Around six months ago I met the four women who sit in front of me now.
I first saw this band perform at Jive Bar in September last year and fell in love. The lyrics, harmonies, and groove got me straight away. I didn’t approach them after – I was far too nervous.
Now I’m sitting next to them while they have band practice on a Wednesday night.
Daye Jung, Lucie Vano, Wallis Prophet, and Ella Moeck make up the group that have been performing as Juno (a combination of Jung and Vano) for eight years.
This Friday, the 23rd of February, they will relaunch themselves as W.M.N at their first major gig of the year at The Jade.
Playing within a genre Lucie describes as “electric mixed with acoustic and a touch of spoken word,” punters can expect strings, poignant lyrics and poetry, as well as some serious funk.
Daye draws on 90’s RnB, soul, and jazz, and her love of Amy Winehouse, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lauryn Hill are clear from her captivating voice and effortless riffs. For Lucie, it’s Damien Rice, John Mayer, and Bon Iver. Ella is classically trained in both voice and violin, and her choral background shines through in harmonies.
And Wallis. A spoken word poet (and bass player, no less) who’s influenced by Chance the Rapper, NONAME, and Kate Tempest.
How do these all work in one band, you ask?
“We all have such unique musical influences that we bring together in a way that is quite separate from any of those influences individually. It’s its own amalgamation,” Ella says.
Changing their name was important coming into 2018 after last year. Following a testing year with personal battles and triumphs, the new year brought a fire for them as both individuals and as a collective. A name change felt like a fresh slate.
Ella wrote ‘W.M.N’ while doodling at a band meeting late last year, and it was an instant hit. Pronounced woman, the name also stands for ‘we model normality’. With the four members existing proudly within the LGBTQI+ community, they challenge and question sexuality and gender roles, and allow room for others to do the same freely.
“You know, all-queer band, non-binary, it’s all normal. We like to think we model it.”
Each woman in the band is different in almost every way possible. Between them, there’s a vegan café, different degrees, and an almost-finished PhD. They come from different parts of the world, have a variety of musical backgrounds, and have different experiences with coming out.
Despite this all, they come together with ease. Which, ironically, is what the group is all about.
“When I joined the band I was definitely in my ‘self discovery’ stage,” says Ella. “I’d been in Canada for six months and that was when I first allowed myself to be with a woman. Coming home was very much a, ‘is who I was there who I am here? Am I allowed to be that person in Adelaide?’”
“I met these women and was like, ‘Oh my god, they live this beautiful life where they’re just themselves. I can be myself 100% in this community.’ When I joined the band it was kind of the security blanket that I needed to come out.”
When asked about a long-term dream, Daye mentions the idea of being able to play music without working a job to support that want. But there’s more for her.
“Up until a certain point I was like, ‘I want to play music, that’s what I want to do, that’s for me.’ But then I saw somewhere this letter someone had written to Sam Smith saying how they were struggling with their sexuality, but when they listened to his music they made them feel like they weren’t alone and that it’s okay to feel these things because Sam is singing about these things.”
“For the first time I realised that not only is he putting out music and has an amazing voice, but is also being a representation of something. He has such an impact and influence on people – young people – who need people to look up to. People who stand for things, stand for minority groups. These groups need people like that.”
Ella jumps in with, “Imagine if a little Korean girl wrote to you.”
“I would just die. That is ridiculous. I think if that ever happened to me, it would be it. It would be so humbling.”
This year, W.M.N will release two EP’s, one in the first half of the year, and the second in the second half of the year. Tonight’s gig will be a celebration of their music, performing some of their brand-spankin’ new stuff, as well as their first single ‘I’ll Accept’. Get ready to groove along, and maybe even cry a little. I know I will be.
If you need any more excuse: they’re all gorgeous, extremely kind, and very well-dressed.
WHAT: W.M.N Name Launch
WHERE: The Jade, Flinders Street
WHEN: 23rd of February, 7pm
TICKETS: $10 entry at the door
Images via W.M.N's Instagram page.