Friends Of G.Statement, 13.10.23
Some people asked me if I will be playing at the Friends Of G. concert: I will not. I decided to quit the band a few months ago and I don‘t support them.
I left the group because of the toxic environment. I experienced neglect, dismissiveness, belittling, passive aggressive behavior, invalidation, stonewalling and gaslighting. I received condescending comments, patronizing messages, my needs were made unimportant, my feelings, concerns and questions have been dismissed, the access to my workspace has been denied. I witnessed verbal violence, jealousy, sexist rhetoric and casual racism.
This whole experience left me feeling unworthy and confused.
As I started the band 10 years ago, I was really young and impressionable. I felt pushed aside a lot and as the years passed by, I was willing to engage myself more into the finances and organization of the band as the information sharing and task management wasn’t transparent. Two of them, who would hold the power, wouldn’t give me or others some grab of it as it would change the bands power-dynamic. I felt like I had to fit the mold that they gave me and was never seen on the same eye-level. This led to inequitable differences, financial dispute and conflict. I was powerless, I felt like I didn’t have a voice to speak about my concerns and my fears as they would disregard my feelings and control the situation.
I wanted to do more experimentations with sound, song arrangement, electronic equipment and new music: but this always has been blocked by one specific person; as I would come with new ideas to the practice room, these would be dismissed pretty fast, showing no effort to work on my suggestions, leaving no room to break the existing traditional construct of the post-punk genre, thus leaving no room for creativity and progress. This made me feel unheard, unimportant, voiceless and trapped: the band was stagnating.
After 3 years of weighing my thoughts, I decided to leave the band mid-mai of this year 2023. Which wasn’t a decision that I wanted to make but that I had to, prioritizing my wellbeing. I decided that I don‘t want this type of behavior hurting me anymore, I decided I want to surround myself only with people that care about me and that support me: people that don‘t put down my emotions, my struggles, my capability; people that value my person, my music, my art.
As I talked to other musicians and composers who share similar stories, I got the strength to speak up about the shitty situation that I have been through. I am doing this as a way to find closure, as a mean to conclusion and to recovery. I am doing this not only for me but for all the people, women, migrants going through the same experience and for those in toxic relationships who are looking to stand up and speak out.
As the guitarist of Friends Of G., I have been there since the very beginning: in fact I started the band to find a replacement for Atatakakatta -also my band- at the Die Nerven concert on the 14th of february 2014 in Unter Deck, Munich. Since then, I invested a lot of time and labor in the group, I invested money in equipment, I composed all of my parts independently: the songs wouldn’t be the same without me. It is also my music, my performance, my audience and my fans.
Now they are trying to portray me as just a tool for them, they erased me from the band photo, they didn’t mention me and my departure, like I never existed despite of all the things I brought to the band, they make me feel like I accomplished my part and I can be let go so easily because I don’t hold the same power as them. They keep the conflict as quiet as possible, they are silencing my voice and still controlling the narrative. They went as far as denying me and my band Cute Fruit access to my workspace, sabotaging my career as a musician.
„Geh doch deinen eigenen Weg!“ are the words they used last towards me.
As a working-class armenian woman of color who emigrated from my own land because of the disasters of the soviet union, the on-going war with Azerbaijan and the on-going silent genocide against my people: I was born running away from my home due to political turmoil and economical disparity. My family doesn’t own anything and I don’t have any inheritance, I am working 3 jobs to afford the capitalistic european lifestyle and now, due to the Bavarian political climate tending to 70% right-wing parties: my life is also threatened here, in my now-home. So, where should I go?
Thank you to all of my friends who took time to listen to me and showed me their support: you mean a lot to me! <3
I have been saddened by the other half who, by not taking a stand, enabled this type of abuse to happen in our music scene.
Thank you for reading, for listening to me, I am open for questions.
Don’t hesitate and contact me under email@example.com
My Kind Regards,
With Love and Respect,
I decided to not use the full band name as it can be triggering.
Foto: Susanne Beck
Foto: Peter Arun Pfaff
Foto: Susanne Beck
Foto: Jörg Koopmann