From Patti Smith to Sleater-Kinney, the influence of women on the punk and rock scene is undeniable, but their impact hasn’t found fitting representation in music journalism. Isabella Trimboli and Juliette Younger are two writers/artists/students living in Sydney, who are launching Issue #1 of Gusher magazine on the 28th April. In this self-proclaimed ‘political act’, Isabella and Juliette want their magazine to create a space for women in the music world, shifting the conversation towards equality and diverse representation.
What prompted you to create Gusher?
As teenagers, we were obsessed with rock music and all we wanted to do was read and write about it, but we never felt like there was a platform or publication that was intended for female music fans. So many of our female idols were objectified or treated like novelties, or just not represented at all.
We’d go to the news agency, and the whole music section would be a sea of old, white male rockers… There are only so many Queen cover stories you can take before you feel like you have to step up and change something.
What is the importance of the magazine? Who can it appeal to?
Women are shockingly underrepresented in rock music journalism. It appeals to anyone who wants to read a wider range of perspectives about rock, punk and indie music and culture.
Who are your idols – trailblazers, critics or musicians who have worked towards creating a space for women in a male-dominated sphere?
In terms of writers, we really admire the work of Ellen Willis, the first pop music critic for The New Yorker, and Lillian Roxon, the Australian writer who penned the first rock ever Rock Encyclopaedia.
Jessica Hopper is also a huge inspiration to us. She released her first book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic last year, and has been a really outspoken advocate for young women tackling sexism in the music industry.
As for rock musicians, we both really admire women like Patti Smith, Poly Styrene, Deborah Harry, Karen O, Courtney Love, Alison Mosshart, Sleater-Kinney… we could go on.
In your Pozible campaign, you wrote that Gusher is “about claiming a physical space in a culture where women have so often been denied.” Can you elaborate on that?
Rock journalism has always been a boys club, and by creating a physical publication where women are the sole creators, decision-makers and experts about rock music, we’re challenging the idea that this is a scene and a profession that just ‘isn’t for them’.
It’s tangible proof.
Can you tell us about some artists who are doing amazing things right now that we should check out?
Isabella: I’m really passionate about all the bands we featured in our first edition. Sneaks is a post-punk outfit by uni student Eva Moolchan who writes, records and plays music all on her own.
Juliette: I’ve been loving a lot of local acts recently: Gabriella Cohen, Empat Lima, Piss Factory, Angie, Royal Headache, and all the bands on Milk! Records. As for overseas bands I’d recommend Downtown Boys and Savages for powerful, energetic punk rock.
For the uninitiated, whom would you recommend to check out to ease into punk?
I feel like you should start at the beginning! Patti Smith’s Horses, The Stooges’ Raw Power and Fun House. I think these records really encapsulate what punk is all about, and they still sound as exciting as they did back in the early ‘70s. Plus, they’re the root of everything that came after!
You have an event coming up this week – the launch of your mag. Can you tell us about what we can expect?
What do you see as the future of Gusher? Tell us the ultimate dream for you guys.
We’re really passionate about keeping the magazine in print with a focus on long-form work, which is at odds with the current state of music journalism. We want more and more contributors and to hopefully build a team of staff to help us make each issue better than the last.
You have an impressive list of writers and artists featured in your mag. Can you tell us about some of the articles in your first edition? Who and what can we look forward to?
We gave our writers a pretty loose framework to work with for our first issue, so the writing is really varied in terms of themes, issues and artists. We speak with Penelope Spheeris about her punk doco trilogy, The Decline of Western Civilization, we have the founder of Girls Rock! Canberra writing about the incredible social transformations these camps create, we have Rookie writer Sunny Betz reflecting on the representation of groupies in the film Almost Famous…and plenty of other great art, interviews, tutorials and writing about rock music and culture.