I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- Cheryl Janzen of Vague Notion

WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC SERIES 2020

This weeks blog takes us all the way to the magnificent lands of Nelson, British Columbia to meet Cheryl Janzen, who writes, records, produces and performs with her husband Bevan as Vague Notion. I first met Cheryl on an Electronic artists network called Electronomicon on facebook managed out of Melbourne by Troy Masters, a worldwide collective of artists and independent radio folk.

Introducing Cheryl Janzen.

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc)
I am a flute player first, as I joined the school band in grade 3. My band teacher called my mother and encouraged her to get me into piano lessons as she saw that I had a natural affinity for music.  In my 20’s I attended a professional music college for flute but quickly discovered that I loved singing and performing more. I joined a rock band and I haven’t stopped since. Songwriting came later for me and with the advent of software that was accessible to the lay person, I began producing and songwriting with my husband and here we are today as Vague Notion.

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?
From a very young age as you read above. My father was a musician so I fell asleep many nights to his band rehearsing in the basement. My 4 brothers all play guitar and sing and one of my brothers took me under his wing in my teen years. I was in his band as a vocalist and flautist. Fun times.

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?
In my years playing in cover bands I experienced both inclusion and respect and the opposite of that. One of the reasons I ventured into a duo act with my husband is because it is here that inclusion and respect are boundless [ beautiful that’s what we want, team work].

Why you are sharing this video?

This is the newest video made my me called Invisible Man. On Halloween we will be releasing a new video for our latest single…‘Shadow Talk’

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?
A strong backbone! Never give up attitude.

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?
My own self loathing and doubt.

What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?
I think every person’s voice is unique actually. I think more than ever the world needs people being creative and sharing that.

Do you have any advise for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?
Just keep going. Don’t give up. Practice, practice ,practice so you are honing your craft/gift. If you love it and it feeds your soul, keep going.

Website https://vaguenotion1.bandcamp.com/music

Social media Links
https://www.facebook.com/vaguenotion1
https://www.instagram.com/vague_notion/
https://twitter.com/VagueNotion1

https://soundcloud.com/vaguenotion

https://open.spotify.com/artist/2cD1a4AtEpHNMGiawt7taP?si=3sXI8zJhQD6M5NQJHo4w1g

Thank you so much Cheryl, for lending your voice, I wish you all the best with your new work and partnership, much success.

I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- The Voice of Womens Empowerment -Catherine Meeson

WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC SERIES BLOG 2020

‘I Am Woman Watch Me Roar’ is a detour into the collective musical landscape, inviting the shared voice of my comrades to express on theme. The title of this blog hearkens back the powerful 70’s anthem by Helen Reddy, and also evokes a sense of a powerful lioness defending her children and pride (double meaning). Sadly Helen Reddy has just passed away, her work and this song in particular, inspired the blog interview focus,  a powerful anthem for womens empowerment. Born during the tumultuous world war 2 years to a musical family, she lived and worked musically through the revolutionary social/ political times of the late 60’s and 70’s.

This song was a beautiful example of lyrical potency self acceptance and spiritual vigour. I chose it because of its anthemic nature and the fact that it is essentially a call to arms for women and an affirmation of womens unique power.

“Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman”

 

R.I.P HELEN REDDY thank you for your contribution to music, culture and the human journey. This week I will speak on theme, so far I have featured Zoe Ryan, Jenni Dagley,  Seraya, Lacunae Glow,  Taylar Paige, Melody Moon, Elaine Nolan, Bek Davis, Symmetrix, Elenor Rayner, Ivy Lucille, Becki Whitton (Aphir) and Anya Trybala (Ninoosh). More women have been invited to speak on theme and hopefully we will feature a few more before years end.

I also have blogs coming on various topics such as Musicians Mental health and creative therapies, the benefits of martial arts for women, and the power plays women endure regarding their sexuality/ sensuality and its abuse.

INTRODUCING CATHERINE MEESON

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc) 

I am an independent singer songwriter composer performance artist and producer, I take care of everything, music videos, promotion etc. I have been an avid student of all things music sound healing for 25 years and am developing a body of work to share with others in the form of practitioner training. I started studying audio engineering and sound production late last year, to refine my skills, fill in my gaps and get a firm acoustic and technical science foundation. At this time I am largely a studio recording artist, but I do love to do live stuff and can’t wait to rock out big time with my band. I have a band as well with my partner Sean and Mark called Symbols IN soundS

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?

