the future? Why?
JH: We listen to a lot of music on soundcloud, and theres lots of talented producers + beatmakers thatd be cool to get in like Knxwledge and Sango. Also fans of Malay who does a lot with Frank Ocean. Its always cool to collaborate with other producers/writers just because its always a learning experience and you can get something special.
FEMMUSIC:  You’re doing a headlining tour now. If you could, whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with?
JH: We are loving tour and our support Kamau who has great music and vibes but it would be fun to tour with Tame Impala. We are huge fans and think everyone would feel on another planet after all the grooves.
FEMMUSIC:  Jillian, As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?
JH: There hasn’t been blatant discrimination, but there are conversations I get left out of, or assumptions made about me based on that fact that I am a woman. It’s annoying but the only thing I can do to solve it is speak up, assert myself and continue to prove people wrong.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
JH: It would be nice to have more diversity in sound on major radio stations. The music is shoved down your throat and even if you like it, you get sick of it quicker. It would be cool to have more opportunities for people to really discover new music in more interesting ways.
FEMMUSIC: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
JH: Have a dream, even if it’s unclear and you can’t see it hold on to that feeling you want to create because as soon as you start there will be a ton of distractions from that feeling and that is your life boat.
FEMMUSIC: What are your career goals in the next 5 years? What would you like to accomplish next?
JH: We want to continue to travel, tour and make more music. Have opportunities to get LION BABE out to the world on a larger platform and to inspire people to follow their own paths and embrace their uniqueness.

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June 1st, 2016
Tsunami Bomb
By Alex Teitz
In 1998 a new voice emerged in pop punk, Tsunami Bomb (TB). They toured on Vans Warped Tour with a style that was wild and fun. Comparing them to a young No Doubt would not be far-fetched. The group was led by Agent M, Emily Whitehurst, and her distinct vocals. In 2005 the band ended.
In 2016 the band is back on the road with original members of Dominc Davi, Oobliette Sparks, Gabe Lindeman & Brian Pink. They are touring with a compilation album of their EP’s made by Kung Fu Records called Trust No One. They also have a new vocalist, Kate Jacobi. FEMMUSIC was honored to do an e-mail interview with Jacobi before they begin their new Vans Warped Tour dates. For info visit 
FEMMUSIC: How did you first hear of Tsunami Bomb (TB) getting back together?
KJ: Our original guitarist, Brian, and I worked together and we’re friends before TB reformed. He had been saying for the majority of the time I knew him how much he missed the music scene, specifically with Tsunami Bomb. I met Dominic at a festival that Brian and I went to and that’s where Tsunami Bomb coming back felt like a possibility. The two were still goofy friends even after years apart. So, when Brian told me they were going for it, and that they needed a vocalist, that’s when this all kinda kicked into gear.
FEMMUSIC:  What is the biggest challenge being the new person in the band?
 KJ: My initial apprehension was for two reasons:
Aligning expectations with reality. I knew I was about to be thrust into a situation with 4 distinct individuals, most that I had never met. I also knew that they all had their ideas about what to expect from me as a person, a bandmate, a new vocalist. There were a lot of unknowns. I wasn’t sure how I would bond in this group that had been so close for so long or if they’d embrace me. As it turns out, Gabe, Brian, Oobliette, and Dom are 4 of the most incredible people I’ve met and our friendships formed rather instantly.
FEMMUSIC: Have you faced any criticism from fans or others? How do you treat it?
KJ: When we announced that Agent M wouldn’t be returning, heads already turned. When it became clear that that new voice would be mine, it sparked a lot of curiosity. I was prepared for criticism, but what I met most was skepticism. My voice hasn’t been out there so there wasn’t a reference point of what to expect. As a fan of Tsunami Bomb growing up, I knew the passion that exists for this music because I had it too. It’s something I’m open about. I looked up to M for most of my life and always will, but I love what the five of us have created as a group. There is a passion, an energy, and a dynamic twist that comes from Oobliette and I together especially, that really makes this a new chapter for this band with the same heart we all love.
FEMMUSIC: What is the best part of being in TB?
KJ: Is it too cheesy to say it’s like living a dream? Sometimes that’s what it feels like. I get to develop friendships with amazing people who happen to be insanely talented musicians. Not to mention, play songs that were staples of mine growing up, meet bands I admire so much, and meet incredible people that share my love for Tsunami Bomb. It has happened at every show so far, but I remember one fan in particular in Las Vegas that was near tears when we met her outside. She told Gabe and I how Tsunami Bomb had changed her life and given her courage throughout the years. That’s the best part. Bringing that passion back for people to hopefully fall in love with all over again.
Tsunami Bomb - kate
FEMMUSIC: The band is touring with material from the past. Are their plans to make new original music? How has any songwriting progressed?
KJ:  I’ll say this: we are 5 creative and driven individuals who inspire each other. We are all having an amazing time. I guarantee, that won’t all stay bottled for long. 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music business, have you been discriminated against?
KJ: So far, I’ve been met with 100% support. It’s nice to know that no matter what, I have 4 amazing friends behind me. One badass female included.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
KJ: A renewed focus on performing. Starting out as a live musician as opposed to studio has been incredibly beneficial. That experience is driven entirely by the music and the fans and to me, that’s what it’s about.
FEMMUSIC: If you could collaborate with or tour with any artist, who would it be & why?
KJ: Frank Turner. I have no idea what a collision of he and Tsunami Bomb would sound like, but his live performances are electric with energy with incredibly emotive albums driving them.
FEMMUSIC: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
KJ: Never try to fit into a box that anyone else makes for you.

