“With my songs I want to create a strong voice for women; to yell back instead of being silent, to create a dialogue with power systems around us that suppress us from being ourselves,” says Jen Clarke. “With my songs I want to encourage a sense of community between women and to support and encourage each other to achieve their goals, and make their own choices.”
Clarke is Halifax-based electro-songstress Jenocide. She tackles feminism, femininity and fashion on her latest release Machines That Make Us Wet.
“I always wanted to have a solo project,” says Clarke, who honed her musical chops in such acts as Murder Sounds, Hotshotrobot and Windom Earle.
“I would write all of these songs that seemed more radical or female in my journal but never found an outlet to play them. I wanted to interact with the audience; I didn’t want to be stuck behind the keyboard.”
Jenocide doesn’t just step out, she prances onto the stage. Decked out in heart-shaped sunglasses and glitter bodysuits, Jenocide loves to make a spectacle. She gives nod to riot grrrl with a post-modern take on pop music.
“It’s an alter-ego, absolutely. I don’t think everyone gets that,” she says. “Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill changed my life. I’ve been criticized for aestheticizing riot grrrl. I don’t think I am that radical. It’s not the same time or the same place, though I certainly borrow elements.”
If PJ Harvey and Kathleen Hanna had a love child she’d be Jenocide. With thrash-dance tracks like “Slumber Party,” and “Off/On” Jenocide is the ultimate girl party.
“It’s about being inclusive more-so than a gender kind of thing. It’s a positive, inclusive party atmosphere,” says Clarke. “It’s kind of the antithesis to going to a club to dance and party and trying to act sexy to attract attention. It’s about having fun with your friends. Girl parties can be a group of girls hanging out in a kitchen, talking or dancing at a show.”
Jenocide is a touch tongue-and-cheek and tough enough to wear her heart-on-her sleeve. Wherever she goes she leaves a trail of glitter and lipstick marks in her wake.
“I can wear whatever I want, do whatever I want. I can wear a sparkly tube top and it doesn’t make me a slut,” she says. “Jenocide is a character; she’s in your face. It’s engaging and gets people’s attention. What can I say, I like sparkle?”
Jenocide explores themes of empowerment, embodiment and ego. Her agenda isn’t explicitly feminist, though her work is inherently so. With lyrics heavily based on relationships, power dynamics, body image and gender, Jenocide’s work borders on queercore.
“It’s really difficult to talk about ideologies that mean so many different things to different people,” she says. “As a woman, feminism reminds me to be critical of the systems around me, to be open to every choice that a woman makes as her own choice, and to support empowerment and challenge the status quo.
“But in my experience I feel that as a woman, I am always pointed in different external directions to find value in myself or my choices with the media etcetera. Feminism reminds me to listen to my inner voice, to be conscious of the reasons I make decisions and ultimately how I choose to live my life.”
For more info, check out ilovejenocide.com.