I started writing songs in high school, I had been writing poetry and was an avid pop lover growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, so had role models like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Annie Lennox, Whitney Houston, Heart and Abba.

My first music teacher put a guitar keyboard and a mic in my hand, put us into high school bands, we ran with it. I had a girls rock band called The Stormers that  toured around Vic, we did Battle of the Bands, recorded made music videos etc. It was heaps of fun. I still have the tape of the recordings of the second song I ever wrote, a teen girls fantasies on the experiences of love and relationships.

THE STORMERS OF PRESTON GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL 1988

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?

Unconscious bias comes from fear, from repressed projected self talk in many instances, from a superiority mindset and from a boys club mentality. Things that have been said to me, like if a woman wants to get anywhere in music, she needs to fuck her way to the top, which is just disgusting and makes me furious. There is lots of inference on skill and ability because women are not seen as having technical acumen or knowledge, even if they invest time and energy to acquire skill. I had many people beat me down tell me to stop wasting my time, get a real job etc, comments like “you call that music”. A lot of the affect for me has come from social values and negative experiences and internalised resistance that I have encountered. There is also this sense of the dumb blonde, that really annoys me.

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?

Women need to be recognized for their uniqueness, as  many of the women who have spoken so far have said. We need equal opportunities, for those who choose to work with us or other creative partners to team up with, there needs to be a fundamental respect of who and what we bring not a desire to shape and mold and bend us to anothers will or ideas, or to exploit our sexuality and sacral energy (the divine feminine creative force). We need platforms for our voice, and powerful leaders and mentors, and quite possibly organisations that advocate for women in music and womens issues. We need a safe space and honourable men to empower and enhance our capacity to offer amazing perspectives and musical works. We need brothers in arms who stand proudly by our side as equals.

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?

Self doubt and my inner demons due to severe trauma. The belief that I am not good enough and don’t stand a chance. Also the safety issue, physical and psychological safety.

What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?

Women are sensitive creatures, we are the deep feelers, intuitive, we bare sons and daughters and carry the future of the human race in our wombs. We carry the seeds for not only biological life but amazing creative vision. Women have always been likened to the muses, and the muses of Greek mythos are women. Many Goddesses of historical cultures are patrons for the arts, of  beauty and music. It is not a new path to us, we have long been temple priestesses, healers,  oracles, soothsayers, bards, minstrels, prophetesses that transmit culture, warning, story. Our words allow the people to feel, our musics echo the heart of the people, the unheard. Through our intuitive gifts we can express the things others struggle with, we can bring the Shekinah presence, the divine feminine to bare in all that we do. We are intimately connected to the earth and the heavens and understand the cyclic nature of all things. In music today we need this divine feminine goddess energy/ archetype in all her permutations; as creator, destroyer, mother etc to be a  catalytic social force. The world, (excuse the French) is totally fucked. We can see what does not work and bring the transmutational archetypal force to change and shape culture. We can and will hold to account.

Why you are sharing this video?

I am sharing Come Back because Oma the central character is a powerful Goddess mother type figure who speaks not only for herself but on behalf of all life, calling us to remember and reconnect. It is off my last album The Call of Oma and was very well received. It also embodies everything I talk about doing for yourself, I made the costume, did the make up, scouted the location, paid for production, edited it, produced everything. I had my partner Seans help behind the lens and he did a friggin awesome job having never done anything like that before, working under my direction. This was done with my phone, use what ya got!

Do you have any advise for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?

