Get Your "Gigg On" with Sydne Wheeler Larsen

Name: Sydne Wheeler Larsen


Year: Senior


Major: French & Psychology double; Athena Scholar


Hometown: "SALT LAKE CITAYYYY," Utah


Tell me about Gigg on, Girl Festival?

Gigg On, Girl Festival (aka Gigg Fest) is my response to sexism in the music industry, specifically in festival booking. I started going to concerts in New York as a first year. Then the following summer, while interning at a radio station in Utah, the hosts asked me one day, “Why are you only telling us about dude musicians? Why aren’t we hearing women?” From that point on, I started challenging my own listening habits, because there are tons of amazing women musicians, you just have to dig deeper than popular media culture. Then all this press came out this year about how marginalized women bands are in festival lineups. Only 6% of bands at Coachella 2015 were women-driven. Gigg On, Girl Festival is going to sock it to the festival bookers and show the music industry that women are here, and we want to see them.


What are your goals for "Gigg On, Girl Festival"? What do you see it evolving into?

For now, I’m just focusing on curating the inaugural Gigg Fest the best I can (cause I’m winging it as much as you would expect), but I don’t treat this like a one-off event. We can’t just have ONE day a year where we make a festival stage for women. I hope Gigg Fest becomes an annual celebratory protest. Also, like, don’t judge this first one too hard. I want Gigg Fest to evolve to become more inclusive and impactful with every year.


When is it?

Gigg On, Girl Festival is happening on Saturday, December 5th, 2015 in the James Room (Barnard College). Tickets and lineup will be announced in about two weeks on our socials @giggongirl! Follow us to find out first!


Have you always loved music?

Yup! My mom raised me on Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Alicia Keys. My passion for music came directly out of my love to dance - both forms of personal expression. Music means so many things to me; some days it’s just a way to wake up in the morning, some days it’s a soundtrack to my school readings or commute. But every day it’s a way for me to actually figure out my own emotions and their capacities. Who I am. It’s a lot of things.


Who are some of your favorite artists?

Ooooh I’m so glad you asked me this! FKA twigs is my heroine and basically the indie Beyonce. Yeah, I said it. (I actually wrote a paper on her last year as an example of strong female leadership.) I love Meg Myers because she’s scary and intense and no one knows what to do with her. Her ex actually broke up with her over her song “Desire”. And then, of course, I have to shout out Little Simz. She’s a U.K. rapper. One of the first lines on her debut album is “Women can be kings”, and that first track, “Persons”, is all about telling off the people who told her she couldn’t make it, that she isn’t strong enough. They’re just adding fuel to her fire. I love it.  


Best places in New York for live music?

I LOVE Baby’s All Right. We just call it Baby’s. I got permission to film our crowdfunding video there, which was really just an excuse for me to dance around on Baby’s stage with the lights on and the venue empty. Dream. come. true. Other DIY venues, especially for local bands, are Palisades, Shea Stadium (not a stadium), Aviv, Elvis Guesthouse for starters.


Are there any new artists you're feeling?

Always! Last week, Bibi Bourelly (who wrote Rihanna’s BBHMM) released her second single, “Ego”. The Japanese House (Amber Bain) is another one - she just released her second EP, and she produces with Matty and George of The 1975. I’ve been a hardcore Halsey fan for the last, let’s see, 36 hours, and I’ve gone DEEP down the Halsey rabbit hole already. And as far as locals BOYTOY, Painted Zeros, Junglepussy, Gingerlys, all ace artists.


If you can, name one song that captures your personality?

Haha challenge accepted! I’m going to go with Tei Shi’s “Bassically”. That song is this web of empowered vulnerability and it just erupts when she sings it live. Mainly the verse, “Is that what you found / Like the other boys / Someone you can drown / Like the other noise”, and then this feral but controlled sing-scream in response to being turned down “like the other noise”. This song is like going to war with the world - the people that condescend to you and the shit that brings you down.