the coalition zine a zine dedicated to babes of colour invading and taking up as much space as possible. curated and edited by fabiola ching cover photo: kayla phillips of bleed the pigs (pictures belong to their original owners, of course)
HIGHLIGHTED ARTISTS kayla phillips
destruye y huye
This issue has been in the making a long time; way before I even concocted this zine and way before I became aware of hip hop and punk feminism. This issue started building itself during my “dark years” in high school, ridden with depression and acute anxiety and the only things that could keep me calm was listening to Arooj Aftab crooning out Man Kunto Mola and Stevie Nicks‟ creating actual magic in Fleetwood Mac‟s “Rumours” album. Music is a great part of my survival mechanism, a remedy that I have always been able to fall back on with no fail. So I‟ve been yearning to create this issue, where I can share in great detail my passion not only for music and songs but to talk about those who make those music and create the magic and health and power. This issue really started to come together when my rage for the riot grrrl scene became uncontainable and when I finally started to bleed out of my ears after years of watching the women like Remy Ma that I loved and that created something special and important get dragged through the mud and were demonized for being black and for loving themselves. But also, this issue is dedicated to the babes who have come a long way with nothing to hold them down. I am so in love with the amount of talented babes of colour who are barging in with no knowledge of where they are going or what‟s in store for them but are too hungry to care. I am so in love with the blatant lack of care that these people have. This issue isn‟t just an excuse for me to fangirl about my love for music but most importantly, I want this issue to be a platform for these people that are hungry, passionate, angry, and in love with their craft. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you find some new music to put on your playlists. I love you, stay warm and stay hydrated. -Fabiola C, editor-in-chief
Kayla Phillips describes herself as an “alien babe from Zargon”; a description that I fully agree with. I drafted the interview questions I had for Kayla while I was at dinner with a few friends of mine and as I typed, a friend of a friend asked me what I was doing. After explaining and showing who Kayla was and what she does, he pointed his fork at my laptop, shook his head and with his mouth still full, he said “How do I get me one like that?” This is of course not a foreign concept to me: women in make dominated spaces not being taken seriously for their talent and passion but as sexual objects that fascinate men for just a second. This comment was the exact fire I needed to write this. At first glance, Bleed the Pigs is what everyone would like to refer to as a feminist punk band. Something like an offspring of the Riot Grrrl movement for modern day Riot Grrrls to cling to. This band is anything but and the growls that come from Kayla‟s belly describe more than shallow feminism and also prove that she is indeed the alien babe from Zargon. As soon as the band capped off their Florida tour, I got the opportunity to bombard Kayla with questions about the band and what‟s in store for us.
1. Tell us about Bleed The Pigs and how you got involved with it or how Bleed the Pigs became to be? I started it with David, who plays guitar, when we were driving around one night going to get food. I told him, "you know what, I wanna play heavy stuff. I'm bored." So it started off with me on drums and vocals, and he was doing guitar and vocals, until a friend of ours was putting on a show and asked if we were ready to play. We totally weren't, but I wanted to play anyway, so we got our good friends Taylor and Christian in on it and we came up with 6 songs to play in about a week and a half. We all have good chemistry and are best friends so the music comes easily. We're a band made for anyone that likes to headbang, and get real angry and the shitty things around them. 2. Have you always been into noise and hardcore punk, could you ever as a little girl imagine yourself being a lead singer of a noise band? I really have been! I've always loved street punk and loud, fast, abrasive music and death metal that scared my mom hahaha. It draws me in in a way that nothing else can. When it comes to noise, I genuinely feel like it helps with my mental issues. It calms me down, stops my anxiety, everything. Noise can convey so many emotions and a lot of people don't like it because it's, ya know, just noise. As a little girl, I was fronting bands and playing drums in them. It's just now people are paying attention and its not some middle school talent show. I'm from Austin Texas, so we're centered around "live music" there. I was fortunate to grow up around it, and have a bit of an easier access to it. This is always what I've wanted, and I hope I'm doing a good job, maybe even showing other black and brown girls that it's not an unachievable goal. If you want to play music, play it!
3. I remember one day u went on a mini rant on ur tumblr about how you didn’t understand why people called Bleed The Pigs “feminist punk” and honestly, I understand why you are vexed, listening to Bleed the Pigs, I did see why you are vexed because there are of course “socially conscious” lyrics in your songs but I wouldn’t group it as feminist punk? But could u elaborate on this and tell us how u view Bleed The Pigs, as a band? Yeah, it's still somewhat hard for me to explain in a way that makes complete, perfect sense. Simply put, I made it. It's my music and it's not really up for anyone else to decide what type on non-musical label to put on it. My existence stands alone in the metal/punk scene and can speak for itself. And that's what I choose to do. Being grouped in with white riot grrrls rubs me the wrong way, knowing full well what the riot grrrl scene stands for. Riot grrls weren't there for anyone other than their fellow whites. It was very much white, cis girl pride. "White feminist" today like to think that they're all inclusive, but I've always felt that they actually ignore everyone else's voices for the most part, and instead, tokenize them without really getting a grasp. It's all feels like PC points to me. Bleed the Pigs is just a band, and I happen to be a loud and proud Black woman who sometimes screams about my life as a loud and proud Black woman, but I also scream about other stuff too, and I don't think that the people that automatically group us as "feminist punk" are actually listening, and instead jumping at the "oh cool a BLACK girl, look!". I feel like my voice gets erased and no one is seriously listening, and instead tokenizing my color and femininity, when it's not really up for that. My blackness and what not aren't meant FOR white people to feel like they're doing something just by being in my presence. It actually makes me feel a bit more isolated, to be honest. Like, you looked at me and put a label on what you think I'm doing, what you want me to be doing, and you're kind of wrong! A lot of kids haven't even listened to us yet and just say the like it based on me. That's silly.
Music involves everything! But once you're a girl in a band, you will be seen as that and only that. It's "othering." They're like "if you're not a feminist punk band then what are you?? You can't stand up for women if you don't have that label!" But it's not like I'm not a Womanist. Of course I'm a Womanist, but I think people more so attach the Womanist rants that they read on my blog, and assume that's what Bleed the Pigs IS, and that's not what everything about us is focused on. Everyone knows I'm unapologetically me on all fronts, but sometimes I like my mere existence to speak for itself. I like the space I take up to tell these bro dudes what's up. I don't like being othered, but I understand the importance of having a black woman lead. But maybe I only like it coming from other WOC because we have to represent ourselves. I think my uneasiness comes from not wanting to be grouped in with something so skinny white pixie that everyone loves simply because of those key words. That scene kind of just assumes you're all about them solely on that, and that's not me. I'm not them and so many of us aren't. I just want to play heavy, scream my lungs out, have my band mates talent heard and for people to listen to us and get angry with what's around them. 4. Whatâ€™s it like fronting a band made up of boys, whatâ€™s the dynamic like between you guys? It's not bad, but that's probably because I've got a bunch of goofy nerds for bandmates! They're some of my favorite humans, and they openly listen to me, and let me do my thing. There would be no band if they didn't get it. I don't ever want to work with bro dudes that are full of it or act like I don't know what I'm talking about because they think less of me. We work together really well. Writing music for us is fun and full of jokes. They're just a bunch of nerds, and they know me well enough to get how I do things. I never have to worry that lyrics I write are too much, or will hurt their feelings. Even on tour they're super aware and respectful of my needs and moods,
and I'm actually kind of a tour mom when it comes to all of our health and well being. They meet all the requirements for guys touring with a relatively feminine woman. We wouldn't work if they didn't get it. They treat me with respect and don't mind that I sometimes take control. I really enjoy working with such talented people and I couldn't imagine anyone else. It's little things like that, that are important to me as a girl musician. I always feel safe and they're always behind me when dudes are trying to be shitty.
5. Tell us about your music writing process, if you do write the music? how are you able to do it without ripping your hair out? I love writing! I'll typically have an idea of song structure sometimes a riff idea, and David will come with a riff or two to work or tweak, Taylor will just jam on the drums with whatever David is doing, and Chris will come in and throw an idea or two in as well. We want to make music at all times, like nothing we'll put out will ever be enough for us haha. Since we do everything from recording, mixing and releasing merch ourselves, it makes it easier, I think, because I'll get the sound I want and I can get it as quickly as I want, so I have more time to go back and tweak stuff. It gets hard sometimes because with new stuff, I judge it even harsher than what was written before because I'll think "does this still sound like us, is this a step up from the last EP?" So I may not hear how good something sounds until I saturate myself with it. When it comes to lyrics, I either drive myself up the wall, or I'll wake up in the morning and wrote a whole song instantly. Writing lyrics is the hardest part for me, so our songs end up very to the point and raw. There's really no other way for me. I'm a blunt person typically, and that's how I end up writing. Some of our songs, though, do get a little more on the poetic story side. I always have to tell myself that it'll sound better when it's all said and done, it can only get better! 6. What do you see in the future of bleed the pigs and you, as a musician? I see us hopefully touring Europe, possibly getting signed to a label we all love, and forever sharing 20 minutes worth of mutual anger with people from all over. Bleed the Pigs has to play music until we have nothing left. Music has always been the center of who I am and nothing beats playing for me. They're free therapy sessions for me and anyone watching. Hardcore and punk shaped my views and friendships and helped me get to the life that feels right for me.
I'll be involved with music until I die, and hopefully I leave something musically that someone will enjoy. When black and brown girls tell me that they feel safer and are comfortable taking up the space they deserve, I feel like I'm going in the right direction.