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June 1st, 2016

Mother-Feather by Shervin Lainez

Interview by Alex Teitz
            Mother Feather is a NYC based rock band. Rock in the core sense of the word. They have established themselves by putting on striking live shows. They are signed to Metal Blade Records. This year they are one of many bands on the Vans Warped Tour.
            Mother Feather is made up of Ann Courtney, Elizabeth Carena, Matt Basile, Chris Foley & Gunnar Olson. They released their self titled full length album in May. FEMMUSIC was honored to have an e-mail interview with Ann Courtney. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does a song develop within the band?
AC: I get the best ideas for hooks and melodies jumping on my trampoline, riding my bike, and in the shower. Then I demo at home on guitar (or lately, synth) and bring in a completed song to the band, after which we develop and arrange and it becomes something bigger and better than I could have envisioned on my own.
FEMMUSIC: You’ve had 3 EP’s in the past few years, what was the biggest challenge making a full length album?
AC: Actually we’ve only released two Eps and they make up 80% of our album, so I’ll have to tell you after we complete the next LP.
FEMMUSIC:  Were there any experiences that stood out as unique or different during the recording process?
AC: After Mother Feather’s very first studio day at Metrosonic in Brooklyn back in in 2010, we listened back to the tracking we’d done of “Beach House” in Chris’ car and I had a moment where I felt supremely exhilarated. I was hearing something I really wanted to listen to.
FEMMUSIC: I noticed you produced the album yourself but also had Steve Wall. How did you meet Wall & why did you choose him for this project?
AC: We met Steve Wall at Rockwood Music Hall, which is an epicenter in New York City for people who make music. We chose Steve because he is a punk, a fearless motherfucker, and has sublime taste. He’s not afraid to tell us what is and he makes bold choices, just like Mother Feather.
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed with Metal Blade Records. What made you decide to sign with them? How did they approach you?
AC: Brian Slagel found us on Twitter through a hot tip from chef and restaurateur Chris Santos. We signed with them because they’re awesome and have been putting out records for over 30 years. Brian knows what he’s doing. He is a fan first. Plus he’s a big cat lover, which is extra credit in my book.
FEMMUSIC: What are you most looking forward to in doing Vans Warped Tour this summer?
AC: I am looking forward to meeting the fans and the opportunity to perform almost every day for seven weeks straight.
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 AC: This is my first record deal so I’ve had fairly limited industry exposure—I was an independent artist for years before signing with Metal Blade. Thus far the sexism has been fairly low grade, nothing I can’t handle or has come close to what I experienced in the bar and nightlife industry!
FEMMUSIC:  What is one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
AC: It would be great if it wasn’t such a struggle to support ourselves. It’s a goal to be able to do Mother Feather full time and also be able to keep the lights on.
FEMMUSIC: What one artist or band would you most like to collaborate with or tour with?
AC: Mother Feather are massive Charli XCX fans.
FEMMUSIC:  What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
AC: Find the thing you want to do and get better at it. Find your people and work smarter, not just harder. Fear is a trap and should be kicked in the face.

