At Get Around Glasgow, we think that there is a lot of great groups and collectives in the city and they all deserve a bit of time in the spotlight. We’re a bit too busy (lazy?) to give them all their moment in the sun but we’re going to try and bring a few more people and groups to your attention. They may not all be of interest to you, but we think that we’ve all got something to say and a role to play in making this city the cracking place that it is.
This week we caught up TYCI and they explain what they do so well, we’ll leave the introduction and explanation to the team themselves. As with any great collective, there are a few people involved and we spoke with three of the team. You’ll be aware of Lauren Mayberry as the lead singer from Chvrches but Lauren is also a highly regarded journalist and a co-founder of TYCI. Anna Hodgart is an actress and key component of the TYCI team while Lis Ferla is a music journalist and renowned blogger, who also plays a strong role in the variety of activities TYCI undertakes.
TYCI is a collective run by women – what are the mains and ambitions of the collective?
Lauren Mayberry: To encourage discussion of women’s issues in open-minded way, hopefully bringing the conversation to people who haven’t thought that feminism was ‘for’ them before, and also to showcase talented women in different industries.
Anna Hodgart: A secondary ambition is to create networks for and of women locally, through our online and live event platforms – we create spaces digitally and in real life for women to talk to each other about things that concern – and celebrate all the awesome work women are doing!
The term feminism means many different things to different people, is this something you try to embrace at TYCI?
Lauren: Absolutely. We want people to talk about issues and try to see things from different perspectives whilst always being respectful of each other. Feminism can sometimes feel very academic and unapproachable but the best way to combat this is to find different ways of engaging people with the issues.
Lis Ferla: That’s why our approach has been to use gigs, club nights and zines as our primary platforms, along with more traditional methods of activism. If we can challenge people to think about why they’re less likely to see female acts and DJs while they are having a good time at one of our nights, or provoke and inspire through a zine left lying in a pub or coffee shop, that’s exactly what we want to achieve.
What do you think your role is in the current climate?
Lauren: For me, TYCI is about community and learning. And as far as I can tell, there aren’t really any other groups in Scotland who do what we do on so many different platforms. We have a website, a zine, a radio show, a podcast and a live event series in Glasgow, all geared towards promoting female talent and challenging the status quo.
Anna: It really feels like our conversations are taking place in a pretty empowering, local, grassroots way but what’s exciting is that due to our online presence we have the ability to reach people anywhere and everywhere and engages with issues that are global.
On the one hand, we supposedly live in more enlightened times but everyone can probably think of daily instances of “isms” – how do you think society compares to what it did a decade or two ago?
Lis: I think that society benefits from a general awareness that sexist, racist, homophobic, cissexist, ableist etc attitudes and actions are unacceptable, but as those notions become increasingly ingrained in the workplace, media and popular culture we’re increasingly seeing a backlash against what is often written off as “political correctness” – and those of us who recognise these behaviours as damaging are told to “lighten up” or that it’s “only a bit of banter”. You only have to look at new research published by the NUS this week which found more than a third of female students had experienced unwanted sexual comments to see how serious the problem still is: the difference between now and 20 years ago is that we now have places where we can talk about it.
TYCI produce regularly podcasts, which can be found here on Soundcloud.
What have been the highlights of your time so far?
Lis: Standing onstage with the women of the collective handing out raffle prizes at our massive Christmas 2013 show and seeing how huge the thing we had created had grown. I already knew that there was a role for a collective that put female achievement front and centre, but I’m a big angry feminist – seeing the sheer scale of the hunger for what we do made me a wee bit emotional!
Anna: A highlight for me was our International Women’s Day Pop-up Festival. We programmed a range of performance artists and musicians in all of Stereo’s nooks and crannies. All of the proceeds went to legendary Glasgow Women’s Library which felt really special.
Chvrches, Honyeblood, LAW, Teen Canteen, Siobhan Wilson, Skinny Dipper and Bdy Prts. We’ve had a great run of Scottish female acts/ female fronted acts come through of late. Do you feel as though this is a scene worthy of highlighting or should we just be looking to celebrate artists in their own right?
Lauren: All of those acts have actually played TYCI events which is very cool. I think there are, and have always been, talented women playing in the Scottish music scene. It isn’t about their existence or lack thereof – it is about the fact that these talents are not promoted on an equal level, and that they are still viewed by a large section of society as ‘niche’. If you look at any festival bill, Scottish or otherwise, bands with female performers in them are still completely underrepresented. And without highlighting the fact that this discrepancy exists, how can we ever hope to change the situation?
Following on from the great acts of late, any tips or suggestions who will be next to make it from the Glasgow scene?
Lis: Guitar-pop trio Tuff Love and eight-piece “almost a girl band” Skinny Dipper are two of my current gangs of hometown heroines. Yes, they’re both played TYCI nights too – but that just shows how much we love them!
Anna: I think LAW (Lauren Holt) is another a big favourite of TYCI – she’s already making pretty big waves though.
While you promote up and coming artists, you’ve had some great established artists like Helen Marnie and Adele Bethel do DJ sets. Are you consciously trying to blend the established and the new or do you just like what you like?
