As the only female member of up-and-coming New Zealand band Daffodils, Jade Bryham is helping to further the conversation around women in music, just by existing as a young women in the industry. The band are in the middle of ticking off a number of firsts - from signing a global release deal with Kartel Music Group, opening for Pale Waves in New Zealand last year, and playing St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival last month in Auckland.
We’ve teamed up with Converse, who recently launched their Love The Progress collection under the umbrella of the All The Stories Are True campaign, which is celebrating female trailblazers from around the world who are re-defining what it means to be young women in 2019 - and Jade definitely fulfils that criteria.
We spoke with Jade following the band’s performance at Laneway Festival last month, to discuss gender equality in music, her experiences in the band, and what they have planned for this year…
[Jade wears the Chuck 70 Hi-Top in White throughout]
COUP DE MAIN: You played Laneway Festival in January, which was your first ever festival performance! How did you find that experience?
DAFFODILS - JADE BRYHAM: It was incredible, Laneway is one of my favourite New Zealand festivals and playing alongside some of my favourite artists was so surreal! It was such a crazy day.
CDM: In a world where so many music festivals are dominated by men (i.e. Coachella has had only four women ever headline the festival - Ariana Grande will be the fifth, plus the youngest), how did it feel being part of a festival that strives to be progressive with its gender balance in the line-up?
JADE: Yeah, I feel really proud to have been a part of a festival that actually makes an effort to include more female acts. So many “pro-feminism” projects tend to be quite performative, and so it’s really cool having been a part of one that has always upheld those kinds of values and visions.
CDM: Do you think it's important that festival line-ups reflect the world we live in (i.e. equal women and men)?
JADE: I think that it’s really important; there are so many woman in the industry that struggle to make it on their own, so it’s really great to see festivals that give equal opportunities to everyone! A lot of the best art is made by women, and they deserve to have as much of a platform as any man does.
CDM: We’re releasing this interview just after International Women’s Day - so to celebrate, who are some of the most important women in your life?
JADE: My mum, my grandma and my nana, and all of my friends have made a massive impact on my life as strong women. Being surrounded by such talented and independent people is so motivating. I also look up to women like Chloë Sevigny and Kim Gordon who’ve always inspired me.
CDM: What does it mean to be a girl in the 21st Century, to you?
JADE: I think it’s a progressive time for girls, it feels like it’s a time where people are actually making changes for the better. Having social media platforms like Instagram I feel has really allowed women to express themselves, especially creatively, and gives a platform for girls to come together and express their views and art.
CDM: Do you think that definition of being a girl has changed, for instance since your mum was your age?
JADE: Yeah, I definitely think there’s a huge difference. As a society, we’re way more aware of the inequality between women and men, and there’s definitely more willingness for change from a lot of people around the world. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I think that there are a lot more opportunities for women now, and we’re not expected to fit into traditional roles as much as we used to be. The social constructs around gender are becoming looser and people have so much more freedom to experiment.
CDM: For you, how do you define being a girl? Is being a girl something you’re aware of/thinking about all the time?
JADE: That’s a really interesting question; it’s not really something that affects who I am and the things that I do, but I know it sometimes affects the way people regard me. I’ve had people say things about me only being in the band because I’m a girl, so things like that definitely make me more aware, but otherwise I don’t find being a woman greatly affects what I do or who I am.
CDM: How do you go about putting together the outfits that you wear when you’re performing live?
JADE: Lots of throwing different things around my room, and then just putting on the same outfit I wore the last three days. I don’t really worry about it too much, I like wearing whatever’s comfortable and makes me feel like myself.
CDM: Being the only girl in your band, does it feel empowering to be representing women in a genre (indie-rock) which is so traditionally full of men?
JADE: Yeah, it’s definitely great! I’ve always really idolised bands like Sonic Youth and Pixies and Slowdive, so it’s really cool following in the footsteps of women like them. It’d be great to see more representation of women who aren’t frontmen and instead instrumentalists too.
CDM: When did you first start playing music, prior to being in Daffodils?
JADE: When I was around nine I started piano lessons and have since played a bit of drums, guitar, and bass, but always loved piano/keys the most.
CDM: Has music been something you always wanted to pursue?
JADE: I’ve actually always been really into film and art, and I’d love to do more of that in the future. Music is definitely something that is really important to me though, and creative outlets can be combined in ways too, such as music videos and movie soundtracks, so I’m excited to hopefully experiment with film.
CDM: If your pair of Converse shoes were a song, what song would they be?
JADE: ‘I Wanna Skate’ by Rat Boy.
CDM: What else do Daffodils have planned so far in 2019?
JADE: We’re hopefully putting out an EP around April, and then doing a New Zealand tour around that! We’d love to do some supports too.
CDM: You guys have signed to Kartel Music Group, which is so exciting! How did that signing come about?
JADE: We came about them through a friend who was really helpful for us in setting up our show at the Tuning Fork last September. It’s really cool for us because it means we can have a little more presence worldwide, and in the UK specifically.
CDM: If J.A.D.E. was an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
JADE: Just Another Ditzy Earthling.
Converse’s ‘Love The Progress’ collection is available now - either online at converse.com.au, in-store at Converse Sylvia Park, Converse Manukau, Converse St Lukes and selected retailers across the country.