Amazingly, the music industry is still totally male-oriented despite the fact that the year is 2017, and one would think that things would be a little bit more equal by now. One band that has been noticing this more and more is SWMRS, who are taking a stand in regards to the lack of gender diversity in music.
Talking to Girls Behind the Rock Show recently, frontman Cole Becker spoke out about how poor gender diversity really is. “I think it’s one of those things where a lot of people are ready to talk and say they’re ready for [gender diversity], but I think it’s a big challenge to really integrate those jobs and start levelling the playing field because I think there’s a lot of subliminal factors that go into hiring.”
“I think that the fact that we’re having this conversation is really important, but it’s going to be a while. I want it to go faster, but there’s a bunch of different factors at play that are really challenging obstacles, just because of the way that our patriarchal society works.”
Likewise, Becker has also gained fame for his insistence for safe spaces at SWMR’s shows, which has been a huge success with the group’s fans. “The strangest thing is,” he begins. “I’m an upper-middle class white kid, heterosexual, cis-gendered male from a suburb of Oakland, California. To be able to create a space where I see people that I have little to no ostensible common experience with, connect with the music and be able to feel as free as I do in the space where we’re making music and sharing it with them – that’s really special.”
“Also, ‘safe space’ has become something that is losing its specificity, so I’ve been trying really hard to make sure that I’m engaging them in not just claiming it to be a safe space, but getting them involved in making it a safe space when we play. So instead of just outright saying ‘this is a safe space,’ I always try to say like ‘Hey, we can’t keep it safe unless you all are helping us… have your eyes out because we can’t see everything from stage.'”
With the election of Donald Trump, which has resulted in huge amounts of discrimination for almost every one every other day, Becker also stated how this has made the music scene a much stronger place, with more and more music fans giving each other support. “I think now more than ever, people don’t have a place they can go to and just be totally in the moment and feel something good and deep and powerful, and I think live music can transport people to that,” he says.
“But I think there’s so much feelings of anger and sadness and fear among kids who sincerely don’t know whether their parents are going to get deported or whether they’re going to have health care or this and that… To have just one half-hour moment where they don’t have to think about anything other than being there and feeling something good – I’ve noticed that their connection to the music has gotten stronger…. It’s a bit of a selfish reaping of the terrible, terrible circumstances we’re in. ”
“It’s reminded me that music is something that is very powerful and pure and beautiful, and it put more faith in my belief in what I do… it makes me prouder and prouder every day because I have a space – and to be able to make that place for somebody.”
Read the full interview with Cole Becker over at Girls Behind the Rock Show.