Streetkings, by Grrlfriendz


By Michael McClelland

Wednesday 17th October, 2012 10:09AM

GRRLFRIENDZ have been showing up on quite a few gig posters recently in the Auckland All Ages arena. Before this, they were amusingly called SPICEGRRLZ and recorded a few loose demos about things like school and friends and other topics of teenage relevance. Having piqued our curiosity, we got in touch over email to find out more about their three-piece all-girl selves...

We noticed your name pop up on a few All Ages bills around Auckland – how old are you guys?

Yeah it’s been pretty sick playing gigs around. Annabel and Sophia are 18 and Toyah is 17.

How did this band come about?

We've (Yoyah and Sophia) known each other since intermediate and caught up at some house party where we decided to start a kickass all-girl band. Our friend then introduced us to a kickass guitarist (Annabel) and it just sprung from our first jam.

And why’d you change your name from SPICEGRRLZ?

We booked our first gig but didn’t have a name so our friend Joe Bowman (Gringo Starr) put us on the lineup under 'Spicegrrlz' and it kind of stuck. We changed to Grrlfriendz cause it was difficult to verbally explain without sounding like a Spice Girls cover band. Fuckthat.

Why don’t you guys have a bass player?

Toyahs too lazy to pick up a bass. But mostly cause we don’t know any good female bassists.

Would you ever want to do this kind of thing full-time?

Yeah man it would be a dream.

How do you identify with Riot Grrrl?

Bands like Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland and The Red Aunts are our gods. The influence has kinda just shaped us into a riot grrrl style, but as it’s 2012 sadly we are probably more girl-punk.

To you, is Riot Grrrl specifically an ethics thing? Or would you say it’s more a description of a band’s sound?

We personally associate more with riot grrrl as a sound than the strong feminist values that are connected to the genre/movement. However, being an all-girl punk band kind of comes with the role of standing up as girls in a male-dominated music industry.

Some feminists might take issue with a track named ‘Boredom Leads To Whoredom’ – what’s your take on that?

Hahahaha. “Find a different hobby, maybe you'll feel better, lame that you can only feel happy when it’s wetter.” Girls nowadays are just so frivolous when it comes to their sexual promiscuity, for us we feel like a lot of girls need to respect themselves rather jumping into bed with someone as soon as they are bored. I hear gardening is pretty fun.

Where do you think Feminism is at in a place like New Zealand?

I mean we are not Saudi Arabia, women have all the basic human rights. But there’s still inequality, it has its place for what needs to be stood up for. Overall we are pretty lucky to live in a place like NZ.

How do you think women in bands are viewed in NZ?

There aren't enough of us (girl bands) to have a massive scene in New Zealand, but those that are out there like Las Tetas have a some sweet hype so we think the reception to girl bands is pretty good.

Do you know many girls that are in bands?

We know heaps of kids in bands but not many girls. The NZ music scene is still male-dominated but the girls we do know are talented as fuck.

And do any come to mind who you particularly respect?

The two girls from Street Chant rock - and Diana Rozz (a band from Wellington), Princess Chelsea and Las Tetas.

How do you feel about going to shows as a girl? Considering that that was what partly ignited the movement in the early 90s.

There’s always a few raised eyebrows when we get on stage, so I guess there is this pressure to show the audience that we're actually musicians and not just a bunch of girls playing with instruments. Could just be that we are the new kids on the block. That feeling is going more and more as we keep playing and people are starting to appreciate and recognise us. Gigs are such a mean buzz we love it.

There’s a pretty good scene around the world for this kind of stuff – have you explored this much online? Thought about getting anything out there?

Yeah! We listen to a lot of the music online, found this really dope band Spider and The Webs. We've been really busy this year so we haven’t checked out much online opportunities as a band. Definitely looking into promoting ourselves more.

Do you have any plans to release your music yet?

We're currently working on our album titled 'Girls On Boys On Girls On Crack’. Most of it’s down, we’re just saving for recording.

Tell us what the All Ages scene in Auckland is like at the moment...

Enraged and Underage.

Total: 10
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woo you guyz rule! But would you write that same song/sing those same lyrics about a male? Also think about WHY it's so bad for girls to be promiscuous, providing of course you aren't cheating/spreading STI's etc.
Posted by lucy - anonymous 4 years ago

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you can sleep with whoever you want and still respect yourself tbh
Posted by Name - anonymous 4 years ago

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"Girls nowadays are just so frivolous when it comes to their sexual promiscuity, for us we feel like a lot of girls need to respect themselves rather jumping into bed with someone as soon as they are bored. I hear gardening is pretty fun." feminisime isn't about sleeping around it's about doing whatever you want as a women and not letting males restrict or dominate your actions

Posted by Namelol - anonymous 4 years ago

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awesum this is super girls! when did they say they were feminists though?
Posted by Anon - anonymous 4 years ago

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I think once someone explains what feminism is about you will regret saying that stuff. Look it up hunnays because you sound ignorant!
Apart from that though seems cool
Posted by Name - anonymous 4 years ago

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woah. would ANY of those questions have been posed to an all-male band?! Fucking hell!
Posted by Christine - anonymous 4 years ago

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Exactly. I think it is totally unfair to ask these sorts of questions to a bunch of young girls in a really new band. Cant you ask them about the music? It's obvious they are not strong feminists, nor had anticipated this sort of interview. They even state that they are more "girl-punk" ...I think this interview is just begging to cause drama quite frankly and the girls just didn't know how to react in the right way.
Posted by anonymous - anonymous 4 years ago

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i get your point but they have to anticipate these kinds of questions seeing as their name in itself associates itself with the riot grrrl movement, one of the main aspects of riot grrrl was advocating feminism. I think these questions would be asked to a male band if they had associated their band with the movement in such a way.
Posted by Name - anonymous 4 years ago

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Heya, I wrote the questions for this interview.

Debates like this one make me wish I could ask just "about the music", but frankly, its significance in society is owed to more than that. I feel that ignoring music's cultural and political implications would be, well... ignorant. And what makes music interesting to begin with are the people who create it. When an interviewer looks at a band with uncommon traits, it's in their best interest to ask about them for the sake of a stimulating and informative read. Finally, discarding anything but the music itself would make for a boring interview - and we hardly need any more of those.

Riot Grrrl was (and is) a political movement, and as such, I asked a band identifying with this about their politics. To not do this would be the same as interviewing an anarcho-punk band and carefully steering away from the issue of anarchism. It was a matter of inquiring about ideology much more than it was about gender.

I could be wrong, particularly in a sensitive topic like this, but as those in the original Riot Grrl movement proved by saying, acting out and often screaming -- discussion is important. You'd hope that any underrepresented group within a field as divisive as music is given a voice, misguided or not.

Finally, Grrlfriendz have three rough demos on Bandcamp. If you can think of thought-provoking questions based on this alone while still evading a topic that comprises their identity as musicians, by all means do your part in promoting one more unheard young local band with this technique. The most important thing, regardless of the method, is that such encouragement might empower them to continue speaking out - either musically, ideologically or some awesome combination of both.
Posted by Michael - anonymous 4 years ago

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dont let anyone restrict your life - females aint the only ones 'hard done by' in this world!
Posted by flip - anonymous 4 years ago

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