halfnhalf.co | 1
halfnhalf.co | 2
issue 5 editor-in-chief sam keeler assistant editor jaycee rockhold writers jaycee rockhold emily nelson sam keeler photographers sam keeler nicole busch aysia marotta jaycee rockhold joyce jude marina labarthe del solar sophia ragomo cover shot nicole busch illustratons jae vyskocil design sam keeler
find us at website: halfnhalf.co twitter: halfnhalfblog instagram: halfandhalfblog
letter from the editor Last year around this time we were getting ready to head to SXSW, a week packed with interviews, portrait sessions, and live music. A few months later, we released our SXSW zine, and I was upset to realize that we had not interviewed a single band that had a female. This was both a mess up on our part, but also a small glimpse at the bigger issue. Festival lineups in 2017 were overwhelmingly male dominated. Male domination in the music industry doesn’t just start and end in festival lineups, it is prevalent all over the industry. In an article from Billboard, we see the stats. In 2017, 83.2% of artists were men and only 16.8% were women. 2017 marked a six-year low for female artists in popular content. Of 2,767 songwriters credited, 87.7% were male and 12.3% were female. Out of the study’s 651 producers, 98% were male and only 2% female. A total of 899 individuals were nominated for a Grammy Award between 2013 and 2018. 90.7% of those were male and 9.3% were female. Luckily, times are changing and there are some incredible women in the industry who are shrinking the gap in these stats and working towards equality in the industry. That’s why for International Women’s Day this year, we’ve been working on putting together this issue featuring some truly incredible ladies. In our cover feature with Georgia Nott of Broods and The Venus Project, she reminds us that “once you figure out what that is for you and what you believe in and what you want to stand for and what you don’t want to stand for it’s such a beautiful way to express your opinion through art,” and that is what we hope to do in this issue.
halfnhalf.co | 3
halfnhalf.co | 4
ta b l e o f c o n t e n t s Lauren Ruth Ward...................................6 Chastity Belt.........................................12 Caroline Rose........................................18 Georgia Nott/The Venus Project.........26 Japanese Breakfast..............................34 Charlotte Cardin..................................40 Superknova............................................46 Xhosa......................................................54 Bully.......................................................58 Women In Music......................................62 Girls Behind the Rock Show.................66 Girl Power: The Music Industry...........69 Girls Rock! Chicago...............................70 playlist..................................................73 halfnhalf.co | 5
halfnhalf.co | 6
Lauren Ruth Ward photos by nicole busch & words by jaycee rockhold
halfnhalf.co | 7
halfnhalf.co | 8
Lauren Ruth Ward is vibrant in every sense of the word– from her upbeat, 60s and 70s influenced music to her rainbow tipped bangs. Her stage presence too is exuberant and defiant, with Ward sashaying around the stage with a confident voice that’s emphasized with a live band. Ward, who was once a full-time hairdresser at a salon in Baltimore, dropped everything at a moment’s notice to move to Los Angeles, putting her in a better situation to explore her sexuality and put her passion of music at the forefront, all why still cutting hair in her backyard. Ruth, who recently released her newest album Well, Hell was able to answers some questions for Half & Half. How were you first introduced to music? Ward: My Parents. Do you have any distinct memories of when you were younger and being exposed to music? Ward: Yes. I remember being about five years old listening to my dad’s favorites in the middle seat of his pickup truck. The Cranberries, Frank Sinatra, Carpenters, Led Zeppelin, The Temptations, Pink Floyd... Around that same time, my mom used to clean the house while listening to Robyn, Janet Jackson, Sade and Disco Compilations. Are there any strong women figures that particularly inspired you when you were younger? Ward: My mom, step mom, sister, grandmother, women I’ve worked with, artists, friends, etc.
I’ve been influenced by many women. How would you say the music scene has differed in LA in comparison to your hometown of Baltimore? Ward: Both have dynamic music scenes. LA has a higher volume of live music. Your music is very soulful and has a very retro, girl power appeal to it. Would you say your own personal music taste reflects this? Ward: Yeah, I like a lot of music from the 60s and 70s. I also love anything that has a real message. Some of your songs on your recent album release have a more distinctive girl power, feminist feel. Would you describe your music as being motivated and empowered by this? Ward: Subconsciously yes, because feminism is something I believe in and I like to sing about what I believe in. Feminism = Everybody Power. It’s obviously not a requirement for bands and artists to speak about social issues, but do you think bands/ artists should be open about social issues since they have more of a platform? Ward: While it is nice to see a good message spread far and wide, I believe it’s is a personal choice to let the pubic in. Where was your album recorded and who are some of the people that you worked with on it? halfnhalf.co | 9
Ward: In Hollywood with Grey Goon and Burbank with Claire Morison. Players: Eduardo Rivera, Liv Slingerland, India Pascucci, Dean Passarella, Martin Dillard, LP and Doug Walters. What bands/ artists are some of your favorite in Los Angeles right now? Ward: So many. Veronica Bianqui, Slugs, Moon Honey, Valley Queen, Emily Gold, Hydro Kitten, YIP YOPS, Madison Douglas, The Entire Universe, Nicole Kiki Jaffe, Draemings, Georgi K, Caroline Blaike, Fox Sinclaire, Eduardo Rivera, Liv Slingerland, India Pascucci, Dean Passarella, Gypsum, Vōx, Crow, Prince Spectre, The Years, The Diamond Light, Kat Meoz, All This Blue, Ramonda Hammer, Gothic Tropic, Starcrawler, Malia Civetz, Liphemra, Vista Kicks, Lucy LaForge, Dolly Doctrin, Emma Cole, Clara Nova, Laura Jean Anderson, Livingmore, VAVÁ… Your shows are known for being vivacious and energetic. Is this something you’ve always incorporated in your shows? Ward: Not always. We’ve only been a band for 1 1/2 years. When it was just me and my guitar, I didn’t run around as much. Describe your music in one word. Ward: Me
halfnhalf.co | 10
halfnhalf.co | 11
halfnhalf.co | 12
photos by samira shobeiri & words by emily nelson halfnhalf.co | 13
In the thriving Seattle punk-pop scene, Chastity Belt just might be its crown jewel. Made up of Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Annie Truscott and Gretchen Grimm, the feminist-minded group from Walla Walla stands apart for its shoegaze-y devotion to reality and emotion. Their first two albums, No Regerts (and that misspelling is purposeful) and Time To Go Home, are notable for their wry take on millennial culture and the downsides of excess free time. On their third LP, I Used To Spend So much Time Alone, released in 2017 on Hardly Art, the band uses their trademark style to tackle the well-known realities of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and isolation. Half & Half caught up with lead singer/guitarist Shapiro about the songwriting process, Seattle, and the five female-fronted acts you should be into right now. First, some introductory questions: where are you all from? How long have you been making music together? Shapiro: Lydia, Gretchen and I live in Seattle, and Annie lives in LA. Weâ€™re all originally from different places though. Iâ€™m from Palo Alto, CA, Gretchen
is from East Lansing Michigan, Annie is from Gig Harbor, WA and Lydia is from Maui How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard of you before? Shapiro: Early Coldplay, but with more angst. What has changed over time to influence the differences and changes in your lyrical and musical stylings? Shapiro: Just growing together and having more experience playing music together has shaped our music and I think overall made it better and more complicated than it originally was. What is your writing process like? How does a Chastity Belt song come together? Shapiro: Usually whoever sings the song will come up with a chord progression and general structure, and then everyone else will write their own parts around that. There have been a couple songs that have started out of us just jamming
halfnhalf.co | 14
and we turn it into a more structured song. A term I’ve seen connected to your music a lot is “humor,” but at the same time your songs deal with some pretty heavy concepts (anxiety, depression, dissatisfaction). Do you think having a sense of humor is necessary for tackling these issues, especially in music? Shapiro: Yeah definitely, humor is a good coping mechanism. I don’t necessarily think music and lyrics have to be blatantly humorous in order to tackle heavy issues, but I think it helps to be able to laugh at yourself and have a good sense of humor in general. We’ll play a bunch of serious songs at a show, but still laugh in between them and try to enjoy ourselves rather than taking everything super seriously.
