Antonia 2

this is part of a photo series i’ve been working on since 2011. it is a collection of photographs of badass women involved in metal, hardcore and the borderline metal/punk/avant-garde worlds. these are the people who make up the music scene. these are my friends.


Re-meet Antonia McMaster. We did this song-and-dance three years ago but decided to have a reshoot so we can talk about a mud-covered Trent Reznor.

What was your first metal experience?
Antonia McMaster: I think Opeth was the first band to really get me into metal. I remember having a particularly strong reaction to the song, “Black Rose Immortal.” I honestly think what struck my teenage brain was just how joyous I found their music to be. The riffs have almost a jig-like quality, and the melodrama of the lyrics endeared me to them. This maybe sounds patronizing, but I don’t mean it to be! I mean to say that Opeth is a fitting first metal band because metal (I guess I should say black metal in particular) was never the music I listened to when I needed to feel like I was identifying with something dark. That has since changed, but not by a whole lot. Nowadays Katatonia, Dissection, Rotting Christ…that shit makes me feel happy!

I should also say that my first ever experience with heavy music was watching Trent Reznor slathered in mud at Woodstock ’94. My mom, brother and I visited family in CA while my dad stayed behind in NYC to work. So he Pay-Per-Viewed (remember Pay-Per-View?) the whole concert and recorded it on multiple VHS tapes. I remember watching NIN and being totally transfixed. The guy was hitting himself in the head with his microphone! Multiple times! I’m not going to wax poetic on what I thought about all of it at age 6, but I’ll just say it had an effect on me. I remember seeing the music video for “Closer” after that and being very disappointed that he had black hair (I figured it was brown, but that was just the Woodstock mud).


When did you decide to become a doctor? What lead you to the field of therapy / psychiatry?
AM: I’m getting a PhD in Clinical Psychology, so I’ll have the doctor title, but I won’t be a medical doctor/psychiatrist. I just wanted to clarify that because I do not think I could handle medical school, nor would I want to have someone come to me just for medication management (as a lot of people do when they go to a psychiatrist). Anyway, I’ve been in therapy since I was sixteen with the same psychologist (she’s actually a graduate of my doctoral program), so I’ve valued therapy for my entire life. In college I just assumed I’d get a PhD in English, but when I was (mercifully) denied acceptance at all the English PhD programs I applied to back in 2010, Psychology just seemed like the natural alternative. I’m struggling to come up with an answer here that doesn’t sound derivative, so I guess I’ll leave it at this: I can’t help thinking about/worrying over why people think, act and feel, so I’ve got an obligation to try and do that in a meaningful and systematic way that actually helps people instead of simply evaluating them. Hence, 5-7 more years of school!


As a life-long New Yorker, what are your favorite museums / art places?
AM: I haven’t been in ages, but going to the Neue Galerie is always a real treat. They’ve got a bunch of Klimt and Egon Schiele, whose work I thought I was SO COOL for liking back in high school. There’s also this little strip that always makes me feel so nostalgic whenever I’m there: starting at 109th and Amsterdam you can get Roti Roll, and then walk up and see the Peace Fountain sculpture at St. John the Divine. I always think of being a kid when I see that huge moon face. It also makes me immediately think of V&T’s across the street, which is where my family always ordered delivery from. Maybe the round pizza pie melded with the round moon face? I don’t know. Anyway, there’s also a white peacock usually hanging around there, just to add to the dreaminess of this little area.


Is Swans still your favorite band ever? 
AM: The answer is yes! With a few caveats. I return to so many of those albums again and again.  “Swans are Dead” is one of my favorite albums of all time; the beginning of that album’s version of “Blood Promise” still occasionally chokes me up when I listen to it.  Then there’s the memory of wearing a Swans “Greed” T-shirt to summer camp and a pimply-faced teenager proudly holding up ‘The Great Annihilator’ CD he was listening to in solidarity. That shirt was co-opted by my brother Nick, which is just as well; I think you’ve probably taken pictures of him in it! So listening to those albums again never disappoints, and delivers up a healthy dose of nostalgia as well.