Just do it, express what you want to express, the way you want to express it, nurture your own visionary/ revolutionary capacity, be  yourself in all your glory, be fierce, be proud, back yourself, do what it takes whilst preserving your integrity and honour. Learn self defense to protect yourself against the sleeze bags and those that might seek to exploit you. Learn about human nature, learn how to read situations, empower yourself with knowledge. Remain humble, develop a strong core, listen more than you talk, take advise, accept rejection and criticism as normal and keep going no matter what. Don’t expect anyone to do anything for you, do it yourself  fully exploit your resources and fund yourself, create the best work you can, so that when others do come along and like what you are doing you have a solid foundation you have a much clearer sense of everything involved in a musician/ engineers journey, and you can appreciate the many hours and varied skill sets it take to bring work to finished production and release. If you have done those things yourself you are also more able to understand and communicate with others in the creative industries who you may need to employ to help you, graphic designers, cinematographers, editors, make up artists, etc etc.

Love self no matter what, regret and self judgment are killers, assassins of thought. Develop potency and really look after body mind spirit, stay healthy so you can be the best you you can be.

Don’t worry about others notions of what success is or looks like, decide what it is for you and get to work. It’s a long haul to leave a legacy, but worth it. It is a great gift to create magic out of the aether and gift it to others who then receive its gifts. Music is Magic of the highest order. Good luck.

Website URL? 

https://www.catherinemeeson.com/

Social media Links

https://www.facebook.com/CatherineMeesonMusic

https://www.instagram.com/catherinemeesonmusic/

https://youtube.com/user/CatherineMeeson

https://catherinemeeson.bandcamp.com/

I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- Anya Trybala (Ninoosh)

WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC SERIES 2020

Please welcome Anya Trybala, a Melbourne native who went to Sweden formed a label and was instrumental in creating a network, as well as being involved in Girls Rock Sweden chapter.  and is back in Australia for a while

ANYA TRYBALA (NINOOSH)

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc)

I’m an electronic music producer and sound sculptor. Ableton Live is one of my favourite tools – it’s like having an orchestra in my computer. Over the past few years I have been releasing music under the moniker Ninoosh and ran a feminist electronic music collective Synth Babes in Malmö, Sweden where we developed artists, released compilations and put on a few festivals. I returned to Melbourne in December 2019 and have been working on a new album called Pause Magic and will release this under my own name. I have also formed a children’s musical act called The Spark Joys – I think as a response to COVID-19 as the music we make is hopeful and joyous. I was even booked to play Roskilde 2020 in Denmark, but that was cancelled unfortunately. I hope to return to Europe in 2021, although this looks unlikely with all the wild restrictions!

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?

Since my first music classes at school. I was tested for musical aptitude as a child and was encouraged to develop my musical ability. I picked up the trumpet at 8 then gave it up when I was in my teens as it wasn’t the coolest instrument to play! My face looks very squashed when I play! From there I joined choirs, started a band (The Eventual Contenders) and finally found production, which was such a blessing. I have had a funny relationship with music – as much as it brings me so much joy when I find that creative flow and produce something, there have been years where I hadn’t done any music projects. Those were sad times and I’m so glad to have finally found a good relationship with it all.

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?

Definitely as a teenager and young adult, I was under this pressure to look a certain way and if I hadn’t ‘made it’ by the time I was 22 – I was done. What a load of crap! Look at Björk! I just wish I had been encouraged in my youth to explore production and not just be lumped as a singer and that was it. More teenage girls and GNC peeps need encouragement at that delicate age where they are forming identity and finding what drives them. But I found an amazing tribe in Sweden and will always have them in my life to bounce my ideas around and get feedback.

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?

Like I said – find a collective of artists who support you. It can be really disheartening reaching out to industry professionals to ask advice and then get shut down or ignored. I’ve found returning to Australia has been frustrating to navigate the ‘industry’. So my strategy is just making the best music I can make and find the right people to collaborate with and build a team around that. I also am incredibly passionate about Girls Rock! Which is a global organisation that holds music camps for young teens who are girls / GNC to develop their music. I have taught in Iceland, Sweden and then recently in Melbourne and it has had such a big impact on my life and I can see the impact on participants.

Why you are sharing this video? This video was made when I was living in Malmö, Sweden, a place where I grew significantly as an artist.

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?

Perfectionism. This crushed me for so long. When I first started working in Ableton I had so many unfinished tracks on my computer and was too scared to show anyone. You need to let that go to move forward.

What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?