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March 15th, 2016

Andrea Smith

Name: Andrea Smith

Bands worked with: Hunter Valentine



FEMMUSIC How did you become a tour manager?


AS: From an early age I knew this was the profession that I wanted to be a part of, so in High School I got involved with promoting and managing a couple of local bands. From there, I networked my way through college while studying Arts Management and Economics. I interned with some larger labels and venues in New York City to gain experience and knowledge in the music industry. I was able to secure an internship with So What Management, which manages a few artists such as Cydni Lauper, and got connected to Hunter Valentine through them. The band was looking for a tour manager for their national tour, and I was itching to get myself out on the road. With my experiences working with smaller bands as well as a few labels, they threw me in the van and my career began.


FEMMUSIC:  What are the biggest challenges of being a tour manager?


AS: There are many challenges that a tour manager faces. The whole job is a challenge. It is the tour manager’s responsibility to keep the entire tour on track and to keep the musicians as happy as possible. The biggest challenge I’ve had to face is learning how to take responsibility for something when it’s not your fault. You work with so many people out on the road, there are so many moving parts. You need to learn how to adapt to situations extremely quickly and not waste time putting the blame on anyone else. You need to keep your ego in check. Even if you plan the schedule out and get everything approved in advance, this industry changes so rapidly. As a tour manager you need to be able to adapt the plans on the fly to keep everyone on track and taken care of. No one wins if the tour manager is too proud.


FEMMUSIC: What challenges does being a woman tour manager present?


AS: Being a woman in this industry is challenging in itself, but being a woman on the road is even harder. Being a woman tour manager means you have to demand more respect from the people that you work with, where the respect would otherwise just be given to the men. I’ve also had to deal with sexist remarks, passes, and comments from those that I’ve worked with. I think you need to have tough skin in this industry, regardless of gender, but especially when you are a woman. You need to remember why you are there – to do your job to the absolute best of your ability, and to do that regardless of what anyone has to say about you.


FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?


AS: There are many times that I have been told that I couldn’t do something because I am female. I’ve been told not to lift gear because I am presumably too weak, I have been assumed to be emotional and ‘fragile’, and been told many times that I am ‘too young’ or ‘too pretty’ to be doing my job. Men also assume that you cannot be in a relationship because your life is too much to handle. People have also assumed that I sleep around because that is ‘the life of a woman on the road’. In an industry that is primarily dominated by men, it has been assumed that I do not know anything about sound, lighting, or technical aspects of the industry, and that I am just there to sell merchandise or be a groupie. My age and my gender have done nothing to help me get to where I am, but I think that makes me more proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far and more ambitious than I would otherwise be.


FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry itself?


AS: The music industry is constantly growing and changing. In some ways it is progressing and moving forward, but in a lot of ways it is digressing. I think that more of the industry is centered around entertainment now as opposed to music. I have been fortunate enough to work with real musicians who really care about what they do and the message that they are delivering through their sound. However I have also worked with artists whose only concern is their social media presence. If I could change anything, I would want to shift the focus of the industry back to its roots – the music. It sounds like a bizarre statement, to make the music industry focus more on music, but I think we have been shifting away from the souls of the musicians and more towards the number of followers they have on Instagram.


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March 1st, 2016



Photo credit Hazel Pine

by Alex Teitz

Last year we heard of the electronic duo Cardiknox at CMJ. By the time CMJ ended Cardiknox was catching fire. Cardiknox is Lonnie Angle & Thomas Dutton. They met while working on music for theater and have expanded and grown since then. Their debut album, Portrait comes out in March 2016. They are joining Carly Rae Jepsen on tour. We were honored to speak with Lonnie Angle recently. For info visit

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

LA:  We normally begin writing a song around an idea—the main lyrical phrase or concept that often becomes the chorus. Sometimes we’ll build a progression around that lyric or sometimes a beat. Oftentimes, once you work out the heart of the song, the rest of it—verses, bridge—are far easier to create. But this is just a rough example, because songwriting, like any form of creativity is hard to know when it will strike. Sometimes you’ll get an idea while driving or hiking and sing something into your phone’s voice memo app, rush home, scratch out some lyrics, and boom … you have the skeleton of a song.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Portrait?

