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Mary Pearson, High Places

How would you describe your music?

Homemade dance rock.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

My band is a duo with my male best friend. We split all duties pretty evenly. We each record ourselves separately and I do a lot of the song construction. My band mate is more of the aesthetic expert and I am more in charge of pitch, organization, and structure. I handle most of the business and finances that come with the band. My band mate handles most of the art design for posters, album art, t-shirts, etc. We both make visual art, and I have made several music videos for us.

Describe your gear.

Teisco guitar, Roland 404 sampler, Rat distortion pedal, Digiverb reverb pedal, Shure beta 57 vocal microphone, Roland keyboard amp, homemade telephone speaker microphone, effects rack, Fox Renard 220 bassoon.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

I did not think there was a difference when I was playing orchestral music. However, in rock music I think there is a big difference. Any write up about a female musician, or especially a group of female musicians, will mention gender right off the bat. My band is always referred to as a boy-girl duo, even though we don't both sing (and my 35 year old band mate is hardly a boy!). There are plenty of male front people who only sing in their bands, even though they are the band's mastermind and write all the songs. However, I have felt like, as a woman, if I only sing in my band, it will be assumed that my band mate writes all the music, and my only job is to sing it. Perhaps that is my own gender bias and insecurity, but I do feel like there is some truth to my fear.

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

"I think there is going to be a really strong new generation of women musicians. There are all of these rock camps for girls that are doing tremendous things to teach young girls about rock music and to give them the confidence and the drive to pursue playing in bands. "

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

"My mother has always been very supportive of my pursuit of a music career. She studied music and taught it, as did her father. The advice I would give a woman musician just starting out would be to stay as hands on as possible with her career. The more you do for yourself, the more control you have, and the more you learn. "

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

"I began playing bassoon at age 11 because I loved the role of Grandfather in Peter and the Wolf. I was also quite small at the time, and I was attracted to the idea of playing a large, low-pitched instrument. I considered the tuba, but I liked the melodic voice of the bassoon. It sounded to me like if a cello were a wind instrument. I recently started teaching myself to play guitar because it is such an important instrument in rock music. I was tired of only singing when my band performed live. As a wind player, I've always been a bit intimidated by string instruments, but I'm getting over that fear the more I play my guitar."

Related Themes: The First Time