We appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. Could you please state your name and role?
Allison Weiss. I’m a solo artist with a wonderful band that backs me up.
As a touring artist, have you ever noticed any behaviors that you consider harmful in the scene, especially in regards to harassment and/or discrimination?
For me, it’s usually a sound man assuming that I don’t know how to operate my gear. I once had a sound guy in Chicago who, after sound-check, went and picked up my guitar and started messing with my settings on everything. I was furious. I find it hard to believe he would’ve ever done that to one of the guys in my band. Also, the amount of honeys and sweeties I hear from people who are my professional equal is gross.
What do you think needs to change specifically in order to help create a safer music scene for everyone?
Awareness definitely helps. Organizations like Safer Scene are doing the right thing. The only thing that will change the scene though, is having the guts to point out harmful behaviors when you witness them. If we ignore misogyny and just attribute it to “the way things are”, things will never get better for girls in the scene.
What role do you believe the following people should have in promoting a safer and more inclusive music scene?
Call out your friends who are being assholes. If your buddies assume that the girl at the show is just there with her boyfriend, correct them. If you see someone being harassed at a show, intervene.
Stop putting the word “faggot” in your lyrics. It’s fucking disrespectful and offensive. Grow up and find a new way to shock people.
Encourage your staff to avoid using pet names for women that they don’t know. Remind your sound person that the touring bands coming through are professionals. Just as you know what you’re doing, so do they. Adopt a no tolerance policy. Encourage concert-goers to report to the venue staff if they feel harassed or threatened, and then actually do something about it.
Are there any places, scenes and/or venues that you’ve noticed to be a safe space? If so, what are they doing that should be emulated by others?
I just played a venue in Seattle called The Vera Project that was pretty amazing. They’re a professional venue with the mindset of a DIY space. There are lots of signs up condemning hate speech and harassment. It’s nice to walk into a place like that and know you’re not going to have any trouble.
Are there any particular bands, musicians, and/or organizations you believe are making an effort to help this cause?
I heard Speedy Ortiz set up a hotline you can call if you feel uncomfortable at their show. That’s pretty fucking cool. My buddy Koji is such a wonderful advocate for safer spaces. Mal Blum, who I was just out on tour with, is really vocal about these issues on stage and does a great job of making their audiences feel empowered. Soup from The Wonder Years and Buddy from Senses Fail are both going such a killer job at spreading the word as well. The more big artists that talk about it, the better.