Image shows Paige by Frances Carter
Aotearoa is bursting with talented women but, as was recently exposed by journalist Ali Mau, it appears that our female and non-binary musicians face a unique set of obstacles compared to their cis male counterparts. Villainesse caught up with Chelsea Jade, Liz from The Beths, Ash Wallace from Foley, and Paige ahead of Peachy Keen, the new all-female music festival coming to Wellington.
Hi guys! Who are you most looking forward to sharing a stage with at Peachy Keen?
Chelsea Jade: Ladyhawke - She’s an international treasure! I’m also excited to see KITA who I haven’t crossed paths with since we were in high school.
Liz Stokes from The Beths: So many incredible acts. It will mean a lot to me to share a stage with my best friend Chelsea Jade, who I've made music with since we were kids at school. I'm such a fan of her music and think she's an incredible live performer.
Ash Wallace from Foley: CHELSEA JADE! I am such an admirer of her work and her curation of such an incredible show. She honestly has blown me away both as a recording artist and as a performer, so I feel very blessed to be on stage with her. Although I look across that line-up and I am so inspired by all the wāhine involved. I just feel stoked in general!
Favourite song by a female New Zealand artist?
Chelsea Jade: Drive by So Below. She’s understated without compromising on presence. I think all of her music is really actualised and cinematic in a way that both energises and romanticises the night hours.
Liz Stokes: I have songs I've really enjoyed recently more than I have all-time favourites. I've enjoyed Waves by Paige, Public Bodies by Girl Friday, She Agreed by Emily Edrosa, Sad and Lonely by Amamelia, Cheshire by Phoebe Rings... that's barely scratching the surface there are so many amazing artists from here.
Ash Wallace: Where to begin?! Make Room by Paige, Guru by Ladi6, Superfan by Chelsea Jade…
Paige: Afterlife by BENEE!
We’ve recently read about abusive behaviour in the local music industry — do you think the industry is changing for women?
Chelsea Jade: Until artists are able to achieve financial independence, we’re going to see continued abuses of power within the moral erosion favoured by capitalism. Until that conversation is happening at scale, I perceive cosmetic change as a disservice to the overall discourse.
Liz Stokes: I hope it is. This is such a huge question I don't really think I can really sum up how I feel about it. I feel like I've seen things get better in a lot of places but it's depressing to see the ways in which it is the same as ever.
Ash Wallace: Absolutely – I think it’s a slow change that is really hard to see sometimes, but there is a definite groundswell of change for wāhine and gender diverse artists. There has always been a person-to-person camaraderie I have felt, with other women supporting me in a different way to my male artist pals, but I think that has reached a new level of late.
Paige: I think the reaction of complete anger and frustration from a lot of people in the industry showed me that people are wanting to take a step towards positive change for non-male artists in the music industry.
Who are you currently feeling inspired by?
Chelsea Jade: I’m always inspired by Liz Stokes of The Beths. She embodies a lot of the traits I’m trying to learn on what feels like a long delay. She has a natural predilection for community and her ego is notably absent from the way she conducts herself. I also love King Sweeties!
Liz Stokes: Currently feeling inspired by friends who are making things. There's going to be a lot of great music released in 2021, I can't wait.
Ash Wallace: My mum. My lord, that woman is a powerhouse!
Paige: To be honest, Billie Eilish. I saw that doco she put out and wow, how powerful is she?
Peachy Keen will take place at the Wellington Basin Reserve on April 3. More information is available here.Support Villainesse