Julianna Bright (The Quails)

by Steffen & Verena

These Interviews were conducted in 2003/2004 as part of a research for a paper at the University of Göttingen | Germany on gender networks and music.

What do you do?
I play the drums and sing.

Please describe your political ideology/standpoint.
Idealogically I try to focus on peace and am politically motivated from this place as well. In San Francisco there is a very built-in, lefty community. It’s one of the reasons I stay here, in the end, and a place that is constantly inspiring and challenging me. One thing I am trying to do more of as I get older, however, is to sit down with people who don’t share my exact political or idealogical bent; trying to learn how to have peace and understanding with people I sometimes strongly disagree with.

Does your political standpoint influence your music?
I think our political thoughts are very present in our music. Something we discuss and think about a lot are the ‘politics of every day life.’ Especially in the United States, electoral politics can be very discouraging/alienating. And so how then do you make the idea of justice and compassionate legislation something that matters to people, something they will stand up for? This is a question we consider a lot when we play shows or when we write music.

Personally, I don’t feel like I have anything to complain about compared to a woman in Afghanistan or a woman in Nigeria, for instance, who could be put to death for committing adultery.

Is there an international network that you find important for your music?
There must be some international network that would allow us (you, the interviewers and we, the interviewees) to find one another. I think as I mentioned above, I am strongly inspired by people who seek to make peace, who seek to end aggression in the world. There are a variety of international peace and human rights groups, that while I am not partnered with, I support and admire.

What do you think connects the members of this network?
I suppose it’s the belief that life is valuable. That compassion makes us better humans.

Are you an active part of that network? In what way?
I do consider myself a part of that, even if I don’t hold the membership card. I hope the music I participate in making, and community building the music occasionally provides a soundtrack for makes me a part of this network.

In what way do you think globalization influences those international networks?
Well, things like the web are obviously helpful in connecting people with similar opinions to yours. But I don’t know that I necessarily have anything new to bring to the discussion on globalization.

Did you experience gender-related problems?
Gender specific problems relating to globalization? Again, I don’t know that I have anything revelatory to tell two students of gender studies on this topic, but it seems to me part of the renewed fundamentalism in the world and the implicit subjugation of women that comes with it is in reaction to the freedoms globalization has promised. And in poorer countries certainly, there is a push to limit the freedom and opportunity of women, to pull them out of the work force if nothing else. Personally, I don’t feel like I have anything to complain about compared to a woman in Afghanistan or a woman in Nigeria, for instance, who could be put to death for committing adultery. Compared to them my gripes about women still being largely looked over as musicians seems silly.

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