I’ve been running weekly Ableton Live challenges (our FB group is Ableton Nerds) where I assign a sample and we hash it out for an hour and then share what we’ve made. It’s been such an amazing thing to do in lockdown! To be frank, the output from the women is way more unique that the men generally so I feel like by developing women in production, we are opening up more ideas about sound. For too long men have been the gatekeepers – I want to see a renaissance for music and a rebirth on how artists are treated.

Do you have any advise for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?

Don’t listen to the ‘girls can’t play music’ or ‘just be a singer’ BS and just jump into what makes you feel good – whether that is an instrument, songwriting, synths or fiddling with computer music. Look up Girls Rock camp initiatives and find other musicians to jam with.

Thank you for sharing your voice and thoughts Anya, sounds like you have a good mission plan, all the best with upcoming solo work and your eventual return to Sweden.

Website URL?

https://ninoosh.bandcamp.com

Social media Links

www.instagram.com/anyatrybala

For Young Women and others musical nurturance

http://www.girlsrockcampfoundation.org/

http://www.girlsrockmelbourne.com/

 

I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- Becki Whitton APHIR

WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC BLOG SERIES 2020

Our next interviewee Becki Whitton like all others, wears multiple hats (as one must do in music). Becki’s work takes her further into the production cycle with a chosen focus on vocals and mastering. Becki is also the Sound Manager for  Girls Rock  Canberra chapter.

APHIR- REPUBLIC OF PARADISE 

(Photo credit Isabella Connelley Make up Artist Kate McWilliam)

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc)

I’m a mixing/mastering/vocal engineer, and I also make electronic choral music as ‘Aphir‘.

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?

I started making music solo in 2013 but it wasn’t until 2015 that I started learning how to mix, master, and record in a studio context. It was something I was drawn to because I had been frustrated that my mixes didn’t sound the way I wanted them to, and my introduction to music was via a very D.I.Y culture in Canberra, where none of my friends in music really approached professional engineers for the final polish.

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?

Honestly I always find this question difficult to answer because it’s often hard to be sure whether someone is treating you in a certain way because of your gender, or if pressures you feel come from the outside or if you’ve perhaps internalised something negative about the system you’re working in. I’ve certainly always found that being a woman working as an audio engineer places me as a novelty with people – sometimes it elicits excitement that women are entering into that role, and sometimes there is a sense that my abilities are in question because of my gender and possibly my age.

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?

The three things that come immediately to mind are respect, safety, and support in the way of resources and finance. I think safety and respect are particular concerns for anyone who’s not a cis white dude in the music industry, and the way to move forward there is; for those aforementioned dudes who hold powerful positions in the industry, to humbly listen and be willing to make changes to their behaviour.

There’s not just a gender barrier but also a class barrier, though, to a lot of pursuits in music, and the career that I have, simply would not have be possible if I hadn’t had employers and landlords in studio contexts, who gave me discounted and sometimes free access to studio time and equipment. If that kind of generosity can become even more prevalent then certainly the result will be that we see more diversity in those who are able to hold key roles in the industry.

Why you are sharing this video?

This is a nice song I made with my friend Karla (KAIAR) – we also collaborated on the video together. It’s about our shared tendency to be overly nice when we should actually be telling someone there’s a problem.

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?

It took me a really long time to know how and when to take criticism. It sounds like a total contradiction, but I used to be very defensive about critique while simultaneously being a classic Libra in the sense of being kind of a people pleaser. I think that tension really strained me in my music-making efforts for a long time, but I feel like I’m in a place now where I can sift through any critique I receive and take what I need and dismiss the rest.

What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?

I’m not sure this is something that I can sum up neatly, or maybe even that can be summed up neatly? To me, the importance of sharing the voices of people in gender minorities is less to do with one unified whole story that needs to be told, but rather in the numerous, rich and varied stories that deserve a their chance to find their audiences or communities. Allowing people of all genders to have an equal platform and access, benefits everyone, because it contributes to our understanding of what it is to be human, and gives further reach to the potential of human art.

Here is a fantastic video interview with Becki with Audio Technology Magazine from 3rd September

 

Do you have any advise for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?