The caveat is that I don’t really care about what they’ve done since coming back in 2010, or whenever it was. I think I saw them that year right after moving back to NYC from Berlin, and thinking, “Ok, I get this, I don’t really need to see it again.”  Nick and I actually have talked about how a lot of their new stuff is all about the crescendo, and how that can get a little boring. So I just stopped paying attention after that first album post-comeback. Now that could mean that all those subsequent albums (there have been at least two, I think) are awesome, but I just haven’t cared to check them out. Then when Michael Gira was accused of sexual assault, I kind of got the excuse I needed to not care at all. Fans of his after that broke made him out to be this mythic, spiritual figure and I was like, really? Have you been listening? At least in early Swans material, he makes no secret of what a troubled guy he is; listen to one of my favorite songs from his solo album, “You See Through Me”, where a recording of him drunkenly arguing with Jarboe plays over a beautiful and increasingly-haunting backdrop. I’m not saying that’s evidence that he’s capable of rape. I’m just pointing out how little it takes comparatively to disbelieve a sexual assault victim.

Maybe I just want to preserve the relationship I had with the band back in high school, and that’s why I haven’t really had the impetus to listen to the newer stuff. Or it could all be laziness. Who knows!

Women Clap Back


After speaking at an event together in February, Laina and I wanted to keep the conversation going. We wanted to dive into a deeper discussion on race, gender and the arts. First she got clearance from The New School. Then we started emailing and calling people. On top of teaching classes, applying to a pretty intense PHD program and juggling other freelance work, Laina managed to get all these amazing people into one room, for an entire day. Here they are in alphabetical order (by first name).

Caroleen Stewart

Caroleen on the Scene

Christina A. Long

Christina Long Art

Cristy C. Road

Croadcore Mall

Crystal Durant


Destiny Washington

Brooklyn Waste
Destiny Designs

Dianca Potts

Dianca London on tumblr

Faith Pennick

Organized Chaos

Foxy Squire

Jeanne Fury

Could We Have Everything Louder Than Everything Else?

Joan Jocson-Singh

On the Shelves

Kali Fletcher


Kim Gill

Keep It Metal with Kim Gill

Kristen Korvette

Syllabic Stylist
Mining The Motherload: Mastodon’s #twerkgate and sexual objectification in metal

Laina Dawes

What Are You Doing Here?
Writing Is Fighting

Maya Choy-Sutton

Apartment Window
Small Talk

Mollena Williams
Playground 2015 with Mollena Lee Williams-Hass and Georg Friederich Haas

Naomi Elena Ramirez

Priscilla Layne


Rafaella Gunz

‘Getting Herpes Was a Gift’

Samantha Hollins

GhettoSongBird on FaceBook
on ReverbNation
on YouTube

Simone Maurice

Multimedia Maverick
The Essential Women’s Guide

Ursula Parson

Meet Ursula

Yuan Liu
Deerhoof “Flower” [producer & director]
Rubblebucket “Carousel Ride” [production design]
Scout’s Day Dream

Join us on Wednesday May 4th, 2016 at 7pm for a discussion on Rock & Metal at Barnard

Alisha Turull

this is part of a photo series i’ve been working on since 2011. it is a collection of photographs of badass women involved in metal, hardcore and the borderline metal/punk/avant-garde worlds. these are the people who make up the music scene. these are my friends.


Meet Alisha Turull, gamer and world-music lover.

What was your first metal experience?
Alisha Turull: Oh man… my first metal experience was Metallica on the Summer Sanitarium tour back in 2000. My sister was a huge metalhead and showgoer as a whole so when the opportunity presented itself for her to take me to all ages shows I would go with her. I think the first one she took me to was Butthole Surfers and Stone Temple Pilots at Suntan Lake in upstate New York in 1993. I was fortunate I got to see the band live during the Core cycle with my own eyes and ears.

What are your three favorite genres right now? And some bands/musicians from those genres?
AT: I’ll forever hold a soft spot for Brazilian thrash in my heart. My roots in metal really start there. With the Internet at my fingertips (on dial-up!!) I got the opportunity to meet other like-minded fans and enthusiasts of the genre. It was there that I got to learn about bands like Sepultura, Holocausto, and Dorsal Atlantica, exchange music and stories.

I also have a deep rooted love for music from other countries. I have no shame in admitting I am a K-Pop / J-Pop fangirl and have been since my teenage years. My earliest introductions to that was Dir en Grey back when they were Visual Kei and not donning that Adidas wear getup, and H.O.T. from Seoul, South Korea. Probably more than ever I still predominantly listen to K-Pop in present day. If you check out my music playlists on Spotify or my phone you’ll probably see a majority of it being K-Pop and ranging from SHINee, GOT7, Infinite, and various others.

I think my last favorite genre, and this is thanks to the influence of my mother, is Latin pop. Celia Cruz is the true matriarch of my household and those that dare to defy her name in any fashion would be struck by the chancla! No seriously — if you bash Celia in our household, expect a swift rubber sole from an Isotoner slipper to the face. I’m not even joking.


