How many times have we heard phrases like «there hardly are any female musicians in the world of metal» or «it’s normal that there are no women in such and such a line-up, list, or compilation, there are very few bands with women musicians«? Well, One Woman Bands YouTube channel responds to all these false clichés with its content. And, since we think it’s a great initiative that will make some people’s brains overheat, let’s find out more about OWB.
Subterráneo Webzine: Welcome to Subterráneo! Does One Woman Bands have a name behind the project? Is it another solo endeavor or a shared one? What are you listening to while you answer these questions?
One Woman Bands: Yes, it does, Victoria Carmilla H. I do everything by myself on this channel, but, in the future, I would like to add someone to this channel. I’m listening to ALICIA CLARA, her album Outsider/Unusual.
Subterráneo Webzine: Did you create this space to suppress the kind of comments I was mentioning before? Do you have any ethical code that you apply to the content of your channel?
One Woman Bands: The main point of the channel is to give visibility to women in music but, yes, is a part of it and a big one, we live in a very patriarchal society sadly, and is a brave action to defy all the challenges that come to you just for being a woman, I remember hearing a lot of misogynistic comments about women in music, until today and I’m really sick of it. About the ethical code, yes, I do not post NSBM or music related to that.
Subterráneo Webzine: What kind of content are we going to find in it? Full albums, independent artists… Are you open to any genre that is being played by a woman?
One Woman Bands: I upload Full Albums, EPs, singles, and videos (created by the artist). Most of the women that are featured in my channel work independently, but others work with labels. In those cases, I’ve to ask double permission to upload the music, to the artist and to her label. Mainly, dungeon synth, darkwave, and black metal, but the channel is open to any genre. I’ve featured other genres like post-punk, doom metal, shoegaze, IDM, EDM, grindcore, death metal, deathcore, folk metal, symphonic metal, industrial metal, dark ambient, post-rock, synthwave, goth, psychedelic rock…
Subterráneo Webzine: So, is this “one-woman band” something new to the music world, or can we find albums that were made relatively long ago? Any musical genre on which we have been more active for a longer time?
One Woman Bands: No, it’s not, actually, while doing this project I’ve discovered one-woman bands from all over the world and from years ago, for example, BLOD BESVIMELSE (1999) and ONOKELIS (1997), about the musical genre, I believe it would be dungeon synth.
Subterráneo Webzine: Since we are talking about related data, where do most of these women come from? Any non-US/Europe-based?
One Woman Bands: Most of the one-woman bands that I’ve featured and I know are from the United Kingdom and the United States. About non-US/European one-woman bands, I know some, and I will add them here:
- COLDNIGHT (Colombia)
- DITTA PERDITA (Argentina)
- ONOSKELIS (Brazil)
- CLONAZEPAM (Brazil)
- ÉPPHÉMERE (México)
- DEEFORMIS (Israel)
- NICARUS (Israel)
- AIAA 7, CANTODEA DIANTHUS, LACRIMAL, OCULI MELANCHOLARIUM, MICARLA II, CORA’S HEART (my own one woman bands, México)
Subterráneo Webzine: What do you think about tags such as “female-fronted”, “female metal band”, “all-female band”, etc? Are they inclusive or do they reduce women’s musical tendencies to do certain genres or have specific roles?
One Woman Bands: On the one hand, when I read “female-fronted”, “all-female band”, I feel proud, I find it inspiring to see those titles, cause over the years more and more women are creating their bands, in the past, male bands predominated and very rarely included a woman. On the other hand, I wish that in the future we can be equal and these titles won’t be necessary anymore.
You know how they say you stand out from others because you are a woman in metal? That part might be right but, also, there are a lot of things behind it. You have to work double, the judgment is double, they make sexist comments… And of course, the asshole who sexualizes you. Even in my case, I have received disgusting comments from perverts who sexualize women in music. This reminds me of a time I went to a local metal show and some metalheads men were talking about the band NERVOSA, and they were saying stupid things, like “they are only famous for their bodies (and mentioned parts of them), they are not even good musicians” and talking in a really perverted way about them, I remember I was really mad by hearing that, like this example, I can mention you more than million more times I have heard people sexualizing woman in music, specifically in metal.
Subterráneo Webzine: Exactly. Fernanda Lira (ex-NERVOSA, now CRYPTA) herself has made quite a few statements regarding that sexualization to which she (and any woman) is subjected, and how it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into playing and creating music, there’s always going to be someone bringing up a man’s name that does it better – so they say -. Do you think these comments are generational, and younger people might have a more inclusive perspective, or is it all the same?
One Woman Bands: How could I forget, it’s true, it happened to me a couple of times and I’ve also seen other women in this situation, I wish I could say it is generational, but I’ve seen a lot of younger people with this behavior, but, I’ve to admit, it has decreased a little.
Subterráneo Webzine: Going back to the channel’s work. All of this must require quite a long time. Researching, creating the videos, promoting them… And there is also a step there in the middle that requires contact with the musicians to get permission, right? Every album that you upload has been previously authorized by the band/label, correct? Has it been easy to reach out to these artists so far?
One Woman Bands: Yes, I knew 5% of the bands I have uploaded, I got help from my friends by researching, I researched by myself as well, and every day I found more one-woman bands and that is very enriching, About the creation of the videos, it can be exhausting, I create the videos in the weekends and I schedule them to be published in the week. About promoting them, I’ve received help from other pages and that has helped the channel to grow.
Yes, I contact musicians/labels and if they give me their permission I upload it. Some of them were easy to contact, others were not but I found a way to contact them, but there were some that were unreachable or were already dead.
Subterráneo Webzine: How do you do the research? Is there any specific platform that helps the most?
One Woman Bands: First, I search the band name or the artist name in general, after that, I try to find them on social media, I’m a little limited in the use of social media, I use very few of them, so It made it harder to contact some of them, If I can’t find them, then I search for their emails. I have to say, Bandcamp has been the most helpful way to contact them.
Subterráneo Webzine: Earlier you mentioned AIAA 7, CANTODEA DIANTHUS, LACRIMAL, OCULI MELANCHOLARIUM, MICARLA II, and CORA’S HEART as your own solo projects. How… I mean, how can you manage all these bands? Which genres do you play? Is there a black metal core in all of them like MICARLA II and LACRIMAL?
One Woman Bands: Well, I assign a specific month to some projects, I create the album and wait some months and release it, I also only upload 2 or 3 albums a month (that I’ve created months ago), cause I believe they sound like a specific time of the year, I also take time to study more about production and music, also trying to expand the instruments that I work with.
About the genres, I play dungeon synth, black metal, symphonic metal, post-metal, depressive black metal, indie, synthwave, classical, dark ambient, doom metal, and death metal. Here, I upload some of my indie and synthwave covers.
Subterráneo Webzine: How long have you been releasing music? I mean literally making your own music and also, by being a label: V.C.H Music. Which instruments do you play?
One Woman Bands: At the age of 14 I started recording demos and uploading them to YouTube, but now they are deleted – they were pretty bad -. Now I’m 19 so, five years releasing music. I play guitar and bass, and I program the other instruments. (Drums, Piano, Orchestrations, etc).
Subterráneo Webzine: Does your label have the same principles as the channel?
One Woman Bands: In the part of no nazis and all musical genres, yes, but not the only women part because I also collaborate with men in some of my projects. And the label is only for my projects.
Subterráneo Webzine: OK, only for your own releases… How come, is this so you wouldn’t have to deal with third parties? Do you think you could be open to releasing other artists in the future?
One Woman Bands: A while ago I was talking to someone and this person told me that I should open a Bandcamp page for all my projects I thought it was a good idea and it actually was, now when people want to see or download my albums they can go straight to this page and found my whole discography.
No, I don’t think so, but it would be nice to open a new label to release other artists in the future.
Subterráneo Webzine: So, I am guessing you do all design and editing-related work, for your channel and your bands, right?
One Woman Bands: Yes, I do.
Subterráneo Webzine: Going back to OWB, do these kinds of channels “promote themselves”? Meaning, do they somehow reach people by only being on YouTube, or do you have to also put any effort into doing social media shares, etc?
One Woman Bands: Well, YouTube helps in the 10%, but the other 90% is by other social media. I upload all the releases on Instagram and Facebook. If you don’t have a big audience or a lot of subscribers, YouTube really doesn’t help in the promotion part.
Subterráneo Webzine: Do you follow some kind of schedule for the uploads? Do you have new stuff available every day?
One Woman Bands: Yes, I upload bands mostly every day of the week at 7 a.m. (GMT-5), except on the weekends. If I don’t post during the week it might be because I got caught up in time, because I’m at university and do more stuff that keeps me busy.
Subterráneo Webzine: Well, we love what you are doing, we wish you all the luck in the world and we hope it grows and we can get to catch again with a whole different and improved picture. The microphone is yours, please feel free to add anything you like.
One Woman Bands: Thanks a lot. I found this list some weeks ago. There are about 388 one-woman bands: