Women in metal aren’t a big deal anymore? Not according to Kaija Kinney, founder of Metalocalypstick, an open air, not-for-profit music festival formed to support female artists in metal, punk, hardcore and other heavy genres. The festival, held in the Rocky Mountains of BC, focuses on celebrating female power by featuring bands who rock with at least one lady musician.
The goal is for babes and dudes to get together in one place for a weekend (and what better place than the Rocky Mountains?) to promote women in heavy music while celebrating gender equality. “I want to showcase all these bad ass ladies and celebrate the differences of men and woman rather than pretend we are all equal. Truth is: we are different. Why can’t we celebrate that?” Kinney said in an email to PureGrainAudio. Kinney spoke about the festival, why she’s tired of the term “female-fronted band”, and some trade secrets to playing a kick-ass metal show.
Check out the 2018 festival flyer and some of the serious talent performing.
Tell us about some of your frustrations as a female musician that led up to you creating this festival. Kaija Kinney: It wasn’t frustrations; it was a lack of female-based festivals that I could find while searching to apply for my band.
You have said that a huge reason you created Metalocalypstick was because of your daughter. Talk to us about that. Kinney: Yeah, a big reason why I created Metalocalypstick Fest is to encourage her to play music, as well as young girls and women like her that are slightly discouraged. I find that getting a lot of powerful women together is inspiring to young girls and people wanting to play music but may be shy.
What has the response from the female metal community been like since the festival began? Kinney: It’s been 99.9% positive. People really love the idea and we’ve had a lot of great feedback. Mostly people just have a good time there.
You have said that you think people say that “women in metal aren’t a big deal anymore”. Why is that? Kinney: I think people want it to not be a big deal anymore. And it is quite tiresome to hear the term “female-fronted band” because that’s not a genre. So, I think people are more tired of that. But the facts are there is about 1 woman per 100 men in the heavier genres and there definitely is not 1 woman per 100 men in the world. So, you’ve got to look at why that is, and honestly, I think it’s a lack of encouragement. It’s still a very male-dominated industry.
Metal. Women. Camping... We’re in!
What does “Female Power” mean to you? And why is it a focus at Metalocalypstick? Kinney: Female Power, to me, is when you’re able to connect with other females in a meaningful way. I think that people naturally gravitate to others that have an understanding of what type of person they are. So, I think that it’s only natural that female empowerment is really important. When we can all come together to lift and encourage each other with male support, to me, that is female power.
What steps does Metalocalypstick take to promote safety for women at the festival? Kinney: To ensure safety at the fest there are always security guards on site. The grounds are very family-oriented and everyone seems to be very respectful. On top of that, I try to get a sense of the people in the bands that I’m talking to. I really only like to have those I think are good people playing in the fest. I have personally never felt threatened at a metal festival or show.
Tell us about some of the fun additions you have added between sets. Kinney: There will be six ten-minute intervals of JVP (Jesse Valstar Project). Jesse will be playing his solo, acoustic, original songs. He is a part of a band called Odinfist, and also co-founder of Armstrong Metalfest. We are honoured that he is playing this year. We also will be having Mac White from The Waning Light doing short drum clinics between sets.
This is Kaija Kinney and she’s one rad woman.
Give us some trade secrets for women who want to play a metal show: What’s one item you can’t play a set without? Kinney: One item I need is lukewarm, alkaline water, but if that’s not available, then most certainly filtered water.
What do you pack in your bag? Kinney: In my bag I like to make sure I have my chapstick, water, my mic, some extra clothes and a snack for after.
What are your festival essentials? Kinney: For festivals, a sleeping bag and tent of course. I like to bring my yoga mat, some powdered nutrition in case I don’t have access to good fresh foods, also a water bottle and dry snacks. I usually bring a 5 litre box of water, warm clothes, bathing suit, campfire clothes, and breezy clothes. Always extra socks, shoes and my sunnies.
What safety precautions do you take during sets? Kinney: For safety during sets I like to make sure my shoes are tied up tight against my feet so that I can really feel the ground. I make sure that the cords are organized and out of my way on stage. I make sure my hair isn’t going to fly in my face and my clothes aren’t going to do weird things. Sometimes I’ll pin my clothes. I make sure that no open drinks are near me to avoid slippage. I also like to jump off stage a few times during the set so I’ll practice getting on and off stage.