To shine a light on all the incredible LGBTQI executives and creatives in our industry, TIO has teamed up with Wonder founder Matt Emsell (5SOS, Matt Corby) to launch an article series. We’ll ask industry figures and artists how their sexuality and gender identity has shaped their experiences in the Australian music business. And, of course, why marriage equality is important to them.

With the final day of the Same Sex Marriage Postal Vote happening on November 7, the music industry has an important role in the discourse playing out in the public space.

Below is our Q&A with Siobhan Poynton of punk three-piece SCABZ.

Why are you taking part in this campaign?

Because it is important to shine light on positive things when you’re being shat on. And I’m all about building up the gays. Hopefully soon Lesbians will not only run the music industry, but the whole planet and we’ll all be vegan and compost and ride bikes everywhere.

The marriage equality plebiscite. Discuss!

Look it’s draining, and I’m sick of feeling like a walking advert for the Yes vote. I don’t want people to come up to me and say ‘I voted Yes can I pat your dog’ anymore. I’m mad old mate Turnbull will get all the credit for years and years of hard work put in by gay activists. And I’m especially mad that when all this blows over, regardless of the result, me and my friends will still face discrimination every day because of the way we look and love. And don’t even get me started on all the things we could have used that money on.

But look, if all those alarmists in Canberra are right, and this is a step towards the end of the heteronormative, oppressive and planet destroying nuclear family structure that is the very fabric holding capitalism and religion together, then I guess it will all be worth it.


SCABZ’s clip for ‘Beach Song’

Tell us about your experience of being LGBTQ in the Australian music industry

Pretty positive. I never really felt like it was an issue in the fancy industry desk jobs I had or really at the moment with booking shows.  I don’t feel like anyone has knocked us back for a support because they’re a homophobe or anything like that. More likely just cause we’re not the boyyzzz but that’s for another time.

There is a strong Lesbian music scene in Sydney. It could be better for sure, but there are heaps of gig opportunities for bands and DJs that are gay and want to play to other gay people. There are parties like Chicks with Picks and Pride Tide down in the Gong that actively promote gay women, trans and non binary performers. And in certain bands I’ve been in we have done full tours just off of queer parties.

For me the greatest personal struggle has been bridging being a big old dyke and just being a regular dude. Like I’m gay for sure, but I’m not ONLY gay. I’m just a guitar player with insecurities and an inflated ego like everyone else. And sometimes I worry like, ‘uggghh will the straights get my lyrics’ to five seconds later being like ‘fuck straighties I’m writing a whole album about the L word.’


Watch SCABZ perform ‘Locked Out’ at the now closed Newtown Social Club

What are your hopes for the next generation of LGBTQI kids hoping to break into the Aussie music industry?

It could go one of two ways, either we reach full equality and it doesn’t matter who you fuck and the acronym won’t even need to exist, and people can just do their thing without being pushed into a societal category. Or, as I previously mentioned, Lesbians will be in control, the matriarchy will reign supreme, all the gay kids will have an endless budget to make great albums and the old white men will be getting them coffees.


SCABZ are performing at The Lansdowne in Sydney on Sunday Nov 5

More in this series below

:: Eleven’s Nic Holland: “How amazing would it be to have a Trans person in a position of influence?”

:: Rachel Maria-Cox: “Being non-binary is strange when it comes to music”

:: Greg Gould: “I was told by my former label not to be ‘too gay’”

:: Todd Wagstaff: “I got left out from certain parts of the industry”

:: EMI’s Trent Titmarsh: “When I was young relatable artists were not present”

:: Caitlin McGregor (PKA Handsome): “Promoters need to remember that queer isn’t a genre”

:: Brendan Maclean: “I’ve seen managers threatening to out other managers”

:: APRA AMCOS’ Dean Ormston: “An overwhelming YES vote will go a long way”

:: 5SOS’ manager Matt Emsell: “I want to see more LGBTQI people in positions of influence”