LA: To understand our biggest challenge, you also need to note our biggest luxury. We had the gift of time and space in writing this album. We worked with our producer for nearly six months in a world class recording studio. John was so generous with giving us ample time to create a real honest, strong body of work. Within that time, though, we were fairly prolific and so when it came to really honing in on what songs we wanted on the album, and in what order … that became incredibly challenging. You’ve worked so long and so hard on writing so many different stories and songs and they all hold a special meaning. Then you have to chop off your arm to spite your body. That was probably the most challenging part. Walking away from a bunch of songs that meant a lot to us. But who knows, maybe they’ll resurface one day.
FEMMUSIC: How was it working with John Shanks? What did he bring to the project? What did he do for you with the album?

LA: Working with John was remarkable. He is truly a genius and has such a breadth of experience and success, yet such a hunger to continue creating new work and pushing the envelope. He has an incredible ear, and was able to elevate our soundscape in ways that only world-class producers can do. They hear things the normal person doesn’t hear. He’s also an incredible writer and co-wrote on most of the album with us. He would push us to tell stories we weren’t sure we were alright telling, and explore styles we hadn’t yet explored. Through the writing and recording process, he became like family to us. We have a tremendous amount of gratitude and love for him.
FEMMUSIC: I was looking at your early history. I was wondering if you could describe your journey from classical piano to theater to Cardiknox. They seem like such different leaps. 

LA: I grew up playing piano from the age of five. One of my favorite parts of playing was performing at recitals and adjudications. I played until I was about 16 when I became more consumed with other high school activities—school leadership, academics, sports, and most importantly theatre. I loved acting and pursued it through college, where I majored in Theatre Directing. I went on to work professionally at a major regional theatre, but my heart was really missing the artistic side of the business. I met Thomas and began developing a musical with him, Razia’s Shadow. We spent a few years developing the piece, moved to NYC, worked with The Public Theater on it, etc., and eventually needed a break and started writing pop music. That’s how I found my way to Cardiknox.

FEMMUSIC: I was also very curious how has the conversion been of playing an instrument to being primarily a vocalist. Do you want to play an instrument more on stage? Has it been hard taking control of the mic and the show so much?

LA:  I love performing. And it scares the shit out of me. But I live for it. So, moving into the role of a frontwoman on stage took a lot of different parts of my earlier life and brought them together in a unique way. Emoting on stage, telling my stories via song … all of that is pretty magical for me. And I like being untethered while I’m on stage. But as our set evolves and when we move into headlining our own shows, I imagine I’ll hop behind the piano for a song or two and change things up.

FEMMUSIC: When you were in Denver we spoke about the artist for both the album cover and the amazing shirts, Tristan Eaton. How did he become involved in Cardiknox? For info on Tristan Eaton visit

LA: Thomas and I have been fans of Tristan’s work for quite some time. He has a mural in NYC of Audrey Hepburn that originally turned us on to him, but we’ve become completely entranced with his entire vision and catalog. While recording the album, we spoke to John about him, as John is also a huge lover of art . He suggested we connect with Tristan and see about collaborating. Tristan came into the studio, listened to some songs and hung with us. He was stoked to collaborate and it was like a dream come true for us.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?


LA: Of course. I think that goes without saying. As a woman in any industry you face hurdles that men don’t.  And it’s unfair and totally fucked up. But the only way you can combat it is being extra prepared. Extra well-read. Extra thoughtful. Don’t let your worth be determined by how you look and don’t allow people to dismiss your thoughts and ideas, just because they’re yours. I think discrimination is a strong word, because so often … it comes across subtler. More like a bias that you can’t totally put your finger on. And that’s when it’s hardest to stand up against. Because it’s that kind of bias that skirts just under the surface of people’s consciousness. I am fortunate to have a number of very strong women working on the Cardiknox team with me. This has been tremendous in terms of ensuring that my voice is heard—and also in bouncing my thoughts off of other intelligent women. I recommend for any young women in this industry, if they can, to try and surround themselves with like-minded women. This industry certainly needs it.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry itself?

LA: I think I just answered that. 🙂 I’d love to see more strong female executives across the board in music.

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