The struggle for representation — to actively reflect the world as it is, with people who aren’t just male and white — has seen some recent wins for women in the music industry. The 2018 Coachella festival finally has more women in its lineup, Cardi B‘s “Bodak Yellow” is the first song by a solo female hip-hop artist to top the charts since Lauryn Hill and Moogfest announced a lineup exclusively featuring women, nonbinary and transgender artists. Supported by years and years of hard work, progress must be consistent and forward-moving.
Recently, Camp Cope’s singer and guitarist Georgia Maq called out the Falls Festival, which takes place all over the Melbourne trio’s home country of Australia, for booking only nine women. The festival’s response was disappointing to say the least: “Taking control yourself, is a great way to effect change,” it wrote in a statement. That message passes the emotional and financial labor to women; it’s the PR damage-control equivalent of “sorry, not sorry.”
After a pair of sold-out shows in May 2017, Sydney Opera House invited Camp Cope back to perform in the Utzon Room, named after Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who designed the building. It’s a gorgeous space built with sharp curves that seem to dive straight into Sydney Harbour. The trio performs “The Opener” here, the scathing opening track to How To Socialize & Make Friends, just below the concrete beams that hold those iconic sails. It’s a song that speaks directly to issues not only of representation, but also indie rock’s virtue signaling that often just means, as Georgia Maq snarls, “Yeah, just get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota.”
It’s worth noting the press release that accompanies the video, in which Sydney Opera House writes, “This is the first time a punk band, and a band of only female members, has been filmed live at the House.” It took a while, sure, but Camp Cope’s cathartic squall is a helluva way to start.
How To Socialize & Make Friends comes out March 2 via Run For Cover.