Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Equalise My Vocals


I recently had the pleasure of going to EqualiseMy Vocals, a very cool panel discussion put on by local musician/artist Coco Solid for NZ Music Month.It was held at the fale at Samoa House, up on K Rd.

RNZ: "Equalise My Vocals aims to address issues brought to the surface by a story published last year by The Spinoff, outlining serious allegations of grooming and sexual predation in the local music industry.

“We saw a lot of hurt people… a lot of people frustrated and in pain, and who were just excluded and don’t have a voice,” says Jessica Hansell - aka Coco Solid - who's spearheading the campaign alongside fellow musician Trixie Darko.

As RNZ notes of the panellists "They are no different to any other group gathering to talk publicly for New Zealand Music Month about their passion - except that none of them are men. The event is a panel, one of two organised for the weekend to bring Equalise My Vocals from its online domain into the real world."

I went along to the first panel, featuring Teremoana Rapley, Kat Sanders, Leonie Hayden, Nikolai Talamahina, Beth Dawson (Duckling Monster). It was freaking awesome. They told stories both funny and horrifying - like the guy that came up and told one of their female friends (who was playing her guitar left handed, cos you know, she's left handed) that she was holding it wrong. 

While the discussion covered what it's like to operate in the music scene, and the challenges and changes that need to happen, for me one of the best moments was when Leonie Hayden touched on who needs to change. 

Leonie: "The NZ Music Industry is 95% ‘GCs’ and 5% dicks, and that’s the same for any industry. Most people are good people and they’ve got good intentions. But you can’t be a reflection culturally if you’re not reflecting the people… [and] most of the media’s white, most of the music industry is white.

"That’s not on each of those individual people, they’re not going ‘yay white supremacy’, they’re just going about their lives … It falls on the shoulders of the heads of each major record label, and each government funding agency. You’re actually only talking about 20-30 people whose job it is is to make sure that their organisation reflects Aotearoa. So they’re the ones that aren’t doing their job, in my opinion." (declaration of interest - I write a music column for Mana Magazine, edited by Leonie.)

No comments: