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Interview: Bec Sandridge

With Yours and Owls festival rapidly approaching and new music on the way, there’s no doubt that all eyes will be Bec Sandridge this festival season. With her self-proclaimed spaghetti disco pop and envious eyebrows, it’s no wonder that Sandridge is becoming a house hold name throughout Australia and the world. Last week I got the chance to chat with Bec about women in the music industry, Catfish and the Bottlemen and the artists that influence her sound.

You’ve just been announced to play The Plot in Parramatta, which has got so many amazing female artists on the bill. Why do you think that so many festivals struggle with diversity in their line ups?

I think that it simply comes down to someone not being imaginative. Which probably sounds a bit blunt. You kind of look at the musical landscape in Australia and in my opinion I think that the most interesting artists here are doing really cool and big things. I think it really comes down to laziness and not being imaginative with the line-up. Maybe people are scared to put bold artists on, I don’t know.

Do you think that there is a boy’s club in the Australian music scene?

*laughs* I think that there definitely are boy’s clubs, but I also know a lot of dudes that are really cool. Do you mean in terms of industry or musicians?

Definitely more industry, where it seems to be more of a male dominated scene.

I think that there’s starting to be a shift. But I think that with acknowledging that there’s inequality, a lot of the time people seem to think that that’s enough like, “Oh there’s inequality. We’re going to put more females on the line up.” I mean that’s a great start. It’s really about changing cultural attitudes around women in the industry; around musicians and females and technology.

How do you think that we could get more women and non-binary artists involved or noticed in the industry?

I think the things is that there are already a lot of women involved, but they’re not given the opportunities. When you look at stage crews, they’re always dudes, and it’s the same with roadies and sound engineers. There’s so many women that I know that are great at their jobs but they’re just not given the opportunities because there’s this distrust of women around technology for some really dumb reason. For me, I would like to intentionally provide more opportunities for women and being conscious of it. I guess we just need to open conversations around it and encourage more people to get involved. If someone says something that’s patronsing or sexist, I think it’s important to call people out because that kind of culture deters people from wanting to get involved.

What was it like supporting Catfish and the Bottlemen earlier this year? They played in Wollongong, which is crazy!

It was great; they’re one of my favourite bands. I think that their lyrics are great and their live presence in particular was the thing that really stuck with me from the show; it made it feel like a one off show and it was so believable, just every lyric of every song. I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to support that show.

Are there any artist that particularly inspire or influence you as an artist?

Yeah for sure. I think that people like Robyn are really cool, just the fact that she started out really independent and that’s she’s a hard pop artist and unashamedly so. People like Cyndi Lauper and Tegan and Sara who are more influential genre wise and just great singer songwriters. Tegan and Sara are also pretty hard pop and I think that’s really cool; they’re very unafraid and unapologetic which is awesome. They’re just doing what excited them and at the end of the day that’s my goal; I just want to create songs that are memorable and things that excite me.

I feel like too often pop is seen as dirty word in the music industry, so artist like Robyn and Tegan and Sara do such a great thing for the genre being like, ‘Yeah we make pop music, so what. It’s awesome’.

Totally, I think that there is such a things as smart pop. I’ve been nerding out over these podcasts lately; there’s one called Switched On Pop and it deconstructs pop songs and all of their intricacies. There’s also another podcast called Song Exposure and they unpack what makes a good pop song. I think that the idea that pop is dumb music is definitely a myth.

If you were to create a musical super group, who would you band together and what would you call yourselves?

Oooooo. Do I create the group with myself in it or just anyone?

With you included. You get to pick your band mates and you pull together…

Oh man! Alright here we go. It would be Danielle Haim from Haim, and St Vincent because she’s a great guitarist and seems like a legend. Laura Marling. How many peole can I have?

As many as you want!

Ooo maybe Stevie Nicks and Aretha Franklin. Boom! There we go.

What would your name be? What would you call yourselves?

Phwoar. I’m so bad at titles *laughs*. Oh man, I’m like looking around my room trying to find an object. It would be called… I’m looking at a mug, so the band’s going to be called Mug.

Simple. To the point. Love it. So I saw a post recently of you in the studio doing a bit of recording. When can we expect new music from the Sandridge camp?

I’ve actually just received my final mix for this single which is cool. So the next single will be out around the end of September or the start of October; so really soon. Woooo! It’s scary. With that single we’ll be touring Europe and here which is cool; we can’t wait.

Bec Sandridge Live Dates

SAT 30 SEPT – SUN 1 OCT
Yours and Owls, Wollongong
SAT 18 OCT
The Plot, Parramatta

Written by Bree Smith