Musician of the Month: Becky Baldwin

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

It feels great! I’ve seen the magazine grow organically with more and more contributors and supporters every month. I think these growing collectives are very important in tackling wider presumptions of women. Thank you for nominating me!

So, tell us a bit about you:

I am a bass player living in Bristol. I play with a number of bands, getting to tour all over the UK and into continental Europe, and I run an independent music school.

You’ve been working hard as a musician for quite a long time now! Tell us about some of your past projects:

Coming to an end at the moment is a project I love very much! ‘Female Fronted’ (some of you may hate that term?) thrash/heavy metal band Triaxis. We have had a big shift in membership over 2017 and it’s time to call it a day, but I absolutely love the band and the music we made. Please check out our latest album ‘Zero Hour’!

In 2010 – 2015 I was playing with a Bristol Based melodic metal band Control The Storm, we released our debut album in March 2015 and played some great shows around the UK.

You’re still kicking ass in many ongoing projects at the moment, tell us a bit about them and what you love about being part of them:

At the moment I’m very busy with all-female rock/punk trio IDestroy. It’s great to work in a close unit, DIY for almost everything! It’s rewarding to stay in control of the band’s direction and knowing that the progress is something you have worked hard to earn. We are releasing our second EP in March and have a huge UK and German tour to look forward to this Spring. Current releases to look out for are the ‘Vanity Loves Me’ EP and the ‘Annie / 98%’ double A side singles.

Next month I go into the studio with international hard rock band DORJA. This is an exciting project because the 5 women involved have quite different backgrounds, with members from England, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Ireland, and members living in LA. We only get together a few times a year, but we work hard to be highly productive during that time! We have just successfully crowdfunded our debut album through PledgeMusic, and I can’t wait to start recordings. Check out our debut EP ‘Target Practice’.

At the end of 2017 I joined a heavy metal band called Fury, after depping for them for a month-long tour in November. We are currently in the stages of writing the band’s third album, aiming a release around the end of 2018. If you like a bit of heavy/power metal they have loads of releases to check out! My favourite tracks are ‘Dragon’s Song’ and ‘Now or Never’. Heavy metal is my favourite kind of music so I love touring with this band and checking out all the other metal acts we get to share the bill with!

What and/or who inspires your music?

I’m inspired by all sorts of genres, so many favourites! But I think the bass player that I want to play like the most is Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath.

In your experience in the music industry, have you experienced or witnessed any sexist issues?

I think there are sexist issues everywhere, but it is worse in certain areas. As I’m working with DIY original bands at the moment, I don’t feel like I’m seeing much of it. People who don’t want women on their gigs or on their roster etc, will just say they don’t like the music and you can’t argue with that. I think when there’s more money involved, things get worse. When I worked with professional function bands, there was a lot more pressure to look a certain way, far more for female bands than there were for male and mixed gender bands. I think it also gets this way as an original band becomes more successful and you have to do what the people with money tell you to do. They want to present you in a certain way that you are not comfortable with. My personal experience with sexism in the music industry is a lot of closed doors on professional work. Things I’ve been told applying to join a band are things like “sorry, all the guys in the band have wives and girlfriends and it wouldn’t work” or “no, we already have a female singer and don’t want more than 1 girl” etc…

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

This is a tough subject because almost all bands will have an ‘image’ and you have to be ok with that. It’s an art form… Some bands just let the music do the talking, but others take their art into the visual form and it becomes a part of their identity. I like dressing up, but I want to start ‘alternative’ and I hate being told what to wear! Some function band expect me to tone down the goth look, wear heels and a nice dress… So I avoid that work. Recently, I was asked to appear in a videoshoot wearing some quite ‘sexy’ gothic clothes. I didn’t mind that at all, I liked the clothes. However, I had to pull out of the work because of how they wanted to speak about me. They wanted to refer to me as the singer’s “babe” and I hated that. It doesn’t matter how much or little people want to wear when they play. They are musicians that deserve respect!

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

I would say DORJA’s drummer Anna Mylee! Drummers can often be the butt of a the joke but this one has really got her head screwed on and has pulled the band through some horrendously difficult times. She’s also a great all-round musician and a treasured friend to me!

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve come across and what advice would you give to others in a similar situation?

I think the challenge of going full-time musician was the toughest time of my life. I really struggle to get normal work so it wasn’t a case of phasing out a 9-5 job, it just felt like do or die. There was many long periods where I didn’t think it would work out. My advice would be to just take every opportunity you possibly can, keep meeting people, and keep busy. Things will start to fall into place… Maybe later than you’d hoped… But you’re getting there. Later on in your career, you can start to get fussy about what sort of work you want to do. But doing it all at the start is great experience!

What are your most proud moment of your career?

When I played Bloodstock Festival on the Sophie Lancaster stage in 2015 with Triaxis, and there was an amazing turn out! It had been my favourite festival for many years so it was the best to go back and be able to tell my friends I was performing!

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

I was replaced in my old function band when I had just got out of uni. I was in a very difficult place financially already and the swift loss of those earnings was a tough blow. I took it very badly! The problem with a creative industry is that your employment usually has no protection, like you would in most careers.

What do you have planned for the next year?

Planning an EP release and at least one album release! Loads of touring… I never really plan the future much, I just aim to work hard, enjoy it, and see where it takes me!

Where can people follow and support you and your projects?

Please visit where you can find links to my Facebook and Instagram, and links to my bands’ profiles too!

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

I just want to shout out to any readers taking part in Veganuary this year haha! Stay strong guys!!

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#Issue13 #StephanieKiddle #Interview

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