We appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. Could you please state your name(s) and role(s) within the band?
I’m Kory from Prince Daddy and the Hyena.
I’m Zakariya and I’m also from Prince Daddy and the Hyena.
I’m Cameron from Prince Daddy and the Hyena.
I’m Jade from Oso Oso.
I’m Alex from Prince Daddy and the Hyena.
And I’m Tavish from Oso Oso.
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?
Zakariya: The one thing that’s coming to my mind in terms of, like, the most stressful — harassment, I guess — there was this show we played in New Jersey, and someone threw a smoke bomb in the basement, and there were probably about a hundred, two hundred people there. It was really bad, because — on its own, the smoke bomb probably wouldn’t have been that bad if you could just get out, but with that many people, no one could leave.
So it took at least 10-15 minutes to get people out. I wasn’t in there when that happened, but I saw people coming out of there, and like, they couldn’t breathe, they were coughing. That was, like, actually terrifying for me, just that someone would do that, especially at a basement show. It’s so strange — totally ruins the sense of security you have with that kind of thing.
Tavish: It’s a super broad topic, but you see it kind of in small things — you know what I mean? Just in like, small interactions between people at shows all the time.
What do you think needs to change specifically in order to help create a safer music scene for everyone?
Zakariya: I feel like it’s a multi-faceted issue, so I guess there’s no one thing alone that someone could do to make everything safer, but something that somebody could do to make spaces safer is to try to be aware of the politics in the world.
Not necessarily — you know, you don’t have to be involved or have a certain ideology, but I think just being aware of what is culturally relevant — like, especially, maybe, making people of color feel safe at a show — if you’re aware of the racial climate, maybe you’ll just have more mindful behavior, you know? Something like that. I feel like that alone wouldn’t necessarily make everyone feel safer, but it’s a start.
Tavish: I think one of the biggest things, too, is communication. People really gotta think about what they’re saying most of the time, too, but not only that — ask questions that, y’know, should be asked.
Like if you’re not certain about something that’s outside of what you consider “normal,” you shouldn’t be afraid to ask somebody who lives in that circle on their own and try to get a better understanding from them.
Jade: I think something with the music scene to be specific is when you have artists and bands, if you’re playing on a stage or not a stage or whatever, you’re just like, putting out music — you have to make sure that every single voice is heard the same, and that goes with people who are going to shows and people who are throwing shows, who may or may not be in bands. And if you think of ways to do that — for example, I know there’s Mr Roboto Project in Pittsburgh, and stuff like that.
I’m not sure if they still have it there, but I remember there was a time where [Mr Roboto Project] had, if you’re a member there, they had workshops. The workshop is like, you could be presenting anything. It could be a skill, it could be a hobby, you could be presenting just anything, where you give everybody an opportunity to express themselves.
Maybe they’re not doing it through music, but they’re somebody in the music scene. I think that’s just another way that you lift up everybody’s voice and you make sure that you’re kind of hitting all facets of the community, everyone’s getting heard.
It just really comes down to accountability, and just making sure that everybody is — I think the thing with accountability, sometimes, is it’s not so much about policing as it is about being self aware and realizing the space that you take up and the words that you’re speaking and stuff like that.
What role do you believe the following people should have in promoting a safer and more inclusive music scene?
Zakariya: I think just opening up discussion with people is probably one of the most important things you could do to help your community, because then at least everyone is clear with what the issues are and where they come from, even if you disagree about it personally. Then, y’know, you’d have to figure out whether or not it’s something you should compromise, or if somebody just needs to change their mind about it.
But opening discussion about anything that would make a show unsafe — maybe, y’know, not everybody likes everybody drinking at shows or something, maybe that’s just an uncomfortable climate — so maybe it’s worth it to bring that into discussion. Maybe some shows shouldn’t be like that. Sober spaces are a great thing to have, and there are definitely people who will disagree and say, “There shouldn’t be shows like that,” and maybe there’s a place for that and that’s fine. That’s the kind of discussion that people should be having.
Jade: I think for fans, or people who are attending shows, it’s about making sure you’re aware of the space you occupy and kind of just the climate of the show.
Jade: As for the bands, you kind of have to be aware; every show has its own climate. Everyone wants to go to a show and have fun; sometimes stuff does happen, where you see stuff that can definitely leave people vulnerable to getting hurt, and you have to make a decision.
We don’t play in a band where enough people go to our shows where we have to make a decision like that, but I definitely think there are certain bands where you have to make a decision between what’s having fun and what’s just — what are you just accepting because you’re getting to live out some rock and roll fantasy or something like that? But every show is a different circumstance, you know what I mean?
Tavish: I also think that if you’re somebody like, that’s in the scene — being in the scene, knowing this is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest issue — in my hometown, there’s a lot of venues, DIY spots, that are just not safe. The majority are not. I think that if you are in a community where it’s like that, and you are submerged in that scenario, then what you can and should do is get your own DIY spot, you know? Make sure that you do it in a safe way and provide the opportunity for a proper space. People will be attracted to it.
I dunno, it’s a weird thing, because I’ve seen so much stuff at local shows. I’ve seen so much shitty shit happen at these local spots, and that’s why I’m really excited to get home and fix up this place where I’m living and then have shows. If it’s an issue like that and you feel like you could do something about it, then go for it, because there’s gotta be spots, you know?
People have to be able to go to a show and not worry about the same dude that’s been to that same venue every day because he’s friends with the kid who lives there and they’re not gonna kick him out but that kid’s putting everybody else at jeopardy.
Jade: For venues, I think it’s definitely a thing to make sure the people who you have working there are responsible and understand what kind of show it is, stuff like that.
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?
Alex: There was a place in Ohio, it was called The House With No Name, they were a safe space and they had like, a huge warning sign on the side like, ‘No Racism, No Homophobia, No Transphobia…’
Kory: Also, the Hibbity House had a phone number you could text if you felt uncomfortable, in Virginia.
Jade: Yeah, that was something on the sign at The House With No Name, was ‘You can talk to this person if you feel uncomfortable.’ I’ve seen people do that on Facebook events, too — put that sort of information up.
Alex: It really helps out.
Are there any particular bands, musicians, and/or organizations you believe are making an effort to help this cause?
Alex: Space Camp, definitely Space Camp.
Jade: Speedy Ortiz’ hotline was probably a really, um — I don’t want to say ‘revolutionary’ and sound cheesy, but it was really, like, I think that sparked a lot of similar stuff, because a lot of people know who they are. Once they did that, you saw it at the Hibbity House too; it started to spread around.
Interview by Sara Johnson