Seratones is a rock 'n' roll band, through and through. It's led by the amazingly talented AJ Haynes, a life-long musician and passionate feminist. We spoke with AJ and learned all about her time working at an abortion clinic and how it impacted her career as a musician.
Tell me a bit about your background.
AJ: I was born in Japan, raised in Columbia, LA, and spent my adolescent life in Shreveport, LA and my mother was also a singer; there’s a lot of musically inclined in my family. I met the guys who are in my band. They really formed my musical taste and introduced me to punk music and rock 'n’ roll. They really formed my understanding.
What’s your writing technique?
AJ: It’s very collaborative. We’ve known each other for 10 years. It’s so pivotal and shaping so it makes sense that we have a collaborative technique.
Do you still feel very connected with the DIY scene?
AJ: I think that because of the nature of the city that I live in (Shreveport, LA), that’s just how we do things here because there’s really no other way and there are not a lot of, there’s not an infrastructure. I think DIY scenes are just kind of ran by people with their own sweat equity and their own time and their own energy. They fluctuate. Touring all the time, that’s still what I’m drawn to.
How has feminism impacted your career?
AJ: I worked at abortion clinic before for four years and then on and off, so it’s something that’s very real, something that I’ve experienced, and been in room as women that are making these difficult decisions and helped facilitate their understanding and their conclusion. The fact that autonomy is called into question is fucking absurd and the fact that it’s even questioned that a women can’t do with her body what she decides. DIY abortions, that’s what’s happening now and it’s going to continue on that trend. Those women that work there are very near and dear to my heart. They’re still in it, they’re having to fight these laws.
It must be taxing being the one people rely on when all these women are making such difficult decisions.
AJ: It was more empowering than taxing. Taxing, yes, like any other field wherein you’re dealing with people. People are people. The beautiful thing is, I wasn't there to sway them one way or the other---I was there for them to reflect on their own stories so they could come to their own conclusion, given the right resources and information. In case you haven't noticed, there's a clusterfuck of misinformation out there about women's health in general, especially abortions. I found working at a clinic being one of the most fulfilling and life-changing things I’ve done.
Has there been a moment where you were aware of your gender in your profession?
AJ: Have I been heckled for being a woman onstage? No, and if I have I didn’t hear it. I haven’t personally experienced it. I know that it’s there. Women are underrepresented at festivals, for example. I don’t think I have, and if I did, I was just focused on other things. Punk culture is changing to something that is more accepting. Musicians now have the power to control that space, like Kathleen Hanna used to.
What’s coming up next? What are you excited for?
AJ: (The tour) is kind of a big deal. It’s my first time going overseas with a band. It’s a big ass deal and I’m excited.
Check out The Seratones' latest live video for "Get Gone" from its album release block party!
Top photo via Facebook
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