What do you all do when you’re not playing music? Shapiro: I hang with my friends pretty hard. I watch a lot of reality TV, but I realize how depressing that sounds. I’m looking for another hobby. I bartend as a second job. Lydia works at the conservatory here. Gretchen and Annie both nanny. Gretchen is also really good as sewing. Are there any projects/shows in the works that we can look forward to? Shapiro: We’re touring with Camp Cope in Australia in a couple weeks. We also have a US tour coming up in April/May. And finally, since this zine is a celebration of female musicians: could you recommend five female-fronted projects to check out?
How has your location and the Seattle music scene influenced your music, if at all? Shapiro: Living in Seattle has definitely had an Shapiro: Lala Lala (we’re touring with them in impact on our music - from other local bands, as April), Ian Sweet, Hoop, DoNormaal, and Jenn well as the gloomy weather. I think the greyness Champion. makes it easier to focus inwards and write songs. halfnhalf.co | 15
halfnhalf.co | 16
halfnhalf.co | 17
halfnhalf.co | 18
Caroline Rose photos by aysia morotta & words by jaycee rockhold Caroline Rose is spunky. Her latest album release LONER is just as much eccentric as it is eclectic, with some songs sounding like their sprinkled with synths and slick and glossy beats, to others sounding like their tinged with country and dipped in a thick layer of wit. Her aesthetic goes hand in hand with her sound, Rose often donning a bright shade of red or a track suit that makes her look like sheâ€™s ready to jump on the track and outrun anyone trying to keep up with her. A Vermont native turned New York resident, Rose has been writing and releasing music for the last few years. LONER is her best work yet, personality bursting from nearly every track on the album, whether sheâ€™s singing about money (or lack thereof) or her own sexuality. Rose answered some questions about her relationship with music, what she listened to growing up, and how her album reflects personal change.
halfnhalf.co | 19
How were you first introduced to music? Rose: My parents are artists and always listened to pretty great music when I was growing up. Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five” was pretty much on repeat, The Drifters, Bill Withers, Chris Isaac. Then I was forced to take piano lessons, which is how I can read music, but I wouldn’t say I particularly enjoyed it until I came back to it on my own. Do you have any distinct memories of when you were younger and being exposed to music? Rose: Oh definitely. When my sister and I were kids our family would take road trips to different national parks and we’d bring a handful of CDs with us that we’d listen to over and over. The Drifters, Lenny Kravitz, Sugar Ray, Manhattan Transfer, Incubus. Those songs are pretty much imprinted in my DNA. In fact, Incubus was my first concert! At MSG (Madison Square Garden). The whole family went. That was where I was introduced to pot for the first time. Are there any strong women figures that particularly inspired you when you were younger?
ji, but there are definitely one or two feminist anthems on there. It’s obviously not a requirement for bands and artists to speak about social issues, but do you think bands/ artists should be open about social issues since they have more of a platform? Rose: I think people should say whatever they feel, but if you say something dumb just expect to have a scrillion angry trolls in your Twitter feed. What do you think are some ways in which the music industry can be more inclusive of women? Rose: Have more women in decision-making positions. Period. In an interview with Loud and Quiet, you describe sort of a personal transformation regarding your art, your personality, and your sexuality. Do you think your recent releases have reflected this transformation? In what ways has music allowed to express yourself more freely?
Rose: Yeah. I really think this record sounds like me. It’s kind of manic, sad, funny, weird…It Rose: One time I shaved the hair off a Barbie encompasses a bunch of elements in my perand I think that’s made a truly lasting impression sonality. And I think art is amazing in that way on me. because you can create your own world and be whoever you want. For me, honestly, the Are there any strong women figures that inhardest thing was to break down all these ideas spire you now? about who I should or could be and just try to be the truest version of my normal manic, weird Rose: I’m still coasting off the bald Barbie, but I self. think Laverne Cox is a goddess sent from heaven. And Rihanna. Where was your album recorded and who are some of the people that you worked with on Some of your songs on your recent album it? release have a more distinctive girl power feel. Would you describe your music as being Rose: It was co-produced by me and Paul Butler motivated and empowered by this? and recorded in Panoramic Studio, as well as Paul’s and my studio, respectively. Rose: I would say they’re more inspired by the smiley face emoji next to middle finger emohalfnhalf.co | 20
halfnhalf.co | 21
Do you think the themes on LONER have differed greatly than some of your previous work? Rose: Oh for sure. I mean, it makes sense, right? I’ve changed a lot, my lifestyle is pretty different and my interests are different. I think there is definitely some overlap for sure, for instance my songs have always had a middle-fingers-up element to them, but I think it’s a bit more personal now. What bands/ artists are some of your favorite right now?
really into gaming. She’s just the coolest and I am desperately trying to force her to be my friend. Very excited about new records from Mitski, Ron Gallo, Vundabar, BOYTOY. New Kali Uchis, Tyler the Creator, Janelle Monae, I love everything Lana del Rey touches… Describe your music in one word. Rose: Oh God, these questions are always so hard!! See, I’ve already failed at it. Jesus what am I at like a 100 words already? Now I’m anxious, oh God. I need a cocktail. I’ll have to mail in my answer.
Rose: I’m completely in love with this rapper Sammus. She’s a super-genius-nerd-babe and halfnhalf.co | 22
halfnhalf.co | 23
halfnhalf.co | 24
halfnhalf.co | 25
THE VENUS PROJECT words by jaycee rockhold & interview by sam keeler photos by nicole busch
halfnhalf.co | 26
halfnhalf.co | 27
Georgia Nott, one half of indie pop duo has opened up for some of the biggest names in Broods, is taking the concept of a “girl gang” to the pop music world, touring with Ellie Goulding, the next level. With her new musical outlet The Haim, and Sam Smith, all while finding time to Venus Project, Nott is showcasing what women in release an EP and two full length albums. the music industry have to offer, enlisting the help Through Broods, Nott has worked with of an all women crew to present The Venus Projsome of the most powerful women in music, such ect: Vol. 1, an incredibly personal album that uses as co-writing “Heartlines” (from their album Conemotional vulnerability to demonstrate strength. scious) with the internationally successful Lorde. From the concept of the album to management However, female collaborators in the music industo every little line of the artwork, Nott and her try aren’t always so easily reachable. Often times team of all female collaborators are proving that Nott found herself being the only woman in many women have a place in the music world, and that situations, whether it was setting up for one of her they always should have. shows with Broods or tweaking the last few notes Even though the now 23-year-old Nott on an album. It’s well-known that the music induscan’t exactly pinpoint a specific moment during try has long been male-dominated (just check which she knew she wanted to make music, it has the male to female ratio on any festival lineup always permeated her whole life, whether it was pre-2018), but like many other women fighting to singing and writing songs since she was 10 or have a voice, Nott isn’t going to let herself or any being influenced by her musically inclined parof her female collaborators fade into the backents. As a result that Georgia Nott calls “inevitaground. ble”, she and her brother Caleb formed Broods, a Originally from New Zealand, Nott found duo that soon found themselves with their song herself becoming more interested and involved “Bridges” in the top ten single charts in New in the feminist movement and the music scene Zealand. Throughout the past five years, Broods when she moved to Los Angeles. Seeing other halfnhalf.co | 28
women being so vocal about feminism and their place in the music industry gave Nott a little push into being more vocal herself, and eventually served as the catalyst for creating The Venus Project. “I think that was a lot of the reason why I felt like I had to do something actively rather than just representing personally my views,” said Nott. “I wanted to represent my views through an actual piece of art that I could share with the world and I could start conversations with. I can talk to people like you about it and I can talk to people that I would have otherwise not reached with what I believe in.” All members recruited by Nott have a background in music. One member of the group and “number one supporter in every way, shape, and form” as described by Nott, Camila Mora, is the keyboard player when Broods tours, but also acts as one of the producers of The Venus Project. Nott met some of the other women in less conventional ways, such as the other producer Ceci Gomez, who Nott bonded with at a party while discussing their shared goal to remain true to
themselves as women in the music industry. Other collaborators include visual artist and illustrator Ashley Lukashevsky, engineer Adrianna Gonzalez, project manager Sherry Elbe, mastering engineer Emily Lazar, photographer Catie Laffoon, as well as other women who have an avid passion for music. “To be honest, I think that everybody that I worked with on this album, apart from just a couple, have been new collaborations for me, which is awesome because that was the whole point,” said Nott. “I wanted to branch out and invite more women into the project that I thought were awesome and believed in what they are doing.” There are also women outside of the collaboration that inspired Nott to be more active in the feminist movement and music scene. Tove Lo, who is a close friend of Nott’s and a pioneer of dark pop music, proved to be a role model and support system for Nott. Lo, who has multiple hit singles (such as her song “Habits” or her one of her latest tracks “disco tits”), is known for singing about topics that women are usually discouraged from talking about, such as drug use or sexuality.
halfnhalf.co | 29
â€œI honestly believe that too emotional is a mess that people have created to keep themselves from feeling uncomfortable and keep themselves from having to listen to things that are hard to hear.â€?
halfnhalf.co | 30
“One of the biggest inspirations for me has been my friend Tove Lo, just because she’s very honest about who she is and very comfortable in who she is,” said Nott. “The amount of times that she’s given me a good ol’ pep talk when I feel like shit has been really valuable to me, especially throughout this project. Every single person that I’ve worked with on this particular project has inspired me.” Like Tove Lo’s honest approach, Nott’s first release through The Venus Project, out today for International Women’s Day, has a candor that can most aptly be described as both emotionally vulnerable and powerful. Each song from the ten-track listing digs deep, whether it’s about breaking gender roles or overwhelming environmental issues. Tracks like “Need/ Want” delve into feeling like a lonely wallflower while other songs like “Need A Man” deal with the complexities of society telling a woman she needs a man in order to be safe. At first, Nott was a little wary at being so emotionally open on the record. Emotional vulnerability is usually associated with weakness, however, Nott believes it should be the opposite. “This whole thing of feminism looks a certain way and acts a certain way and it says certain things held me back from knowing who I was as a feminist,” described Nott. “I’ve done this project and released all of these tracks that are so vulnerable and so personal to me and not apologized for those feelings and not let them make me weak or make me any less capable. I honestly believe that too emotional is a mess that people have created to keep themselves from feeling uncomfortable and keep themselves from having to listen to things that are hard to hear.” Nott wants others to feel like they can be emotional and strong at the same time too, especially young women. In Nott’s words, the different emotional states one goes through shouldn’t been shunned, but celebrated. She views these “dips” in life as something unique, and sees it as a tool that can strengthen someone. That’s why speaking about these issues in her role as both a feminist and someone in the music industry is so significant for her. Finding power in writing about these topics and talking to other women about them is a source of empowerment. When asked if musicians should use their platform to speak about social issues, Nott explained that every musician has their own choice to do so. “ I think once you figure out what that is for you and what you believe in and what you want to stand for and what you don’t want to stand for, it’s such a beautiful way to express your opinion through art,” said Nott. “I think when you use art as a way to address issues that concern you or to speak up about change that you feel needs to be seen that it’s a much more timeless, beautiful way of really documenting the society that you’re in at the time.” Nott pointed out that this motive is reflected in other time periods, such as the 60s and 70s, when some bands wrote about the politics surrounding their communities. “I feel like right now it’s time for the revival of political music, for artists to feel like they have the opportunity and to feel like they are allowed to express themselves on a political level as well.” These words seem incredibly applicable to today, with a myriad of artists such as Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast and Claire Boucher (known as Grimes) speaking out about the unfair treatment of women. halfnhalf.co | 31
With movements such as Hollywood’s ‘Time’s Up’, the music industry is following in pursuit, with people trying to make the music industry a safer and more inclusive place for women. When imagining what the future of music will look like, Nott sees other powerful women, including her collaborators, shaping it. Even though societal and gender roles can be hard to ignore, Nott encourages women to go full force into their passions, even if it’s not a job women “traditionally” have. “I want to remind people that there was a time when women weren’t allowed to be teachers and there was a time when women weren’t allowed to do anything,” said Nott. “Now you look around and the balance between men and women teachers is definitely not in the man’s favor anymore. Females are educating the next generation. I don’t see why we can’t make that change in the [music] industry as well.” Besides more representation, Nott also comments that how people view women in the industry needs a fresh coat of paint. “Why can’t women have more of their own expression in the industry where they don’t have to just be symbols of an exterior look or be objectified by the media or in music videos by male artists,” asked Nott. “When women are seen for what they have on their inside rather than what they have on their outside in the industry, that’s when we are going to see a change.” In the near future, she hopes to see The Venus Project as a live act, with all women onstage and backstage. Nott hopes to see it as a large production, reaching “anyone who needs to see it or wants to see it.” As an avid fan and believer of self expression, embracing her emotions, feminist beliefs, and individuality has opened up a whole new world of creation, and The Venus Project: Vol. 1 is just the beginning. “Even if this album doesn’t reach every person on the planet, I honestly believe that who it does reach, it will have a positive effect on them.”
halfnhalf.co | 32
“When women are seen for what they have on their inside rather than what they have on their outside in the industry, that’s when we are going to see a change.”
halfnhalf.co | 33
halfnhalf.co | 34
Japanese Breakfast photos by joyce jude & words by jaycee rockhold
halfnhalf.co | 35
halfnhalf.co | 36
Japanese Breakfast is Michelle Zauner’s emotionally honest brainchild. Zauner, who sings, writes, and plays guitar in her band, has a incredible ability to transform inexplicable feelings into relatable words. Using extremely personal experiences such as the death of her mother, Zauner creates an ethereal brand of indie rock that relies on honesty.
Are there any current strong women figures that inspire you now?
How were you first introduced to music?
You’re originally from Eugene, Oregon. Do you find your sources of inspiration different in your hometown verses where you live now in Philly?
Zauner: I remember driving my dad’s car and listening to Fleetwood Mac CD and Motown compilation albums. I didn’t grow up around much music as a kid, but my dad did have a few CDs that I really fell in love with. Being introduced to Fleetwood Mac and baby Michael Jackson was definitely a big influence on what I realized pop music had the potential to be I think. Are there any strong women figures (musical or not) that particularly inspired you when you were younger? Zauner: Well, since I just mentioned Fleetwood Mac, I think Stevie Nicks was definitely a strong woman I was exposed to in music early. I used to think Christine Mcvie was actually a man because her voice was so low, but I when I found out she was the one behind all my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs and wrote the most iconic synth lines ever, she became an even greater influence. I remember also being introduced to Bjork around 14/15 through a VH1 mini doc and being blown away. Also Chan Marshall, Kimya Dawson, Joanna Newsom, Karen O, Jenny Lewis, Emily Haines. Those were like my indie rock idols growing up.
