We are lucky enough to have Kim, vocalist of Monkey Grip, as part of the GR!M team. Here are Kim's thoughts on music and the powerful effect it can have.
I’ve always sung. When I sing I am the truest version of myself. While I was studying for my degree and balancing work I failed to prioritise music in my life and sadness crept up on me – I’d been suppressing an essential part of me.
I find writing and performing so incredibly cathartic and empowering, especially in a personal sense but also in a political one. Music provides such an opportunity to speak out because it communicates with people on multiple different levels, transcends all sorts of barriers, and can move people so powerfully.
I think it is critically important for musicians to explicitly embrace feminism and really use the unique platform that performing grants them. When I was really little I used to put the radio on in the middle of the night and jump around to whatever terrible tunes were on. I’d barely sleep because I was too busy listening to lyrics and gathering clues about the world. Imagine how significant it would be if more of those ‘clues’ taught girls to value themselves.
Listening to music that resonates with you is like opening up a dialogue with like-minded people; it helps you to feel connected to a common experience and essentially less alone. Predictably, it was a huge part of my teenage years. My relationship with playing music as a teenager was a bit complicated though. I was attracted to punk but I always felt like it wasn’t quite my space and that (bizarrely) the guys around me had more of a right to it. I remember that while I was comfortable singing clean vocals, I would always palm off the heavier stuff like screams to the guys, for reasons incomprehensible to me now. I don’t know whether that was actually the reality of my experience in a rural town or something I constructed and internalised from the messages young women are exposed to, but things certainly changed once I found a supportive community in Melbourne that motivated me to start my current band.
Girls and non-binary young people shouldn’t need permission to own whatever they love to do, but the messaging available to them in our society is so often problematic and can affect them significantly. This is why programs like Girls Rock! Melbourne that create an encouraging space and provide young people a community so that they can be loud and unashamedly themselves is so valuable.
Some artists that have influenced me:
PJ is such an incredible artist and an accomplished musician. I fell in love with her album Rid of Me because of how expressive her music was and particularly because of the way she used her voice in weird and wonderful ways to communicate a song’s content. I also love how that album as a whole is so well constructed has so many thematic links throughout it, referencing religion and sexuality in a number of tracks.
When I first heard Hole’s Live Through This I was so excited because I thought, “oh my god, I can do this.” That album and Pretty On The Inside are so raw emotionally, the lyrics are poetic, and I love the constant contrast of vulnerability and aggression.
Babes in Toyland
Holy moly, Babes in Toyland. So dark, so delicious. They really push the boundaries with their songwriting, especially on Fontanelle, and when Kat performs she is so captivatingly fierce. Check out the crazy eyes.
Such a great, flat out, politically charged punk band. F-Minus always get me keen to pick up the guitar.
I don’t know what it is but the Distillers still have the ability to turn my mood around no matter what. When I was young I wanted to be Brody Dalle. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve completely let that go… red lipstick and black hair much…
Queens of queer punk Liquor Snatch were one of the first local bands I saw and have been great mates. They are proudly and unapologetically female – listen to ‘Stinky Grrl’ and you’ll know what I mean.