I think it’s important not to let pressure from the industry or from your friends encroach on your artistic individuality. An artistic practice or community that isn’t nourishing you will inevitably become unsustainable, and sometimes you have to seek outside of the circles you fall into, or the paths that seem the most high-profile or lucrative, to find the artistic community that will nourish you the most.

Thanks so much Becki, please check out Becki’s back catalog as Aphir and her upcoming album featuring collaborations with various artists on Bandcamp due for release September 25th called ‘Republic of Paradise’. The creation of this album was live streamed via Twitch, see link below.

Website

https://www.beckiwhitton.com/

Socials

https://www.instagram.com/aphir_

https://www.twitch.tv/aphir_

https://www.facebook.com/aphirism/

I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- Ivy Lucille

WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC BLOG SERIES 

I am grateful for the response from fellow women in music to the theme exploring unconscious bias in the music industry. Who would have known that 2020 would prove such a challenging year all around the world?. So, solidarity and the platform to share each others work, express honestly and passionately couldn’t be more needed. Everyone is affected by Covid. Musicians and artists, the television and film industries cannot operate as per usual, it is indeed a sad state of affairs, but we will make it through this together and the value of art and culture in voicing the human condition will continue to shine on.

INTRODUCING IVY LUCILLE

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc) 

I feel like an expressionist. A vessel to receive the gifts of the cosmos. A big part of my artistry is as a songwriter but I am also a performance artist/producer. I feel very multifaceted in the world of music and art. I guess I’m an all rounder!

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?

I have been engaged in my musical journey since a very young age. I started playing violin when I was ten. I was always singing as a little girl but from the age of about fifteen I really felt the calling to become a singer songwriter.

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?

In many ways I have been affected. I have never really felt relaxed or able to work with men or even women sometimes so I work independently mostly. I have never felt able to fit into the patriarchal systems. The music industry for example was something I was trying and hoping to fit into, but as time goes on, I realise I have to be true to myself and my path, which is more one of spirituality and might not necessarily fit into a system or an industry.

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate? 

Women need to feel equal, respected and supported. We have always been misunderstood and made to feel like we are less than. Social conditioning has taught us to tame our wildest selves, not to follow our intuition and not to listen to our emotions. All so we can fit into a man’s world. It’s time for women to rise up and to be completely honoured in who we are. A beautiful indigenous elder recently said that we have been in the Grandfather age for a very long time but now we are in the Grandmother Age. It’s all about goddess consciousness now.

Why are you sharing this song?

I love the topic of this interview “I am woman watch me roar”. I chose to share this video ” Death Song” because I feel it has a sort of roar to it. In this song I am expressing the fierce depths of my heart. The song is about the old self dying. The shedding of the old skin and an old paradigm. The lyrics speak of the wounds of the crushed feminine. Hope you enjoy 🙂

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?

My biggest obstacle has definitely been myself and still is. I am learning every day how to be authentic in my expression and how to receive the gifts that are wanting to come through. It is taking many years to slowly break through the layers of conditioning and control which I feel do not serve. I have struggled mentally and emotionally since a young age. Quite often I feel like an artist with so many gifts locked in a prison cell of my own. I have felt overburdened emotionally for many years and the feeling is so heavy sometimes its hard to even create or get anything done. This burden is my greatest gift and from this place of struggle I have written some of my best songs. At the end of the day I think it comes down to self love, knowing your worth and believing in your abilities. This is something I am still integrating.

What is unique about a woman’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?

It’s always especially been a battle for women in music. There is a lack of equality. We’ve had to fight for our place. We have been judged and misunderstood and we still are. Woman’s voices are so important right now more than ever. It’s the time of the divine feminine to rise and to be seen and felt in all of her glory. She is the missing link. Without her there is imbalance. A woman’s voice is unique because she is a divine connection of mother energy. She has the ability to connect deep with her ancient thread of goddess energy. It’s so important as women to keep sharing our stories, our truth, and reclaim our space and our worth.

Do you have any advice for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?

My advice for young women is to spend time nurturing yourself and your craft. It’s so important to have a good relationship with yourself and a positive inner dialogue. Spend time in nature developing your connection with the divine. Allow your wildest self to dance and to run free. Know that you are a warrior. Always follow your heart. Don’t be afraid of your own power. Surrender to your infinite expansion within and allow yourself to express every part of you. Don’t take yourself too seriously!

