Image: George Rump
If you are a fan of the Foo Fighters you may be impressed that Miss June opened for the rock titans during their New Zealand tour earlier this year. If you are a fan of confident and punky rock music you may be more impressed with the Auckland band's upcoming EP that we are streaming below.
Led by vocalist Annabel Liddell (she of the Courtney Love, Joan Jett and Meredith Graves like pipes), the four piece blast out melodic punk songs such as "Student Loan" and "Drool" and have made music videos featuring powerful women such as Drew Barrymore, Serena Williams and Xena: Princess Warrior.
We caught up with Annabel to find out more about the EP and video.
Noisey: Can you tell us a bit about the title and concept of your debut EP?
Annabel Liddell: The concept came from a really great book Sex Revolts. It looks into why rock and roll is so closely entangled with misogyny and “macho-ness”. About how men often identify everything wrong in their lives as being directly correlated to a matriarchal control system, i.e. their mothers, wives, sisters and lovers. When actually we live in an extremely patriarchal society. This really spoke to me and I wrote the track "Matriarchy" as a bit of a satirical view of this concept: “you’re another victim of matriarchy, it’s a hard life having a wife.”
The album title, video and the line “What part of no, don’t you understand?” could have come from the Riot Grrl scene of the 90s. How do you feel about this comparison?
Because I am a female we tend to be compared to only other bands with female singers, and because of my views this also tends to make comparisons lean towards bands from the Riot Grrl era. Its pretty frustrating to be constantly asked about Bikini Kill (hah). Especially because I don't believe there should be such a division in thinking towards 'female musicians' and 'male musicians'.
The Riot Grrl movement was influential to me personally as it introduced me to a lot of great music and lots of new ideas at a young age. However Miss June was never set out to be a “riot grrl band”. A lot of my personal views developed from ideas that were explored in third-wave feminism, and I guess these views are bound to come through in my music. But I see the line “what part of no don’t you understand”, as more of an expression of the universal thoughts and feelings that I think a lot of woman, from all different backgrounds, have had when facing sexism.
Do you think there has been much change in the proportion of representation of women in music since the riot grrl era? Or is the video meant to show that representation?
The music video I made is essentially just a film collage of a lot of woman from different eras and backgrounds who I find inspiring and powerful. It seemed to fit the idea of the song by unashamedly portraying independent and successful females.
The underrepresentation of woman in music, and in most areas of work is very, very real. I can’t say for certain that in music it has improved or gotten worse, or simply stayed the same. But from where I stand, it’s still not good enough. My partner came on tour with me this year and told me he had never seen so much blatant sexism before as he had during that tour, with a woman in the band. The exclusion, belittling and sexual predation that women in music face is rife and alive; in some ways I see it as a means to actually make it more difficult for us to increase our representation.
On our Matriarchy tour I made sure that in every city we are playing with female artists, I see it as a necessary bias to include and support female musicians as much as I can.
You supported the Foo Fighters. Not to stereotype or make assumptions about their audience but do you think a song like “Matriarchy” get across to the typical Foo fan?
Half of the crowd was extremely receptive to our music and we gained a lot of new fans and received a lot of really encouraging messages. The other half of the crowd fucking hated us, which I take as a compliment.
The video of ‘Matriarchy’ is a montage of really cool and powerful female actors, musicians and sports stars. But it also has some less known people going crazy in their bedrooms.
I sent out a call on Facebook to any girls who wanted to be included in a Miss June project and got them to send me footage of themselves boogying in their bedrooms. We got a tonne of replies! It made the video way more personal for us, plus it gave me warm fuzzies to see my friends and Miss June fans dancing and having fun.
Catch Miss June as they launch ‘Matriarchy’:
May 8– Dunedin at Chicks Hotel
May 9 –Christchurch at Darkroom
May 15 – Palmerston North at Great Job!
May 16 – Wellington at Eyegum Party
May 22– Auckland at Kings Arms