BANDCAMP: BLEEDTHEPIGS.TUMBLR.COM TUMBLR: BLEEDTHEPIG.TUMBLR.COM
“Now, how can he have her heart. When it got stole. So he tries to pacify her. 'Cause what's inside her never dies…”. Sigh. This is from He Can Only Hold Her, one of my favorite tunes of the late Amy Winehouse. Gone too soon. With a lot of artists, at the height of their fame, it seems that they come to an inevitable early end. At the age of 27, Amy died of accidental alcohol poisoning. Hey, what‟s the deal with the age 27, I hear you say.
The '27 Club' is the illustrious society of rock and blues stars who died at the tender age of 27: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Pete Ham, Brian Jones, rapper Fat Pat and Amy Winehouse. Directly or indirectly, suicide or drugs are important causes of death among members of the 27 Club. The legend started after a two-year span in the late 60s and early 70s when a lot of members of the Club died. Most musicians are well aware of the myth. For every person that enters the infamous society there is an old musician who‟s still performing, think Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones or Iggy Pop. They all had their personal problems, but took a different path than the ones who joined the club. Death as the ultimate consequence of living has inspired many artists. There are loads of examples in literature, music and films. Going back in time, many artists were affected by a premature death: see Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). They both died before their fortieth birthdays. Their causes of death, if known, seem not to differ greatly from the usual conditions for their time. With our modern musicians it seems at first sight, more often than not, a result of unnatural causes. Why does it culminate in an all fatal action in the late twenties? Is 27 is a critical age? Probably. You can almost see it as a person who has made a long trip around the world and is now coming back home. Broadly speaking, he/she knows the world. At this age you generally know your history; you most likely have an education, a certain sense of self, friends and loved ones, a job. So far, all the patterns in life have unfolded. It‟s hard for us regular folks, but when you combine it with fame… The burden becomes heavier. These days fame doesn‟t look all that appealing in our digital society. The media‟s fascination with the 27 Club is interesting. Yet it is questionable whether this mythical fascination with death at the age of 27 is justified. On closer examination, it appears there‟s no unique
age for a musician‟s death. In “ Elvis to Eminem: quantifying the price of fame through early mortality of European and North American rock and pop stars” by Liverpool Professor Mark Bellis and consorts, they reveal that the deaths of American rock stars peaks at 41 years old and the European stars when they‟re 35 years old. Given the way Bellis &co came to their information, it cannot be excluded that there is some bias hidden – Bellis asked a group of 200.000 fans, experts and critics to bring their vote and create a top 1000 of the best music albums ever made. They analyzed 1064 American and European artists - at these ages. It seems that the risk of premature death is so much greater for pop stars than for the general population. Bellis‟ research gives some direction. By far the most important cause of death among European musicians appears to be an overdose of drugs and alcohol (29%). The Americans, however, score high on malignancies (19%) and cardiovascular diseases (18%) An overdose occurs to them in third place (15%). Measuring about 3%, suicides among pop musicians occur almost as frequently as on both sides of the Atlantic. Death by a violent crime is slightly more common for North America (7 versus 4%) but the difference is not statistically significant. Additionally, the death of many pop artists is a result of accidents (21% in Europe and 14% in North America). The stars in the limelight have, in essence, the same struggles as regular folks. Society pressures people to have it all figured out when you approach your thirties. Around that time, it can become apparent that life‟s path isn‟t unfolding that clearly for you. Medically, the stress of not being able to handle that uncertainty can have very real consequences. In addition to the pressure is the self-destruction via the vast drug abuse within the entertainment industry. The unstable life of the job, waiting, travelling, generally being creative, makes it easier to kill time and cope with addiction.
The myth of the Club grew over time. Most of the artist found fame at a young age and perhaps reaching the age of 27 is a milestone in one‟s career. On the other hand, it‟s not just age, other stars have died in a later stadium. Why the 27 Club? The Club started because of the fact that the best-selling stars of the 60‟s all died in that short period of time and at that particular age. The mortality rate among those in the entertainment industry is higher than that in the general population, and it‟s indeed remarkable that most fell off at a young age. Although suicide and drug overdose are often cited as causes of death, statistically there are more reasons for their untimely end. The idea that the artists would leave us after 27 years of living doesn‟t seem correct. So is the myth of the 27 Club false? Who knows. When Amy died the media went full force and reinstated the myth of the 27 Club. Perhaps it was just bad luck. Or a combination of fame, talent and sensitivity. The pressure became too much to handle. Sometimes the talented go first. I click on repeat. Oh, Amy, Amy, Amy.
