Eva Davies: Women and Non-Binary Folk in Live Music
Updated: Feb 28
This series is an extension from our Instagram, with full Q&A's instead of the shorter Instagram bios. Here you can read the full in-depth interview with independent Event Promotor & musician, Eva Davies & go direct to their provided donation link to show your support:
I always remember playing local shows with my band, I was in one band where I was the only girl, we were sound-checking and the sound engineer just completely took over. Telling me ‘you need to do this, this, and this with your pedals. I’m like … I know? You don’t need to tell me. They assume you know nothing, we’ve all been playing for a long time, we do know how to play our instruments.
I started Grrls Do That Too at age 16. At first I had no idea what I was doing! I just set up a page and looked at bands who were playing in Leeds and was like - can I interview you? The idea to put on gigs started from that really. I thought it would be so refreshing to play with a line-up full of girls. I did one show at War Chambers. They’re such an inclusive venue and very supportive. I’m kind of glad I wasn’t too ambitious, it’s so easy to get really excited and want to do something really amazing. There weren’t that many girls I knew doing music. The whole idea was to do gigs, but I wanted to emphasise the fact that this wasn’t just for artists. It was allowing women in the local scenes to find more women who weren’t only artists, but engineers, or those running the venues and putting on the gigs, building up a community really. Lockdown gave me an opportunity to rethink what Grrls Do That Too was. I asked my friend Hol to - I hate the word join so - help out. She’s had a load of experience as well. We rebranded and thought about what we wanna do and how to do it, we were starting to think about socially distanced gigs and how to do that, but the second lockdown cut that short so we started a podcast instead! It’s just us talking about what we’re about and our experiences. We want to talk to a broad range of women and marginalised genders in the industry. We know how important it is for people to hear those stories, and how powerful that can be.
I’m really lucky I have parents who are super supportive. I’ve grown up being taught not to take sh*t basically. I think it’s that whole thing of not being taken seriously. From a young age I was taken to music conferences and networking. I was thrown into that early. I enjoyed doing more of the business side, I helped a local organisation Come Play With Me do a women in music conference. I got a job with them and still work for them now. It started with an internship in April - just as everything started kicking off with the world - and they kept me on. It was an amazing opportunity.
COVID has helped me to be honest. The fact that there’s not been much to do has made me want to work out ways of doing stuff. I guess just thinking of new ways to create opportunities for people. Because I’ve just been at home, I’ve had way more time to pick up opportunities, such as freelance advising and music management courses. It’s actually been quite a positive year for my career stuff. I mean it’s not always been easy, but a lot of good stuff has come out of it. I think working freelance kind of depends on your situation. For me, I’d finished college but hadn’t started uni yet, so there wasn’t really anywhere we could do Grrls Do That Too. It was about getting as much experience and opportunities in that short space of time as possible. I was lucky enough to do stuff for Youth Music, doing things that were easier to manage in lockdown. If you’re starting out and you have the capacity to take on as many opportunities as possible then yeah go for it. I think there’s pros and cons to it for sure.
There’s always a thing about gendered opportunities. But over lockdown, from what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of organisations thinking of opportunities that are way more inclusive. There’s been a lot of rethinking of the ways they reach out to people. I think especially after everything kicked off crazily with the Black Lives Matter movement over lockdown, I think a lot of local organisations responded by creating opportunities for creatives of colour, which is really positive. I think because there’s not really much you can do in person, people have seen and thought of different ways to reach out to people.
Every artist, no matter how big they are now, used to be a local artist. I think it’s about empowering and giving opportunities to minority genders, artists of colour etc. When you build people up from the bottom, you get more experience. As a local artist myself, it’s empowering to have someone believe in you and give you the freedom to do what you do. We’re very lucky in Leeds for our music scene.The first thing I’d say is don’t give up. You are going to come across so many difficulties and so many people who question what you’re doing, but you just need to ignore them basically. Just carry on doing your own thing! I know for a while it’ll feel that doing your own thing feels impossible, like it’s going nowhere. But keep putting in effort and before you know it, you’ll get somewhere.
Interview conducted by Bea Bennister