Zauner: I still feel really inspired by all the same women. I’m really inspired by my friends. I’ve had a really charmed time meeting so many amazing musicians and producers. Jay Som, Vagabon, Hand Habits, Empress Of, Mitski...
Zauner: Definitely. I’m much different person now and I associate a lot of that maturity with Philadelphia, and most of my childhood with Eugene. Also, the landscapes are literally at complete odds with one another. Philadelphia is urban, it’s a coarse city, its people are intense, fast-moving and kind of gruff. The architecture, the cityscape, the food... everything is different. Eugene is slower, quieter, more green. But that city is dead to me, really. I don’t have any family there, or many friends. It feels haunted to me after my mom died, though I do miss it. I love them both for entirely different reasons. Your debut album was released around the time of your marriage and your mother’s death. Your latest release, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, has a bit of a shift in terms of lyrics and sound. Where are your writing styles and themes headed at this point in your life? Zauner: I’m not sure, to be honest. I want to explore a new sound and it’s hard to get out of your comfort zone. I’m just trying to experiment more with different collaborators and push myself more. I definitely want to experiment more with
halfnhalf.co | 37
electronic music and have been really into more industrial kind of sounds lately. How do you feel having more of a concept album (Soft Sounds) altered the way you wrote in comparison to Psychopomp? Zauner: Well, I wrote Psychopomp in a complete emotional haze. It had no deadline and no real expectation, so it was a totally different process. It took over a year, went through many hands and transformations. Soft Sounds was way more concentrated and focused. It was large just Craig Hendrix and I working together at our studio in Philadelphia over the course of a month. Just really diligently working everyday until it was done. In previous interviews, you’ve mentioned how Dead Oceans was once the label that signed your friend, which eventually led to you being left without a musical project. How does it feel now that your music is being released on Dead Oceans? Zauner: It feels really full circle and amazing. I really feel very close to Dead Oceans and really happy I get to work with them. In previous interviews you’ve mentioned that you also have an avid interest in writing and cooking. What are some other hobbies/ interests you have when you’re not touring as Japanese Breakfast? Zauner: It’s mostly just cooking, writing, reading and watching movies. I like to play video games sometimes when I have time. The last couple of years I got into directing my music videos so I have been working on a lot more directing stuff.
halfnhalf.co | 38
It’s obviously not a requirement for bands and artists to speak about social issues, but do you think bands/ artists should be open about social issues since they have more of a platform? Zauner: I do think it’s important, yes. I still am navigating my own approach to this, but I absolutely do think it’s important. Do you think there are any specific ways in which women (especially women of color) in the music industry can have better representation and more of a platform? Zauner: I think a lot of women are actively trying to lift each other up in the community. It’s important to me to try to put effort into a diverse tour, to provide more women with opening opportunities and jobs within my crew. I try to create art that shows more representation for sure, that speaks directly to my experience growing up. I try to meet and encourage young fans and be open and honest about my experiences. What are some positive ways in which you’ve seen women take control and have a voice in the music industry? Zauner: I really do feel like I am a part of a really supportive community of women who try to listen and protect each other. I think it helps when we believe in one another and stand up for each other. I am generally very vocal when I play at a club and feel disrespected by men both because I deserve better and many of my friends are also women who deserve better when they play the same clubs. Describe your music in one word. Zauner: Horny or happy/sad.
halfnhalf.co | 39
Charlotte Cardin photos & words by sam keeler
halfnhalf.co | 40
halfnhalf.co | 41
halfnhalf.co | 42
It seems like there is nothing that Charlotte Cardin can’t do. Originally scouted as an up-and-coming model when she was a teenager, Cardin decided to ditch the runway and step onto the stage, placing in the top 4 on La Voix, the Canadian edition of The Voice. From there, Cardin released her debut EP Big Boy on Cult Nation Records, and her second EP Main Girl a short time after, both of her works featuring songs written in English and French. In addition to an opening spot for pop sensation BØRNS on his latest tour, the Montreal native has also been nominated for a smattering of music awards in the past, ranging from Juno Awards to Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Cardin’s music has a soulful appeal, blending french-pop and R&B elements. On a bright sunshine filled day in Portland, we met with Cardin at the start of her tour with BØRNS for photos and as the tour was coming to an end we followed up and chatted about tour and a few other things.
It’s been a few weeks since I saw you in Portland! How has this tour been going so far? Cardin: The tour was incredible, everyone was super nice and awesome. I learned so much from having to play an intense amount of shows in a short period of time, and I got to see so many cool cities. What has been one of your favorite memories on this tour? Cardin: It was a super cool experience to sing a cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever” with BØRNS during his set the last few nights. What are some of your main sources of inspiration for songwriting? Cardin: Going to concerts, people watching, relationships and my friends secrets.
halfnhalf.co | 43
halfnhalf.co | 44
Going off of that last question, do you find yourself sticking to the same couple of themes when you are writing? If so, what do those tend to be? Cardin: Yes - relationships, either friendships or romantic. Jealousy, lust and desire. French is your first language. Do you write music in both French and English or lean more towards one language? Cardin: French is my first language so naturally I can write in my mother tongue. I tend to choose which language I write in based off of how I feel that particular day. I do however find it easier to write in English. You have released one EP, can we expect an album this year? Cardin: You can definitely count on some surprises. Our zine wants to focus on women in music, what is one piece of advice that you have for girls needing a boost of confidence or a little boost of girl power? Cardin: Follow your gut, don’t let people influence your instincts and it’s ok to say no. Do you ever face any issues with sexisim in the music industry? If not, do you ever worry that you will? Cardin: I’ve been pretty lucky but you do see that women are treated differently than men. People tend to focus more on our looks rather than our talent. On that note, who are 3 female artists who inspire you? Cardin: Celine Dion, Christine & The Queens, Beyoncé. halfnhalf.co | 45
S halfnhalf.co | 46
photos by marina labarthe del solar & words by jaycee rockhold halfnhalf.co | 47
halfnhalf.co | 48
The music world could use more people like Ellie Kim. Based in Chicago, Kim has been releasing music through her project SuperKnova, playing every instrument on the record while utilizing her own talents to record and master it to the utmost creative standards. As a graduate of University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Kim has taken her classically trained jazz skills to create a unique indie rock that not only reflects the discovery of her own identity, but also as art that is inclusive to others who are going through similar processes. Kim took the time to answers some question Half & Half had about her background in music, who she looks up to, and what can be done to better the music industry for women and queer artists. I’ve read some of the previous interviews that you’ve done in the past but I want to get the basics and get some background on how you were first introduced to music. Kim: My first instrument was piano, but that was just because my parents forced me to do it and I hated it. It was like pulling teeth, it was horrific. One of my friends in like 6th grade got a guitar and it was something we did. It was cool. My mom had a guitar she had from way back in the day from her parents. They’re Korean, so my grandmother bought her a guitar from the market for like five dollars...Nylon strings and everything. My parents didn’t buy me a guitar, but they let me play that one. I’d never really been good at anything, like school or sports or anything, and that was the first thing that I picked and could do right away. It made sense to me. It felt very natural. I kept doing it from then on. I mostly played punk rock and classic rock and pop rock and did that for a long time. Where did you go to school? Kim: I went to University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Do they have a pretty strong music program? Kim: They do actually! It is one of the top music schools (laughs). I think art school rankings are pointless because it depends on your personal teacher and you. We have a classical program. They’re known for their modern composition. You know when composers write music and it’s like they smash a glass bowl and have a couple of other movements, U of I is known for that. Like John Cage stuff. I was in their jazz program. I played jazz guitar, so I have a pretty extensive jazz background. How would you say your formal training ties in with the music you make in SuperKnova? Kim: Good question. Some of that background helps me do what I do in SuperKnova because I play all the instruments. I play the guitar, I play the drums, I play everything myself. I record it and I master it. It’s easy for me to write for other instruments because I’m like ‘oh, this in the key G and if I want a harmony I want this chord’. I can pick out the notes and program them and it makes sense to me. I think you can do that without formal training if I’m being honest, but it does go faster. So you played and recorded everything that you’ve released so far? Kim: Literally everything you hear, except for a friend’s backup vocals on one track, I wrote or played. halfnhalf.co | 49
When you perform live, do you play solo or with a band? Kim: I perform with my laptop and Ableton. A lot of the things I can’t do just because I have two arms are what I programmed through Midi. I’ll do some live drums and loop them with a loop pedal. Have you ever thought about expanding it to a live band? Kim: Maybe at some point. But I’ll be honest, having played in hundreds of bands, I really love being a solo performer. I don’t have to coordinate schedules with anybody, I don’t have to rely on anyone. Artists are so flakey and irresponsible (laughs). No one cancels last moment, no one’s partner breaks up with them the night before a gig. It’s awesome. Especially like when I have an idea for a song, I generally know exactly what I want it to sound like. With other musicians I have to tell them what I want and then naturally they’re only going to get around 80% of it. I have to be careful about not hurting their feelings or just let it go. Opposed to now, I can literally spend 8 hours getting exactly what I want it to sound like. It’s amazing. If one day I grow to a certain level I might add more to a live show but I like being a solo artist right now. I see that you’ve played a few shows outside of Chicago, but also have a few shows here coming up. Are you playing mostly locally now with hopes to tour outwards?