I‟ve always had a penchant for those who are confused and hungry but still do. I heard Girl Valley‟s “radio grl” in the summer and the sun was spilling in through the open balcony door and I was reading Junot Diaz and felt like a glowing orbe as Sydney sang “it's summer i'm in love with the girl from the radio. She scares me, she says all the words i don't know so i say i wanna write my number on the wall” over a steady guitar riff and with a soft voice that felt like fresh grass. Girl Valley is Sydney Haliburton, a 20y/o from Tucson. She makes what she calls “cheap bathroom noise” in her bedroom and she does it in one take with little to no editing or even a clue as to what she is doing. Upon listening to her and then getting to know her, I always wondered where this cheap bathroom noise came from and the stories behind them. One thing I‟ve wondered about Girl Valley was how she started writing and how she infused this type of longing and heart tugging into her lyrics “I started writing music when I was around fourteen i think? i was listening to a lot of like coffee shop acoustic youtube cover singers and wanted to write sappy songs about things i didn’t know anything about so i got like a super cheap guitar and taught myself how to play. i think making music started to become (kind of?) important when i actually got garage band and realized that i could record and edit my own music so when i was like 15 i finished my first “ep” which was like four or five songs that it took me forever to make and i ended up hating it and never put it up anywhere It became a major thing for me the summer after my freshman year of college because i was back home and really shaken up by the year and i just hulled up in my room to process and that’s when i made june/july and it kind of has been something i try to really take the time to do since then.”
Her EP June/July features four songs and was released in the summer. My favourite from the EP is “Nogales, AZ,” a slow, steady song about hot dessert suns and car rides and dull mornings in border towns. The song‟s main feature is a steady guitar that sounds like silver and blends in with Sydney‟s airy voice in the most perfect way. Sydney is the actual definition of a lowkey artist, releasing her projects in the most quiet manner as if she almost doesn‟t want other people to listen to it. When I asked her about what it was like putting out her first song she said, “I remember being absolutely terrified like palms sweaty heart racing super dramatic. i ended up deleting it then putting it back up then deleting it again; i’m really indecisive. i have the habit of putting things up at like 3 am because i know that no one is up to listen to it, and i actually don't think anyone listened to it, but i didn’t mind i was kind of glad. i think i was just proud that i actually put something out there. I don’t think I had many expectations to be honest. Kind of just let people do what they want with it and if something happens then it happens. The only real expectations I had were really of myself; like am I doing the best that I can? being honest with my writing? how much effort did i put into? stuff like that if it makes sense? The fears i had were pretty similar to anyone putting themselves in a vulnerable position; like how will people perceive it and how will they react and what will they really think about it?” When it comes to song writing, there are people who know how to infuse longing and hurt and growth in one song and they do it so fluidly. In her song “II” Sydney writes “i watched the sunrise at 6 am and why do we curate our own demons and try not to sleep in.” It‟s a song not longer than 2 minutes but it‟s packed with enough to make you think.
When i asked her about her writing process she said, “I‟m a night owl so my writing process usually starts with me being up at like 3 am trying to fit a melody to some sort of sentence i spat out into my journal or something i thought of in the shower or walking back from class. i may tackle a “complex” topic or feeling but it always starts off short and simple and continues in a stream of conscious type way. There‟s no structure or format usually. since i started making music I‟ve always been worried that other people can hear me (writing/singing?) so I‟m always really quiet (i still get embarrassed and will stop if i think someone can hear me it‟s awful) so this is all happening .” Girl Valley‟s cheap bathroom noise essentially sticks with you long after you hear it and leaves you with wanting and questions and the urge to want to evoke these types of emotions in other people. She might not know what she‟s doing but she does it and she does it well and fluidly. It‟s all about doing.
It‟s 11:43am and I‟m crouched in the back of my best friend‟s Honda, avoiding Algebra equations and an abusive boyfriend and while Stevie Nicks‟ “Love You Enough” plays from a mixtape I made a few nights before, I‟m doing breathing exercises with my eyes tightly shut. This was how I spent a lot of my mornings during my sophomore year of high school. This year was set against a backdrop of nicotine and abuse and soft songs that were the only thing that
kept me from plummeting into whatever was waiting for me under the darkness. I relied on music a lot during this time and took refuge in certain songs. In hindsight, I don‟t know if it was healthy to rely so much on music but you can‟t underestimate the type of healing power that certain songs have. It‟s a very real thing. I had a mixtape made mainly of Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac songs, most of them demos. The first time I listened to Stevie Nicks was of course through Fleetwood Mac. I heard “Dreams” one night on the radio and for weeks, it played on a loop in my head and one day, I broke down and googled the lyrics and the rest is history. After I listened to “Dreams”, I checked out other songs and spent all night trying to find out everything I could about the band and the blonde woman who writes so heavily and sounded like silver. This piece is so close to turning into notes on the dynamic between Stevie and Lindsey so I‟m going to steer away from that immediately but honestly, look out for a novel on that in the next 10 years perhaps. The fact that I became enamored to Stevie had nothing to do with what she wrote about, at least not exactly. She didn‟t write about the things I was going through at that time in my life so I wasn‟t drawn to her and her lyrics because I could relate. Stevie created a magic that I couldn‟t exactly grasp or understand but I felt it and it was beautiful and peaceful. She knows how to write about hurt in a way that didn‟t exactly romanticize it but was honest and full of longing, and these words were set against the most beautiful melodies. Stevie wrote about tenderness. I think about tenderness a lot, it being the one thing I have never been able to attain or reciprocate to the people I love or care about. I‟ve spent my life feeling like sandpaper or like I‟m too hot to the touch. When I was depressed, I wanted more than anything for someone to find me easy to love but though that didn‟t happen, I took refuge in my favourite song by
Stevie, China Doll. The second verse goes like this: “I said it‟s been so long since I‟ve been held, and he said I could hold you for days. He made love to me with his eyes especially, I smiled to know I‟ve finally found a place. I‟m going home.” Though I‟m not interested in anyone making love to me with their eyes, I wanted more than anything to find a home like Stevie did in this song, and for a while I did. The most important video on earth is the video of Stevie an dher backup singers backstage at a Rolling Stone shoot, in 1981. They are singing “Wild Heart” over the instrumental of “Can‟t Go Back.” It‟s one of the most beautiful things on earth and I listen to it whenever I feel too much or when I feel on fire. They are wearing all white and she has on a cross necklace and can you feel the purity and magic and mystique? The other thing about this video is at the end, you hear “Wish You Were Here” sung by Christine McVie, another ethereal being who deserves to have a book written about her. I have spent too many years asking why she didn‟t release this version instead but honestly, some things are just better as they are.
