In the latest interview, we talk to Tokky Horror’s Zena Davine (formerly of Queen Zee) about new music, new inspirations and more.
S] What does the future hold for you guys post-lockdown?
We have no idea, we’re just making tunes and watching the Blade trilogy loads waiting it out til we can bundle ourselves into a van.
S] Do you feel like there is now a change coming for awareness around LGBTQ+ in the UK’s music industry specifically?
I think there’s more performative activism, which proves people are aware of the problems—whether there has been any solid change is debatable.
S] As an extension of that, what work still needs to be done?
Personally I feel like the work has to happen outside of the industry, and that often the industry just reflects wider problems. For example while Trans women are still vilified by people like JK Rowling there is a struggle to even use a toilet, never mind headline a festival, have a platinum album, or any of the huge achievements that are the dreams of people unhindered by institutionalised transphobia.
S] What would you say your biggest challenges as artists are at the moment?
Well depending who you are those challenges probably are things such as institutionalised racism, homophobia, transphobia, ablesim, sexism etc. I always cringe when I read an all straight white cis male band moan about dealing with their major label A&R when there are people who will never be given that chance, not because their music and artistic output is any worse, but because of mis-placed prejudice and disparities in opportunity because of privilege.
We can then go on to talk about how groups of people such as trans people are more likely to be unemployed due to this same prejudice, so when a promoter will only pay you £50 for a support, your petrol to get there was £60 and Spotify are only willing to pay you in dust, it makes starting out as a musician a process where you actually have to invest money, not earn. Something entirely impossible for people without excess income. I have been so lucky for the support I’ve had over the years and our label Alcopop! Records being willing to support us to get the ball rolling.
S] What does success mean to you now?
Being able to make a living out of music, which is crazy because I feel as if that bar is fairly low. I would love to say headlining Glastonbury or having a platinum record or playing on the Moon, but honestly, to simply survive as a musician in 2020 is enough.
S] Thanks so much for your time!