How would you describe your job and what you do at work (besides arguing about Toto)?
AT: Well i’m currently in the transition of moving into a different direction career wise. From my time though at In De Goot Entertainment? It was seriously magical and it contributed a lot to the person I am today and my strong work ethic. I operated as the Executive Assistant to the C.E.O. of the company so aside from handling the administrative tasks of scheduling meetings, coordinating travel and events, I was given the rare opportunity to see, hear and feel artist management firsthand and facilitate wherever possible. If any issue should arise with regards to our artist clients, management was the front lines in protecting our artists and solving any and all problems in their best interests. I often compare artist management to parenthood; you want to see them out of harm’s way not for our own personal gain, but for their success. Blood, sweat, and tears are all accounted into that equation. It’s hard not to invest personal emotions into it, but everyday seeing the bands prosper musically really left a lasting impression in me to continue to do my best and give my all in everything I handled with passion.


You love world music and you love gaming. Are you an escapist?
AT: I think to a degree I’m an escapist. The world we’re living in today is such a hard pill to swallow that I feel for the sake of our sanity? We have to escape from time to time and seek a place of solace. Whether it be a quiet location, or lost in a video game? It helps to just clear the mind temporarily and gain a little clarity to combat any trials or tribulations presented to us in day-to-day life when we’re back on track.

With world music specifically? I feel as if that’s more of a passport to new discoveries. I enjoy listening to music and watching media from the Far East so much because it gives me an insight on their culture, customs, and general lifestyle. It keeps me open-minded about other cultures’ way of life I think in the long run and keeps me grounded and objective in my views and perspectives of the world.

As for video games? I’m just a big ol’ kid at heart. It’s a leisurely hobby that I’ve loved since my youth, and is a facet of my life that has opened doors to great opportunities in life, and meeting amazing individuals all over the world.


What are some games you feel like never get enough attention/cred?
AT: Oh crap. WHERE DO I BEGIN?! Hahaha.

Well personally? I have to give tons of respect to one of the first games I’ve ever played and beaten, Gyruss, from the Konami arcade and NES console. It’s a great shoot em’ up game, and it’s background music is iconic even today. Taking a classical masterpiece (Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565) and arranging the music to an electronic sound with an uptempo (essentially they made it a bad ass midi track) elevated the game to a whole new level for me personally. Lots of folks share those same sentiments today as well.

Another notable one that I feel really solidified the rhythm music genre but gets put on the backburner is Bust-A-Groove. I still can sing word for word Kitty N’s theme “Aozora no Knife”.

Finally? I don’t care what anyone says all you fighting game enthusiasts need to give proper respect to the best game in the entire Street Fighter franchise, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. One? That game has my main, Makoto, with her deadly finisher, Seichusen Godanzuki. Two? That was our first introduction to red parry, which changed the state of the competitive scene in my opinion. And three? Q. Nuff’ said.

Mariel Miele

this is part of a photo series i’ve been working on since 2011. it is a collection of photographs of badass women involved in metal, hardcore and the borderline metal/punk/avant-garde worlds. these are the people who make up the music scene. these are my friends.


Meet musician, artist and carpenter Mariel Miele (Lies Beneath, Vincent Price is Right, Eyes Like Cyanide).

What was your first metal experience?

Mariel Miele: Hmmm … thats a good question, cause I can’t really pinpoint that. I got exposed to music early on by my older sister. I was always into hard rock and grunge, but I think the first time I heard something really heavy and had that NEED to listen to more was when Korn’s first album came out. That wasn’t Pantera or Slayer heavy, it was different and dirty and in some ways provocative. Besides, in 1996 no one was really doing stuff like that yet, so they were definitely exciting to come upon.

How long have you been a carpenter? What attracted you to carpentry?

MM: I’ve been doing carpentry for 9 years now. It appealed to me when I was transitioning from non-union to union labor. I learned a lot about what carpenters do and how many facets of carpentry there are through a pre-apprenticeship program. Wood is warm and strong, you can shape it with your hands and make something beautiful and unique, or build structures of all sizes that will last for generations. It’s a skilled craft that requires knowledge and practice through discipline, so becoming good at it felt like something I needed to accomplish.


What advice can you give to women who may want to get into carpentry but aren’t sure where to start?