Lauren: In terms of booking, we try to cover a broad and diverse range of things. It’s always great to have well known women supporting the cause and also to showcase new talent where we can too. A good mixture I think is the key.
Anna: We also like to ‘match’ band and DJs whether that’s by purposely contrasting or by programming artists that have a similar vibe – it all depends on the event!
Any established artist you would love to have DJ for you?
Lis: I think I can speak for all of TYCI and say Kathleen Hanna, of Bikini Kill/Le Tigre/Julie Ruin notoriety. Her role in the riot grrrrl movement has made her something of a godmother for us – plus, her picks would be amazing.
Anna: YES. Kathleen Hanna, please come DJ at TYCI.
You’re recognised as one of the leading club nights in the city at the moment – how did that all come together?
Lauren: I started the website in October 2012 and the live events began in November 2012. Initially, the idea was that the blog would help provide an identity for the live events, making them more than your standard gig and hopefully providing a kind of community feel, but as more and more people got involved in the collective, we were able to expand into radio, broader online content and bespoke events outwith our regular Bloc gigs too which has been great.
Anna: I think there’s definitely been a public appetite for these events – showcasing awesome music from female artists and creating spaces to have fun and dance in that are ‘femm-centric’, welcoming and open.
You have a club night on the 20th of September in Bloc, can you tell us about that?
Lauren: Bloc has just been renovated so this will be our first event in there since it had its wee facelift. We’ve booked a Welsh pop band called Cut Ribbons as the live act and for DJs we have Future Fight (one half of the Glasgow Roller Derby DJ duo Summer Slams) and Kid Canaveral. Kid Canaveral have been really supportive of TYCI so it’s great to finally have them on an event. And, as ever, if you write ‘TYCI’ on your knuckles, you will get into the venue for free all night.
Anna: We’ll also be raising money for an awesome charity – Anxiety UK – with some great prizes up for grabs. It’s going to be great!
Anyone looking for a preview of the event in Bloc on Saturday night should check out the Facebook page
You’ve used your live events to support a number of charities and great causes – is this important to you?
Lauren: Definitely. We run a monthly raffle and the proceeds from each goes to a different charity, including organisations like Rape Crisis, Refuge, Women For Refugee Women, The Orchid Project and Prostate Cancer UK. The venues we work with and the people who come to the events have been really generous, and I think it’s great that we can bring something even more positive out of the live events. Whilst the gigs are about creativity and entertainment, it’s also nice to be able to promote and support the work of such great charities at the same time.
Is it difficult to find the balance between making sure people have a great night while also looking to positively impact on people with respect to awareness and what you do?
Lauren: I think it’s all about the tone of it. Since we’ve tried to create an inclusive, community vibe at TYCI events, most people are happy to get involved when the raffle bucket comes round because it’s all very good natured. Plus, people tend to be a bit more free with the cash once they’ve had a couple…
You’ve held nights in a number of different Glasgow venues. Do you ever find the nature of the venue impacts on the type of night you have?
Anna: Different spaces offer different challenges and opportunities – for instance Stereo allowed us to programme live performance for the first time at our International Women’s Day Event which was just brilliant. It’s really great to be able to look at a space and think what fun could we fill this with.
It’s easy to think that you only focus on music but you focus on all of the creative arts – is there any artform you’ve covered that you’ve been surprised at how much you enjoyed?
Lis: Of all the events we’ve hosted so far, our International Women’s Day special this year was my favourite. Away from TYCI I’m a music journalist, so it’s definitely my area of expertise – but the combination of theatre, dance and music our live events leading lady Anna pulled together on the day was incredible, more like an old-fashioned variety show than a gig. And the atmosphere was electric!
You issue a monthly fanzine – how much work does that take and how do you decide on the content?
Lauren: The monthly zine is made by our amazing design gal Cecilia Stamp. We take a selection of features that have been on the site the past month and collect them in the zine which is then distributed around Glasgow and also published on our ISSUU profile for TYCI followers based elsewhere. The covers are designed by a different artist each month.
You also host a monthly radio show –again, how do you decide the content and focus for the show?
Lauren: We have a few people who help out with the radio programming, mainly Halina Rifai (Podcart) and Amanda Aitken (Lost and Found). The presenters of our monthly Subcity radio show put together playlists of new and classic lady tunes, and we also play homemade / TYCI follower-made jingles and audio interviews. For the podcast, we choose six new songs a month and make each episode streamable on our Soundcloud.
September/October time is the start of the new Uni term – any quick advice for new students landing in Glasgow?
Anna: Glasgow is a brilliant city and we’re very proud to be a part of its world-class creative community! There’s amazing work on everywhere that caters to niche as well as wide audiences – try out something you haven’t before. As well our old faves Bloc and Stereo, the CCA’s a venue I’m a fan of that sometimes slips under the radar for people. It programmes performance, music, visual art and does some cracking vegan scran too.
If anyone wants to find out more about you or get involved, what would be the best way to do so?
Lauren: We are on pretty much every social network you can think of and people can get in touch by visiting the website or emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org. TYCI is completely volunteer-run and not for profit, so it’s always great to meet new people who want to be involved and hear their ideas.