Women in The Music Industry – We interview Laura McClure (Reverend and the Makers)
Thanks for joining us today Laura. We are celebrating women in the music industry on RGM what frustrations do have with the industry?
Firstly, I think a lot is changing so whatever frustrations I have, it’s getting better. Slowly, but it is getting better. The main frustration I have, however, is how many people have assumed I’m in the band because I’m married to the lead singer like people don’t say to Jon… “Ah did Laura get you into the band cos you’re shagging”. But it’s a phrase I’ve had said to me. It seems some people can’t understand that a woman would be in her job just down to merit. Honestly, I feel frustrated with myself too that I don’t call it out more as it highlights how I, and many of us, have been conditioned to keep quiet and not “rock the boat”. No one wants to be painted as the aggressive woman with a chip on her shoulder but in the same way, I’d like to politely call them out. Something, as I’ve got older and feel more confident in myself, I’ve got better at, but definitely something I’m still working on.
I’ve seen many journalists call RATM a “lad” band. How’s that make you feel?
Bored these days. I’m not sure what they mean by it. If they mean the band itself, that’s plain lazy journalism as I’ve been singing, playing keys and trumpet from the beginning of the band. If they mean the audience, I kinda get their point, 10 years ago as our audience was very young and male but it’s broadened so much over the last 5 years. So many more women in the crowd and a really diverse age range. I expect the crowd to be older with us now just because we’ve been around that long but there’s a mass of young lads and lasses now which is amazing. I think it really reflects the change in the industry. Slowly more women are on the stage and behind it and also in the audience. You would never see female techs and sound engineers but that’s thankfully a lot more common now. I genuinely feel the “Me too” movement helped a lot with giving confidence to women to call out knobheads groping and saying inappropriate things. I’ve had all sorts shouted at me from the crowd like “get your rat out” blah blah blah! I have to say it very rarely happens now. It’s just a different vibe at our gigs these days.
What do you like to do away from music?
Be with Jon and the kids. Being a parent has changed my life forever and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also reminding my mates I’m still alive!
Tell us something about yourself that you think people would be surprised about?
I can get ridiculously angry at inanimate objects. I rarely get angry at people. I’m content with the fact people aren’t perfect, including me and so most things I brush off but if the fridge door isn’t shutting properly, god help the milk carton in the way! My brother and my dad are the same.
What’s the worst and best part about being in RATM?
There are lots of great things about being in RATM, not least I get to play on stages all over the place with some extremely talented and awesome humans but the best bit is performing and travelling with my husband. A lot of people say it must be hard working and living together but I love it and really take my hat off to partners who stay at home and can’t be on the road with their other half. I think that must be so tough. We get to experience all our professional and personal highs and lows together. It’s ace!The worst bit is having to be away from our kids. Not only for the times when you’re away for the actual gigs or in the studio but also just having to juggle two very different lifestyles. Ones up at 6am and the other, that’s when you go to bed. We’re very lucky though that we get good chunks of time off with our boys so I’m certainly not complaining.
A lot of comments have been made around the amount of male fronted bands on festival line ups in previous years, Why do you think that is?
I think there are a few things at play. Firstly sexism in the industry. Secondly sexism in society and thirdly sexism in music that’s held girls back from thinking it was possible. You need role models and there are slowly more and more women on stage and behind it. Also, it’s not just about being the lead singer. There are a lot of other parts to play and I think this needs to be pushed from all corners.
Your recent video for elastic fantastic looked like a good laugh to film any funny stories from filming it?
It was such a laugh. We all looked ridiculous and it was such a giggle to act daft for a day. Both our boys came and watched a bit of the filming so the funniest part for me was seeing their reaction. They loved it, especially our 4-year-old. He constantly wants to wrestle now and both boys sing the song all the time and want to watch the video. Our oldest plays out elastic fantastic moves and the youngest wants to be “the baddy”! They are bonkers.
I know your not from Sheffield originally what does Sheffield mean to you now?
Home. The people are so sound and I feel like people’s priorities are in the right place. Everyone looks out for each other and we have the incredible peaks on our doorstep. My parents have moved to Sheffield and my sister and her family. There’s definitely something in the water. There’s a reason it has the highest alumni retention in the country.
How has becoming a mum affected your role in the band?
I’ve had to be a lot more organised. We are incredibly lucky to have both sets of grandparents around who are amazing with our boys, but it’s a logistical nightmare! Last night I spent two hours figuring out a rota for our October tour and then an hour going through diaries with the family. However, I’m also the tour manager for the band so logistics is kind of my job! On another note, I have to pick the moments when I can have a little party after the gigs so as to be able to function properly for parent life but I think that’s probably true for all parents. You have to think about whether it’s going to be worth it!
What’s exciting things do you have coming up?
I’m really looking forward to the Best Of tour in October. We just get to have a party and show our fans what we do best. There are some other irons in the fire but mums the word!