Thank you Ivy, your voice echoes many other women who have spoken thus far, on the divine feminine. Be sure to check out Ivy’s work, visit her website and socials

Website

http://www.ivylucille.com

https://ivylucille.bandcamp.com/album/haunted

Socials –

https://www.facebook.com/ivylucillemusic

https://www.instagram.com/ivy_lucille/

 

 

Women Who Rock In Music- I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- Elenor Rayner

I AM WOMAN WATCH ME ROAR

Stock image

We return this week to the blog focus for the year Women Who Rock in Music. So far we have had a broad selection of female musicians/producers, teachers and more, who are all independent artists sharing thoughts on theme. There are clear themes emerging in the interviews and I encourage you  to check out the archives. We started the series with a blog of mine called ‘Catching Stardust – Birth of a Song’ which was a beginning to end vlog writing a song by firelight. We then progressed to interviews early this year 2020. Each week  (sometimes a little later ) I feature an interview and periodically, in-between my own blogs about related topics. There are plenty more interviews to come and further posts on Women in Music from me as well as information on collaborations. Please enjoy and share if you resonate. Solidarity during covid is crucial, the arts industries have been decimated with musicians no longer able to play live in Melbourne town one of the live music capitals of the world, so it is my hope that this small action  and platform can assist other musicians in my network with their sharing their work, voice and reach.

INTRODUCING ELENOR RAYNOR (Robots in Love)

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc) 

I’m a producer. I also do vocals, play guitar or bass or whatever is needed for the track I’m working on. About half my time these days is doing remixes for other people. 

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?

Ever since I can remember. My dad took me to see a concert and I was blown away by the energy of loud music and I immediately formed a band with my friends. My dad was our roadie for years until we were old enough to drive ourselves to gigs. It’s been my absolute passion 100% ever since. About half the time producing by myself and half the time playing in bands. In Soulscraper, I loved the in-your-face intensity of noise and passion, in The Crystalline Effect I loved being the vocalist of songs that ranged from delicate and ethereal to floor hitting EBM. In Sobriquet I had some great musicians. Now in Robots In Love it’s solo if I’m doing a fully electronic set, or else with others if it’s more industrial so I can play guitar and do the vocals. And of course I have Human Confusion where I produce the music and Miriam Leslie writes the lyrics and sings. I can listen to her all day. We’ve just released our second single.

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?

Some weird things. I remember hanging out with other bands backstage after shows and everyone’s talking, but then female fans of the bands enter the room and the guys look at me as if to say “it’s time for you to go now” because I’m not one of the guys.

I remember playing at a festival where I was the only female in any of the acts.

Being in a studio working on my first recording and the mastering engineer told me he had to turn the hi hats up. I hate the sound of hi hats but I let him do it. I still hate the mix on that song.

Why are you sharing this video? 

Just a cute 90 sec preview of a remix that’s just been released. Thanks!

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?

You need the confidence to be yourself. A cliche I know, but it’s true. Recently Bjork said that there are lots of photos of women musicians, either posed photos or on stage, but hardly any of them in their studios. So a call went out for women producers to send in photos of themselves at work. And when I saw other women’s studios I was amazed that they looked so different to men’s studios. The female ones seemed really messy! Men might have one ornament but the women had teddy bears, photos, random other objects. And often they were not sitting at desks, but rather perched on chairs or on the floor with stuff all around them. It was as if they’d just run in from doing some other chore to quickly program a bass line or something. It made me feel great seeing people who looked like they work the same way I do.

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?

I’ve always been terrible at marketing and promotion, that sort of thing. But I love what I do and people love my remixes so it’s never really bothered me.

My computer catching fire and destroying half the hard drive set me back a bit.

What is unique about a woman’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?

Sometimes it seems women are put in pre-conceived pigeonholes. For instance, I went to a rock music museum thing in Seattle, and there was a section on male musicians that showed their instruments, reviews, stories about them, other stuff. But the section on female musicians just showed their clothes. Patti Smith’s clothes. Yes, her clothes are great but that is not the main thing we treasure about her, we are enthralled by her lyrics, music, intelligence, philosophy. I think it’s important for women to see other women breaking stereotypes.

Do you have any advice for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?

Ask questions. But don’t expect other people to do all the work for you – take courses, watch tutorials, figure out what is the best way for you to work. A lot of programs have trial versions so try before you buy. You can also rent-to-buy plugins so if you don’t like it you can cancel the subscription before paying for the whole thing.

Keep your backup drive at someone else’s house in case your house burns down. (Good advise)

What’s on the cards for the next little while?

I just finished a remix for N.Z band ‘Stars and the Underground’ https://open.spotify.com/track/3KHUBmqWK4qlVhNNpc1oTk?si=VSFTXnudRMaxQrUpJCWCiw

And a remix for my other band ‘Human Confusion’ https://open.spotify.com/track/7pB6UqKDO4fw3WFDifgJfc?si=4iL4VyjIRgeNZX8r3ZGIEg

Website URL

https://robotsinlove.bandcamp.com/

Social media Links

https://www.facebook.com/robotsinlovemusic/
https://www.facebook.com/HumanConfusionband/

 

Catching Stardust-The birth of a Song-Women Who Rock Series

Welcome  February 6th 2020. The Call of Oma launch was a success it is receiving airplay around Australia and there will be more interviews coming. So far  we have had feature interviews on 97.9fm and Radio Adelaide’s Out of This World. More news on that into the future. You can purchase the album The Call of Oma at all digital outlets or go here https://catherinemeeson.bandcamp.com/album/the-call-of-oma . Today we begin a new journey.

The  video below details the spontaneous song writing process as a whole, in video document format from the beginning to end, (less than thirty minutes). Features the song ‘Stardust’ a song exploring the feeling and vulnerability of new love and the fragility of the heart. It will be released as a single in 2020.

Lyrics and Music by Catherine Meeson © 2020 ℗ 2020

All Rights Reserved

A Sonic Sanctuary production February 5 2020

Contains stock footage from Videoblocks.com

‘Catching Stardust’ is the first in a series of Blogs and Vlogs on ‘Women Who Rock’ in music (title inspired by Marilyn of the Red Church) for 2020, which will explore women in music and issues of craft as well as issues affecting well-being and sense of self from a women’s perspective. They may contain surveys and interviews with others and will also be a shout-out to influential and powerful women of music through recorded her-story. Sure, to be provocative and forthright.

‘Catching Stardust’ honours the song writing process of not knowing  and going with the flow of ones muse. Stardust was the second tune I wrote by the embers of an open fire, camping out in Lerdederg state park, whilst my boyfriend slept. It was 11th March  2019.

As a form of documentation, I literally set up the phone and recorded the whole process by firelight. It is in D# alternative tuning, (something my boyfriend has introduced to me). Before this I wrote a very long riff based instrumental piece called Resurrection Codes which was also captured. Video documenting allows one to see exactly what one was doing in the moment. Once upon a time I captured my songs on tape recorder and still have a box of tapes. Years later it became phone voice recording, now occasionally I do it on video. I always drew my chord charts and progressions down.

Stardust captured the feeling of new love, vulnerability and the fragility of the heart. As with most improvisation-based tunes, I noodle till I find something that resonates with how I am feeling in the moment, then I’m off on The Windcatcher (my magical mythical musical ship), we set sail and traverse the fields of time and space through sound. I voyage through feeling, melody, harmony, rhythm and form as the song is crafted/ birthed through me. Lyrically it presents as essentially a folky tune (psychedelic folk ambience) that has been developed as a demo and was submitted to the APRA professional development competition last year.

Many people have an opinion about how to write a song and what it has to be. A formula for the genre, a set structure, the rules of harmony and form. All those things are nice but they create limits if one is rigid about it. We all know the essence of popular music form through listening to it all our lives. There is no right or wrong way. Someone will always want to change what you did or how you did it, or they will change where it wants to or could go. But you know what? It’s your song, your way, your muse and voice. There is only ‘what is’ in the moment of creation. Finding ones own voice and style is essential in a world of wannabes. All one can ever truly be is oneself. Therefore, cultivate uniqueness, that is following the dao of your own unique unfolding on the river of life.

