INTERVIEW: GIRLS AGAINST HETERO TYRANNY

Okay, so if you know Lily Livid, you know she used to work here (or still does work here, and can do whatever she wants whenever she wants and she knows it). Lily’s new thing is GIRLS AGAINST HETERO TYRANNY and I just love how fucking pissed off their demo is up on YouTube. Forged from members of SOUND WAVES ATTACKING NOTHING, EMETIC, and GRAVEN IMAGE, this is the angry-as-fuck band advocating for marginalized folks you’ve been waiting for! Let’s dive in!

1. Tell us everything! Tell us how the band was formed, how you arrived at the genre that GAHT plays, and what your proudest accomplishments are with the band to date!

(Lily): Tiffani and I played all sorts of shows together with my noise project Emetic and her band Graven Image in 2021. We formed Girls Against Hetero Tyranny on February 3rd of 2022 and our genre label is “Queercore” because that includes Crust Punk, Powerviolence, Beatdown, all of that jazz, we didn’t know what it would sound like. We both wanted to make angry queer music that was just as heavy as anyone else. There are plenty of racists, transphobes and predators in our local music scene, and we wanted to change that.

(Tiffani) I was so down when she messaged me to start this project. I have been into the spazzier, more indie side of hardcore since I was growing up and always wanted to play that kind of music, and sortof deviate from the metal genre which is what I have came to be known for, not that I mind that at all. I feel like we are doing something new and different that hasn’t been done in this corner of the world, maybe ever?

(Lily) My proudest accomplishment in this band is actually doing it. So many potential projects, people talk and say they are going to do it, but never actually do it.

(Tiffani): Definitely pushing myself as a musician and a producer, even amateur video-editor. The Youtube video and song “Gender Non-Conforming Beatdown (Break a Transphobe”) is a great accomplishment for both of us.

2. How did you guys first meet?

(Tiffani): Well, we became friends when I read a review Lily did of a United Artistry show in January of 2020, I loved her inclusive verbiage and just her enthusiasm for the scene, and knew we simply must be friends from now on.

(Lily): We met for the first time I think at a Diluted show back a long time ago

(Tiffani:) The Before Covid Times. Their Never Fit In E.P. I was playing in For the Dead Travel Fast.

3. Name your top bands/artists of all-time, regardless of style!

(Lily) Wow, this is a hard question, my favorite bands change every week. Of all time?

Diluted, obviously. Hmm, She/Her/Hers, G.L.O.S.S., I love Insane Clown Posse, I got into Eminem when I was 11, and then I discovered ICP and was like “This is INSANE, Eminem has got nothing.” Wu Tang Clan is one of my favorites, When I realized there was a Wu-Tang show on Netflix, I was like “Why has nobody told me?”

(Tiffani) I like that one song ICP does about murder, it’s pretty fire. It is kindof uncanny that I am even in this project, seeing as my favorite bands are Nightwish and Dream Theater (laughs) But your girl’s eclectic. My favorite bands that relate the most to GAHT are Horse the Band, System of a Down, Deadcross, and the entire Mike Pattonverse for that matter, Laura Jane Grace, because she is an amazing songwriter and I often just listen to her and cry/vibe

(Lily): Valid.

(Tiffani) I also LOVE SeeYouSpaceCowboy. They rekindled my enthusiasm for hardcore, which I had discounted astough-guy chest-thumper music years ago.

(Lily:) I love them! I would walk around town and just listen to their one album. Then I saw

a more recent video and saw Connie, and I had no idea she was trans until this point, and loved them even more.

4. Talk about any new music as much as you can, and tell people what they can expect! I recently got notifications for the two new singles on YouTube. What has the reception been like for those? I just love how angry you guys sound, but I’m excited for studio recordings on these songs for clarity if you have any plans for that jazz.

(Tiffani): We are a living-room/basement hardcore band, this is who we are.

This is what we can afford. (laughs) I plan on getting better at producing and refining our sound with each song we make.

(Lily): The reception has been very positive and our video has over 120 views already. The comments are all very supportive. We are making heavy music and people love it and they are hungry for more! We are planning on releasing our full self-titled E.P. in the spring. I am impressed that Tiffani can mix my vocals that well when all I have to record them is my cell phone.

(Tiffani) Yeah, they clip and crackle, but that is raw, it is unhinged, we love our DIY sound, it’s real.

5. In what ways have you guys been challenging or pushing yourselves in your respective roles?

(Lily): I have been pushing myself as a vocalist. Branching out of death metal growls, and black metal shrieks into more of a hardcore middle ground, and incorporating clean vocals whether shouts or melodic is something I have never done. I hate my voice, even in High School I was a baritone but I wanted to be an alto. In my journey I have been getting more comfortable with my voice. Some women just have deep voices, I have learned to love my voice.

(Tiffani) I feel you on that, when I first transitioned, I changed all of my cleans in Graven Image to screams, because screaming and growling is androgynous sounding, and doesn’t really indicate gender, because I was afraid of people hearing my voice and misgendering me, so I went through a similar thing and I am so proud of you. I have pushed myself as a producer and musician out of my usual genre boundaries and found that playing this music comes naturally to me and I think a lot of that is building music around your (Lily’s) vocals and creating a musical landscape around her words, her poetry, and it’s certainly a different process than collaborating with two or three people in close physical proximity to make music.

6. Talk about the most memorable shows you’ve played, along with your favorite venues! You can discuss other bands you’ve been in if that makes this easier to answer.

(Tiffani): My favorite show I have ever played.. Was in June 2021 after Covid restrictions were lifted. It was a breath of fresh air to play a show after such a long time as my true self for the first time. Lily invited my band Graven Image to play this show with her Harsh-Noise duo Emetic hosting, and it was a Pride themed event. It was so much fun.

(Lily): That was a great day indeed. It was so much fun and it was amazing screaming at people again. My favorite venue is the Bread and Water Theatre. It’s a DIY venue in Rochester, you bring all your own gear, rock out and burn the place down, respectfully of course. Also a now defunct venue called “The Lair” in Buffalo, it was my friend’s basement, and so many great shows took place there.

(Tiffani): I would have to agree, The Bread and Water Theater is great, Graven Image/Emetic shows occurred there, and the owner, J.R. is a great human. The California Brewhaus used to be one of my favorites, until the Emetic/Graven Image Halloween show which I would rather just forget.

(Lily): Yeah… Let’s not talk about that.

(Tiffani): The Bug Jar is also a great venue. I loved playing there with The Dead.

(Lily): Yes! I love the decor their, and has basement show vibes despite being an actual venue with a bar and such.

7. Tell us how you each started playing your respective instruments. Some people find gear talk annoying, but I want to hear about your first guitars, drum sets, and vocal setups too!

Follow-up for Lily: What was your transition like from noise artistry to a full band again?!

(Lily): I started playing the drums on a small Yamaha kit when I was a kid. My grandpa was a drummer for various country/western bands for like, the last 50 years. I just bashed the kit with no rhyme or reason, until my dad said “Shut up, fuck that” and threw it out, and I never played the drums again for years. I have been singing though forever, I was in choir in high-school, and in emetic, I use a Shure Microphone, a delay pedal, and an old P.A. I just record my vocals for GAHT in my phone because I don’t have an interface.

(Tiffani): My dad is a musician and was very supportive in that aspect, so I must admit I am privileged and am fortunate. He taught me how to play guitar, and how to record, what Equalizers, compressors and limiters are. I still use the same Steingburg UR-22 two channel interface I did when I was 17. It’s a great interface for what I do. My Microphone is a Shure SM-58, I play my Peavey 5 string which I nicknamed “Killer Kitty”, and a Fender Strat with Ernie Ball Cobalts tuned to Drop G. (laughs)

(Lily): “The transition to this project wasn’t too drastic honestly, i’m a noise-hoe (chuckle) and a minimalist. I use the same vocal recording techniques I’ve been using since i started my Sound Waves Attacking Nothing project back in 2019; the music is just more structured this time around (laughs).”

8. Tell us who your favorite underground bands in the WNY scene are!

(Lily): We of course have to mention Bound and Quartered.

(Tiffani:) Such a talented band. Heavy, and very talented. Randy Mawhiney of course needs no introduction. Latisha and Mackenzi are amazing humans and great musicians, and I have followed all of them for years and I love seeing their smiling faces at shows.

(Lily): It is fucking awesome that Bound and Quartered is back. I saw the notification and my jaw dropped. Also Toxsin the Epidemic.

(Tiffani): I remember their first show at the Haunt in Ithaca (RIP) They were my favorite band of the night, aside from Ire Clad which is another one of my favorite bands. That was the last time I saw Jason Kimbell. He was a kind soul, in one of my favorite bands, local or otherwise. I love Toxsin, he is an amazing singer, rapper, screamer, and his verses are so clever and really something I have never heard before. He reignited my curiosity in horrorcore and hip-hop in general.

(Lily): Also shoutout to Malignant, not that many instrumental bands around, but they are one of the best, and play tech-death nonetheless.

9. Plug any relevant links to your online presence. (the simpler the URL, the better)

Our Instagram is gxaxhxt

We are Girls Against Hetero Tyranny on Youtube, Bandcamp and Facebook.

10. Shows seem to be getting “back to normal”, whatever that means. Tell us about the first shows you worked or attended where you felt as though the pandemic was on the verge of becoming past tense in conversation.

(Tiffani): The first Emetic/Graven Image show in June of 2021 at the Bread and Water Theatre that I mentioned earlier. One of the best times of our lives, after so much discord and facing the chagrin of many over social issues regarding my transition and the pandemic… This show was a comfortable place to be queer and free and just enjoy music, drinks and my best friends. Also, our show in August where Graven Image was actually able to invite Carnivora down from Salem, Massachusetts to play at the Brew Haus with us and Emetic. That was such an intense night for Lily and I both, three femme-fronted bands performing on one set, we were both happy to be a part of it.

(Lily): Yes! I bawled my eyes out that night. Those shows we did after the restrictions lifted were some of my favorites, all of my friends there living the moment with us. Transitioning and the pandemic really made me lose a lot of people I thought were my friends. I made new friends, and better friends, that like me for me. All of that emotion really came out at these shows. The show I attended where I felt like the pandemic was a thing of the past was the first Diluted show, moshing and singing to my favorite band as myself for the first time was so cathartic.

11. For Theo: Is Graven Image still a thing? I’m just curious on how GI morphed into GAHT, assuming that’s even what happened.

(Tiffani) Graven Image is absolutely still a thing. We were displaced from our practice space, it was no longer a safe and friendly environment for us to gather. Our band dynamic and process is all of us getting together every Sunday to work on old songs and work on new ones, or just jam. Graven Image will resume activity once I move into a new house this summer and we will have a jam space once more! In a way Graven Image did sort of help make Girls Against Hetero Tyranny a thing. If Graven Image and Emetic didn’t play all of those shows due to Lily and I always having each other’s back, we may not have started this duo and been so enthused to collaborate. I am a woman of great ambitions and as many musical adventures as I can embark on.

*Taken from our April 2022 issue: “Lessons in Dissonance”

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