BONUS: Emily Williams on her psychosexuality and exploring gender via science and engineering (GRRL031B)

Welcome to Grrl on Grrl’s very first BONUS EPISODE, featuring deleted clips from Emily Williams’ interview (which you can listen to here)! In this bonus episode, we’ll talk about Emily’s changing psychosexuality pre- and post-transition, how science can help or hinder the exploration of gender and sexuality, and general science talk.

Thank you to Emily Williams for getting very personal with me. She continues to get real personal at her blog Genderpunk.net and in her music project Axis Evil, so don’t forget to check those out.

Thanks to The Fresh Brunettes for providing their song “Best of the Worst” as the new Grrl on Grrl theme song! You can find their album Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition on CDBaby.

Listen

Download GRRL031B at Libsyn [14 minutes; 14MB] or stream from these websites [iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | Google Play]

Show Notes

  • Going public with her blog Genderpunk.net: “Brace yourself!” and exploring her psychosexuality
    • How does the patriarchy and societal expectation shape our sexuality?
    • Gynephilic -> bisexual
  • Estrogen expanding emotional range
  • Gender and sex as a social construct and biological – “And I’ll keep claiming that until I come up with a better idea.”
  • Combining scientific approach and personal narrative
    • “I don’t have the data to write a solely scientific book.”
  • Science used as validation for experience but then as gatekeeper
    • “I don’t need a scientist to tell me I’m trans.”
  • Pitfalls of scientific method and how that will affect researching sex, gender, and sexuality
    • The differences between scientist (academic) and engineer (making an actual product)

Links

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Emily Williams of Axis Evil and Genderpunk.net on her trans experience and cultural appropriation (GRRL031)

Grrl on Grrl is back again with episode 31 featuring Emily Williams.

We talk about her music project Axis Evil–some weird time signature drum stuff, some weird guitar stuff,  a sitar she bought in India, along with some very, very personal lyrics; navigating her trans-ness and her woman-ness thru the lenses of her science and engineering background at her blog Genderpunk.net; and being a token minority.

The interview was recorded early 2017, when she had just recently released her album City of God. Since then, she’s released a second album Light Me Up and Love the Bomb in September of 2017, and she continues to release new material.

Thank you to Emily Williams for taking the time to sit with me and for sharing her thoughts and music.

Thanks to The Fresh Brunettes for providing their song “Best of the Worst” as the new Grrl on Grrl theme song! You can find their album Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition on CDBaby.

Listen

Download GRRL031 at Libsyn [35 minutes; 34MB] or stream from these websites [iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | Google Play]

Show Notes

  • Her music project, Axis Evil – “sophisticated punk rock that borders metal”
    • Getting her heart broken over two Valentine’s Days: “I was really pissed that I didn’t have a date… so I wrote a song.”
    • Playing around with algorithms with multiple types of drummers (sounds like GarageBand)
    • Multiple layers
  • Learning and playing the sitar / cultural appropriation
    • A tangent into June wanting to learn the shamisen; fears of it and other “exotic” instruments being used just for musical flavor
    • Cultural appropriation – how does Emily, a non-Indian white woman, justify learning the sitar and using it in her music – “paying her dues”
      • A set piece vs. an entire culture/history
  • “Prim and proper lady-like behavior” – Wrestling with the concept of “being a woman” and further “being a lady”
    • Being forced into the lady-like behavior vs. choosing it as an exploration of gender
    • Head over to bonus episode GRRL031B to hear more about her exploration of her psychosexuality
  • The marginalized being put in a box by the unmarginalized
  • More information on the model minority myth
    • Model minority myth goes hand-in-hand with white supremacy
    • The Model Minority is Not a Myth: It’s Ajit Pai” by Aditi Natasha Kini (published at The Root)
    • Placing Asians and Asian Americans in this “model minority” status has been historically used to pit us against other racial minorities – “Why can’t you work hard like the Asians?”
    • It puts Asian Americans in a monolithic group, which can be dangerous to those who don’t fit the “mold” or don’t come from the right countries
  • [12:10] Axis Evil – Redshift
  • Being a woman in science and engineering
    • Her job and people at work were supportive, but hostile while a student (and pre-transition)
    • Being transgender as a bribery and blackmail risk; can’t work with the military / get a security clearance
  •  Feeling safe while on the military base vs. out in the city in the Deep South
    • “Bathroom bill” – attempts to legislate who can and cannot use their bathroom based on their gender and sex
    • Class & education being more tolerant? Eeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    • “You have to understand… I had to rationalize this to walk out the door.”
  • [21:10] Axis Evil – You Can Drive the World
  • Telling the woman she loved that she loved her
    • “Talk”, “Waste”, “Prayer” on City of God were about her
  • How has transitioning affected Emily’s music
    • Changing audiences and marketability
    • City of God as part of a trans narrative
  • Facebook marketing in India
    • Branding as being “selectively famous”
  • What’s the difference Emily wants to make with her music?
    • Suicide rate in the trans community
    • Being an additional voice not just for herself but for future voices
    • Her voice being one type of voice, but we need different types of voices
  • [32:15] Axis Evil – Stand

