The Sad Grrrls Club is a group of female-identifying musicians that hope to change Australian music culture at gig level.
The Sad Grrrls Club is set to make Australian music history in the Australian music industry; they will be the first female-identifying (meaning all people who identify themselves as female) movement to have their own tour and a festival appointment. This is made even more unique by the sheer variety of musical genres that are included in their music, from emo-folk to indie to experimental violin.
The Sad Grrrls Club is a group of all-female musicians who want to change the Aussie music scene on a show-by-show basis. While talking with The Newsroom, founder of the Sad Grrrls Club Rachel Maria Cox, described the group as “a celebration of diversity and a loud statement against those who would try to silence the voices of women everywhere”.
While playing a mostly female-identifying gig last year, they noticed the fact that most shows are male-dominated and thus the idea of creating an Australian only female-identifying group was born. Although they do not think they can change the world, it may be possible to change the Australian music industry by doing “one show at a time”.
Each show will have safer-space policies, to create a general atmosphere that is inclusive and welcoming to people of all genders, sexual orientations and races.
“General environment making people of all genders and walks of life feel welcome and to the best of our ability make them feel safe at the shows, as punk and hardcore shows can be uncomfortable spaces to be in at the best of times, and dangerous at the worst,” they said.
Being a music teacher and performing musician, Cox knew that to begin all they needed was to get a few people together, book a few gigs and go from there. She was able to create a tour and festival in a limited span of time by having a use-what-you-can philosophy and asking for help when needed.
“If you ask enough people, eventually someone will say yes,” she said.
The tour was announced on the June 1 and is promising to be a unique experience.
The male-domination observation isn’t just just a perceived one, it’s a reality. According to statistics from the Australian Council of the Arts, 50 per cent of music degrees are obtained by women, however, less than 30 per cent go on to be royalty drawing artists and registerees with APRA AMCOS, Australia’s music industry body which distributes royalties.
This may potentially be a societal trend as most music teachers tend to be women; consequently being a music teacher may be viewed as a more feminine role in society where girls will lean towards teaching because of that ingrained social pressure.
“The problem is if you are a little girl and you’re looking at all the bands your parents like …the vast majority of them are all male,” she told The Newsroom.
“What you see is boys are in bands, that’s a boy thing to do. And all your teachers are female, teaching is a girl thing to do. And you start to form from a very young age these preconceived notions about what jobs are appropriate for genders.”
Brendan Doyle, a working Sydney musician, paints a slightly different picture. In his experience as a working musician, it is only one-in-three shows that are dominated by male musicians and that a large majority of solo acts seem to be female. Though he does agree that most bands are male-dominated.
This problem may stem from an overly patriarchal society or from the devaluing of female experience in society; but what is clear is that the Sad Grrrls Club is a unique experience in the Australian music scene, and one that should not be missed by any music fan. — Ben Atkinson-James