MESSAGE: Masochist vocalist Rose Wedsworth performing with Masochist during their support slot with King Parrot.
MESSAGE: Masochist vocalist Rose Wedsworth performing with Masochist during their support slot with King Parrot. Asagain Images

Socially-conscious locally-grown hardcore rock

THE Northern Rivers socially-conscious hardcore/punk band Masochist have been making steady progress with two EP's, appearing at Falls Festival and gaining Triple J airplay, but for vocalist Rose the band is about much more than popularity.

"I guess the main message I would think is the empowerment of women and non-males and a lot of different minorities," she said.

"And that is why I wanted to do vocals because I had all this stuff I wanted to say and get out into the world but I didn't really know how to in any other way expect for playing music."

Masochist are currently entering the studio to record a full-length album.

Tackling topics such as sexual assault, domestic violence, silencing of one's voice and place, Rose has had to dig deep to overcome anxiety associated with performing in front of predominantly male audiences.

"Sometimes you can feel everyone is reacting really well to the things I am singing about or talking about between songs, and it is really easy to keep talking about things, because you can feel the support," she said.

"But then there are times where it just feels so silent in the room and I don't know if it is because people don't agree or if it is because they don't know how to react to a woman saying all this stuff to them."

The band has continued to play shows to different audiences in the hope of communicating a message they stand by, and have welcomed the support from men at audiences who identify with the importance of their message.

Speaking on how no-one is immune or safe from sexual assault, Rose said she wanted people to know "they're not alone and they aren't a victim, and that they're a survivor and they're strong".

"We started having a sign at the merch table at shows highlighting that if people are feeling unsafe with someone, or someone is making them feel unsafe they can come talk to any of us and we will try to help them or remove the person if they won't listen to reason."

Asked why is such activism is needed, Rose said they sought to provide a safe place for women to participate in a scene that has traditionally been so toxic for them, highlighting that traditionally most assaults and harassment have gone unreported.

This sentiment has been mirrored by other artists outside of the hardcore scene, including Camp Cope, Billie Eilish and Grimes, with bands like High Tension, Drake and Luca Brasi publicly calling out bad behaviour in audiences.

Recently, the music industry has supported campaigns addressing the growing cultural issues around behaviour and lack of personal accountability within Australian venues, the most popular one called Your Choice.

"Music needs to be for everybody and needs to be represented by all kinds of people - there are so many people who don't conform to genders and men and women, trans people, different cultures and races," Rose said.

"And indigenous people definitely aren't represented in a lot of music genres, especially punk and hardcore."

Anyone struggling with abuse or sexual assault can contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.



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