Promoting with Purpose

Meet Bang On, the Berlin indie collective putting female musicians centre stage

Words By Jonny Tiernan
Photos By Shane Omar

There’s a new collective in town, and this one is doing things a little differently. Promoting gigs, shooting live videos, running interviews – all with a twist. Recognising the inherent challenges of being a female musician, and with a desire to build up a community spirit, Bang On have set about redressing the gender balance in indie.

The collective have a strict policy of only booking bands that have at least one female member, and with a fantastic first lineup their inaugural gig at Bei Ruth was a stormer. Bang On are a vital and welcome step in a male-dominated music world, and if at this point you feel thoughts rising up about the music world not being male-dominated, you are wrong and need to stop, now. Every move towards achieving equality has our full support, especially when it involves doing something completely kick-ass. Here we speak with co-founder Eilis Frawley to get a better insight into the Bang On vision.

Give us the brief Bang On introduction.
Bang On is a community-focused music collective, with a strong focus on promoting female musicians in the local scene. We shoot live videos, run interviews and host monthly events.

Who’s behind it?
Bang On is myself and Maggie Devlin as the core members – the daily hustlers! But we couldn’t do it without Shane Pilon, who does our photos and video, sound guys Robert Williams and Marco Santucci, and the amazing team at Bei Ruth.

When starting my quest to find females in the local indie scene I found 110 bands!

What inspired you to start a collective like this?
Community and the sense of a friendly and helpful local scene has always been important to me. After relocating to Berlin I went to a lot of gigs where women were underrepresented. All the promoters I have had contact with have been male, and they regularly promote the same few bands. Then when starting my quest to find females in the local indie scene I found 110 bands! Bang On’s goal is create a connection between these bands and offer a space for them to play

So you just decided to do it yourself? Like, one day you woke up and said, ‘imma gonna do something about this!’
Yeah! I think if you don’t necessarily like the way things are, you can either complain and do nothing or create a space for what you want to do. I’m definitely a doer! Previously I was living in South Korea and there was a similar platform for local bands called Loose Union, and that’s where the seed got planted. Their parties and vibes were so good.

Sounds like the sense of community is the most important to you. How would you like to see this build? What does a strong community look like to you?
I live for a good community! In a local music scene there’s so much room for sharing and helping each other out. If we can create a friendly, fun, and approachable vibe that’d be a great start! I’d like to see Bang On grow in a way that faces become familiar, people return for gigs, and other bands offer support for other bands. For me a strong community looks like a bunch of friendly faces sharing regular moments; where bands watch other bands, where people help out where and when they can. I think we’re definitely off to a good start.

Yes, we were at the first show. It was rammed! How did that feel?
A little bit shocking to be honest! It was my first time to run an event of that size in Berlin, I worked hard in the lead up, but you never know if people are gonna show up. Everything about that night is what my dreams are made of. Nice people, great music, an excited crowd and an awesome venue.

I live for a good community! In a local music scene there's so much room for sharing and helping each other out.

And what about the bands, did they get the Bang On vibe and ethos?
I think so! We’ve had a bunch of really positive feedback. I think it’s a vibe we have to build over time, but it was a great start.

How do you go about curating the lineups?
My dream is to pull three bands who are from different circles within the scene to play together. To get a more varied show in acts. I think in Berlin with so many bands it’s cool you can have a lineup of only post-punk bands, or dream pop but I also love lineups that are more diverse and that appeal to a larger crowd. At the moment Bang On is so new, I just ask bands I’ve heard of and hope they say ‘yes’! A few people are now reaching out to us and our list of bands is forever growing. It’s an exciting time!

We’re excited for you! Tell us about the next show.
The next show is May 6th, with Susie Asado, The Spinning Lamps and Lapwings. Please come!

Keep up to date with all things Bang On, and get thee to the next show.