MM: There are classes and workshops EVERYWHERE. I do continuing education courses at SVA to get the practice in with finer woodworking projects as well as metalwork. They’re great for learning how to use power tools, and hand tools properly. You can also hit up that program I mentioned to join the carpenters union as an apprentice. I would say that if you’re just looking to make furniture or sculptures, then stick with private classes or art schools. If you’re into renovation work, commercial or residential building – then definitely go through the union. The name of the program is NEW (nontraditional employment for women).



What are your current music projects / bands you’re playing in?

MM: Right now I’m working with Lies Beneath (Brooklyn). Describing their sound is hard, its heavy AF, and has great grooves/riffage/hooks. They’re complex rhythmically, but not without taste. I’ve been working with them for about a year on bass, and after our next show Ill be switching over to guitar. I have some material of my own I’ve been working on, and plan on recording that soon as well.

What are some bands from NYC/Long Island you feel like don’t get or didn’t get enough attention (when they were around)?

MM: Good question. VOD definitely. They got a little attention but never got BIG big, you know what I’m sayin? 40 Below Summer is another band I feel like could have gotten further. Any of the bands out there right now trying to make it work. Let’s be real: the best musicians come to NYC to work. Chances are, whatever band is out there doing its thing, is probably worth some attention. Some of the best musicians I’ve worked with are from Long Island.

Amy Mills

this is part of a photo series i’ve been working on since 2011. it is a collection of photographs of badass women involved in metal, hardcore and the borderline metal/punk/avant-garde worlds. these are the people who make up the music scene. these are my friends.


Meet photographer and musician Amy Mills (Epistasis & Couch Slut).

What was your first metal experience?
Amy Mills: The way I came around to finding out about metal is pretty weird, and would probably make sense knowing my background in general. I grew up playing classical trumpet, and that was literally the only music I listened to throughout high school (except for an Offspring CD or Smashmouth CD).

After high school I went to Boston Conservatory for trumpet, and branched off to listening to more contemporary classical composers (Ligeti, Reich, Glass, etc etc), but the heavy music world was still foreign. Sometime after leaving the conservatory and going to Mass Art for photography, I discovered John Zorn’s music. I was struck most by his Naked City project, which opened the door for me to explore hardcore bands like Napalm Death. Soon after that my friends who were attending the nearby New England Conservatory introduced me to the underground metal scene in New York, and I eventually got around to exploring most areas of the metal world. 

How did you transition from studying classical trumpet to photography?
AM: I basically realized that there wasn’t much of a job market or future career for me as a classical trumpet player. If my teacher at the conservatory couldn’t get into the BSO (who he subbed with regularily) then what chance did I stand. I had been in love with photography since high school. While at the conservatory I took the 20×24 polaroid course at Mass Art, and soon after made the decision to transfer to Mass. Art. 


At what point did you become a guitar addict? You showed me one you’re currently building. What’s your goal with that guitar?
AM: I’m not sure “addict” would be the word I would use, but I’ve always had a fascination with collecting things. Books, records, cameras, etc. I find the guitar to be one of the more fascinating instruments, both from a design perspective, and a historical perspective. It’s one of the few instruments that has had such an immense amount of variations in design, approach, and sound. It’s a bit staggering to think about how many different ideas have gone into guitar design. As an instrument it’s completely changed so many different styles of music throughout history, in almost every culture. The electric guitar explosion of the 1960s is incredibly fascinating.  I’m particularly obsessed with Burns guitars, made by Jim Burns in the early 1960s in England. They aren’t as well known in the US, but were considered to be the equivalent to Fender in England at the time.

Brass instruments have a similar history, but not quite the same impact culturally. In terms of experimentation with design concepts, it has almost the same amount of variations as the guitar world does. I think I was drawn to guitar due to these similarities. In fact, the same could be said for cameras.

The guitar I’m building is actually just parts from two wrecked guitars. I got the body for free from on of my favorite guitar shops, and the neck and electronics were given to me by my good friend Robbie. I decided to combine them into a working guitar, and so far it’s been a very successful project.


What albums/bands have you been listening to lately? Can you listen to music at work?
AM: Lately I’ve been listening to:

  • Blackstar – David Bowie
  • Ben Monder – Flux
  • Jeff Buckley – Grace
  • Nick Drake – all the albums
  • Myrkur
  • Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway

I can listen to music at work, but a lot of the time i’m busy out in the studios, so music is generally only on when I’m at my computer.  


You’re a major Swans fan, right? What’s your favorite era and/or albums?
AM: As far as Swans goes, my favorite album is definitely Soundtracks for the Blind. Other than that I’m a fan of pretty much all of it, generally gravitating to the very first few albums, and the most recent 2.