Links

Danielle Leonard of Topshelf Records on running a house venue & DIY label (GRRL030)

After a 6 month hiatus, here is episode 30 featuring Danielle Leonard! I met Danielle at the SD Women Music Industry night last year and was intrigued with her work running a DIY record label in Savannah, Georgia where she attended SCAD. She now works for San Diego-based Topshelf Records.  In this interview we talk about the ups and downs of running a house venue, her DIY label Bomb Shelter Records, and one way to foster safety in the music scene.

A warning in relation to our discussion on a safe scene: we talk about PWR BTTM as one example of a band fighting for safe spaces. Unfortunately, since the interview, Ben Hopkins has been accused of sexual assault. For more info and resources, check further down in the show notes.

Apologies for the crackly intro and outro “monologues.” Not sure what happened there!

Thank you to Danielle Leonard (and Marty!) for chatting with me and to all the artists for permission to use their song on the podcast. And thank you to The Fresh Brunettes, who are providing their song “Best of the Worst” as the new Grrl on Grrl theme song! You can find their album Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition on CDBaby.

Listen

Download GRRL030 at Libsyn [42 minutes; 39MB] or stream from these websites [iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | Google Play]

Show Notes

  • Danielle’s work in Savannah, Georgia with Bomb Shelter (the house venue and DIY record label)
    • Running a house venue: From not knowing what a PA system is to dealing with landlords and BMI
    • “Label” in air-quotes: Collaborative effort among the bands and the folks behind the label
    • Using equipment and facilities from SCAD
    • What they did for the bands
  • Using that experience to make her way to Topshelf Records (based in San Diego!)
    • Differences between working on Bomb Shelter and at Topshelf
    • How supportive Topshelf is – the DIY ethic but in a larger scale
  • Her role at Topshelf – “There’s only 4 of us.”
  • [12:30] Rubblebucket – “Raining” (Website)
  • Missing house shows now that Danielle doesn’t live in Savannah
    • House show scene sustained by those not old enough for bar shows
  • Couple of house venues in San Diego
    • The Habitat – the article I wrote about this in San Diego Jewish Journal
  • “If any city was made for [house shows], it was Savannah.”
    • Collaborative effort: everybody worked together to create this all-ages music scene
    • A few problems: Getting hassled by BMI, landlords, cops
  • Waiting to find a tight-knit music scene in San Diego
    • My own experience with the music scene here
    • Danielle: there’s more opportunity / places for bands to play, maybe?
    • (Whoa, I was 29 when I did this interview.)
    • I hate on Soma
    • “I’m gonna bring the shows to me.”
  • [26:30] Covet – “Pelagic” (Bandcamp)
  • WARNING: This is where we talk about PWR BTTM.
  • What’s a label’s responsibility for creating a safe music scene?
    • Diverse (gender and racial) tour packages and label lineups: No Vacation, Ratboys, Slingshot Dakota
    • I play a clip of Slingshot Dakota’s “Until the Day I Die” which was featured in this episode with Anastasia Rivera.
  • Sexual abuse in the pop punk scene & the importance of diversity to create a safe space
    • Less male-centric shows –> less violence
    • Women on stage being explicit about
    • The entitlement of “dancers”; don’t punch people at shows!
  • [35:45] No Vacation – “Mind Fields” (Bandcamp)

Links