Thursday, 28 Feb 2019


International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th every year, calling for a more gender balanced world, and celebration of women's rights. In New Zealand, 2018 marked 125 years of suffrage, and while we continue to lead the way for women's rights in many areas of life, our music industry - just like the rest of the world's - remains plagued by a deep and persistent gender imbalance.

We are unbelievably excited for the debut of the Milk and Honey festivala fresh new festival with majority female performers and crew. The festival will operate in 4 cities, across 6 venues, on International Women's Day, to shine a light on our talented women both on stage and behind the scenes. The team behind Milk and Honey festival are Lani Purkis and Teresa Patterson, both with rich histories in the music industry, inspired by improving female visibility. 

We chatted to Simon from Dead Little Penny about what it means to be part of an event that celebrates female, female identifying, trans and non-binary musicians in our diverse industry. 

Dead Little Penny is the coming together of guitar-slinging vocalist and songwriter Hayley Smith, drummer/synth player Simon Buxton and guitarist/bassist Sean Martin-Buss, who create a soundscape of noisy textures, fizzing guitars and ambient synth, paired with catchy fuzz-pop melodies. Their latest singles ‘Honeycomb’ and ‘U 4 Me’ have gained traction on alt-radio both nationally and internationally.

Milk and Honey Festival is coming around fast! Congratulations on the slot! Which location are you playing and who are you playing alongside?

We're down in the Whammy/Wine Cellar region playing alongside Wax Chattels, Carb on Carb and other fine folk. Playing times TBC!

Are you planning to debut any new material at the show?

Most of our stuff is still fairly new but we'll playing a couple of brand new tunes just to add a bit of excitement (and suspense!)

Have you or your peers done anything to mark or recognise International Womens Day in previous years? 

Nothing at this level so it's great being included in such a large scale event.

Events like this that provide a powerful platform for women, are catalysts of changing attitudes in our industry, particularly when it comes to the way promoters and booking agents think. How do you feel about visibility of minorities on stage in our industry? 

It feels like the tables are turning with may more female representation on stage. If you look at recent recent festival line ups, best new music lists, etc, things look like they could be heading in the right direction.

What would you change about the industry at present?

One of features of Milk and Honey is about providing a safe environment for women to enjoy live music. Creating more similar events or regular nights in the future could be a great way to continue this. Involving female trainee engineers, promoters, etc could also give that area of the industry a much needed boost.

Did you have any female, female identifying, Trans, non-binary musical heroes growing up? How did they shape your career and the way you perceive the music industry in NZ?

I grew up in the UK where one of the most respected females (of my generation) was PJ Harvey, who other than being an unreal songwriter and performer, sets all her own terms and gets screwed over by nobody. 

What’s next for you after Milk and Honey? Any other shows or releases we should keep a keen eye out for?

We're playing a handful of local shows throughout summer finishing up at Music in the Parks on the 31st March playing with Boycrush and Ha the Unclear.

Give us your top 5 anthems to play LOUD this International Womens Day

1. Christine and the Queens - Comme si

2. PJ Harvey - Down by the water

3. Anohni - Why Did You Separate Me from the Earth

4. Tierra Whack - Fruit Salad

5. Stars- Ageless Beauty 


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