Kim: I’m mostly playing locally. I played one show in Beloit, Wisconsin. I heard that was a pretty artsy campus. Kim: It’s kind of a funny story. Since I’ve been there, I’ve met a lot of people who have either gone to Beloit or knew people who went to Beloit college. I’ve heard it was really cool and artsy, and it was. But before, when they first emailed me, I had never heard of it. I was thinking ‘oh, small Nowheresville, Wisconsin’. I wrote back and I said ‘just to clarify, I’m transgender’. I wanted to make sure it was a queer-trans friendly space before I drove out. They emailed me back and they were totally queer and trans friendly and put me on a bill with other LGBTQ artists. I got there and it was really cool. Their school actually sponsors one of the DIY houses in that town. You can live there instead of a dorm. You can live in a DIY house funded by the school. Were there any woman figures that inspired you when you were younger, music or otherwise? Kim: The typical people you would imagine if you listened to rock, Joan Jett, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse. As a trans person, Renée Richards, who was a tennis player. She wasn’t an artist per say, but during a time when transgender wasn’t in the mainstream lexicon, she was out there doing it. halfnhalf.co | 50
Is there anyone now that inspires you? Kim: Oh, yes. Laverne Cox is a huge inspiration. She is just so articulate. She’s incredible and has an incredible life story. She is so humble and intelligent. I feel like she really articulates her experience and is mindful of others’ experiences. I feel like she is our spokesperson. This zine focus on women in music. Obviously women and people who identify as queer are underrepresented in the music industry. What do you think can be done to help change this? Kim: As a musician you’re so used to just shouting the problems out and not finding solutions. That’s a good question. On a broad based level I would say putting spotlight and also the money where the queer and female artists are. Nowadays, less and less is controlled by the major labels, although they still do a strong grip on those things because they have money, lawyers, and power. Fans and listeners need to give support to queer and female artists. Buy their merch. Buy their music. Create safe spaces where they feel comfortable playing. On the flip side of that, take the spotlight away from what we see too much of, like cis white male bands with little creativity, unless they’re doing something really creative. It is kind of happening a little bit. Even in Chicago has some things, like Femme Fest.
halfnhalf.co | 51
halfnhalf.co | 52
Speaking about safe spaces, do you as a trans person have to keep that in mind every time you travel to a new venue or play a show? Kim: Absolutely. Obviously most of the DIY spaces, especially the ones that would book me, are generally aware. Generally I’m okay. But the Beloit gig for example, I wasn’t going to go there unless they could tell me that this was a queer and trans friendly space. I’m thinking of booking a tour for the summer time and I think a lot of bands can just blast out a hundred emails and whatever they get back they’re like ‘oh, I have a date there’. For me, I’m not just going to book a gig in a random venue if I don’t feel safe, especially if I’m traveling alone. You never know what’s going to happen. The media only really reports on violence against transgender people but that’s very real. I haven’t had any scary interactions with people, but I’ve had tense interactions with people, mostly cis men who are uncomfortable with who you are as a person. Do you think artists who have a little bit more of a platform should speak out about social issues? Kim: Absolutely. Yes, depending on what type of artist you are and what type of brand you have, it not always makes sense onstage or in your show. But as an artist, as a human being, offstage absolutely. Even if it’s communicating with your fellow human beings. I think if you find an artist that tries to protect abusers or tries to perpetuate that culture that as fans and fellow artists that we should speak out against that. halfnhalf.co | 53
What are some short term and long term goals you have for SuperKnova? Kim: Short term goal I’m trying to finish a full length album, hopefully to release this summer and tour with it. Long term goal to be able to keep doing what I do, possibly on a more regular basis. I have a day job. I work at Lurie Children’s Hospital. I work in their trans clinic. Kids who come in to get their hormones or medication, we see them. I collect data. That fits into my long term goals. I have a social justice side to my project, so I want to be able to reach people that, like me, when they were growing up didn’t have really any transgender role models, in music especially. I want to create what I didn’t have growing up. I want to see more positive experiences of transgender people in general. I just want to grow as much as I can and reach as many people as I can. Last question. If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be? Kim: Oh god, the hardest question. We’re going to sit in silence when I think. I would say “truth”. Living your truth is what this is all about and being authentic to who you are. This project is partially for me. Writing some of these songs were written to help me process my emotions when I was coming out. I try to write best from the things I’m feeling and who I am as a person. SuperKnova helped me come out.
Xhosa photos by sophia ragomo & words by jaycee rockhold
Amhara Xhosa’s music is it’s only little niche of the electro-R&B world. Xhosa, who has done double time for some of her work by also acting as the producer, is no stranger to music. Xhosa seems to have a plethora of music knowledge, whether it’s by learning how to incorporate more uncommon musical bits, like sampling video games, in her tracks, or collaborating with other producers in New York City. Xhosa uses both her skills as a rapper and singer-songwriter in her tracks to convey honesty, one of her main focuses in her music. Through an email interview, Xhosa gave us an insight about her music and future plans. How were you first introduced to music? Xhosa: I grew up in Brooklyn during Hip Hop's golden era in. All the hottest r&b and hip hop served as my lullabies and my parents were young when they had me so they were also very excited about music at the time. My mom never lets me forget that "I got 5 on it" was my favorite song as a baby. Do you have any distinct memories of when you were younger and being exposed to music?
Are there any strong women figures that particularly inspired you when you were younger? Xhosa:Growing up Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill we're huge for me growing up. They were some of the few black women artists that were represented as fully fledged musicians/ songwriters. They were also both dynamic in the ways I grew up to be as a pianist, guitar player, and rapper. Do you have any formal training in music? If so, how does this show itself in your work? If not, how did you learn? Xhosa:Yes, I grew up taking piano lessons from ages 6-18 and I also studied music in college. For some of your projects, you’ve acted as both the writer and the producer. On others, you’ve turned to collaborating with others. Do these two different methods of creating change the way you work? Xhosa: Totally! That's why I do both, to see how malleable my sensibilities can be while still staying true to a sound I've honed in. Right now I'm working on a mixtape entitled "LVL 9 " and the entire thing will be produced by my pears. Working on it has brought out a lot of new energy from me.
Xhosa:I totally do. When I was two, I had a portable tape player and I used to play Aretha Franklin's "A Natural Woman" over and over again. I'm pretty sure she's who inspired me to sing. Who are some people that you’ve worked with halfnhalf.co | 54
halfnhalf.co | 55
halfnhalf.co | 56
Who are some people that youâ€™ve worked with in the past, and how did you establish these relationships? Xhosa:I worked on my singles "Let Me Go" and "Honey on a Dark Day" very closely with 5th Planet. We met through a friend and I think our connection was established by the fact that we always had really deep and interesting conversations with each other. Your style has definitely evolved since you first started putting out music. What are some influences that help develop your sound? Xhosa: I feel like in the past, I had a more vintage sensibility and I think I invited more futuristic sounds into my work. What are some short term and long term goals that you have for XHOSA? Xhosa: You'll see once I accomplish them. Itâ€™s obviously not a requirement for bands and artists to speak about social issues, but do you
think bands/ artists should be open about social issues since they have more of a platform? Xhosa: Of course, but only if they know what they are talking about. What do you think are some ways in which the music industry can be more inclusive of women? Xhosa: In every way shape and form possible. A first step would be to stop putting an age limit on the window of female artist's success. Some of the most toxic male gatekeepers only look for young talent because they are easier to manipulate and dismiss. The more self assured women are represented in this industry, the more musicality becomes the focus of everyone involved. Who are some artists that youâ€™re currently listening to? Xhosa: Right now I've been listening to Kelela's "Take me apart" on repeat! I've also been listening to a lot of Ravyn Lenae.
halfnhalf.co | 57
halfnhalf.co | 58
photos & words by jaycee rockhold Led by frontwoman Alicia Bognanno with the help of bandmates Clayton Parker, Reece Lazarus, and Wes Mitchell, Bully has toured all over the country, playing hundreds of headlining shows as well as opening for the likes of The Descendants and Best Coast. Bully, Nashville based with many ties to Chicago, has been garnering attention since their debut album Feels Like was released in 2015, an indie rock album with a saccharine edge. Tracks like “Brainfreeze” and “Milkman” are sugary and packed with a punk punch, while songs like “Six” rely on family memories and the protective snarls of an older sister. The band’s second full length release Losing transforms into something simultaneously more introspective and omniscient, facing both personal obstacles and societal hurdles. “Running”, one of the strongest tracks of the bunch, acts as a confessional commentary, pointing out a rocky relationship with anxiety and being stuck in a limitless loop when back in one’s hometown. Bognanno’s vivacious screams are little bit more emotional on this album, whether she’s expressing frustration with personal anxieties or yelling in anger about current political and social states. Bognanno took some time out of touring to answer a few questions for Half & Half. When do you find time to write? It takes a pretty long time to write and record an album, especially with how many shows you guys play. Bognanno: Anytime I am home and in town I am writing. I write on the road too but it’s less likely it will end up being a finished piece since it’s more limiting to try and write in a van. I try to always be working on something, usually only half of the material I write ends up making its way onto the record.
How would you say themes on Losing differ from Feels Like? Bognanno: I don’t think themes vary too much record to record because the songs on both records are about their own separate situations. I do feel like Losing is more mature musically and lyrically than feels like was. I can hear more space in the songs and they are a little more complicated than most of the songs on feels like, which were shorter and involved less chords and overall less patience. Did you also record the sophomore album on tape? Recording on tape seems extremely tedious, how would you say the process is rewarding and how is it maybe limiting? Bognanno: It’s tedious, but as an engineer a method I prefer over digitally tracking a record. I like having documentation of something that happened over a small period of time and not something that was tweaked endlessly for months or years on end before it was released. You’re doing things in the moment when tracking and mixing on tape and it’s cool to look back and reflect on the decisions you made during that period of time. Sure I look back and wish I did things differently but it’s a learning experience and most of the time I don’t regret it, I just keep it in the back of my mind and try and be more aware of it the next time around. Also it’s worth mentioning that none of us are opposed to tracking a digitally and might even do that for the third record but for the first and second record tracking to tape at Electrical Audio made the most sense to us. It’s limiting in obvious ways like having less tracks and not being able to edit as easily but I don’t have much interest in having more than 24 tracks or heavily editing a record anyway so for us it works.
halfnhalf.co | 59
How has being signed to Sub Pop benefitted the band? Bognanno: Subpop has a huge following of their own which I’m sure benefits us in some way but mostly they seem to take good care of the bands that are signed to their label and give them the creative freedom to do what they want with their music which is definitely beneficial. You recorded Losing here in Chicago and have played here many times. Do you feel a particular connection to Chicago? Bognanno: Yes, we all love Chicago very much. Aside from having a lot of family and friends there I think my time spent in Chicago really helped clarify what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and what my goals were after finishing college. Because of that I feel a connection to Chicago that I don’t feel anywhere else except Minnesota. Our zine wants to focus on women in music and women power, especially with ith the political climate going on. I’ve read that you identify as being a feminist, do you think Bully’s music reflects this? Bognanno: Yes, 100 percent.
It’s obviously not a requirement for bands to speak about social issues, but I remember going to one of your shows and seeing Bully promoting awareness about gun violence. Do you think bands should be open about social issues since they have more of a platform? Bognanno: I think people should do what they are comfortable doing with whatever platform they may have. If there are things you are passionate about and want to speak up about then that’s your choice and you should have the freedom to do so. Personally, I admire people who speak up about social issues because I think it helps shed light on them and often can provide ways for other people to become more involved. Is there any particular women artists or bands that you remember feeling inspired by? Bognanno: Yes! Kim Deal, Sylvia Plath, Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, and Kathleen Hannah. Who are some women / women fronted bands today that you like in particular? Bognanno: Courtney Barnett, Smut, Speedy Ortiz, Palehound, Best Coast, Mannequin Pussy and Melkbelly.
halfnhalf.co | 60
halfnhalf.co | 61
graphics by jae vyskocil where to find them: www.womeninmusic.org/ Women in Music (WIM), an international non-profit that relies on over a hundred volunteers, is designed to “advance the awareness, equality, diversity, heritage, opportunities, and cultural aspects of women in the musical arts through education, support, empowerment, and recognition”. There are multiple chapters of WIM all over the world, built of women already established in the music career and those looking to get their hands on more experience. With a strong emphasis on inclusion, WIM hosts dozens events every year, ranging from discussion panels to summits that encourage mental wellness. Jessica A. Sobhraj, president of WIM and CEO of Cosynd, explains the organization’s message more in depth, how she got involved, and presents important facets of WIM.
halfnhalf.co | 62
Can you give us some background on you and your experience in the music industry? Sobhraj: I’ve been a part of the music industry for over 10 years. I currently serve as CEO of Cosynd (www.cosynd.com), a simple and easy way for creators to protect their content using simple agreements and copyright registrations. I also serve as President of Women in Music (www.womeninmusic.org), a 33 year old non-profit that is operated by 100+ volunteers that work daily to serve 5000+ industry professionals worldwide. Previously, I led strategic traditional licensing opportunities for music micro- licensing pioneers Rumblefish, where I structured distribution networks in Africa, South America, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. I also served as the Manager of Digital Content Licensing for the performing rights organization SESAC. Why did you first get involved in Women in Music? How did you get to the point of leading the organization? Sobhraj: I joined the board of Women in Music (WIM) in 2012 as a Co-Chair of Fundraising, but was a member of WIM for years before that. It was quite a trip to transition from member to a board director and be able to peer behind the curtain to really see how much effort, time, and resources go into making WIM the amazing community that it is! In 2015, our then-current President, Neeta Ragoowansi, stepped down as President and I was elected in her place. Those were tremendous shoes to fill and I was fortunate to have an incredible co-pilot, our Vice President – Jennifer Newman Sharpe – to help make the transition almost seamless. During her tenure as President, Neeta propelled WIM towards this phase of rapid growth that we are in today. After stepping down, Neeta remained on the board of WIM as a CoChair of Fundraising. It was so helpful to have her, Jennifer, and our entire board in my corner as I took hold of the reigns.
year across all of our chapters. The are two that definitely stand out as favorites. The first is our Women in Music Global Summit that was held at Midem in Cannes, France. This event brought together 100+ executive women from 30 countries to discuss each region’s individual challenges and to share resources to solve them. The second is our Wellness Summit in Los Angeles. Women can often take on the role of a caretaker for those around us and we sometimes fall into a habit of neglecting our own needs. The Wellness Summit was a full day of mindful panels, workshops, yoga, and more all designed to help our members shake that habit! Can you expand more on the 50/50 Conference Representation? Sobhraj: Visibility is a critical initiative for WIM. We believe that it is key to increasing the participation of women in the music industry, particularly at the top where women are far outnumbered. It’s important for our community to spotlight diverse women from different backgrounds, which is a nod to the idea that if you can see it, you can achieve it. Our goal is to partner with music industry conferences to work towards equal representation by matching each conference with women to fill their panelist and keynote spots. WIM will create its own keynote opportunities for women by hosting webinars, AMA sessions, and interviews throughout the year as well. Any woman that wishes to participate in speaking engagements should visit our website and click on “Be a Panelist.” The #MeToo movement has been something that has been a prevalent topic in the music industry. One of WIM 2018 initiatives is to provide education on sexual harassment and assault. What are the steps the organization is taking to shed light on this issue? How did the organization develop this plan?
Sobhraj: Anyone that has been following the #MeToo movement is now aware that sexual WIM hosts a variety of different events, what harassment and assault are horrific realities that have been some of the most successful events virtually every woman faces. If you are a woman, that you have put on? you may have known this all along, from your and your friends’ personal experiences. Statistically Sobhraj: WIM hosts approximately 50 events each speaking, 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual halfnhalf.co | 63
harassment at work and 71% of incidents go unreported. Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault. What we’ve learned is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to handling sexual harassment or assault. Each woman has her own unique set of circumstances and level of comfort when discussing her unique experiences. As a community, it is our duty to support each other however best we can. WIM’s approach has been to release a series of resources for women. The first part provides practical resources, tips, and clear action steps that you can take now if you are experiencing sexual harassment/assault, witnessing it, or creating intra-office programming around it. The second part of this series addresses the relevant mental-health related issues. Finally, the third installment will feature trained therapists and HR executives that will host an online event open to the public that will examine real experiences . For a woman hoping to enter the music industry, what is your number one piece of advice? Sobhraj: Find your tribe. The music industry is so relationship driven and it’s smaller than you think. Finding your community of people that you can share and grow with is the key to navigating the industry. WIM is one of the most supportive communities I’ve ever belonged to and it’s a great tribe for newbies! Is there a piece of advice that you were ever given that has stuck with you? Sobhraj: Nothing worth doing is easy. Who inspires you, and why? Sobhraj: I’m entirely inspired by the 100+ women that work tirelessly to make WIM the international hive that it is, particularly our board of directors
who oversee all of WIM’s operations, have full time jobs, families, passion projects, etc. I’m so privileged and lucky to work with women who are affecting real change in our community! Similarly, I’m inspired by my Cosynd team. Collectively we are solving a real problem that creators have in a meaningful way by making it affordable for them to protect their creations. Our team is 80% female, 60% minority based, and 100% in it to win it. I couldn’t be prouder of them! What are some hopes and wishes that you have for WIM as far as long term goals for the organization? Sobhraj: WIM is in its fourth decade of service to the music industry and I’m certain that the organization will continue to serve our community for decades more. Our goal has always been to provide support to regions where we see significant need. Wherever women are calling for resources and support, I have no doubts that WIM will answer the call. For people in a city that doesn’t have a chapter how can they get involved with WIM? Sobhraj: Women in Music is operated by 100+ volunteers that dedicate their time and talent to providing resources and opportunities to thousands of women worldwide. Our chapter leaders are from every part of the industry and are at various stages in their careers, from entry level to executives. To launch a chapter, a team 3-5 individuals is required to undergo training by WIM. These individuals are strong, capable professionals that can dedicate time on a weekly basis to the learning one of the four main areas of WIM: membership, events, communications, and fundraising.
halfnhalf.co | 64
halfnhalf.co | 65
Girls Behind the Rock Show (GBTRS), founded by Shelby Elizabeth Chargin, is a 501(c) Non-Profit organization that aims to help women move further into their music career, or to even to get a jumpstart on it. In addition to offering a direct path to internships at powerful companies like LiveNation, GBTRS also offers special mentoring sessions with knowledgeable figures in the industry, such as the head of marketing for Riot Fest or people that work at music agencies. There have been other unique opportunities in the past, such as being paired up with California band SWMRS to be a roadie for a day. The organization is a strong advocate for gender equality, which was the initial reason that GBTRS was founded. Half & Half talked to Chargin to get more details about GBTRS. How did GBTR start? Had you personally faced inequality in the music industry that prompted you to start this? Chargin: Oh my gosh, this is always the hardest question because it honestly started a hundred different ways and I've probably given a hundred different answers.I just got fed up. I had been trying to find a good job in the industry and the one I'd had at the time I just didn't fit or feel comfortable, and at the time I honestly thought people just treated women the way they did because they didn't know better. Having grown as a company over the past three years, I've realized that is the furthest thing from the truth. I had faced a lot of discrimination. I was a fan for my favorite band and the â€œfangirlâ€? connotation seemed to dictate the reasoning behind what I was and was not allowed to do in almost all my internships and jobs I'd held previous to the company. It started to really irk me that not only was I at a disadvantage for loving a band, but the men who worked around me weren't privy to the same treatment. Once I realized how difficult my future was going to be to solidify, an old friend and I started working on the company. From there, we worked with So What?! Music fest. Eventually she left the company and with the wonderful staff I have now, I revamped it and we are now well on our way to making some real change. halfnhalf.co | 66
Can you give us a brief summary of everything that GBTR is about and why this is something you are so passionate about? Chargin: Plain and simple, we are about representation and doing better for the community of women in music. It's just time that women are respected in this industry. The Beatles weren't being chased down and making money off of guys buying their records. Elvis shows weren't selling out because men were waiting in line for hours to buy tickets. Women have for a long time been the main consumer of the music industry. In general women make up 70-80% of all consumer purchasing, including in entertainment. They can make or break a multitude of artists. We make up 50% of all festivals, in the UK 59% of all entry level jobs are women compared with 30% of executive positions being filled by women. I'm passionate about it because I'm tired of seeing an industry that so benefits of the monetary contributions treat them as if they are a burden on the business side. I also just think it's wrong in general to ever treat someone who is different than you as less just because they are different. I know you recently started the Roadie for a Day and Promoter for a Day programs, why is it important to make these opportunities available to women? What is the process like finding bands who are willing to participate in these? Chargin: It's super important to make these opportunities available because young women often cannot see themselves in positions outside the standard ones that you typically see women in in the industry. It's very difficult for young women to find men willing to teach them about teching, tour managing, sound, lights etc, so it's good to have these programs that give young women an intro and a first look into what they would actually want to do in the live events side of things. And it's hard. It really is not easy at all to get people do to this. We've been lucky with the bands like SWMRS because their entire team, PR, manage-
ment, crew and band themselves care. It's really rare to find a band who feels that way about the advancement of women in music who don't have women permanently on their day to day teams. As we grow, I think other bands are starting to see the value in us. We've been reached out to by other young bands that we'll hopefully be able to work further with in the future. But it's interesting because it's mostly younger bands who are up and coming that are really willing to make the change and transition while it seems some of the more established acts we've reached out to are fearful of taking that massive leap into feminism in music. But that's okay because we're primarily about education so if some of those more established people want to take baby steps with us, we're all for it. However, I've been lucky enough to be able to reach out to a few of my old favorites who are super down to explore opportunities with us, and I'm really looking forward to that this year. Are you working on any other programs like this? Chargin: Well we can't give away all our secrets, but things are a coming. Stay tuned! How did the networking group on facebook grow to what it is today? Why is this such a valuable resource for women looking to enter the industry or who are already in the industry? Chargin: Honestly, this was a brilliant idea brought to us by one of our previous employees Shae. She'd actually hit me up about it at the very beginning of GBTRS and then a year later, we started the group. I was actually surprised that it grew as fast as it did and in about 14 months we have 3,000 women across all areas of the industry involved. I think it's so valuable because people are able to have constructive conversation. Sometimes, it gets out of hand, but for the most part, it's a supportive group of women trying to help each other further their careers.
halfnhalf.co | 67
Have you faced any issues or negative people in regards GBTRS? If so, how do you respond?
What are some hopes and dreams you have for GBTRS?
Chargin: Definitely. I get it from both sides. A lot of people think I'm too lenient on sexism and other people think I'm way overzealous. It gets to the point where I just have to stop responding at all unless I put out a diplomatic middle of the line response because one of the biggest issues I find on this subject is how personal feelings transcend effective methods in fighting against sexism. A lot of people feel it's a non issue while others feel it's the world's worst issue. This stuff can't and won't happen overnight. There's so much work to be done, but it can't all be done at once. We're trying to tackle a very specific problem which is under representation and creating healthy work environments. It's really difficult because we want to hear everyone but we also want to educate and give second chances, so a lot of times it comes down to me and my team to determine where we draw the line in certain situations, and there's no blanket solution, each one is different. We do our best to do the best we can for everyone and hope that it continues to get better.
Chargin: I would love for us to be a part of the bigger conversation. I would love for Girls to be a first resource for all young women entering the industry, and I would love to be able to go into communities that have a serious lack of musical and artistic education all over the world and create a place for girls who want to work in music to be able to educate themselves and have a shot at a long lasting sustainable career. Basically, we just want to help every girl out there who wants to work in music. It's our main priority. One piece of advice you have for a female who is wanting to go into a career in music? Chargin: Push through. No matter what this industry throws at you, you are going to get through it and you can and will find success if you refuse to take no as a failure, but as a sign that a better opportunity is on the horizon.
halfnhalf.co | 68
Girl Power: Powerful Women in the Music World
Cara Lewis Cara Lewis Agency
beyoncĂŠ Camille Hackney Executive vp brand partnerships and commercial licensing, Atlantic Records; head of Global Brand Partnerships Council, Warner Music Group
Ethiopia Habtemariam President of Motown Records
Julie Greenwald Chairman/COO, Atlantic Records
Nicki Farag Senior vp promotion, Def Jam Records
Bethany Cosentino halfnhalf.co | 69
words by kelsey truman MISSION: Girls Rock! Chicago is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building socially just community with girls, transgender youth, and gender non-conforming youth by developing leadership, fostering self-esteem, and encouraging creative expression through music. --Sometimes it’s difficult to articulate why a rock n’ roll camp for girls is so important to me. Sometimes when I tell people about what we do at Girls Rock! Chicago (and at the 80+ other camps under the Girls Rock Camp Alliance umbrella) it comes off surface-y. “So, you get a bunch of girls together, they learn to play instruments, they form bands, and each band writes, performs, and records an original song in one week. Cool!” I mean, yes, it is cool, but the experience is more valuable than the novel optics of seeing a show consisting of 18 bands, all girls and transgender youth and gender nonconforming (TGNC) youth play together one afternoon. Rock camps exist because rock and punk music is socially coded as the dominion of straight white men, and there are enough dedicated women and TGNC adults who want to change that for the next generation. There are enough of us adults who have gone through life being told that we are too loud, or bossy, or take up too much space, or are bitchy, or don’t have the right look to play the music we want to make. We’re ready to counter those messages in the youth who attend camp by putting guitars and microphones in their hands. halfnhalf.co | 70
This is not to say that these youth are not already resisting hegemonic ideals of what girls should be. GR!C offers camp for youth ages 8-16, and anyone who thinks 8 years old is too young to have experienced sexism should come to a social justice workshop at camp and hear a 9-year-old confidently declare “My gym teacher is a misogynist!” Racism, sexism, ableism, classism, and other forms of oppression are built into our society’s institutions, and it is naive to pretend that youth aren’t affected or don’t notice. The kids we meet at camp are smarter than the media around them presumes, and highly invested in creating change. GR!C operates with a social justice framework embedded in our mission and our programming. This means that sometimes we can provide youth with a vocabulary to speak their truth, or simply a different way to express their sadness, joy, rage, and hope– a way that involves microphones and rap breakdowns and distortion pedals. You may have noticed that I refer to our campers as “youth” instead of “girls,” and that might be confusing because we are called Girls Rock! Chicago. Rock camp was born out of frustration that women and girls are too often relegated to the fringes of the music industry, or pegged as consumers, rather than creators. The cultural belief that gender is a binary– man or woman, no in-between or outside– perpetuates the oppression of anyone who isn’t a cis man. It’s just one of many reductive myths about gender that we aim to dismantle at camp, so it is vital that we acknowledge that cis girls and women are not the only group silenced due to their gender. Maybe this all seems like a lofty goal– that by empowering girls and TGNC youth to rock, we will come closer to dismantling systemic oppression– but I believe with my whole heart that it’s true. Here’s what I know: GR!C creates an environment where everyone can take creative risks and feel supported. At camp, we don’t apologize for playing the wrong note or sounding “ugly.” We don’t believe that musicianship is real only when it comes from classical training and graded performances. We are a community that exists to share skills and resources. We build one another up; we don’t compete. Together, we are creating space for more voices. Music can be a transformative tool for campers to express themselves, and that’s why we value it. However, it’s not the most important takeaway from camp– rather, that’s the self-confidence that comes from learning a skill and applying it to create something new. Making art is a vulnerable practice, especially under time constraints and in front of a group of your peers– t’s a remarkable accomplishment to write a song with your band, perform it, and record it in the span of one week. GR!C uses music to show our campers that they already have powerful voices and important opinions. We just offer a different way to be heard.
halfnhalf.co | 71
to stay up to date with what goes on at half&half and for extended interviews head to our website halfnhalf.co for general inquiries, press, and to find out how you can get involved email email@example.com
halfnhalf.co | 72
halfnhalf.co | 73
halfnhalf.co | 74