An Illawarra band is paving the way for queer representation in the music industry.
The Sweaty Bettys’ singer and songwriter, Ruby Apps, said the Wollongong band’s new single, Skin Deep, is about taking back power from a person or people who have done you wrong.
“I wrote skin deep about empowering people, to bring happiness into (people’s) lives and getting to the point where you’re empowered enough in your own person to cut ties and not be affected by who they are and what they think,” she said.
“We can all relate to going through something and getting out the other side and realising that a person’s words or actions don’t actually affect you anymore.”
Skin Deep is the start of The Sweaty Betty’s strategy to curate their specific audience and follow their dreams. Their focus is on writing authentic songs that connect with their listeners.
The Sweaty Bettys hope to be a model for others, just like the ones they have always looked up to.
“When I was younger, I would gravitate to bands that would always look like me or bands that I wanted to look like and be like, and now being queer I feel that we are doing that for younger people as well,” Ms Apps said.
The band has plans to offer a place of comfort for the audience. Ms Apps said the band understands that being in the queer community can be lonely.
Guitarist, Ash Temple said the band’s creative process was heavily influenced by a desire to help others through tough times.
“We try to write from a human perspective because I personally love listening to songs that I can relate to and that feels comfortable and familiar; we write specifically but also vague enough to create that atmosphere,” she said.
“We write our music for us and the people that can relate to us.
“It’s hard in general being a new and upcoming band but I feel the fact that we aren’t men adds to that.
“We are working for other queer non-male bands because that’s really important for us to do.”
Imogen Rayner, a queer-identifying woman with a passion for music, said having representation in the music industry is important for normalising queer lives.
“For me queer bands in the music industry are super important for representation – not just for labels or a physical image but for expressing the raw emotions and lived experiences of queer people for queer people to ‘normalise’ queer lives in a heteronormative world,” she said.
“Music is an art form and a unique form of communication that evokes emotion more than spoken words.”
Skin Deep has been described by the band as an art piece that captures the importance of being confident and it is hoped it empowers listeners to be assured of their identity.
“I find that queer bands and music can create such an influence over society because of the way people’s brains react to music and emotion – it just ties in advocacy and art in the most direct and beautiful way,” Ms Rayner said.
The Band is about to start on a two-month regional tour.