Musician of the Month: JoanOvArc

Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed for Warrior Woman Magazine, you have been nominated Musicians of The Month! How does that feel?

Amazing Thankyou. Highly appreciated!

How long have you been in the industry?

We have been working in the music industry for over 10 years.

What are your influences both as a group and as individuals?

Our general influences are ACDC, Foofighters, Motörhead and the Beatles.

Personal influences-

Sam's influence- Led Zeppelin

Shelley's influence- Beatles/ ELO

Debbie's influence- Spin Doctors

Laura's Influence- Radiohead

Orphaned Land are an Israeli band and they can only play in certain cities within their own country, when you performed over there, do you encounter similar problems?

Yes we will only play in the tourist areas. Being female could be an issue in some areas and the West Bank / Palestinian Territories are volatile zones. We perform in Eilat which borders Jordon and Egypt. I remember us getting chased off a beach by men for entering a men only beach zone by accident - the signs were all in Hebrew so we had no idea what they said. It was very frightening at the time as we didn't realise we were doing something wrong and we were wearing bikinis which didn't go down well.

In your experience in the music industry, have you experienced or witnessed any sexist issues? Many! I was recently asked whether it was hard for a girl to play AC/DC. For some reason a guy in the audience believed that my gender would affect my musicianship. It was a ridiculous question. The sad thing is he didn't even realise that he was being sexist in the first place. Apparently our sex prevents us from doing anything as if we are weaker in mind, body and soul. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that we are in the 21st century and still come across sexism at many shows.

I’m curious to know, what is the scene like over in Israel?

The music scene is very lively in the bigger cities (Tel Aviv especially) rock is popular but there is a huge clubbing scene with dance music being most popular and also traditional Israeli / Middle Eastern music.

Have you ever felt pressured to look or act a certain way?

We had previous management companies telling us to lose weight, to wear provocative clothes... the list goes on. We really believe you should wear whatever you want to wear. We were very impressed to see the guitarist in Flower pot bare foot. It looked so liberating! Definitely a 60's thing to do. It reminded me of Woodstock where artists and their audience didn't give a damn. Anything goes as long as you feel free.

For example our debut album cover..... We thought a shot of us evidently naked under a sheet showed the band stripped down showing the real us. We're not affected by fashion and it's our way of saying THIS is who we are... quite liberating really. It reminds us of the John Lennon and Yoko images from the past but is a little more raunchy and we hope this image becomes a classic cover that our followers won't ever forget.

How do you feel about the term ‘female fronted’ when describing a genre of music? To be honest it gets on my nerves and female fronted is put into that silly box again. An artist is an artist why label it.

Female fronted what? Rock band? Pop band? Blues band? Jazz? You get the drift. Female fronted is not a genre.

Do you have anyone around you that in your opinion exceeds the expectations of their job role?

Yes our Road crew, we'd be lost without them! Arthur and Mick our road managers are fantastic. Art is like the 5th member of the Beatles always there to help. He makes the shows run like magic. Mick is a tech wizard and ensures all the shows run smoothly.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve come across and what advice would you give to others in a similar situation? We have to say 'being female' was an obstacle at first. We have had abuse at gigs in the past, sexist remarks, being groped... the list goes on but after a while we decided to turn things around and use our gender to our advantage.

Our music is very powerful and generally blow people's ears off (in a good way!) We are respected but sometimes still need to prove a point when we enter a new stage.

There has been an amazing breakthrough for women in the music industry since people follow acts via the internet it has been much easier for listeners to discover new and upcoming female and female fronted bands/musicians from all genres. The music industry cannot dictate to artists anymore, we are free to express music without any suppression.

It must have been very tough in the era of 'Girlschool' and 'The Runaways' with Joan Jet. They were in a world where women were laughed at for 'daring' to play rock music. We are very lucky and owe a lot to Motörhead for supporting women in rock! God bless Lemmy.

Our advice to other female bands and musicians is be the best you can and your talent will shine through.

What are your most proud moment of your career?

I would say recording with the Foo Fighters producer Gil Norton at Rockfield Studio. It was inspirational working in the setting where greats of Rock such as Led Zeppelin and Queen have recorded. And then seeing the result, our debut album, on shelves in HMV stores.

What would you say the worst moment has been so far?

The worst time for us was certain band members being addicted to drugs and drink. We had a record deal at the time and lost everything due to addiction.

We went through a very bad patch in the early days with narcotics. I broke my fingers due to a drunken fall and couldn't play guitar for 6 months.

People don't like talking about this stuff but it shapes us as people and this needs to be spoken about. We got cleaned up, went to rehab, wrote many songs about our experiences and stayed sober. We now help other people with addiction problems so they can live a clean and happy life.

These days we try to stick to the music and only work with clean people. It's a band rule and it works.

What do you have planned for the next year?

We are working on a new album with a new producer and a fresh sound. It's still the JOANovARC sound but our music is evolving.

We are booked on some amazing festivals including Giants of Rock, Planet Rock's WintersEnd, Hard Rock Hell Ibiza, Harley Davidson rallies and Ireland Bike festival. We also have plans for a European tour

Is there anything else you would like to talk about that we haven’t mentioned yet?

Yes we are performing in California USA this Autumn supporting 'Huntress' who are big in LA. As well as the Viper Rooms (LA) we will be touring San Diego, Ventura, Long beach and Sunset Blvd Hollywood.

We are also appearing in a film called 'Is This Now' written by Joe Scott. It features 2 of our songs, one of which won best sound track at the International Independent Film awards.

Talking of Awards we have also been nominated for the Hard Rock Hell Angels of Rock alongside Tequila mockingbyrd, Rock Goddess and Rock legends Girlschool.

You can follow JoanOvArc and their adventures at:

#Issue10 #LottyWhittingham #Interview

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