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Stephanie Gunther, not currently in a band.

How would you describe your music?

I guess it would be categorized somewhere in the indie music genre, which I realize is an extremely broad term. My very first band was definitely influenced by punk and pop music, whereas my latter bands leaned towards indie rock in general. I'm hoping to branch out and explore some other influences out here in Brooklyn. Adding electronic elements and such is really interesting.

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

I like to be a leader, but I think that everyone in the band needs to put forth opinions and participate in all decisions. When it comes to writing, since I'm not playing an instrument, I usually sit in on practices while the other members jam and give my opinion on song structure. For example "that part would be a really great verse, you should double it here", etc. After the song is structurally laid out, we do a rough recording through garageband and then I write the vocals and lyrics at home. Once that is done I show the band what I came up with and we go from there. In the studio I definitely give my opinion but also respect what each musician really wants from their particular sound. When it comes to vocals, I definitely try any ideas the producer or my bandmates put forward, but ultimately I am the final say on how I want them to sound. As far as marketing decisions I am 100% involved. Being in a band requires a good business sense, and all members should again come to a decision mutually on how they want the group to be represented.

Describe your gear.

I had an Audix Om 5 microphone with my past bands (I recently broke it and had to sell it). Other than that I have the standard PA system for practicing. I also have some other random instruments; a Fender strat guitar, a keyboard, tambourine, etc. that I use at home, but have not performed with them onstage.

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?

Most definitely. I think most people don't take me seriously when I tell them I am a musician. I think they assume I don't really know what I'm talking about. Women are definitely outnumbered in that field. It's a lot easier for men to find people to play with in that regard. I didn't really encounter much sexism in my most recent bands, but with my first it was unbelievable. I think it was because at that time, there weren't a lot of female fronted bands playing in that genre, so people didn't know how to react to it. A lot of people were into it, but others would get really aggressive and write me off as a marketing scheme or pick apart my appearance as opposed to my actual talent. There would be times when we would go to play a show, and the bouncers weren't going to let me in because they thought I was a groupie or a girlfriend. I'd say no, I'm in the band and they would look over me and turn to the guys in my band and say "Is she in the band?". That definitely made it clear to me that I wasn't being taken seriously, that is until I actually got on stage and performed.

Related Themes: Cashing In

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I think it's more about differences in experience regarding genre. For example it may be harder to be taken seriously as a female in rap than it is as a female in country music. Through the decades women in music have consistently struggled to be taken seriously.

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?

I can't remember specifics of advice given to me, but I've learned a lot going through it. I'd advise to have a thick skin when it comes to putting yourself out there. Persistence is key, and there are going to be people that will disregard you for no reason other than you being female, but if it's what you love keep pushing forward.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

I got involved with musical theater in the 8th grade and was extremely passionate about it. I spent my high school career singing in plays and taking voice lessons. When I went to college I realized that I was more interested in singing in bands than in plays and so went on from there.

Related Themes: The First Time