Three Music Thingz with Gender Warfare

Three Music Thingz with Gender Warfare
feature image photo credit: Estie Joy

Ooh la la, it's another rendition of Three Music Thingz, the blogseries where I ask musicians for three thingz that are essential to their music-making.

Today we have Gender Warfare! Gender Warfare are a London-based trio—Zoe Oxymoron on vocals, Mia Thunderska on vocals/guitar/bass/synths, and Maeve Westall on drums—who have been positively ripping for a couple of years now, mashing up hardcore punk with cybergrind-y rave music. (In case u missed it, I wrote up their searing single "(I Am Not Your) Dude" a while back.) And they just dropped an EP called New Wave of British Transphobia on Subwoofers Anonymous which uses astonishingly visceral instrumentation to challenge a series of antagonists: transphobic policy ("Queers to the Front (Gender Warfare)"), cops in bars ("The Flame // A Lie to Your Face") and complacent cis people ("Cismass").

New Wave Of British Transphobia, by Gender Warfare
7 track album

When I was thinking about how to write up this EP, I obviously kept coming back to the concept of anger. Gender Warfare are certainly angry about the erosion of trans rights in the UK, but I feel like it doesn't just start and end there. The quality of the anger in New Wave of British Transphobia is loud, assertive and persistent; that anger is alive in the blazing heat of the guitars and the punishing drum breakdowns and in Thunderska and Oxymoron's howling vocals, and the intensity of the music embodies it, making it more than a feeling.

Mia Thunderska shared three thingz with the blog that you should read

  1. subwoofers & bass
    I don’t think I ever had a chance to not fall in love with low frequencies. I grew up hearing grime and drum and bass being blasted from oversized sound systems in undersized cars, and as a West Londoner, the sound systems of Notting Hill Carnival were unavoidable. As a child of the 2010s, dubstep was unavoidable online, and when I tried finding any of this music in my local record shop™ it led me to finding the UK tearout boom, as well as Skream & Benga and kode9. My part time gig promotion outfit & vanity label (though I'd love to release other people's music on it someday) is called Subwoofers Anonymous, which was just an impulsively created username I made as a teenager. I don’t think I realised at that point how much bass affected me.

    There is a physicality in bass that you don’t get in other frequencies. When you can start to see the speaker move, and the sub 60hz rumble hits you, there’s nothing like it. When I got older and started venturing into mosh pits at the more punky gigs I went to, I think I was just trying to get that same feeling of being in front of a speaker stack that’s taller than you. A few years ago I saw The Bug & Sinai Soundsystem do a club night together, and seeing the way people danced was almost identical to a more relaxed mosh pit made something click inside me. If you see me out, there’s a high chance I’ll have my earplugs in and my body as closely pushed against the cabinets, trying to feel every vibration.

    Specifically in relation to Gender Warfare, a lot of the time I have used pedals to go and simulate a bass sound instead of having a separate guitar. I tried a few different solutions, but I’m using a boss octave pedal currently. It’s got a filter in it that can roll off a lot of the high end, leading to some very pure bass tones, which really brings me back to lots of the sounds that got me into bass in the first place. I have definitely not broken any bass amps with it.
  2. Free things
    Free music is cool. Free software is cool. Online libraries are cool. I’ve discovered so much from PDFs that have been shared around and drives full of movies you can’t find on streaming sites. Shutting down libraries of any kind sucks, I grew up surrounded by librarians that gave me so many book, music & film recommendations that stayed with me. The music that I have been able to engage with due to this is vast. There are so many bands that I’ve accidentally found and have become a huge part of my life.

    Free and Open source software has saved me. The focus and passion needed to see these projects through is beautiful, and so much more inventive than lots of paid for software. It feels like one of the bastions of old school tech and the internet.

    I’m going to be slightly political here; it's not great to be trans right now. Many places are passing legislation to try and make our lives more difficult. Having your existence be made illegal sucks, but it does lead to other things seeming less like faux pas. However, I have to say that NO PIRATED PLUGINS WERE USED ON THIS EP.
  3. The trans music & queercore scene
    When Gender Warfare started, it felt like so many of the other queercore bands we could find were American, indie punk, or broken up. Meeting Shooting Daggers and going to their shows was a big inspiration for getting this band started, but I still very much felt like the odd one out being the trans girl at the hardcore gigs. Me and my dear bandmate Zoe had discussed how we wanted to replicate the (now on hiatus) Slags & Fags jam sessions to try and network queer people wanting to make nasty aggressive punk music, but that level of organisation was beyond us (though I’ve heard some rumblings of something that may be happening in London soonish that’s similar). We started playing gigs and never really completely fit on any lineup, but our instance of using a sample pad filled with gabber kicks and hyperpop snares probably made us stand out a tiny bit.

    The queercore spreadsheet’s proliferation round uk venues (, yes it is case sensitive) gave people something to rally around and something to connect over. We haven’t gigged for a bit, but it’s nice coming back to a really fertile scene. theres so much good heavy queer music in the UK, I’m loving Transistrrr, Rozklad, Triadora, Karnstein, Leibniz and Antifa Supersoldier, but that’s just out of bands I’ve seen recently, I know there’s more out there I wanna check out. There’s also a nice rotation of promoters in London at the moment, especially after Chronic Transexulism had trouble securing a venue for a bit. I know it’s another list but be trans do song is great focus on the more poppy side of electronic music, Cehennem for the more experimental and hard dance music, and T4Tunes for showcasing transgender hardcore, and also being so exemplary with their accessibility.

    I sold someone a drum kit recently, and I’ve started setting up guitars for my friends & partners, so I know there’s gonna be even more bands coming up soon. It’s exciting. UK music is in a dire state, it’s hard to make touring viable financially, there’s next to no state support of the arts, unlike some of mainland Europe. Despite all of this, I like making the most of the margins. Warehouse gigs and DIY venues are on the rise. Everything is temporary, but we're ratting it out.

Thank you Gender Warfare!! Listen to New Wave of British Transphobia right this moment and check out their link aggregation. Thanks for reading I Enjoy Music, if you like it, tell a friend.