The Big Issue : Edition 556
artists, mouthpieces instead of musicians. “Sometimes I do wish that people would ask us about the recording process or the writing process or playing shows,” Maq says. “I wish that I was given the same privileges that male musicians are: to just be able to talk about the music rather than talking about politics.” To talk about representation and quotas and diversity, she says, is akin to performing “unpaid emotional labour” for an industry that doesn’t always have its ears open. The speed with which Camp Cope released their debut record has become a repeated chapter in their origin story, and I ask Maq how they approached the follow-up now they’ve been a closeknit unit for almost three years. “We’ve become one brain. I’ll have a song that I’ve written on an acoustic guitar and I’ll bring it to the band to figure out together.” It is Hellmrich who not only opens the track with her melodic bass lines, but who also suggested the dynamic arrangement for ‘The Opener’: its gentle storytelling of a relationship that gives way to a guttural refusal to play along. The “quiet bits and build up bits”, as Maq describes them, are about as complicated as things get on this record. “We don’t want recordings that sound COPING: GEORGIA MAQ, SARAH THOMPSON AND KELLY-DAWN HELLMRICH (FROM LEFT) that are just all men and no-one sees a problem with it.” Our interview falls right around the time actors at the Golden Globe Awards were using their acceptance speeches to speak out against assault and sexism in Hollywood. And this climate has Maq itching to get the record out into the world: “I just want to release it already; I feel like the third song is so fucking relevant.” The song is called ‘Face of God’, and it paints a vivid and all-too-familiar story of the aftermath of a sexual assault. Filled with guilt and denial, the scene is drenched in doubt because the man at the centre wrote a few good songs. “I feel like I’ve got a microphone and I should use it for good by being outspoken about issues that matter to us,” she says. And while the political conversations around Camp Cope are in sync with Maq’s attitude, wielding that microphone seems at times like a burden placed solely on the shoulders of women and queer artists, rather than those in power. I mention a conversation riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna had when she visited Australia in 2014. During a Q&A, she remarked on how rarely she was asked about the technicalities of her work, and instead was called upon routinely to comment on gender politics in music, or the behaviour of unrelated pop artists like Miley Cyrus. It felt incredibly similar to the way Maq and her bandmates are treated: like commentators rather than like big, produced songs that can’t be replicated live,” Maq explains. “What you hear – it’s just us. It’s just three people playing our songs.” While a record like How to Socialise and Make Friends feels timely, its songs of grief and trauma and the punk rock boys club are – unfortunately – evergreen. You can imagine returning to them time and again, finding new nuggets of relevancy to mirror the state of the world, just as you do when listening to bands like Hole and The Raincoats in 2018. “At this point it feels like it’s always going to be relevant and universal,” Maq concedes. “It’s an uphill battle and one that women have been fighting since… for fucking ever.” by Brodie Lancaster (@brodielancaster) » How to Socialise and Make Friends is out 2 March. Camp Cope tour Australia 14-23 March. usicians are: to just be able to talk about the music rather than talking about politics.” To talk about representation and quotas and diversity, she says, is akin to performing “unpaid emotional labour” for an industry that doesn’t always have its ears open. The speed with which Camp Cope released their debut record has become a repeated chapter in their origin story, and I ask Maq how they approac “I FEEL LIKE I’VE GOT A MICROPHONE AND I SHOULD USE IT FOR GOOD, BY BEING OUTSPOKEN ABOUT ISSUES THAT MATTER."