We caught up with Cassie from LOUD WOMEN to learn about her journey as a promoter, journalist, musician & all round super star, & her thoughts on the music industry 🎤✨
💖 So, tell me about LOUD WOMEN, how did it all begin?
Originally I was just putting on 1 fundraiser gig – & I was fed up with my (all female) band being the ‘token women’ or novelty act on the bill, so I invited a load of my female friends’ bands to play too.
‘I was fed up with my (all female) band being the ‘token women’ or novelty act on the bill’
That event was so much fun! I did another one the next month, & the next … & pretty soon word spread, & my inbox started filling up with awesome bands wanting to come & play!
The LOUD WOMEN community has kind of grown organically around the events, with a hugely supportive social media network, our ezine & blog have taken on a life of their own too.
Then there’s the annual festival, & new LW chapters popping up around the world … a lot has happened in the past 4 years!
💖 What was going on in the industry at the time that you decided to set it up?
It was 2015, & there were certainly fewer opportunities for bands – particularly non-man-bands – to play on the DIY scene.
Punk shows felt entirely macho, & equally threatening to attend as an audience member let alone as a performer. It does feel like that’s changed a *bit* since then, in London at least – there’s now lots of other more inclusive nights going on.
‘Punk shows felt entirely macho, & equally threatening to attend as an audience member let alone as a performer.’
💖 You joked at the birthday party that gigs like LOUD WOMEN started out in smaller venues & that despite huge growth we’re all still predominantly in them.
There’s clearly a lot more interest in non-male bands now, but what do you think are the main barriers that still exist for womxn in the music industry?
Ah were you at the Birthday party? Hurray! That was one of my favourite gigs ever 🙂
LOUD WOMEN will always be running gigs in basements – that’s what we’re here for! I love small gigs where the band & the audience are all in it together.
It’s excellent of course when bands that we’ve had play in our basements graduate on to much bigger stages – like LIINES, Nova Twins, Big Joanie … & our favourite ever babies Dream Nails are about to go massive too by the looks of them!
But not all of the bands who gig with us are on a course to pursue music as a full-time career – either because they’re just not “saleable” to the masses for whatever reason, or because they just don’t want to. & who would?
The music industry is still a massive old boys’ club, & it’s a corporate consumerist hell-hole … lots of us just love playing music with our mates in basements.
‘The music industry is still a massive old boys’ club, & it’s a corporate consumerist hell-hole … lots of us just love playing music with our mates in basements.’
💖 What’s the difference between the barriers between things when you started & where we are now? How far have we come?
There certainly seems to be a lot more conversations going on in the media about gender representation in music, & lots of big festivals are taking steps to book more women – this 50:50 balance ideal keeps being thrown around (as if that (a) covers all the genders & (b) makes up for all the years that so many musicians were excluded from playing, but hey it’s a start anyway).
💖 The term ‘female fronted’ for a while was quite a badge of honour, whereas now people are more focussed on not wanting to be limited by their gender, or seen as ‘good for a girl’.
& so there’s been a move away from identifying with gender as a concept within music a little.
What’s your opinion on this transition? How do we balance the need for creating/expanding platforms vs not allowing gender to pigeon hole us?
I don’t know if much has changed really – I still frequently see the term ‘female fronted’ used as a genre descriptor – usually by bad PRs.
My pet hate is the term “songstress” which appears in my inbox maybe 5 times a day on press releases! Or male promoters putting on gigs where you know that the woman fronting that sweaty band is likely to be the only one in the room.
LOUD WOMEN talks about ‘womxn-led or female-powered’ bands, & we’re about supporting musicians not objectifying them. That seems to be pretty clear to the bands we work with & audiences who come to our shows – we very rarely have to deal with, for example, any of those notorious “personal camera” creeps at our gigs.
It’s just a fun time in an environment free from macho bullshit.
💖 How have things like the #metoo movement changed things for womxn in the industry?
I don’t work in the music industry, & the bands LOUD WOMEN promotes are mostly on the periphery – it’s very much a DIY world we live in.
But in many ways musicians working at grassroots levels are even more vulnerable to abuse than those who have industry support & money following them – &, as we know all too well, there are bands still playing regularly on the gig circuit who have known abusers in them.
‘In many ways musicians working at grassroots levels are even more vulnerable to abuse than those who have industry support & money following them’
Campaigns like Solidarity Not Silence are so important in building on the awareness-raising of #metoo – I’m looking forward to the next stage, which will hopefully see these male sexual predators excluded permanently from our spaces.
There should be no tolerance of sexual abuse anywhere, there’s no excuse.
💖 What 1 thing could everyone be doing to make the music scene a better place?
Be scene not scenery 🔥
💖 What’s the future for Loud Women?
World domination? Or maybe just loads of really awesome gigs & fests til we fall over!
💖 What’s coming up in 2020?
LOUD WOMEN FEST 5!! We’re going *large* in 2020 – with a bigger than ever venue & budget! Applications are open now for womxn & non-binary musicians & bands, from any location globally https://loudwomen.org/fest/
DON’T FORGET TO COME TO OUR CHRISTMAS PARTY!!!! It’s 14 Dec at the Hope & Anchor – https://www.facebook.com/events/548943662504804/ 😘
In case you needed any more convincing, here’s some of our earlier work 😉 . . . .
💖 I want more Interviews
💖 I want more Rumour Has It
💖 Take me the hell Home!