Laina Dawes is the author of What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal (Bazillion Points, 2012).What Are You Doing Here? is Laina’s first non-fiction book and the first non-fiction, general interest book to specifically focus on race, gender and identity in metal, hardcore and punk music cultures.
Laina is also a freelance music and cultural critic whose writing can be found in print and online magazines, and she is currently a 2nd year graduate student at The New School for Social Research in New York City.
We talked about New York vs Toronto fashion (guess which city someone look at your outfit and say "B*tch have you lost your mind?!")....
She talked a lot about how to integrate her love of metal with her appearance; also how navigate respectability politics her aversion to bright colours and her enduring love for Mary J. Blige.
Shannon Shaw almost catfished me, but I finally got to talk to her between recording the new Clams album and touring!
She told me about the books that keep her worrying about serial killers, her love of illustration, metal smithing and girl bands including the Ronettes! She is a black eyeliner afficianado and likes a good beehive but isn't going 'full banana' on any one look.
Her influences include girl groups, John Waters' heroines, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck, and her own basic aversion to looking too perfect.
Please check out the band at
Thanks Shannon and thanks everyone for listening!~