As part of the media coverage for Out of Earshot’s inaugural festival on the weekend of August 23-25, 2018, not your boys club will be showcasing some of the truly wonderful people organizing, playing, and performing at the festival in the weeks leading up to it.
For the final interview in this series, I spoke with Sof (she/her) who does vocals for the hardcore band DOXX. She’s a student, bartender, and musician born in Irkutsk, Russia and based out of Ottawa, ON.
Photo by Aidan Thatcher
How long has DOXX been making music music and how did everyone meet each other?
DOXX has been making music for about 2.5 years now. I met Britt (guitar) early 2014 when she was a TA in one of my first year gender studies classes at the University of Ottawa and we would see each other at shows in Ottawa here and there. Kieran (drums) and Britt are partners and they formed what was supposed to be a one-off show hardcore band with Jeff (bass) for a show Jeff was booking in I believe March 2016. Originally Britt was gonna be doing guitar and vocals but then it was like, no, this music is too fast to do both – who should we ask to front this band? Britt reached out to me because i would go off in the front row of the audience at every show but had never been in a band. We didn’t know each other super well at that point but I’m so glad they did because now Britt is my #1 ride or die. And I guess it was just too fun to let it go after one show. The rest of my bandmates are pretty much born and raised in Ottawa and so have known each other for much longer than they’ve known me. But we’re tight. I’m the baby of the band.
Were the issues that you sing about (capitalism, white supremacy, heteronormativity, etc.) what inspired the formation of this band?
I would say a heavy love of hardcore punk is what inspired the formation of DOXX, but these issues you mention are important to me/us generally, so naturally that’s what I end up writing lyrics about. I think it’s sick both if someone starts into doxx because they like our sound and then later get something from the lyrics, or vice versa if they’re really into our “”message”” initially and maybe later get more into hardcore and punk because it’s like, oh i actually really like this style of music and it’s not just all angry violent men yelling about “brotherhood” – maybe this music can be for me? The conversation about representation and politicization is interesting and definitely complicated. I put “”message”” in those quotes above because I don’t really think there’s one distinct message I’m aiming to convey with my lyrics…much like, you know, humans in general, there’s a lot going on in my brain and heart…some of it is contradictory, some of it is political, some of it is about my relationships, some of it is sarcastic, some of it is real serious and affecting, but for sure it is still very personal. Sometimes I feel my lyrics are over-analyzed, almost scrutinized, because of how my identity is perceived. It has made me more hesitant to define myself or our music in explicit ways. We’ve been criticized in the past for not being “queer enough” to call ourselves queer punk(s)…I don’t really know what to say to that. Ask my girlfriend. Actually, don’t. I don’t owe nobody shit, leave us alone (lol). Ultimately, I have some shit to say but also ya girl just loves a breakdown, you know? A decent amount of my favourite punk and hardcore bands maybe weren’t intended to resonate with me and my particular experience of life as a young woman…but somehow they do…but maybe if I went to see one of those bands live I wouldn’t feel totally welcome in the space. Like I said, it’s complicated. I guess the best thing about being in doxx is that i’m able to just say fuck it and take that space for myself and others like me, and I think that was definitely at the heart of the formation of the band.
Do you feel like there is a shift in which bands/individuals are given space in the Ottawa music community?
Yes absolutely! I like to think of this kind of growth as a tension between “being given” space and “taking” space – a mix of personal agency and community support that facilitates the status quo being challenged and shifted. There are many older and more established community members in Ottawa (even some cis white men, lol) who are unfailingly encouraging and helpful and recognize that making active efforts for the inclusion of marginalized folks not only makes our community more vibrant and fun but is just like…the right thing to do. For example, my bandmates, who reached out to me to front DOXX even though I had never been in a band before. There are also hella young/queer/trans/POC folks pushing more established community members to complicate how they understand the world and the scene. Both groups are valuable and sick as fuck and strengthen community. At the same time, there will always be those shitheads who are more about their own egos than community building and helping others learn – that’s fine. It’s obvious to me that that kind of attitude comes from a place of bitterness and insecurity and they will eventually become irrelevant and for damn sure aren’t having as much fun as we are.
Empowering femme and non-binary people to participate and take up space in their respective music communities is really important to not your boys club and so I was thrilled to read in an interview that you put out a zine with Britt for femme and queer youth on how to start a band. What would you say was the most important (or the overarching) message you were trying to communicate?
Most important message: starting a band is probably easier than you think! Just do it! If you have questions about resources reach out to us!
Are there any femme and queer folx in your community making music that you would like to give a shout out to?
Sailor jupiter sadly doesn’t exist anymore but are probably my favourite Ottawa band ever.