GIRLS TO THE FRONT with Darcy Dexter from Seaside

This International Women’s Day, we’re raising a glass to the inspirational, irreplaceable, bad-arse women in our lives. Their strong presence, unparalleled talent and downright awesomeness is worth cheersing not just today, but every day. 

These empowered women of today stand firmly on the shoulders of strong women who have spent decades fighting for women’s place at the table. No, LITERALLY! Until the 1970s, women weren’t even permitted equal entry to eat and drink in some public bars. When two legendary lady deviants chained themselves to the foot rail of a Brisbane hotel in 1965 and called bullshit on the whole thing, they ignited a movement that saw this law changed in QLD in 1970. Flash forward to today, and women continue smashing the glass ceiling of traditionally male-dominated spaces. 

We’re lucky enough to be blessed with some of the best in our Beach Burrito family. Half of the head honchos who keep our wheels turning in head office are women, whilst we’re also driven by a team of ladies who work their butts off as store managers and bring a bunch of brilliance to the bar. 

Surfing, skating, snow sports, music (and of course, good food) runs deep in our culture. The stereotypical shredder in these spaces is the shaggy-haired, shakka-throwing dude. But there’s shedloads of talent that doesn’t fit this mould.

Many of our good mates are walking challengers of this silly little cliché; take wave ripper Sophia Chapman, formidable skater Aimee Massie and musical weapon Darcy Dexter for example. This IWD, we sat down with Darcy – who heads up the Byron Bay band Seaside – to gain insight into her experiences in the historically male-centric music industry.

Happy IWD Darcy, thanks for chatting to us! Obviously, as a musician, you’re in an industry controlled mostly by dudes. Lately, we’ve seen trailblazers pushing for greater gender equality, but what challenges do you think women in the music industry still face? 

Darcy: We definitely are in an era where the limitations that surround being a woman are so prominent and widely discussed. We have heaps of advocates fighting for us, which is amazing, but the fact that it’s even still a conversation is the core of the issue. A lot of the older generation still working in the industry don’t fundamentally value a woman’s work – and they’re adapting and changing which will inevitably have a ripple effect – but many are unfortunately still stuck in their ways.

I had a time where I played a show in Seaside and the only girl’s toilet was a portaloo outside but there was three guys toilets inside. The level of disrespect that it must take for somebody to think that’s okay – I literally feel sorry for that person – makes me so sad. Being a human in this world requires mutual respect. Mutual respect is most definitely not sending a girl to an outside portaloo to go to a toilet!

Sheesh, the audacity! Converse to this experience, what’s been a moment in your career where you’ve been like: ‘Holy shit, women rule, and I feel so supported’?

Darcy: On International Women’s Day, Triple J have a ‘girls to the front’ initiative. When they involved us in that a few years ago, that was super inspiring, and it was the first time I recognised there are people advocating for us in the industry. Also looking at anything that Phoebe Bridgers does is so exciting. I think that she’s an absolute queen, and so unapologetically herself. 

Yes, she’s the bomb! I watched her recent performance where she smashes her guitar and she’s in that epic gothic black dress. 

Darcy: She got sooo much clap-back for that! People were pissed OFF. And I’m like: ‘Oh but it’s so cool and glorified when a dude gets up there and does it?’ It wasn’t even an expensive guitar and critics are like: ‘there are people dying in the world!’ Pick your battles, man. That was a super inspiring moment, yet people are so keen to take that away from her. Men just don’t get the same backlash for stuff like that.

The prejudice is still so real hey. So regardless of industry or context, I want to know what being a woman means to you? 

Darcy: For me, I think women are portrayed to be weak, and that is why we’re considered slightly lesser in a broad sense. But I find that we are actually stronger. We’re stronger mentally, in our ability to talk about our feelings – and I hate the stigma around men’s mental health, which is a totally separate and important issue – but come on, we’re able to create life! The world wouldn’t exist without us.

In what situations do you feel most empowered as a woman? 

Darcy: Having people come up to me after a show and tell me that in any way I’ve made them feel empowered or inspired… that in itself is empowering to me. In the least corny way possible, I just want help other people, and I love that I can make another girl feel like she can do the same thing. Because we definitely can, and we need more of us up on the stage. 

What kind of positive change are you hoping for in the music industry going forward? 

Darcy: Ummm I’d really like to have a toilet inside, I think that’d be dope hahaha. No honestly, I think we should keep striving toward removing the difference in opportunity between genders. The most important thing is to stay as strong as possible throughout that time, because it’s a process. It won’t happen overnight. We need to keep celebrating the positive changes and continue the battle that hopefully ends soon. True equality will exist when we don’t even address that women are in any way disadvantaged because of their gender.

Absolutely, even working towards a time where we don’t have to address the fact that you’re a female musician. 

Darcy: Absolutely, I’m a musician! And so is that guy. And so is that person who chooses not to identify with a gender. You know what I mean? We’re just musicians at the end of the day. 

Can you soundtrack our International Women’s Day by telling us about some of your favourite female bands or artists? 

Darcy: Oh my god there’s so many. Actually, my friend just walked past me, she’s coming over and we’re having Rosé and going to the Bowlo Trivia Night. She’s in a super cool and different band called Cupid and the Stupids. The front woman tap dances and it’s kind of like a romantic Ramones. Otherwise, there’s a band called Sorry in the UK; they’re an eclectic mix of genres. I love Middle Kids. I love Psycho, they supported us a couple of years ago and now they’re just blowing up. It’s really well deserved. I could go on forever, I have a million and one favourites. 

That’s heaps to wrap our ears around! Thanks so much for the yarns, we can’t wait to see what killer stuff you get up to this year. 

You can support Darcy, her band Seaside and their dreamy indie tunes by streaming them on Spotify or following their Insta.

Words by Tess Fuller

Tess Fuller