by Gissele Defares Only recently I witnessed the magnetism of Kelis. Sure, I bopped along to “Milkshake” and ”Bossy,” but I never delved deeper into the artist. Procrastination - or should I say utter boredom – let me into the dark abyss of YouTube videos. I found the dance scenes from Honey – the only high point in Jessica Alba‟s career – and that was the point of no return. From there, I started to look for the cheesy videos of Sean Paul. One thing led to another and I stumbled upon “Trick
Me” of Kelis. Here was an artist with a strong self-image who didn‟t put on airs to be anything other than she really is. Or does she? When I think of Kelis, authenticity comes to mind. Yeah, the word is flung around when it comes to most artists. What does it really entail? It‟s often linked to the persona they show the world. The etymological definition of authenticity, or authentikos in ancient Greek is „ to refer to a first cause or origin.‟ In other words, the pure form is not influenced and therefore valuable. The weight that is put upon artists to be authentic is quite paradoxical when you look at our digitally networked society which is dominated by constants streams of information, mass production and consumerism. However, when you look at the illusion of authenticity – of artists- and the inevitable tendency of conformism perhaps there is no such thing possible. Is authenticity then still applicable when it comes to the artist Kelis? There is a sharp dichotomy between artificiality and authenticity. Is the opposition between the two even real? How can you define music and the artist as authentic since its literal artificial. It‟s essentially work – the music and the persona - created by the artist itself. Perhaps authenticity can be seen as an important yet dispensable theme. As an artist, Kelis seems authentic, because she transforms her style in a constant manner. Like Kelis, we can always define who we are and we can always reinvent ourselves. Kelis uses fashion as a form of expression, it‟s her tool with which she is able to reveal her ambivalent feelings and tensions. In the end, does it really matter? The dichotomy between the artist and the persona can easily coexist. Original, creative, curious: all words that describe Kelis‟ body of work. She brings her fusion of music and style to a new generation with her latest album “Food”. The New York born R&B singer has been around for a while. Her beginnings in Harlem, NY perhaps explain her
resistance to conformity. Kelis has a creative ethos with which she experiments, invents and transforms herself. That‟s her core. In 1999, she broke out with her fabulous curly colorful mane in her first video “Caught Out There”. She has unleashed five albums, full of gems, where her sultry, raspy voice perfectly aligns with her dreamy r&b music. In her album “Food”, she combines her love of music with her love for cooking - she trained as a chef at Le Cordon Blue - and named her songs after her favorite dishes, such as the lead single “Jerk Ribs.” The multi talent even has her own show on the Cooking Channel Saucy and Sweet, that follows her life in and out of the kitchen. In her web series Wardrobe Junkies Kelis gives us a peek - an episode is approximately two minutes- into her massive vintage (designer) closet. Her clothing choices over the years seemed chaotic and irrational but nevertheless fashionable and innovative. Fashion and style can contribute towards individual freedom and in principle do not have to be coherent in their ambiguity. The enjoyable web series shows the contradictions and tensions in the wardrobe of an eccentric artist. Let‟s all succumb to the vintage power of Kelis.
