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Annabel Liddell AKA Miss June Talks Alt Rock, Riot Grrrl and Feminism

She's New Zealand's next big alt. rock thing. Interview by Courtney Sanders
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Annabel Liddell AKA Miss June Talks Alt Rock, Riot Grrrl and Feminism
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"I think change comes from powerful new ideas, but music is a great catalyst." – Annabel Liddell
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Photographer: George Rump

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Annabel Liddell rose through the ranks of the Auckland alternative music scene as a member of DIY punk band, Grrlfriendz, who broke up last year. Not to worry though, because you can now catch Annabel shouting and shredding across Auckland in her new group, Miss June. Their latest single, Pixelated (So Curious), sounds like the lovechild of Hole and Weezer in both sound and sentiment, which makes sense when you consider the song is all about being young, disillusioned and alienated. Only now, it's all because of the Internet.

annabellliddell2.jpg

You've been kicking around the Auckland music scene, playing in bands for a while. When and why did you start your newest project, Miss June?

I've only really lived in Auckland for three years, I moved up from Whanganui for school and soon after joined the band Grrlfriendz. A couple years later Miss June sort of accidentally happened and I just rolled with it.

Miss June seems inspired by Riot Grrrl and nineties bands more generally, yeah? Who are your music inspirations and heroes, and what do you love about them?

I wouldn't say that Miss June was crafted under the influence of any one band, movement or genre – it's more of just a random angry brain explosion. Personally I am inspired by a lot of musicians, male and female, across a lot of different genres. I'm seriously in love with Debbie Harry! But on a whole I'm really just drawn to anything that makes me feel strongly. For example Brian Eno's album, Music For Airports, totally blew my mind, then again so did the first time I heard Bikini Kill.


The Riot Grrrl movement discussed the politics of the time, often dealing with pretty heavy subject matter. Is this something you're interested in exploring with your work?

I think as a young adult in general you become more aware of the intrinsic workings of society – good and bad. Certainly in the last few years I have become pretty heavily involved in trying to change certain things that really bug me. As my work is always very personal, whether I intend it to be or not, I would say that probably my own opinions and thoughts do come across in a lot of our songs. But I also want people to take from it what they will and hopefully think about things a little differently.

Do you think music can be the spark for social and political change?

I think change comes from powerful new ideas, but music is a great catalyst.

A lot of the key icons of the Riot Grrrl movement talk about being treated as inferior in the industry because they were girls in a male-dominated industry. The likes of Meredith Graves, from Perfect Pussy, and Mish Way, from White Lung, feel kinda the same way about things today. What do you think? What has your experience been like?

The music industry is undeniably male dominated, and unfortunately so are a lot of other industries. Being in a minority group in any context can often be a shitty position to be in, but it can also be a position of power and influence. I've certainly had my fair share of old men trying to tell me what's best for me, and young men excluding and discrediting me. But I know who I am and I feel thankful that I don't have that pack mentality; it pushes me as a musician and a person to think beyond certain social constraints.


There's kind of new wave of feminism in which issues around gender equality seem to be being raised in a meaningful way again. What are your thoughts about this? Is there anything in particular about the current movement you have beef with? Anything you'd like to see change immediately?

In my opinion it's a positive thing that issues surrounding gender inequality are becoming more recognized by mainstream society and media, and I wouldn't say that I had "beef" with anything. I do however think that good ideas become in danger of being distorted when they start to be seen as trendy. So that being said, I guess my only qualm would be with people who perhaps use feminism to achieve goals that don't actually parallel with the ideals of gender equality. However, I recognize the fact that this can often stem simply from lack of understanding of the deeper underlying issues.

What are you working on as Miss June at the moment?

We'll be recording an EP soon, and maybe doing a cheeky video or two as well.

You're also studying medicine, right? How's the uni/work/music balance going, not to mention what I imagine to be quite contrasting lifestyles?

"Balance" doesn't really exist for me. I'm quite an all or nothing type of person. So consequently I live in this a constant flux between the two sides of my brain, but its kind of working out OK. I'm just always terribly late for everything.

Annabel Liddell's Five Favourite Love Songs

1) Roy Orbison: Anything You Want


2) The Shaggs: You're Something Special To Me


3) Yeah Yeah Yeah's: Maps


4) Les Thugs: I Love You So


5) Prince: I Wanna Be Your Lover


Published on February 9th, 2015 by Courtney Sanders

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3) Princess Chelsea Talks 17 Million YouTube Views and her Favourite Love Songs

4) Meredith Graves from Perfect Pussy Talks Love, Feminism and Music

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