On a Safer Scene With Eva Hendrick

Charly Bliss have the perfect balance of sugary pop and rattling distorted guitars. They are a 90’s retrospective topped off with lead singer Eva Hendrick’s snarky vocals. It’s no wonder they have opened for Sleater Kinney and Tokyo Police Club. Honest on and off stage, Eva spoke candidly with us about sexism she’s faced on the road.

How are you doing?

I’m great!! Really excited to go home for the holidays and do nothing but eat and sleep!

I’m a huge Charly Bliss fan! What influenced you to start the band and how did it form?

Thank you so much! That’s so awesome to hear. I started writing songs when I was like 15 or 16, but never really planned to show anyone or do anything about it. I met Spencer when I was around the same age and we became super close really fast. He convinced me to show him what I had been writing and we started from there.

Sam, who plays drums in CB, is my older brother, and Dan and I have been super close since we were 11 and did musical theater together.

What have been some of the more memorable moments of your music career so far?

Ahhhh, that’s hard to pick! Opening for Tokyo Police Club was extremely special because I met Spencer at one of their shows that I attended with Dan in 2009. It felt like a really cool full-circle moment, and we’re so excited to play with them again in January. We’ve been so lucky and have also had the opportunity to open for some of our all-time heroes like Sleater-Kinney and Veruca Salt. But really, I get to tour the country with my three best friends while doing what I like to do more than anything else, so it all feels really memorable and special!

Charly Bliss

Your debut album is coming out soon! How was the recording process? What should we expect?

Yes it is!!!!!! We’ve actually recorded the album twice in the past two years. The first time, we rushed a lot of the songs and we weren’t as prepared as we could have been. By the time we went back into studio this past April, we had been playing all of the songs for what felt like forever and really had a sense of what we wanted.

It’s been really tough to be sitting on all of this for so long, but we’re so happy that we were patient and waited until we were completely happy with everything. We are really proud and can’t wait to release everything!

As a major focus of Safer Scene’s is to raise awareness about discrimination in the music scene, have you experienced or witnessed sexism while touring?

Absolutely! I experience discrimination very often on tour. Sometimes it’s music related and sometimes it’s more sinister. For example, during soundcheck at a show we played in San Diego, I repeatedly told the sound guy that my monitor wasn’t turned on. He told me that I didn’t have enough experience playing shows and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. He refused to come up to the stage and check for himself until Spencer told him that I was right. (The monitor was unplugged).

In Houston we played a show where the person running the venue introduced himself and shook hands with everyone in the band except for me. He then looked me up and down and said, “…And you are?” Stuff like this happens all the time. There’s also the subtle jabs that people take at you after shows like, “Dude, it’s so cool that you can play guitar! I love female fronted bands!” These are people who think they’re saying something supportive but are actually being creeps.

The Julie Ruin has a song called “Mr. So and So” that perfectly mocks this particular type of douche-bro and it is so satisfying to listen to. In addition to all of the day-to-day bullshit, I was also groped between the legs after a Charly Bliss show by someone who was in the middle of complimenting our set. It was during our first real tour and I was so caught off guard that I didn’t say anything.

In the moment I didn’t want to seem rude or unappreciative of his compliment. It sounds so stupid, and I think about it all the time. I wish I had said something or done everything differently, I just felt totally paralyzed.

Do you think there is anything in particular that can help create a safer and more inclusive music scene in general?

I hope that the more visibility is given to marginalized people making music, the more inclusive the conditions of touring, and the music world in general, will become.

Talking about this makes me nervous, and I often feel embarrassed sharing my own experiences, especially knowing that there are so many artists who experience discrimination to a degree that is unfathomable to me because of race, sexual or gender identification, ableism, etc. But I hope progress can come from telling the truth and supporting artists who you admire and respect.

Are there any particular bands, musicians, and/or organizations you believe are making an effort to help the cause?

Of course! Off the top of my head…. I admire –

  • PWR BTTM
  • Japanese Breakfast
  • Emily Reo
  • Eskimeaux
  • Eternal Summers
  • And The Kids
  • Mannequin Pussy
  • NAF
  • Screaming Females
  • Vagabon
  • Amber Coffman
  • Sad13
  • Old Maybe
  • Fits
  • Strange Relations
  • PUP
  • Solange
  • True Dreams
  • The Julie Ruin
  • Mitski

What advice would you give to women who want to become a musician or start a band?

Do it and don’t stop and don’t worry about whether you’re good enough because the only way to get better is by doing it.

How have you changed personally, since starting a band? What have you learned from the experience?

It might sound boring, but I’ve learned so much about how to work with other people. I’ve learned that I’m bad at asking for help when I need it and bad at delegating tasks. For this same reason, I’ve also developed some of the closest friendships I’ve ever had, because I’m lucky enough to be in a band with people who always have my back when I mess up or freak out. I have also learned to always say yes and figure out how to make it work later.

What are you looking forward to professionally or personally in 2017?

I can’t wait to put this album out and I can’t wait for the new Twin Peaks!

 

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Author: Kat Hamilton

I am a Cali born turned east coast punk princess. Writer, rocker and dog person. I identify as a "Pumpkin Spice Lesbian". If I could, all of my days would be foggy and my streets would be cobblestone. I love scary movies and penguins. Check out my band, Manic Pixi everywhere that music exists.

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