In Deep – the upcoming new release from Smoking Martha – has got everything you’d want from a rock band. It’s a scorcher and a refreshing one at that, joining the plethora of fantastic female-fronted releases out now.
However, as frontwoman Tasha Doherty contests, being a woman in this industry isn’t without its challenges. “It’s a hard one because sometimes it helps us but other times it doesn’t”, says Doherty. “It can definitely make us stand out from the rest, but it can be harder because there’ll be bands that don’t want a female singer to support them.
“Another problem is you can get stereotyped as being a typical female-fronted band that everybody knows, like Evanescence, Paramore, the typical bands. People will say ‘Oh it’s like that,’ and I say ‘Oh, I don’t think it is.’ They automatically do it but if it was a guy singing, you wouldn’t get that.”
In an industry filled with male-fronted rock bands, who may write derogatory lyrics directed towards women, Smoking Martha are taking a stand. They’re flipping the idea on its head, with songs like ‘Say You’re Mine’ and ‘What’s Her Name?’
Doherty agrees that for her and other female vocalists, the opinions of such songs can be incredibly one-sided. Women can be placed on a platform where they aren’t supposed to be singing sexy lyrics, or affirming their femininity in a sexual way. “It’s definitely riskier being a female. Some people understand it and others don’t.
“I definitely think it’s happening more and more, women are singing sexy and being more risqué with their lyrics, but it’s hard because you don’t want it to come across a certain way. It’s got to be very true and very raw.
“Lyrics for me, I don’t come out with something if it’s going to be cheesy. I look for real emotion, it’s got to be coming from somewhere. It’s important for me to be to be true to what I believe in and I get inspiration from everyone, whether it be girlfriends I know or myself, what I’m feeling or thinking – those topics do come up, like in ‘What’s Her Name?’ How many people think their partners are cheating, or how many times are you obsessive in relationships? These are feelings that I can definitely magnify in songs.”
Rock’n’roll may have a tried and tested formula, but young bands like Smoking Martha have become increasingly apt at bringing a new edge via modernised lyrics. “We write a song and I go with whatever comes to me – it’s more about keeping it fun and interesting enough for me to want to keep singing it. I don’t think about what other people think of the songs. It might be a bit selfish but I’m not going to sing a song I don’t believe in.
“The topics go over and over but it is hard to pick a thing no one has sung about – but there’s got to be something going on in life that people can relate to.
“Sometimes singing about heartbreak and soppy love songs is the easiest way. ‘Stranger Things’ is about the fight it takes to be in a band, the fight for anything that you’re not getting. Hopefully the songs you can take in your own way.”
Smoking Martha’s debut record In Deep is out now.
When & Where: Whole Lotta Love – June 2, The Loft, Warrnambool – June 3, and Kubu Studios, Geelong – June 4.
Written by By Anna Rose via Beat mag.