I’m Suzy and I’m the Director of ‘So, which band is your boyfriend in?’. As a musician, photographer and former webzine founder, music has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. I’ve had my share of amazing experiences through my involvement in the scene but I also noticed an imbalance when it comes to gender equality in music.
My hope is that this documentary has a positive impact on the awareness of equality issues in the UK music scene, and inspires change.
Why I decided to make a film
I decided to start this documentary project to tell the stories of people from all walks of life within the UK music scene. I wanted to learn how and why non-male participants in the scene got involved in music, hear about their experiences, and look at the possible ways we could change things.
When I started the project back in 2014 it was evident that there was a gender divide in music – people were starting to talk more about it and there had been a number of press articles on the issue, but they only scratched the surface. I wanted my documentary to explore the situation in more depth and provide a comprehensive picture of what was going on.
There were and still are plenty of documentaries out there about music, but so many focus on male musicians and the American music scene. This project gives a voice to women/gender-neutral people who are, or have recently been, involved in UK music scenes.
While interviews and documentaries exist about musicians in the UK, many tend to focus on historical change in the music scene, such as rise of punk in the ’70s and so on. These retrospective documentaries, often looking at one band, continue to be made and often imply that punk and the UK underground scene doesn’t exist anymore. That’s not true. I feel that the current scene often gets overlooked. ‘So, which band is your boyfriend in?’ is possibly the first film out there specifically documenting today’s punk/DIY scenes in the UK and I hope that it results in a wave of more being made.
It’s hard to be inspired if you can’t relate to the stories you hear/see in documentaries. And with that in mind, I hope that this project inspires people, regardless of their age/gender/background, to pick up an instrument, learn to record music or just get out there to watch bands.
Making the documentary
Before making ‘So, which band is your boyfriend in?’ I had never made a full-length film before. I’ve learnt how to film, edit and produce as I’ve made the documentary. I look back and I see things that I could do better now, but I can also see the amount of work I put into this project and what a massive achievement it is. You try producing a 97 minute film on your own with limited budget and no crew. It took me a long time to make this film but I’m pleased with the story it tells.
While I was making the documentary, I definitely saw an increase in press coverage and awareness of women’s experiences in music and the entertainment industry. It’s been good to see issues being spoken about more, but there are still challenges and barriers that are being faced on every level – from the grassroots, to those at the top in the music industry. We need to keep going.
If you want to find out more about the making of the film, follow the documentary on social media (@sowhichband). I’ve also put together some zines which provide insight into the background of the film as well as the filmmaking process. You can find the zines in my Etsy shop.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Indiegogo campaign for this project. And thank you to everyone who agreed to be interviewed – it’s been amazing to meet you and share your stories. Thank you also to everyone who contributed video footage, artwork, photos, music and time in support of this film – I couldn’t have done this without you and I’m extremely grateful.