KITTIE's Mercedes Lander Calls Bullshit On The Genre "Female-Fronted Metal"
When someone calls a band female-fronted in the realm of metal, what kind of genre do you expect? Metal? Black metal? Progressive metal? It's not easy to say considering the term "female-fronted" is just a bullshit marketing term to let everyone know that hey, this band has a female vocalist! Y'know, just like the genre "male-fronted." No wait, hang on. That's not a thing, and Kittie drummer and White Swan multi-instrumentalist Mercedes Lander is calling bullshit on the fact that we're even defining bands by the gender of their singer.
In an interview with YesterdazeNews, Lander says working in the music industry as a woman hasn't been easy at all. She says she believes that once we stop classifying acts and industry workers as men or women and just roll with pretty much who's good at what they do and who's not, "that's when real change is going to happen." Lander also gives probably one of my favorite lines about the whole "female-fronted" label as a genre, saying "why don't you focus more on the music? Why don't you write about the music? You don't talk about Dark Funeral's wieners." Which is exactly the point – we don't say that a band is male-fronted, so why bother singling out women who front bands? I mean, aside from sexist marketing.
"As women in the music industry, we've all experienced not great things, fucked-up shit. Whether it's promoters or other guys in bands — that happens a lot, actually — so it's nice that that is all coming to light now, and the perpetrators are actually now being named, which is nice. I feel like, as females, we really need to remember to stick together. But at the same time, not everybody's bad, but we all do need to stick together and make sure we find that camaraderie between us, and on top of that, start to maybe change the dialogue of how people speak about women in music.
"I feel like once we stop singling women out in the music business — like, saying 'female-fronted' — once we stop that, that's when real change is going to happen. Once people can look past that, the difference of just the fact that you're a female, I think that real change is going to happen, especially in music. I think journalists in general tend to focus on that a lot — 'female-fronted,' blah blah blah — but that's not what it's about. It's about the music. That's where we've always been. You can read interviews with us back when we were 15 — we'd just say, 'We want to be a band, no strings attached.' That's how we'd like to operate, and how we've operated.
"I just feel like at this point, singling a band out because they have a female member or they're all-female, it's so '90s. You don't need to do that. You have fucking eyes, and the fact that you're pointing that out, or talking about 'female-fronted,' it's like, why don't you focus more on the music? Why don't you write about the music? You don't talk about Dark Funeral's wieners. Nobody talks about that, so why does it matter? It shouldn't matter on the opposite spectrum."
Listen to the interview below.