by Fabiola C
A lot of people think that this phenomenon of black women being demonized for doing certain things while white women get praised for the exact same thing is a new phenomenon but it truly isnâ€&#x;t. This shit has been going on forever, and riot grrrl is a great example as to how deep it goes and how many different ways it can be manifested. At my first introduction to riot grrrl, I was very amazed at the fact that nobody shamed these women for being angry. And today I still think about it, how the angry white woman gets by
without being casted as a monster. Of course, I know why. Anybody with the ability to see through glass knows why. I used to think that when it came to Riot Grrrl, the only thing needed to be done was throw some black girls in the mix and everything will be balanced. this is a very screwed and fucked up way to view the issue because black women of the 90s rioted like hell, with Lil Kim rapping about oral sex like it was nobody‟s business and TLC changing up the game when it came to women publicly lamenting about beauty standards while simultaneously looking down on men who weren‟t shit. But the issue here is that these women were (and still are) dragged through the dirt, despite how revolutionary they were. And so are all other black female artist who aren‟t seen as feminist icons but as vulgar and vapid sluts. No one is making documentaries on how many lives these women have impacted. Is this because these women aren‟t showing their feminism through a punk rock lense, like Bikini Kill? Or is it because we just aren‟t considered people in this movement? Riot Grrrl did a great disservice to feminism as a whole. Riot Grrrl gave way for these very shallow and impartial definitions of feminism that white women and white girls thrive on today and that also happen to shut out black women and other women of colour. Riot Grrrls of today really make it a point not to think critically about this movement that they have based their whole lives on and have romanticized to death. They don‟t question why so many of us are reluctant to give a shit about their fight to dismantle the patriarchy, they don‟t think about WHY it is that black women aren‟t present in this movement and only came in as an afterthought years later when Kathleen Hanna lamented about her regret for the movement‟s underrepresentation of black women and even other women of colour.
As long as we are on the subject, I don‟t give a shit about Kathleen Hanna apologizing for the lack of black women during the Riot Grrrl movement, stop whispering that shit in my ear thinking it will make me go “oh ok that‟s cool.” How weak do you think I am that I will be swayed by that? How does that change the fact that the Riot Grrrl movement that white girls are trying so hard to recreate is still very flawed, littered with nothing but white faces, and just as useless as the original Riot Grrrl movement? Stop bringing up that apology in discussions pertaining the grossness of Riot Grrrl because it does absolutely nothing and even borders on disrespectful.
I‟m writing this on the same day as Shady Hawkins‟ last show ever. This is not due to procrastination, I really did plan it this way. I swear. Shady Hawkins released their first song on Bandcamp in 2011, 3 years ago. Now, they are playing their last show ever. But before we cue the tears, let‟s talk about how much power came from the mouth and belly of this band and how many plates I‟ve broken while listening to “YR TIME IS UP.” I first heard Shady Hawkins at a party in Virginia. A girl named Kat was the DJ and she played “How Long?” on repeat and it was like a séance was taking place and I felt like the girls in the craft except maybe more powerful. It was so beautiful and spine tingling. To help me reminisce on the last three years, I got to ask lead singer and mall goth queen Suzy X about her favourite past times and memories from the last three years. You can start crying now, as you read. How did Shady Hawkins begin/how did you find yourself in the band? It was my senior year of college (2010) and I was disappointed that I had yet to start a band. At that point I'd been a Girls Rock camp volunteer for two years, so I was more motivated than ever to start the feminist punk band of my high school dreams. I started meeting up with my friends Mike Funk (drums) and Matt Presto (guitar) at Mike's parents' house in New Jersey for practice. Sabrina Crimmins joined as our bassist in 2012. Tell me about your first show. It was in a friend's basement in New Brunswick, during her art opening. It was all a bit awkward and sloppy, but it's punk so, whatevs. Everyone had a great time that night. We did three covers:
songs by Sleater-Kinney, The Shangri-Las, and Taking Back Sunday. Just to give you an idea of how many fucks were given that night. What was your favourite thing about being in a band? Lashing out live. Performing is always really cathartic for me-- as soon as I grab the mic I turn into an over-the-top novela star. Before I was in a band, I'd just go ham playing Rock Band at home or singing at karaoke bars. I'd climb on tables, serenade people with Donna Summer. I think I was too intense for that scene though. People just wanted to sing N*Sync with their besties, and I was there to make an impression... On a bunch of drunk strangers.
Do you have any particular fave shady hawkins song or album? I'm really excited about our new (and last) EP. My favorite song, I think, is a song called "Do I Dare?" It'll be on our upcoming EP, but it was one of the first songs that we ever wrote. It's gone through a few transmutations. In the latest version, I sing a letter to my grandmother, who I was always very close to. That is, until I came out to her as bisexual four years ago. She doesn't speak to me as much anymore and it continues to break my heart. This song is like a release for me. Every time I sing it, I feel a little less tethered to my disappointment. What is a great Shady Hawkins memory that lives with you forever and ever? I can only speak for myself, but I think it was the time we played the Latinx To The Front show with Downtown Boys in Providence. It was during a blizzard. The snow was already over a foot high, and we had to tread through it with all our gear in tow. We didn't think anyone would show up, but over 100 people did! Because it was on the 15th, Victoria Ruiz and I decided it was a quinceañera party. So I wore a white lace dress and brought some sequin tiaras for my friends. Shady Hawx ran through our fastest songs, as well as an array of half-baked covers to psych everyone out with-- including 311's "Down" and Ginuwine's "Pony." The crowd totally ate it up. They were probably the rowdiest but best crowd we ever played to, because they weren't there to be impressed; they were there to have fun. By the end of our set, somebody blasted "Pony" on the stereo, commencing a really sweaty dance party. At some point I remember floating serenely on a giant swing in the middle of the loft and singing, ♫ ride it, my ponaaay ♫ Are you still going to actively pursue music after shady hawkins?
