This Friday promises to be an exceptionally engaging evening.
Seven local and very talented ladies will be taking the stage at Columbia City Theatre to sing their hearts out just for you, and you will probably cry like a little baby. Ladies Club, curated by Shenandoah Davis, is the first of (hopefully) many events of this type where a taste of Seattle's already dynamic and diverse music scene is showcased with the focus trained on powerful and important women. Viva la Ladies Club!
One of the ladies you'll be seeing perform this Friday is Julia Massey who fronts the band Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount. The trio, made up of Julia (vox & keys), Geoff B. Gibbs (bass) and Dominic Cortese (drums), will be performing songs from their latest release, Five Letters From Far Away which is "...a brave story referring to the letters Julia's dad wrote for her while she was growing up, one each year on her birthday. The intention was to give them to her on her 18th birthday. But then he passed away when she was 15. Her mother gave her the letters and they have been a source of love and encouragement for her throughout her life, reflected in her writing and performing."
I had the opportunity to catch up with Julia to chat about the event this Friday, being a woman in the music scene and mixtapes.
the mixtape: Columbia City Theatre is hosting something called 'Ladies Club' which will be featuring several prominent women - including yourself, of course - who are making music in the Seattle music scene. How did this come about for you and what was your first thought upon being asked to take part in this momentous occasion?
Julia Massey: I was originally not a part of this event, but then something wonderful happened. The FFD had Columbia City booked on August 2nd a few months ago through Ryan Devlin (Smokey Brights, Hounds of the Wild Hunt), and we were going back and forth about what we wanted the show billing to be. Then I received an email from him that described Shenandoah's idea and I, quite fortunately, jumped on this AMAZING night. I kind of feel like the kid in the cafeteria who didn't realize she was sitting at the cool kids' table before they all walked in. Luckily these cool kids actually ARE cool. And kind. And ridiculously talented.
tm: Do you, in fact, think that this Friday is of a significant importance? Or, is it just some really talented women getting together to put on a show?
JM: What makes me believe that this Friday's show is of importance is the way that Shenandoah is announcing the order of acts that evening. It's her way of encouraging people to stay for the show's entirety and as she puts it, "see something new." It's easy to fall into the pattern of seeing just your friend's band at a show because of a busy schedule (this is something I not only understand, but practice myself); however, those times when I stay for the band afterward, or get there a little bit early and fall in love with a new group are truly magical. I think it's important that this show is designed to create that moment. And with shorter sets from each performer, it will be like going to an amazing tapas bar. You'll still be full, but you were exposed to so much more. Look at me with the analogies!
tm: What is it like for a woman in the music scene? Do you find that you're treated differently by men in the industry?
JM: A couple of shows ago, a woman came up to me and said, "I wish my daughter could have seen you. It was so cool how you just got up there and sang your songs and did your thing." I'm not actually sure this woman liked my music or not, but something struck her about seeing me up there that made her want to expose her daughter to a woman doing what she wanted to do. To answer your question, I think every woman in the working world has been treated differently at some point because she is a woman (this ranges from the overtly misogynistic to the chivalrous) at some point because we're the still the minority (luckily for me, I can count these experiences on one hand), but the benefit is that you still get to go up there and "do your thing" and prove, sometimes to no one but yourself, that you're going to thrive and shine right through it. And in defense of Seattle, both men and women in the music scene here have treated me with an enormous amount of respect, and the times people have been assholes has usually meant that they are assholes to everybody.
tm: Will this be the first time working with the women you'll be sharing the stage with this coming Friday?
JM: I have had the honor of playing with Shenandoah once before as she opened for us years ago at our release party for Is There Room For Me?. Believe me when I say she astounds audiences with her music. As for the other women, I'm a first-timer, although I've been obsessing over their videos so much this week that I feel like we've played together before.
tm: Have you ever been involved in a ladies club at any point in your life with your friends?
JM: Not under the same moniker, but yes. I have been blessed to be a part of many groups of women who gather for a variety of reasons my whole life. I am who I am today because of these clubs/groups/nights/events. I mean blessed in the religious and non-religious way. All-encompassing.
tm: Do you remember making or receiving a mixtape at some point in your life that was super special? Oh, and I'm talking about an actual cassette tape mixtape.
JM: Ohhhhhhhh yes I DO! I made an extra-special mixtape for my friends Kristen and Gayle leading up to a sleepover we were going to have. I'm pretty sure it included "Two Princes," "Remember The Time," and "All That She Wants." What I didn't realize was that I had made the mixtape OVER an acapella version of myself singing Ariel's theme from "The Little Mermaid" and when the tape ended, I got to experience a rare kind of humiliation that I hope no one ever has to experience.
tm: What would you like people to know about you that would make them chuckle?
JM: When I need a good cry, I search youtube for videos of animals that get reunited with their owners after many years of separation.
tm: Any plans for another Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount record? What's next for you?
JM: We always have plans for another record. Our tentative plan is to keep writing for the rest of the year, and then go into the studio come January/February.
Ladies Club at Columbia City Theatre:
Shenandoah Davis, Julia Massey, Kaylee Cole, Alex Niedzialkowski, Miss Miniver Rose, Mary Lambert, Courtney Marie Andrews,
Friday, August 2, 8pm / $10 adv - $12 door / 21+
Buy tickets here