Following the release of their latest scathing stormer of a single, [email protected], A&R Factory caught up with the Swiss guitarist, Hella Sin, & the French singer, Luna Blake, from the London-based Alt-Metal duo Glytsh to discuss the motivation behind the momentous hit and their plans to encourage inclusivity in the music industry.
Your latest single, [email protected], is a massive hit of vindication for anyone that has ever voiced a valid opinion only to be dismissed as hysterical and too emotional. Was there a particular facet of misogynistic culture that inspired your new release?
Luna: As a woman you have to face misogynistic behaviours everywhere from an early age. Like a curse from the womb that begins with IT’S A GIRL!
In my case I’ve experienced misogyny within my family, friends, at school, from strangers and in the music scene. Misogyny is the closest cousin to racism, it’s a vicious, underlying disease rooted in education and society. Not only men are to blame, but many women are also conditioned to think this way. Most of the time it expresses itself in the most sneaky and passive way dressed as an advice, a joke, or a compliment.
Hella: As a female guitar player, one of the questions that comes up the most is sexism in the scene. What I always reply is that it’s not really a music industry issue specifically, but more like a recurring issue in any male-dominated field. Our music is mostly inspired by our personal lives and experiences, so writing an angry song about the frustration of navigating the music industry as women is something that comes quite naturally to us, as we’ve both been professional musicians for many years and have a book worth of stories. Although it is important to talk about them, I sometimes feel focusing on them too much instead of the music makes the problem even bigger. I see myself more as a musician in music than a female in music, but I understand the reality is what it is!
It is clear you are intent on making your legacy more than just a music discography; where does that drive come from?
Luna: Music has played a big part in my education therefore my first motive was purely for the love of it. I’ve realised quickly that I had to fight for it and earn the respect I deserved as a musician and not only as a female musician. I’ve never been scared of voicing my opinions, but I did feel not taken seriously and diminished many times as if my point of view had no value. If anything, it made me stronger, it has fueled my fire and has given me a good reason to scream louder!
Hella: For me, it comes from the fact that I have put limitations on myself when I didn’t have to. This is on a musical level but also in my personal life. If there’s one thing I want more than anything is inspire people to go for what they really want, no matter how much self-doubt you feel. I put off writing my own music for a long time because I didn’t think I was capable of creating my own project from scratch. And now, even at a very early stage, the fulfillment I am feeling when working on this band really improves my life on a daily basis and pushes me to keep going.
In a time when ‘wokeism’ is a trending buzzword to dismiss social justice, and political chaos is driving liberal-minded people who don’t align with the ‘ideals’ of a conservative society further towards apathy, how does it feel to be a force against it?
Luna: Our first motive was and still is to write good music for everyone. I won’t describe Glytsh as political but for the reasons we’ve mentioned above, the need to fight for our place as women in music has become very intertwined with the creative process. We are trying to maintain a balance as we’d like to be seen first as musicians who also happen to have a great message to deliver instead of a political party that voices its great conviction through music.
Hella: To be honest, I don’t think we have an intentional political message in our music. I get why people think we do, but this is not something I can really answer as I’m just trying to come up with great music and inspire people to go for what they want in life and stand for themselves.
In addition to speaking for the marginalized through your music, you’re also striving to make your future shows more inclusive for members of the LGBTQ+ community; can you tell us about your plans?
Luna: Our main goal is for people to recognise themselves in our music, whether it’s for the sound, the message, or the image. I also want young girls and women to feel empowered when they listen to Glytsh and finally book this boxing class or guitar lesson they’ve been dreaming of taking.
Men are more than welcome too in our adventure. Fortunately many of them have been really supportive and respectful, seeing us as peers. We’ve been working with truly kind and talented ones, and it creates a great balance and dynamic. We’d like our gigs to be a safe space, where everyone can be themselves regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, background, and ethnicity.
Hella: The best way to fight for something is to lead by example in my opinion, rather than shouting aggressively about it. As a member of the community myself, I try as much as possible to be a voice in the scene and hopefully show our fans they can be themselves at our show without any fear or concern.
In your view, what are the biggest barriers for marginalised communities in the music industry, and beyond your efforts for inclusivity, what changes would you like to see implemented?
Luna: Standards! that in my opinion are completely dated and defined by people who should either retire or accept changes. Like with Black Lives Matter, so many big brands have started promoting their products with more black people than they’ve ever done, same with movies which is a true evolution. Everyone deserves to be able to relate and identify themselves to something or someone they like, that they are part of the society like everyone else. Now saying that, I wonder where the line is between the hypocrisy and the real desire to change. When you know that around the meeting table only white people were having this conversation about how to save their image and don’t discuss how to make a real change from the inside by hiring more people of colour for key roles too. Same with the music industry, giving power to the marginalised communities in the music industry would be a huge progress.
Your timely new single dropped at the same time as the ISM report, which declared sexual harassment and racism endemic in the music industry, with 66% of professional musicians experiencing discrimination, a substantial increase from a previous 2018 report. Can you tell us about your own experiences and observations?
Luna: The music industry is mainly a white male owned business and the metal scene is too. I’ve been to metal gigs with and seen black musicians being called terrible names in the crowd or a black female singer being judged on the type of music ‘she should be singing’ instead of being in a metal band… this makes me cringe!
Sexual harassment is way too familiar, even more with social media. Some guys still think you breath and exist for their enjoyment and have no shame voicing their sexual needs or making sexual comments to you.
Hella: First, there isn’t much I can say about racism as this is not something I’ve personally experienced. Having heard some of my friends’ stories it is very clear there’s a massive issue in the metal scene for sure, and coming from a family with different roots, this is an important topic for me, but I don’t want to pretend like I understand it fully because I don’t. However, sexual harassment is something I am very familiar with, but again I see it more as a universal issue rather than just a music industry issue. I am trying to not focus on it and again, dedicate myself to be the best band we can be and show we don’t need a separate category such as “female-fronted bands” for our music.
Off the back of your own success and protective resilience, if you could give one piece of advice to women or members of marginalized communities looking to get into the music industry, what would it be?
Luna: Do what you love, defend your convictions, surround yourself with people that matter and don’t give up!
Hella: Honestly, don’t focus on it. If you have a desire to make music and all you can think about is riffs and melodies, don’t wait until you find the perfect role model. I know it sounds weird, but you don’t need to look up to anyone if you can’t find anyone who you can relate to. Instead, become a role model!
Watch the official music video for [email protected] on YouTube, or add it to your Spotify playlists.
Follow Glytsh on Facebook & Instagram.