Yes! I'm writing a lot of songs on my own right now. I have an experimental solo project called Mistress IX, but honestly I can't wait to be in a band again. I've grown so much as a singer, as a feminist, as a person through playing music, and I've met so many kind and amazingly talented people. Hopefully I'll be back in action by next year.
So perhaps don‟t cry too much because I don‟t think we‟ve heard the absolute last of Shady Hawkins or Suzy X. This is a fire that can‟t go out.
whenever we do this part of the zine, I become overwhelmed by how little space there is and how much there is to be said and done. these next pages, like the rest of the zine, is dedicated to babes of colour who are invading spaces in the music industry, doing everything by themselves, and living and thriving on hunger only. I hope this serves as a reminder that everything is ours. weâ€&#x;re not interested in equality, we are interested in taking whatâ€&#x;s ours and invading spaces.
Xela won't let you near without cleaning the bullshit from your corners. She is a feminist, urban, indigenous artist (read: militant homegirl) who goes by the name Cihuatl Ce, meaning "First of the Waters" or "One Female" in Nahuatl. Located in Los Angeles but defiant of all borders, she pumps out hip hop beats that go to your muscles and make your footsteps hit the ground a little harder. Unlike most powerful minds we hear about, Cihuatl Ce isn't only out to take down systems. She aims to decolonize and rebuild. Her
dedication to womyn of color, health justice, and youth outreach shows in the work she does. She organized the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade for womyn of color in 2010 and brought the Clitoral Mass event to LA a year later. Cihuatl Ce released FEMI9mm: The Fury of a Wombyn in 2012, an album like an engine that demands rebellious energy and converts it into action, resistance, heat. Just as her lyrics are in both Spanish and English, she blends themes of revolution and the Earth so that one seems as natural as the other. Listen to "Rise Above" to hear some of what I mean. The music is fed, not tempered, by the knowledge that we are of the spaces we live in and own nothing but our own organic bodies. Flute helps words carry a tragedy in "My Grandmother's Story (The Motherless... Mothering)" and if you're uncomfortable with the image of a bloody kotex or the political power of ovaries - good, think about why. Cihuatl Ce isn't going to censor for your benefit. She's here to make sure her voice is heard.
Diffakult (previously known as Jxydx) is back roaring, after releasing their first EP about 9 months ago. Of course, there were signs that the Western Canada-based rapper was coming back in with a bang, with shows popping here and there, but i donâ€&#x;t think anything could prepare me for what was to come when they released this ball of fire. Before they dropped the hit, they posted a tiny snippet of the song on their tumblr, hyping everyone up. Days later, after threatening to
drop the full version if a certain number of people tweeted #diffakult, they finally dropped the song in itâ€&#x;s full glory. From the beginning of the song, you are instantly thrusted into something hectic and hot. The guitar-loaded beat hits you heavy, rock infused with sounds that are reminiscent of lasers in outer space, and so do the words, with no hesitation, the rapper is very eager to say what they want to say; with easy, smooth rhymes that donâ€&#x;t stop. Calling the song a ball of fire is really an understatement and a testament to my limited vocabulary. Diffakultâ€&#x;s come back song is guaranteed to etch itself into your eardrums, at least till they give you something new that will most likely stick to you harder than this does.
The intro to Babefield‟s first EP Halfripe is a clip of the Taurus cheerleader team (you know, from the Bring It On movie, “I know you don‟t think a white girl made that shit up” yeah them) reciting the cheer that the Toros stole from them. That‟s how she sets us up for what turns out to be a magnificent album. 1/5 of rap group Barf Troop, Babefield has proved time without number that despite the lack of equipment and opportunities that other people may have, she‟s still going to do what she wants and stay sited on her high horse.
HALFRIPE is suited with clever, egotistic rhymes, lots of black girl love, and slimy, hectic beats that suit her voice and message so well. You can feel the power and hard headedness as she says “I CAN BE WHAT YOU WANT, BUT I DON‟T WANNA BE!” in the track “What You Want.” Upon listening to the album, you can‟t help but put her on the same level as Junglepussy and Rah Digga. In fact, when you listen to Half Ripe, the next thing you need to listen to is Junglepussy‟s “Satisfied” and Rah‟s “Dirty Harriet”, just so you keep the powerful vibe around.