Sure you can refine songs later, re arrange them , adapt them etc, but in my experience  ( I can say this because I have been writing songs now for 33 years), they come out mostly complete entities; a chord progression and a vocal lyrical melody that stands by it’s own integrity. One does not need to agonise over it or get all intellectual about it. It’s a different process to writing to a brief or modern electronic based song writing, this is the old school way of instrument and words. It’s organic, with the flavours and tools of local space time, i.e. the feel and the instruments/ resources at hand.

You don’t go to school to learn how to write songs, you just write them. You go to school to learn composition, but degrees for song writing, that will get you a bunch of rules to break and a bunch of formulas and other peoples processes. Then you still have to do your own thing. So play, experiment, make mistakes, follow your ears, follow your feelings as they express.

This video is very raw and very real,  it features me being eaten alive by mosquitos, tripping out on the sounds of the night and being in awe of the stars. It features mistakes, bum notes and the real process I go through  to find /develop and create a song. I feel I don’t create it, I just follow it as it emerges, I am just the person it comes through. Like the universe wishing to express itself. I follow the feeling, rhythm, the flow, the melody. The lyrics come as to be expected. My hope is that this video demystifies and normalises the song writing process. This took less than thirty minutes to write.

As far as what is it – to fix it in a genre, I guess I would call it folky, psychedelic folk, as it has been developed and uses fx pedals. The structure is pretty standard. Intro, verse, bridge, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, outro. The instrumentation so far is simple, acoustic guitar with fx, bass, guitar riffs on the ricky, programmed beats and vocals, main and back up. It was a time-based completion for APRA ‘s professional development award program, (which obviously I was unsuccessful at). I also entered Resurrection and Standing there two more singles I hope to get out this year.  I will develop Stardust further and refine the parts for the single release, it needs tightening up, the vocal placement and vowels need to be bang on. It is very characteristically ambient, spacious and relaxing. It is a beautiful song that I am happy to say Marty Wilson Piper liked 😊 in a recent mentoring session. Marty formally of Australian rock band The Church is my favourite guitarist alongside Pink floyd’s  David Gilmour.

The purpose of this recording now is me reviewing my 60+ gig of video recordings from my phone, clearing my archives and storage and seeing what is worth developing and producing to completion. Not everything gets developed. The archives feature song ideas, improvisations on guitar, voice, bass, and piano, captured out there in the world, at work, or where ever I was at the moment. I am assessing my focus for the year and where my energies will go and what is realistic. I will aim for 3-4 singles, with a possible 3- 4 month turn around for each, that should be doable, but depends on work, funds and life.

As mentioned at the start of the blog I have a new series I will write about this year, aiming for one a month called Women Who Rock’ series. Look out for those as we journey along, and look out for my invitations to questions of relevance on Survey Monkey.

In ‘Catching Stardust’, I am inviting people into my process, I have always been pretty open about it blogging my albums creation and development of all my work.

I am promoting my services as a Creativity Coach (arts based coaching). If you are interested in Creativity Coaching and want to know more, click on the link below to my page about Creativity Coaching. The basic premise is that artists and creatives have unique sets of problems that need to be tackled and we may need the services of a whole bunch of allied health persons and professional arts industry allies, a Creativity coach can help you figure out what you need to be the best you, you can be as you bring your work into the world.

https://www.catherinemeeson.com/coaching/

Creativity Coaching is offered via skype, phone, email or in person. There are one of rate deals of $60 an hour (skype, and follow up email). And a 4 session package deal $220 (4 skype sessions, follow up email, 2 15 minute phone check ins). In person sessions will incur additional travel costs. Payment method is via the Paypal button on the weblink (secure).

Creative process is something I am an expert at and could be invaluable in assisting you to be all you can be. Make it happen in 2020. No matter the issues affecting your creative work, or sense of self in the world a creativity coach could be exactly what you need.

To this end my qualifications are  Adv Dip Music, B.A.I (Hons- music composition), Adv Dip Transpersonal Counselling & Art Therapy, Creativity coaching training with Eric Maisel, spiritual healing modalities. Professional development at Film Summer School (Melb Uni) and currently enrolled in part time Audio Engineering studies.