“I’m just a cis white woman,” said Jenna Hardie, the focal heart of Perth band Unicorn, when I asked her about her band’s video for their latest single, ‘Twisted’.
I hate politics of any sort, but when we stray into gender and sexual politics, we start out already up to our necks in quicksand and it’s just a matter of seeing who goes under first.
Yep, we’re in contested space here, people, and Hardie was at great pains not to get it wrong.
“The video is a celebration of diversity, people’s individuality and having the courage to be yourself,” said Hardie. “It’s just a great big party going on where people can be who they are and do what they want to do.”
“Yes, because as a society we’re still don’t do difference well,” said Hardie. “Some people think I’m a lesbian because I front a band called Unicorn. I get propositioned by men who want me to have sex with them and their partners, because they think that’s what the band’s about. You know what unicorn means, right?”
“In urban slang a unicorn is a woman who’ll have sex with a couple without affecting their relationship, coming between them,” said Hardie.
Oh, I see. The world truly is fucked, isn’t it? I really thought unicorns were the epitome of rainbows and sparkles. I’ve even toyed with the idea of becoming one myself from time to time. But if I ever have sex with a couple of any sort, I’m definitely coming between them, in every sense of the word.
Here’s a woman and her band making a video that celebrates diversity, and she feels like she has to start out by being apologetic about getting into the territory in the first place.
I hate politics of any sort, but when we stray into gender and sexual politics, we start out already up to our necks in quicksand and it’s just a matter of seeing who goes under first. It’s a zero-sum proposition for all involved.
So, Jenna, take a breath. It’s OK. Anyone who wants to criticise you for stepping on their sacred ground is just playing out their own prejudices and trauma. If they take exception to what you do, it’s their fault, not yours.
As for the song itself, ‘Twisted’ is another slice of Unicorn pop/grunge heaven. It starts out sounding like a cartoon, the sonic palette all vivid colours and painted-in backgrounds, and then it takes a turn, as a lot of Unicorn songs do. I guess the clue’s in the title, isn’t it?
Unicorn are a band on the cusp of something good, maybe even great. Hardie and I spent a good deal of our time together talking about how to make it in the music biz. I told her, even after all these years of writing about music, I still have no clue, but I encouraged her to sell the farm, cash in her superannuation and head to Brazil.
Whatever Unicorn do next, if they make it, I’m definitely taking some credit.
Unicorn launch the video for ‘Twisted’ at The Bird on Saturday 4 November with special guests Mage and Noah Skape.
Get your tickets here, and don’t forget to polish up your ball gag.