Con Art is a psychedelic Africana duo formed in 2013 in Washington, D.C. consisting of producer, vocalist, and musician Ron Collins and spoken-word artist and lyricist Liz Thompson. Their first collaborative track, "Karmic Stimuli," was inspired by a mutual interest in afronationalism, interstellar religiosity, and bio politics of millennial romance. Con Art's musical influences include Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Fela Kuti, Crystal Castles, Clicks & Whistles, Patti Smith, and Audre Lorde to name a few. When they aren't making music, Ron works as a personal chef and Liz works as a media and communications manager for a small college in western Maryland. Ron's previous projects include a music video for his track "Bleu" done
by Nicola Fan as a senior thesis at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD): http://vimeo.com/12070638, in addition to an acoustic EP, Mellowdrama, produced in 2010. Liz was recently featured in Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed in Upstart, a journal of English renaissance studies produced by Clemson University.
Arooj Aftab innovates off classical Pakistani, Sufi & pre-partition South Asian music, creating original compositions honoring ancestral roots,for a sound that is fresh, graceful, and musically complex. Paying homage to classical sufi legends such as Abida Parveen and Reshma; neo-soul and jazz icons such as Sade and Ella Fitzgerald; and contemporary world musicians such as Marisa Monte and Fat Freddyâ€&#x;s Drop, Arooj presents an original, interactive sound embraced by young and old, South Asian and beyond. Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Arooj moved to the U.S. in 2005 to study Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music. Having completed her education and now based in New York, Arooj is working as a fulltime performing artist, music composer and sound editor.
Through exposure to diverse musical genres and incredibly talented artists in Boston and in New York City, Arooj is inspired to continuously develop her art and deepen her understanding of the possibilities of music. Layering subtle, intricate, dynamic vocals over acoustic instrumentation, Arooj skillfully re-imagines indigenous soul with signature â€žcool.â€&#x;
Kari Johnson, better known by her stage name Kari Faux, is a young up-and-coming femcee (Female emcee) from Little Rock, Arkansas. But she isn‟t just like any other female emcee from her small hometown. She‟s not your typical girl who uses clothes, money, and being attractive as her primary focus of subject matter. If asked, she‟d probably describe her music as “music for tomboys”. Because of her unique voice and subject matter she‟s beginning to carve her own lane in a music world where cookie-cutter type music is
common. She also produces and dabbles in photography and videography, trades she learned while attending Art Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. After facing the frustrations dealing with her school and the poor quality of education she was getting, she packed her bags and moved back home to Arkansas. Shortly after returning home she decided to make music of her own. She released her song “Fauxty Miles Per Hour” and things steadily took off from there. After releasing a remix for the song and an accompanying viral music video Kari Faux began to make waves among the music scene of her hometown. She later released a mixtape “Fact Or Faux” in January of 2012. After releasing her tape she went on to do over 20 shows including opening up for rising underground artists such as: Neako, G-Eazy, Mod Sun, and SL Jones. Kari Faux released a second project “Sophisticated Ratchetness” and also released 4 music videos to accompany it. After her second release she received more attention from blogs and also received notable coverage in the Arkansas Times. After recently releasing her “City Limits” project, Kari Faux performed at A3C Festival in Atlanta with fellow Little Rock emcee, SL Jones. Earlier in 2013, Kari Faux released project titled “No Sleep Til Atlanta” representing her move from her hometown to Atlanta. Her “Spontaneous Generation” mixtape was released earlier this year, a masterpiece jampacked with honesty, style, and a sharpness that fans have come to expect of her.
As I delve deeper into the world of punk rock, I‟ve found that the loudest noises are made by women of colour. Latinxs in punk rock is a subject that doesn‟t get as much light as it should whenever it comes to the big discussion of the exclusion of women of colour in the punk rock scene. Destruye y Huye(meaning Destroy and Flee) is a hardcore band from Los Angeles making rowdy songs in Spanish over catchy guitar riffs. During a recent interview, frontman Angee said: I guess what inspired me, I actually I had heard about riot grrrl first before I heard about any punk band. Like Kathleen Hanna. But it was kind of difficult because there was a lot of white women in that scene. All of these bands were playing but I didn’t really discover
until later on that there were women like writing in Spanish. I was always into writing so to be able to be part of a punk scene and then also blend that in with creating a sort of space within the punk scene. I found a place to put what I wanted to say in a way that was almost like a movement. Thatâ€™s what inspired me, to be able to put everything that we felt as a community, and as women, and as women of color into music. The band is about power, community, representation, and overall rowdiness.
THANK YOU FOR READING THE DIGITAL VERSION OF OUR MUSIC ISSUE. THE PRINTED COPIES WILL BE OUT IN TWO WEEKS, WITH A LOT MORE CONTENT. I HOPE YOU STICK BY US. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING.