Music writer Marianne Holt discusses gender and the influence of riot grrrl with all-female rock group PINS
During this year’s Beat-Herder festival, music writer Marianne Holt got the chance to chat with PINS, an all-female rock group heralding from Manchester.
How far do you feel like you relate to the roots of riot grrrl music?
Faith: I think that it had a big influence on me so that I knew that I could be a singer and could be a woman doing it and not necessarily be the most talented person at playing something but just being able to get something across no matter what your ability is. It’s given birth to bands like us and maybe people like Dream Wife or probably Honeyblood. It’s just opened the doors for people. We’ve just got to be eternally grateful I think!
Were Wireless Festival right to host an all-female stage in response to the criticism of their lack of female artists?
Lois: They may have done it completely unintentionally just picking artists they wanted to put on- they may have done it slightly intentionally but the fact is that someone made a fuss and then it was rectified and it sounds like it was done in quite a positive way from what you’ve said.
Faith: And most festivals are all male anyway- its just that no-one’s even calling them out.
Are female only spaces is the best response? Should we be aiming for more female headliners or main stage spots rather than having a small stage and saying we’re just solely going to have women playing here?
Lois: I think it’s a bigger problem than just that- supporting it openly helps with all the other problems that surround it which is that women unfortunately are not encouraged to pursue doing something creative. They’re told to do something else and I think its starts there.
We’ve had very few female headliners at British festivals- we did at Glastonbury 2015 when Florence + The Machine replaced The Foo Fighters as headliners but lots of fans weren’t happy about it.
Faith: I hope it was because they didn’t like Florence + The Machine’s music at least.
Kyoko: The thing is a lot of the time people dress their sexism up as something else- they dress up their concerns about women being able to do things.
Yes! Did you hear about the criticism of female commentators in the world cup? The
first female world cup commentator got slated by this male pundit who said that women’s voices were unsuitable to commentate football because of the high pitch.
Lois: Well do you know what? He’s going to have to suck it up because there’s going to be loads more female commentators now. There are lots of fantastic female football players that are coming up and being more visible and that inspires young women who are starting out to go for it.
I suppose then leading on from that last question- what do you feel like as a female-only band your experience of playing festivals is?
Lois: I feel like at the beginning you had to prove yourself a lot- but I don’t know if that is something that every band goes through but sometimes there were a lot more remarks made about our gender when we started out that were upsetting and off-putting that you don’t hear now maybe because more people have heard of you. I just feel like I am in charge of myself and we’re in charge of our band and as long as you know your shit then that’s all there is to it.
Do you have any favourite places you’ve played before?
Lois: I’ve got good expectations for this festival I’ll be honest- we saw loads of people getting escorted off because they were too fucked.
Do you have any advice to people who want to start their own band?
Kyoko: Find someone you want to play with and just book a room. It’s as easy as that just do it.
Faith: That’s the main thing- get a permanent practice room booked because then you’re paying the rent on it and it and you’ve got to go. Do what we did.
Lois: And just play with people you enjoy playing with. This started as a friendship- we would just get together drink beers and write music.
Faith: Yeah we didn’t really intend to play in front of people at all.
Lois: Just don’t worry about the long game. Do it for fun now and then if it gets big go for it.
Kyoko: Because it just turns into something that you’re really proud of anyway.
Faith: And that’s what Dream Wife did and they’re doing great. There’s was a bit of a jokey project at uni and now its like a full on world touring band.
Lois: And as an incentive, doing a gig is one of the best feelings in the world and our first gig was the biggest adrenaline rush ever.
Faith: And you get to go to festivals, you get to travel.
Kyoko: Free holidays… sort of.