- norah erickson - ramblerspeak -
1. Did you grow up on the island? (If no, when did you make the island your home?
I grew up in Campbell River and moved away in 2008, I was in Victoria until 2011 and then I travelled around for a bit. I ended up coming back in Victoria in 2015 and I never want to leave again.
2. What influenced you to start writing and creating music?
My Mom and Memere (grandmother). I pretty much came out of the womb singing. My mom was in a folk band and I would always wait up in bed listening their practice too intently to be able to sleep. They would invite me to sing a song with them when they were done practicing and I think I still know all their songs off by heart. When I was 14 my Memere gave me my first guitar and taught me some chords. When I got my hands on that guitar is when I started writing my own music.
3. Do you remember the first gig/show you've played? Where/when?
I played my first gig when I was 14 filling in for the guitar player in my moms band. We played at an open mic at the Haida Inn in Campbell River and I was addicted to being on a stage. Ramblerspeak's first gig was at the Lucky Bar Blender Night.
4. What is your favourite part about performing?
Sharing a moment with a group of people. I can't describe the feeling exactly, but there is something that is intimate about it in such a public way. Sharing your music and seeing, hearing and engaging with the audience's reaction. Also, it is just a lot of fun being up there with your best friends making some good noise.
5. What goals do you have for the immediate and distant future?
Mainly writing right now and as a group getting our songs as tight as possible. We have gone through a couple changes this year as a band and I feel like we are really finding our footing and moving towards a more refined sound. We are hopefully going to record some more next year. My main goal with music is to be playing it as much as possible.
6. Have you ever found being a female artist can be challenging? Have there been times that you weren't taken seriously because of your gender?
First I want to emphasize that I love playing music in Victoria and my experiences are not limited to this city. These experiences are uniquely mine but I am sure there are many others who can relate. My feedback is not of any individual. There have been many men who I am so grateful for in helping me musically and Ramblerspeak grow. I find it can be challenging to be taken seriously as a female rock musician at times. The reason for that is because the music industry is a reflection of wider society that impacts the way women are perceived and how we should act. When we step outside those “norms”, where I think a lot of female leads can be found, we challenge those structures. I am a plus sized queer woman who already steps outside of the box. It can be intimidating being the lead of a band, and we need to prove ourselves in a way our male counterparts don’t.
I have had some guys at the music store insist on lighter gauge strings because they will hurt my lady hands, or explained how to use a microphone before a headlining gig. People question me when I say I play rock music, and people tend to be overly impressed because their expectations of me were lower due to my gender and appearance. We are constantly compared to each other even if we play in completely different genres. Sometimes, in a way of “complementing”, people will put the other female musician down. However, in my experience female artists tend to lift each other up. This project is a great example. It is hard to challenge these structures, but when we support each other I think it’s radical in its own way. Even having these conversations is another way to resist the “norm”.
7. What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start out a music career?
Find good people to play with or get involved in the music community, preferably both. I am super lucky to have met my band mates and they are great to work and create with. In addition to countless people who have given solid advice.
8. As a photographer involved in the music scene, I love the idea of shining light on the other female artists in the Victoria music scene. What are your thoughts about the idea of this project?
I think it is a very cool way to start an important conversation and encourage women to lift each other up. It is also great to learn from other artists in the scene and see what backgrounds they have come from. I am grateful for being able to participate and cannot wait to see the final product!