Bianca Jagoe & Jaine Scollard
5th June 2016
Introduction by Laura La Rosa
Cover image by Cameron Jagoe
What do you get when two creative, likeminded, Tasmanian-based kindred spirits share an inherent passion for music and feminism? A handcrafted, feminist zine, that raises funds for budding musicians identifying as women (of course)! Comprising 16 pages of folded awesomeness, the Femmes To The Front zine’s proceeds directly support FURY (Femmes United in a Rhythmic Yell), an accessible and welcoming space for female musicians situated in the heart of Launceston.
Arriving within days of purchasing, my copy of Femmes To The Front was enclosed by a beautifully hand lettered envelope with pages filled with good-to-knows for the fluid feminist, a recipe for ‘slut brownies’ you can happily ice with “whatever takes your fancy”, a feminist mix-tape, and plenty more. My personal favourite: the list of “things that don’t make you a bad feminist”, inclusive of just about any woman who likes, well, what ever she likes, and rightfully so!
If you haven’t picked up a copy of the zine yet, you can in the meantime get lost in the story of what brought zine-makers Bianca Jagoe and Jaine Scollard together in friendship, and in embarking on such a beautiful project…
How did your friendship begin?
Bianca: Jaine was a customer who used to come into the supermarket where I worked and I remember admiring and complimenting her on her excellent fashion sense. It was one of those situations where there’s an invisible societal boundary between asking a stranger if they want to hang out/be your friend. Thankfully we did have mutual friends and both had online presences and the internet hooked us up. We immediately bonded over shared loves of food, film, TV, art and music. I truly felt that I had found a kindred spirit and now I can’t imagine my life without her.
Jaine: After many years admiring Bianca’s art and personal style, as well her excellent bike (which she has since re-furbed and gifted to me), we made contact over Instagram and I went to her house for tea and cake! From there, a much-cherished, healthy and beautiful friendship blossomed.
Tell us how Femmes To The Front was born…
Jaine: An interest in music, feminism and zines are things that we bonded over, and we were really excited when FURY (Femmes United in a Rhythmic Yell) began in Launceston. For so long, the Launceston music scene has been dominated by men, and we love that FURY is open to ‘anyone that identifies as a woman and wants to make some noise!’ The FURY gals (comprised predominantly of the members of kickass, all-female band Bansheeland) have been so generous. They’ve opened the Bansheeland practice space (in one of their houses) AND the use of their equipment to any gals that want to play. We had talked about starting our own band for a while, and we jumped at the chance. We were blown away by the generosity of Sheridan and Mary, both in them letting us use their stuff but also their willingness to help us get started and give advice. We wanted to do something to support them and raise some funds, and thus, Femmes to the Front was born!
Bianca: I am a freelance illustrator and have made a handful of zines in the past. I love the format of zines – they’re tactile, hand-made, produced in small batches and have an intimacy and an earnestness to them that sets them apart from other modern medias. Jaine and I often have long-winded conversations about feminism and we felt that it was a worthy topic to write and draw and start discourses about. Times are changing, but I often feel that feminism is seen as a dirty word, wrapped up in misinformation and that a lot of women don’t fully understand and feel they should distance themselves from. We wanted to make a zine that was fun, fresh, feminist and accessible. We can’t wait to start on a second edition.
“I love the format of zines – they’re tactile, hand-made, produced in small batches, and have an intimacy and an earnestness to them that sets them apart from other modern medias."
Can you give us a little teaser about the ‘feminist mixtape’ featured in the zine?
Jaine: I am a big fan of the mixtape and feel it’s the best gift you can give to someone. It took me many years to compile a list of fem-friendly songs that I could listen to, and I love reading other people’s recommendations. B (Bianca) and I are also huge fans of list-making, and it seemed like a fun thing to include. I’d say at the core of any fem mix tape that you can never go wrong with anything Kathleen Hanna has done!
Bianca: Some of my favourite tracks on the mixtape include: ‘Real Men’ by Joe Jackson, ‘Rebel Girl’ by Bikini Kill, ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by Lesley Gore and ‘Miss World’ by Hole. I think we’ll probably include another mixtape in our second edition. Feminism has a great soundtrack.
How did you become part of a music community in Tasmania?
Jaine: Via FURY! I’ve always loved live music, and playing an instrument (LOUDLY) has been a lifelong dream of mine. Three days after our visit to the FURY room, I purchased a bass from gumtree, and promptly learnt ‘Feels Blind’ by Bikini Kill (which is the sum total of my current repertoire!)
Bianca: I played in bands in high school (in NSW) and did some small gigs in my late teens, but coming to Tasmania when I was 20, I wasn’t sure how to reestablish myself, so I spent many years not playing or just playing for myself. It was very fortuitous when FURY came about because it allowed me to share music making with other people, make connections and regain confidence in my musical abilities. As well as playing with Jaine I’ve recently connected with some other local musicians to start a little alt-country kind of band which should be fun.
“I often feel that feminism is seen as a dirty word, wrapped up in misinformation and that a lot of women don’t fully understand and feel they should distance themselves from."
What’s unique about the creative scene/lifestyle in Tassie?
Bianca: I think that Tasmania is small enough that creative endeavours and ideas have a space to come about and be embraced and supported. I go to a wonderful, small but vibrant art school in Launceston. MONA in Hobart has drawn a lot of attention to Tasmania’s art scene and there are many other excellent small galleries, artist run initiatives and art societies. There are too many incredible Tasmanian-based artists to name. There is something in the water in this place and makes people make incredible art.
What’s on the horizon for you both, creatively?
Bianca: I am starting my Honours degree in Contemporary Arts, beginning a 28-week illustrated project about working in a supermarket, hoping to make some more zines this year, making music with some fun local folk, and drawing lots of dinosaurs, cars and faces with my 2-and-a-half-year-old Theodore.
Jaine: I’m trying to learn more than one song on my bass, and I have a bunch of ideas for zines. B and FURY have been great inspirations for me, and I can’t wait to continue working with them both. We have been absolutely blown away by the support for the zine, and we have a million more ideas. It was such a fun experience making it. Our next issue will be out around April. We also have an instagram account (@femmestothefront) if you want to follow us.