Female Fronted is not a Genre: The Sonder Bombs

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 3:42pm

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For as long as women have been making art, both critics and fans alike have compared them to one another, trying to determine the “best,” or arguing they “sound too much alike.” The Arts, Interrupted team was lucky enough to speak with Willow Hawks from the Cleveland pop-punk band The Sonder Bombs about this issue in addition to some of her other experiences as a non-male in the DIY music industry.

Willow Hawks was more or less born into the punk industry, as her mother would often host touring punk groups at their house. Though she was familiar and comfortable with the scene from a young age, the punk world was not always so welcoming in return. From being mistaken for a groupie to being ignored at the merch table, Hawks has had her fair share of unfair treatment at the hands of a male dominated industry. One of the most marked transgressions for her has been the incessant comparisons to other “female fronted” bands, especially Paramore. While Hawks loves Paramore and sees them as inspirations, these comparisons read more as lazy and sexist to her. She believes these half-baked comparisons to be in part a product of a lack of representation of non-male voices. 

In spite of these negative experiences, she remains optimistic and believes that the DIY scene is on a positive track. As time goes on, more and more marginalized voices are being heard, partially because they see people like them succeeding and feel like there is finally space for them too. 

This episode of Arts, Interrupted is the fourth installment of the Female Fronted is Not a Genre limited series. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as the team speaks with even more non-male artists who are making their mark on the music industry.